An impressive Lambs performance saw them open the season with a 42-22 win over Irish Exiles at Ealing Trailfinders RFC. It was a return to Ealing following a very successful Chairman’s Day and the impressive facility hosted the backdrop for a fantastic game.
It was the Irish who started the most impressively, with some sustained pressure on the Lambs line, which they were unable to convert. However, having soaked this up, the Lambs gave a glimpse of what might be this season with an impressive opening try from their 5m line.
Off the base of the scrum Man of the Match Ben Smith-Bannister (Pangbourne) made a 50m break before quick ball and some quality interchanges eventually saw Bishop Wordsworth’s Chris Chaddock, who was equally as impressive on the day, go over for his first of two tries.
The Irish Exiles hit back immediately with an interception try that came from an ambitious miss-pass on the Lambs line, but undeterred as playing ‘Fast and Free’ the Lambs began to find some flow and eventually vice-captain Callum Hall (King’s Ely) found a gap and threw an aout the back pass to Sulayman Aurangzeb (Tettenhall) who dived over to restore the lead (10-5). Lewis Hyland-Dugbo (Woodhouse Grove) then extended the lead after being the beneficiary of some beautiful interchanges and offloads.
HT: Lambs 15-5 Irish Exiles
As expected, the second half brought renewed vigour and energy from Irish Exiles, a team that are never beaten and fight right to the end. It was, however, the Lambs who started quickest this time around as George Dady (Wisbech Grammar) stretched over to finish a flowing move and extend the lead to 22-5. It was this spark which saw the Irish comeback, and two quick tries brought the score to 22-17 with about 15 minutes to play.
With both teams looking to play the ball and attack with ambition it is no surprise that the game truly opened up in the last 15. Loose-head prop Chris Romano (Bablake) took full advantage to glide through a gap before offloading to Henry Langford (Uppingham) to score before Chaddock (Bishop Wordsworth) scored his 2nd of the day, getting on the end of an offload from Will Gowler (Wisbech Grammar) after his break down the right.
Tom Day had appeared to finish off the scoring with a beautiful first phase try off the scrum, taking the score to 37-17 with only three minutes to play. Somehow, however, both teams scored again in that final time-frame – a frantic finish to a great game of rugby.
FT: Lambs 42-22 Irish Exiles
Commenting on the game, Lambs Director of Rugby Alex Laybourne said:
“It was great day of rugby to start the year, both teams played ambitious rugby and the Lambs players really took the ‘Fast and Free’ philosophy on board. I thought we scored some great tries and I am looking forward to plenty more of the same over the coming months.”
“Thanks to the Irish Exiles as always, it is such a great fixture every year, and everyone’s best wishes are with Pierce O’Toole (Harrow and Irish Exiles) on his speedy recovery after his injury early in the game.”
15 Taylor Hein-Jones (Framlingham College)
14 James Boardman (Bloxham)
13 Christopher Chaddock (Bishop Wordsworth’s)
12 Thomas Day (King’s Gloucester)
11 Lewis Hyland-Solomon Dugbo (Woodhouse Grove)
10 Callum Hall (King’s Ely)
9 Archie Friend (Millfield)
1 Sebastian Dickens (Felsted)
2 Jack Hussey (Berkhamsted)
3 Archie Owlett (Millfield)
4 George Dady (Wisbech GS)
5 Sulayman Aurangzeb (Tettenhall College)
6 Alex Rowe (Mount Kelly)
7 Ben Hampden-Smith (Oundle)
8 Benjamin Smith-Bannister (Pangbourne College)
Replacements: 16 Christopher Romano (Bablake), 17 Arun Watkins (Henley College), 18 Conrad Holmes (Sir Thomas Rich’s), 19 Henry Mair (Wisbech GS), 20 Henry Langford (Uppingham), 21 Jack Chapples (Berkhamsted), 22 Charlie McHale (Felsted), 23 William Gowler (Wisbech GS).