The first game of the season is generally a tough ask for the 3s: poor calendar planning, mistimed holidays and optimistic attempts at retirement have too often left us a little short on the opening weekend. Not this season, I am pleased to report! In part thanks to an impromptu week off for the Stags, Captain Foz was able to lead out a squad of 13 forwards and three backs – definitely a ‘Top Pitch Team’. A shame, as the steel hard pitch was definitely better suited to the free-wheeling off-the-cuff style that Alleynians traditionally favour, rather than the clinical tight game that our squad demanded. The Captain was particularly displeased to have to step in to scrum half.
Kicking off with the Sun at their backs, the 3s immediately sought to test the Alleynians defence with numerous heavy carries. This created space for fly half Ross to glide over for our opening score, which sadly was not converted. However, the hosts had drawn first blood and put the visitors on the back foot. The visitors were also denied a scrum platform from which to attack by the OCs front row of Goody, Tubs and Danny G who treated the passionate touchline support to an 80-minute masterclass in disruptive scrummaging. This bore fruit towards the end of the half when an attacking scrum on the Alleynians line was driven over for Cricky to score our second (again unconverted) try. Alleynians kept themselves in the game when a fine break from their own half caught the OCs defence napping, resulting in a try of their own which they duly converted. We turned around at half time 10-7 up.
The second half saw the OCs 13 man pack start to tire in the Sahara conditions, leading to a second breakaway try to the visitors after a trademark Goody 40-meter trundle was turned over under the Alleynian posts, the hosts defensive line reacting too slowly to the change in possession. Despite going 10-12 behind on the scoreline, the 3s stayed calm and went back to their core strength – scrummaging. They duly scored their third try 107 scrums later, Cricky ‘riding the chariot’ over Alleynians’ line, to retake the lead. A late surge by the visitors was ended by some fine jackaling by Danny, and the 3s held on for the win.
Thanks to all who played. Some things to work on, butopening the account with a win is as positive a start to a season as one can ask for.