Despair to Joy
By LI Bohemian
October 10 2017
Before kick off on Saturday, the talk in the bar was about taking a losing bonus point for this game, most of the talk from Tigers fans was about a five-point win; these predictions seemed feasible at the time.
Four minutes after kick off, the talk was about avoiding humiliation.
The same problems were there again at the start of the game, as the fragile Irish defense was breached with ease, the players looked tired for some reason and a couple of yards slower than Leicester Tigers. When Irish did manage to get out of their half it seemed to make the defense worse. Tigers made it 0–14 with 3 penalties the try count would have been much higher if not for some last ditch tackles and Tigers' inability to get out of second gear and off-load the ball when they needed to, rather than take the tackle.
There was a turning point, for the first half anyway, when it looked like Tigers were about to score another try, Topsy Ojo put-in a good strong tackle that not only stopped the attacker but smothered the off-load.
The game picked up for Irish and they came very close to scoring a couple of times, but could not get the ball down across the line. Bell kicked a penalty goal to make the score 14 – 3 at the break.
The talk in the Jazz Bar was about a come-back for Irish and some light at the end of the tunnel.
A couple of plays into the second half and one of the easiest tries I’ve seen in the premiership, was scored up the middle of the pitch by Leicester, making the score 3 – 21. The talk was yet again about avoiding humiliation. Irish roused themselves as if embarrassed by the earlier score and picked up their game putting together some good cohesive moves. A penalty from wide out and a try by Blair, crawling over the line put Irish back in the game at 13 – 21. Leicester then pressured Irish into the corner through a penalty kick via some clever scrummaging, from which they acquired numerous penalties throughout the game.
From the line out and then retaken lineout they forged a chance for that super finisher Jonny May to score, and at 13 – 28 it was safe to say the game was gone.
The question was who would get the extra point? If I were a betting man, it would be Leicester all day long. Irish then turned the game on its head and this again seemed to coincide with the bench players coming on. Although Leicester Tigers team sheet is awash with internationals and has more caps than a milliners store, they were a bit naïve at the back end of the game. By throwing the ball about unnecessarily, when they should have taken it steady, making the four try bonus a formality. This loose play helped Irish no end and they forged two well worked tries from Paice and then Lewington, at the death, Bell, as usual was immaculate with the boot, making the final score 27 – 28.
As a supporter the team put me through all the emotions in 80 minutes, and I must admit I was pretty chuffed at getting the LBP. The team knew they had lost us and won us back, and came over to the East stand to clap the support.
I’ve always thought that, most of the time in sport, there is no magic wand to stop problems that occur, you have to work through them. It takes time, hard work, a bit of savvy and I think we can. This London Irish team definitely has a backbone and can find a way to stay in the league this season.pqs: qs:
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