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Down Down Deeper and Down
And so we came to the final day of the season, already relegated. We had already decided to make a weekend of it in Bath last August when the fixtures first came out, so had the hotel booked. Bath is a beautiful city and a great place to watch rugby.
A different league
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.
The noisy neighbours do the double on Quins
I don't remember a game when I was so nervous as I walked into the stadium. This could be the day our relegation could be sealed. At the same time, this could be another historic day in the Stoop. In spite of our upward progression following the appointment of our new coaches and a bad run of form of Harlequins, the home side were odds on to win this game.
None the wiser
The "St Patrick's Day" match is always an occasion, with plenty of rugby first-timers joining the crowd to watch a game and then enjoy the party. The Gloucester following always seem to embrace the party too and that makes for fun. With the recent changes to the London Irish coaching set-up there was more than a little speculation about what would happen. Would the new guys make the needed difference?I was pleasantly surprised by the crowd numbers when I arrived. With the club's announcement that they intended imminently to return to West London it has felt a lot like the local Reading support has disengaged and that support is really needed for the St Pat's party. A crowd of over 15,000 watched a fascinating, exciting and reasonably entertaining game - whether any of them will stick with the club in coming years remains to be seen. Who knows? Maybe they were all from West London.
As someone who goes to every Irish game home and away, and also an avid reader of the Craic, I thought I should step up and help Griff's regular pleadings and do a match a write up!
Get Tom Cruise on the phone!
London Irish's preformance in the Avivia Premiership has been disappointing. After the glorious victory over Harlequins in the opening day at Twickenham everything felt good but since then there have been no more victories and many, many poor results leaving the Exiles at the foot of the table looking down the barrel of a second relegation to the Championship. Their nearest competition comes in the form of Worcester Warriors, a mere 16 points ahead in the table. Their visit to the Madejski felt very much post-must-win but, with the maths not completely signalling the drop, Irish had something to play for and Worcester had the means to put the men-in-green away.
LI Bohemian steps-up to produce a match report for a truly terrible game of rugby, played in front of few people, in the cold while the Six Nations is on elsewhere.
We are taking hospital visitors!
I don’t tend to go to games away from the Madstad, except Twickenham, and in fact the only games I have been to prior to this were the little home game in New York and a previous trip to Cardiff for an LV game when my son was at Cardiff University. That game was at the football ground. So when their former main sponsor wanted me to visit on business, I jumped at the chance of arranging a trip to Newport for Friday afternoon! Then on to Cardiff Arms Park.
Another Unexpected Journey
I had no intentions of going to the match this Saturday and it was pretty much the same story when Irish played Krasny Yar at the Madstad two weeks previous to this game, but I still turned up. Firstly because the work I had to do on both Saturdays didn't take as long as I had estimated and secondly I wanted to see Irish win some games and maybe feel like I did at the beginning of the season. I know this is shallow, but a win is a win. I had travelled on my own to both games, mainly do to the lack of interest in the cup competitions from my normal travelling companions. When you get to Reading though my fellow London Irish supporters make you welcome and will always talk a good theory or two on the current matters affecting the players/sport/future location of the team/ring fencing.
LI Youngsters Step Upů
Round 5 of the European Challenge Cup saw London Irish welcome Krasny Yar from Siberia to the Madejski. Shawshank reports on the match.