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A Two Horse Race


By LI Bohemian
November 15 2016

My pre-match thoughts about the game were, that this is our big test, this game is a clear indication of where Irish stand in way of rejuvenating the club back on the road to premiership status, Carnegie like Irish have not lost a league game this season, also I wondered, will Ellis throw the ball in the line outs better than his previous games? (I’m just being honest).

The game started after a good rendition of “The Fields of Athenry” from the assembled Irish support, which incidentally, seems to be creeping up in attendant figures as Irish gain momentum through the season.
The usual ping ponging of the ball starts as both sides spar and settle into the game, Carnegie get a breakthrough via a good line out drive, resulting in a penalty to them in a good area, but surprisingly they opt to take the points instead of go for the corner for the drive, which is where, like Irish they have been dominating so far this season.
After the successful kick from Carnegie, Irish seem to awake and up the tempo to score the first Try of the game, with good ball retention and working through phases of play, Mulcrone breaks the Leeds defensive line and unloads the ball to Cowan who draws in tacklers to let Ben Ransom sprint over and score, Bell converts. Irish then pressure Carnegie back into their own half and Coman forces a penalty at a ruck, the captain, Ben Franks opts for the points and Bell duly obliges, 10-3 to Irish. The next score was Irish again working the ball along the right hand touch line, Marshall to Bell, Bell to Big Joe, Joe with a nice offload to Tiks to run the ball in at the corner. Bell kicks the conversion from the touchline. The score 17-3, Irish were in total control and had even let a couple of sure fire try’s slip through their grasp, it looked like game over, but then Ellis, who had an immaculate game with the line out throw-in, put out a miss pass after bumping a tackler over, that the Carnegie number 14, Holmes read and cleverly intercepted for an uncontested run in under the posts, for Ford to convert. This last score seemed to knock Irish out of their stride for the rest of the half and lift Carnegie out of a hole.
The second half began, playing wise, where the first had finished, only that Carnegie were now getting the upper hand territorially, but they could not break down the organized Irish defense, this seemed to cause Carnegie to lose their composure, especially Stedman who was playing well up until this point, Irish cleared their lines each time, Bell even managed a long range penalty to add to Carnegie’s frustration. Steadman was eventually substituted; about the same time as Steele came on for Mckibbin, and from that moment on Irish took the game and the Bonus try points from Carnegie, not that Steele is a better scrummy than McKibbin or vice versa, Irish simply had more power off the bench, a better defense and more composure.
Another try from Ben Ransom in the corner, two try’s under the posts from Marshall, all converted by the ever-reliable Bell.
At 41- 10 and 5mins to go, Carnegie relaxed and started throwing the ball about, earning them a try. The final score finishing 41-17 to London Irish.
My post match thoughts on the train home, surprised me, they were not thoughts about the stand out players today like Blair, Trev, Tiks, Mulcrone, Ransom, Coman and Steggman, but on the significance of the game today, which turned out to be not much in terms of return to premiership status for Irish, it wasn’t even a big test, it was however another step forward for the team and not backwards. Some players made mistakes but Irish are in a position to learn from mistakes, eradicate them and still gain confidence through winning games.

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A Two Horse Race
The Craic www.londonirish.org (IP Logged)
15/11/2016 12:56
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