|Date||24 September 2017|
|Venue||Gladstone Park, Anson Rd, London NW2 6BH|
|Result||W 10 - 3|
We had a bright start to our first league season with a comprehensive 10-3 win at Kilburn Cosmos. There were quite a few positives to take away but also some clear things for the team to work on.
Kilburn are a relatively small club and were fielding all their available U13 players with no replacements. A couple of their players were actually playing in their first session for the club - and played very well. They'd also had almost no live scrummaging practice, which would come to make a big difference to the game.
The first half was a fairly scrappy affair, with the ball turning over fairly regularly at the breakdown. Kilburn were far more organised and disciplined and regularly had two or three players driving over effectively while Bank stood off and watched. As a result they won a fair number of turnovers there, offset by Bank being better at forcing knock ons in open play and winning the mauls. Bank also did an excellent job in the scrum, winning at least two first half scrums against the head. Credit is due to Tom Welton and Gregor, who were pressganged into propping, and Alex Sinden, who took on hooking duties to good effect.
Bank made excellent use of setpiece and turnover ball, with George and Seb releasing Ryan to weave through the defence, or Seb running an out-and-in line that drew the defenders and left space on the outside for Sam K to attack. We ended the first half 7-0 up with multiple tries each from Ryan and Sam supplemented by Tom W and Gregor (I think - did I miss a scorer?).
The second half saw a stricter referee and we also went to uncontested scrums and a 12-man game after Kilburn had two players hurt themselves in the scrum - not seriously, but enough that one sat out the rest of the game as a precaution. Kilburn made a powerful run down their right wing that resulted in a try, and with the scrum no longer providing easy possession Bank found it much harder to fight back. Kilburn also tightened their defence and it became a much more competitive game, with the forwards starting to dominate. Gregor and Tom W scored in their trademark styles, but Kilburn also scored twice more, with Tom striking again to finish the half 3-3.
Overall, it was a good start to the season, but we will need to up our game even further when we face the bigger clubs. Several players put their hand up for man of the match - Ryan for his running, Sam for his finishing, Tom W for his controlled aggression, but my vote goes to Alex who put in a huge shift in the first half both in the setpiece but also in the loose, where if he wasn't the tackler he was usually the person collecting the ball from the ruck.