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A Tale of Two Budgets?
For the try-soaked London Irish fans it was the best of times. But for the few brave Yorkies at the Madstad it was the worst of times, when their team was pretty much dismantled in every facet of the game by an impressive Irish team displaying a ruthlessness that was seldom evident in our last visit to the Championship two seasons ago.
Richmond Athletic Ground is another great venue to watch club rugby and the sunny conditions belied the time of year. Scottish made all our travelling supporters feel welcome on a barmy Sunday afternoon – Irish turned out in significant numbers even though the game was on Sky and we were the majority support on the day (certainly sounded like it). Going into the match, Scottish were touted as serious competition who could take a scalp, Nic Rouse has obviously been working his magic as results up until yesterday had been impressive.
Coventry Rugby Club are my closest pro Rugby team, geographically, it is easy to get to by train and a short walk from the station. I arrived at the ground just before kick off, as I had left it until the last possible train to get there.
My Lucky Seat
Sundays match was the first home game I’ve attended this season, it did feel like a season opener as the game last week had been rescheduled giving Irish a week off, this seemed to make Irish a bit rusty, something that persisted for most of the match. Bedford on the other hand were not the team that I remember when Irish played them two seasons ago they seemed to lack ambition although they had plenty pace in their backs they repeatedly kicked away possession and rarely gave chase.
The Novelty Has Gone
The first home game of the season usually brings an opportunity to get the winter routine down to a tee. Parkrun or the lad's football match before a quick lunch and a dash to the Madjeski, a swift pint and then to our seats, chew the fat with friends not seen for a few months and then the rugby. Win or lose, rain or shine, come on you Irish.
Reasons To Be Cheerful
Now then, the new season has finally arrived, after the tough campaign last time round and loss of more top players, we went into this season with mixed feelings on our prospects of a bounce back into the Gallagher Premiership. The opposition have been touted as a serious candidate for winning the league, and on last night’s performance, it’s easy to see why.
The omens weren’t great.
Driving down the M1 with a Leicester supporting friend in torrential rain to face a team that looked worryingly strong on paper, with one that looked like it was worked out in an emergency on the back of a fag packet. Pre-season friendlies are often fairly disjointed affairs and this was no exception. Certainly some positives to take away, but ultimately we were unable to cope with the threat of Leicester’s all-star back line. The pack was largely competitive, which hopefully bodes well for the coming season.
A Grand Day Out
Despite warnings about potential traffic problems in the area due to the Sunbury Regatta we arrived at Hazelwood by car with no problems whatsoever. We parked up and headed to the main entrance to find a long bench set up outside with rows of boxes laid out containing everyone’s membership cards. We were greeted with a warm handshake by Theo Brophy-Clews who delved in and found our envelopes containing our membership cards and car park pass for the coming season. There was also a nice little pin badge and the customary, already out of date, fixture list card. The bench was being manned by a rotation of players and coaches. Max Northcote Green and Les Kiss were also in attendance at the time we arrived. There was also the opportunity for kids, young and old, to grab their entry for the treasure hunt. Not having any youngsters with us we didn’t get involved, although I did hear some little ones enjoying themselves running around looking for clues.
2017/18 Prediction League
In a bid to complete last year's admin here is the result of last season's prediction league.
2017/18 Player of the Season
Another season draws to a close and it's time to look back and see who stood out in the Irish ranks. On The Craic the Player of the Season is given to the player who receives the most Man Of The Match awards. This often gives a different result to the reflective awards since a player needs to have caught the eye of the majority over the course of the whole season rather than more recent memories making a larger impact.