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News: Reflections on a Trip to Twickenham...


By Mobbs
May 30 2016

Regular COYSDC contributor, Mobbs, was at Twickenham at the weekend to see Saracens take on Exeter Chiefs in the Aviva Premiership Final. Here are his thoughts on the day...

 

 

 

A GRAND DAY OUT

 

And so to the last Saturday in May and yet another Premiership Final at Headquarters. Once again we had gambled on the Saints being able to reach the playoff final but our lacklustre season put paid to that little pipe dream; that being said it still seems a worthwhile bet that one of the two finalists would have been of a Saintly hue and it's still a day out with like-minded neutrals from most major clubs - only Sale missing this year.

It's always worthwhile going early to Twickenham in order to beat some of the traffic and sample of ambience of the local area. Park for free in our usual place (no, not telling!) with a ten minute walk to the concrete monstrosity that is the home of English Rugby.

Plenty of Red Indian bonnets in evidence as we approach the stadium together with a noticeable number of Tiggers fans who like us are prepared to take that gamble way back in the autumn. No point hanging around the stadium so time to stroll into Twickenham itself as we normally do for a spot of lunch in that little Italian place and a drink or two at the Eel Island pub down by the riverside.

Chatting to a few 'neutrals' it seems readily apparent that most of us are not neutral at all with a decided bias towards our West Country Cousins. I suppose to an extent it's the underdog principle as Saracens are already European Champions this campaign. But it goes deeper than that of course as Saints and Sarries do have a degree of 'history' since our return from the minors not to mention those immortal words ' JP, you may award the try' as Alex Waller went excavating under the Saracens front row two years ago. I have every admiration for Mark MaCall and his coaching staff who get the best from their deep and experienced squad to achieve a deserved level of success. I don't have a problem with the Sarries faithful who turn up at Allianz Park though I am not so sure about their rather larger supporter base who confine their interest to Wembley and Twickenham. No, the thing that grates about Saracens is the marketing and razzmatazz allied to Mr Wrays brave new world. Oh, I almost forget Alex Saundersons comments from the touch line...aaarrrgggh.

All a question today of whether Exeter are ready to face up to the sheer professionalism of Saracens with a trophy already in their 2015-16 cabinet. The Chiefs have never been in this position before, it's a new experience and I sense that their fans have a certain 'wide-eyed wonder' look to them this afternoon which is slightly unsettling because their players cannot have that same perspective on the pitch as Bath found out to their cost last season.

So back to the Stadium after an agreeable lunch and it's now getting quite busy on the roads which are thankfully closed off for the duration. Inside the ground we make our way around the concourse and someone calls out my name; strewth, it's an old school friend who I probably have not seen for forty years. Hi Grahame, I obviously have not changed that much despite the grey hairs !

Almost kick-off and we are pleased to find ourselves in the Chiefs 'end' albeit with shirts from Connaught, Leicester, Quins and Coventry, yes the real Coventry, around us. There certainly seems to be a West Country majority in the ground so all should bode well for the Chiefs.

Most of you will have watched the game so there is no point in telling the story in any detail. Sarries look comfortable from the off and in time honoured fashion take the easy penalties before stretching their legs for two tries and a comfortable half-time lead. Chiefs seem rather over-awed and heavy on their feet taking thirty-nine minutes to get into the Sarries twenty-two. The Exeter Chiefs team and supporters alike need a team talk at the break as neither have got going so far; this could be a long second half.

It does get better, as indeed it had to for the Chiefs as two tries get them back into the game and their supporters are now back in full war-cry voice. Saracens have however the nous to slow the game and Alex Goode goes over for the winning try with swan song Charlie Hodgson somehow missing the extras.

Final whistle and heartbreak for the Chiefs and a deserved double for Saracens.

Rob Baxter and his team will learn valuable lessons from this day out in the Twickenham sunshine, they are still on an upward learning curve of success. The victors meanwhile will still be the team to beat next time around and Saints will have to be on their mettle right
from the first whistle come September. Other teams such as Sarries, Chiefs and Wasps have taken big steps forward over the last twelve months whilst we have taken a backward pace so work still to Jim, work still to do.

Not a full house at HQ this afternoon and the atmosphere not quite as good as I have known in years gone by. Perhaps you need two teams and two sets of supporters who don't like each other very much...cannot imagine who I might be thinking of...

So that's it for another Premiership final and I have not mentioned Wayne Barnes once!

See you in August for the double header...Toodle Pip

Mobbs

 

 

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ComeOnYouSaints.com
News: Reflections on a Trip to Twickenham...
ComeOnYouSaints.com (IP Logged)
30/05/2016 16:37
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Maverick1
Re: News: Reflections on a Trip to Twickenham...
Phil. (IP Logged)
30/05/2016 23:16
Well, I enjoyed the read - many thanks, good sir! smiling smiley

 
Flinstone Saint
Re: News: Reflections on a Trip to Twickenham...
Flinstone Saint (IP Logged)
31/05/2016 09:21
Thanks Mobbs.

I've never been able to bring myself to visit HQ when Saints aren't playing there. I did, however, go during the world cup as a neutral (Wales v Austrialia) and felt strangely flat. Perhaps I should give it another go at club level.

----------------------------------------

Please sponsor me for Saints with Heart [www.justgiving.com]

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: News: Reflections on a Trip to Twickenham...
SaintMaul (IP Logged)
31/05/2016 10:28
Cheers Mobbs

 
fair_weather_fan
Re: News: Reflections on a Trip to Twickenham...
fair_weather_fan (IP Logged)
31/05/2016 10:46
Not getting good involved in any controversy then Mobbs. It's easy going as a neutral, few beers, no reffing from the stands, great day out



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2016:05:31:16:36:31 by fair_weather_fan.

 
Trog
Re: News: Reflections on a Trip to Twickenham...
Dave Jackson (IP Logged)
31/05/2016 15:37
Good read. We went to both Euro finals and really enjoyed watching game as a neutral and appreciating the games for what they were rather than getting hung up on how our team was doing. Booked tickets and hotel for Edinburgh already

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