A different league
April 23 2018
On my journey to Reading, I felt a strange sense of optimism. Only light showers forecast, Irish had a big win the week before and our Grand-daughter was with us for the first time making it feel like the perfect time to play the Chiefs. After all, they had already qualified for the end of season playoffs and so would not be as switched on as usual.
How wrong I was, the rain hardly stopped during the match and Exeter were on their game from the very first minute. As soon as the Exeter prop, Moon, scored that 2nd minute try, I knew we were in for a long afternoon. They seemed to be sharper in every facet of the game and I have to give our team credit for sticking with it and never giving up, even scoring a try of their own through Young Joe. The tries came thick and fast, 3 in each half. Exeter have unearthed a quality young No. 8 in Sam Simmonds who scored a hat-trick.
What seemed especially noticeable was their work in the line-out, I believe Irish only managed to get close to 1 line-out all afternoon. Once the ball was plucked out of the air, Exeter’s forwards were set in harness so quickly, they looked like they would score from every line-out in our half. Added to that, Gareth Steenson brought his kicking boots for sure, converting all 6 tries and adding a penalty giving him an overall tally of 15 points. Although beaten, the togetherness of our team stood out and bodes well for the team spirit in the camp, depending on how many of these players will be with us next season in the Championship.
Whilst we were beaten by the better team, we also had to endure 2 major losses in the first half. Max Northcote Green went down in very obvious pain in the first few minutes and around the half hour mark, Tommy Bell went down and as far as I could see no-one was near him but again a very painful and serious injury. Seems both are out for the rest of this season and possibly longer.
To finish, at least our Grand-daughter enjoyed her day and vowed to come back!
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