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City League Article Update

City League Article Update

Gareth Stoppani3 Mar 2020 - 12:10
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Lloyd's edged PwC in a tightly contested match at East London RFC

Gareth Stoppani
- City League Article

Lloyd’s of London 36, PwC 26

At Blackheath Rectory Field, the only dry pitch in London on Wednesday night, Lloyds of London played PwC in the latest City League Rugby fixture.
The pitch was in perfect condition and the weather was equally accommodating for the teams as Lloyds kicked off. PwC kept possession, running the ball to the halfway line before recycling it and then reaching the Lloyds 10m only for Lloyds ‘player pool extraordinaire’ Matt Hobson to intercept; the Lloyds centre ran deep into PwC’s half before anyone could catch him. PwC recovered but quickly knocked on; a Lloyds scrum ensued.

Lloyds exerted their weight advantage at the scrum and 8 pick-up down the blind-side before sending down the backline within 10 metres of the PwC line. Lloyds number 10 then put a lovely kick to the opposite wing; number 14 Jack Hopkins caught the ball and gracefully put it down for 5 points. Matt Whiting stepped up for the difficult conversion but missed. 5-0 Lloyds, 3 minutes gone.
PwC kicked off and immediately put pressure on Lloyds, but they conceded a penalty and got kicked back into their own half. A moment later, a marvellous long pass floated to Hopkins and left him with enough space and time to run 20 metres down the touchline to score his second try of the game. Another difficult conversion was missed. 10-0 Lloyds, 7 minutes gone.
Lloyds attacked from the kickoff with another run up the sidelines that was only stopped by a high tackle. From the resultant penalty, Hugo Seccombe, of the Lloyds second row, barged over near the posts. Whiting made the conversion. 17-0 Lloyds, 11 minutes gone.

It was not looking good for PWC. They had played well enough but were lacking at critical moments, unlike Lloyds, who evidently knew the way to the try-line.
From the kickoff, a desperate PwC pushed Lloyds back and forced them to clear to touch on their own 22. From the lineout, PwC launched their backs at Lloyds’ defence but were repulsed. Lloyds then won the ball back and attacked up the middle of the pitch. Lloyds went left and then right, like a boxer lining up his opponent for a big punch; Whiting provided that punch as he went over for a try. Conversion missed. 22-0, 20 mins gone.

PwC looked almost down and out on the canvas.
PwC rallied behind the posts and attacked with greater intent from this kickoff. Lloyds looked to be breaking out, but a turnover on the halfway line was run in by PwC number 13 Paddy Sardeson, who also converted it to make it 22-7. PwC had some hope at the 22-minute mark.
PWC ran the ball back from the kickoff to the halfway line but lost the ball and Lloyds bashed their way down the field with a series of penalties and scrums before Lloyds number 13 Jim Baber went over for a try; Whiting converted. 29-7 Lloyds, 29 minutes in, and all PwC’s good work in getting back in the game was undone.

PwC pushed hard from the kickoff and won a turnover, but Lloyds’ defence was too strong, repulsing the waves of backs that PwC threw at them. Lloyds eventually regained the ball and tore up the pitch, but a flouting pass hit the ground and flyhacked into touch. PwC won the lineout and ran it back from their own half through many pairs of hands. The play was finished off by PwC number 4 Ed Decee, who pulled off an outrageous cut inside – well, outrageous for a second row it was – and scored to the left of the posts. The conversion was missed but PwC was showing more consistency in their attack. 29-12, 34 minutes gone.
Both sides then got chances with the ball but were unable to break each other’s defence. Of note now, though, was the complete dominance of the Lloyds scrum, which was pushing PwC back on every ball, forcing them to scrabble the ball out or, in some cases, lose it against the head. The scorekeeper, however, remained untroubled to halftime.

Lloyds kicked off to start the second half. Their mighty scrum battered PwC, but otherwise PwC looked far more resilient. PwC’s persistence paid off when, at the 53-minute mark, from a penalty on the Lloyds 22, PwC second row Johnny Martin drove over in the corner for a converted try to make it 29-19.
That made it a try apiece for the PwC boiler house – and recall that Lloyds had a second-row try as well!
The game was now evenly matched on the pitch, if not on the scoreboard. Lloyds’ pack was stronger, but the PwC backs were generally better on the ball. This deadlock was eventually broken when quick thinking by Whiting in taking a tap-and-go penalty near the PwC posts got him over the line for a converted try. 36-19 Lloyds, 68 minutes in.

PwC put in extra effort now, determined to score, but Lloyds put up a formidable defence. Eventually, on the last play of the game, PwC crashed up the middle of the pitch and scored a well-deserved converted try to the right of the posts. Final score was Lloyds 36, PwC 26.
PwC have a good team but started slow. Lloyds showed more composure and a strong pack; after their first-half blitz, they never looked like letting in enough points to lose. Despite the loss, PwC should make it to the Cup semi-finals, where there is a good chance they will meet Lloyds again and perhaps turn the tables.

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