London Irish 36-13 Bath (5th November 2005)

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London Irish 36-13 Bath (5th November 2005)

by AlecW on Mon Nov 07, 2005 9:35 am

“Someone’s Going to Cop it When we Get it All Together”


But not the people you might think! When Dom_Pedro asked for a slightly “different” Match Report, he explained that all the other reports on other sites were pretty straightforward linear narratives. He suggested one or two things we could try – one of which was to try analysing different facets of the game. You will see the first incarnation of this written by Matt (Many thanks, Matt!).

Unfortunately you will not be getting a full match report. I will not go into the reasons, but will instead tell you a little story that has no connection whatever with the events of Saturday afternoon.

Once upon a time in the Royal County of Berkshire there was a rugby match played between the mighty warriors of Iondon Lrish and Thab. Two intrepid reporters called RoxonOb and WlecA sat down and prepared to take notes, speak into tape recorders etc in order to prepare a Rolls-Royce style report for the New Sunbury Centre. The match began, with Wlec scribbling madly in his notebook and Ob speaking into his dictafone. Since Wlec was sitting next to Ob, with Aineel on t’other side as an independent witness, we could testify that Ob was speaking quite quietly into the recorder – probably less loud than normal conversation.

Unfortunately two members of the West Stand (non-)fraternity took exception to Ob’s warblings, turned around and abused him roundly for them, despite the fact that nobody else in the vicinity, including those even closer to the offending dictafone, seemed to have any problem. These two (the one a Gollum-like figure of about 65, 4’11”, with a Barbour and a tweed cap, the other about about late 40s, with steel grey hair, glasses and a windcheater) were so unpleasant (not for the first time, alas), that Ob & Wlec were tempted to wonder if they had not come to the wrong ground and should have been at Foltus Road watching Dearing that afternoon instead. Yet there they were, sat in the midst of Peter’s Patch. Not enjoying themselves very much, judging from the fixed expressions of sour dislike on their faces.

Never let it be said that Ob and Wlec would want anyone, no matter how obnoxious, not to enjoy themselves to the full at Irish, even though some seem to turn up with the firm intention of hating every minute. They ceased warbling and concentrated on yelling their support as loudly as they could for Lrish. And they would only have been human (if fictional), if they yelled especially in the direction of two fellow spectators in particular, in the hope that some germ of enjoyment could thus be had by those two dried-out husks of men. :twisted:

So that is why there was very little in the way of Report on the following (fictional) Monday. The level of volume was much increased, yet was clearly far more acceptable to the Thought Police than the quiet conversational tones of earlier. Logical old world isn’t it? The moral of this story is that the spirit of London Irish lives on, in terms of tolerance, good humour and respect for the other point of view. Our tolerance, good humour and respect, not theirs.

In telling this (fictional) fairytale, I have refrained from mentioning the seat numbers of those concerned, since any resemblance between the characters in this story and actual people is entirely unintentional.

However, I was able to analyse the line-outs in the first half. These show just how much of Bath’s ball we stole – against Hudson and Fidler, who may not be Grewcock and Borthwick, but are no mean jumpers, nonetheless.

1. 2nd min. On West side half way. Throw to Irish, won cleanly at the tail.
2. 4th min. On Bath 22 East side. Throw to Bath, won cleanly at the front.
3. 6th min. 18m from Bath line on West side. Bath throw. Stolen by Kennedy. (penalised for leaning on Bath jumper).
4. 7th min. Just in LI half, West side. Bath throw, taken and driven from the front. Got nowhere.
5. 9th min. About 25m from Irish line, West side. Bath throw to front, won cleanly and driven. Bath penalty (for a shirt tug?), improved 10m for backchat.
6. 11th min. On Bath 10m line, East side. Bath throw, won and driven. Also went nowhere.
7. 14th min. LI throw just outside Bath 22, East side. Won by Kennedy towards tail, spun left, recycled and after a Rautenbach drive, Flutey dropped a goal from half way.
8. 16th min. LI throw on Bath 5m line, West side. LI won ball & tapped down from the front.
9. 22nd min. Bath throw on their 10m line East side. Thrown to tail and stolen by ?Casey?. Led indirectly to Catt’s try 3-4 phases later.
10. 25th min. Bath throw about 26m from their line East side. Stolen by Roche.
11. 26th min. LI throw on halfway, West side. Thrown to tail, not won cleanly. Bath knock-on, LI scrum.
12. 29th min. Bath throw on their own 22, West side. Thrown to middle, stolen by Casey, maul formed, leading to fisticuffs & Dunne of Bath yellow carded.
13. 32nd min. Bath throw on half way East side. Won at the front and driven.
14. 35th min. Bath throw from penalty on LI 22 East side. Stolen at the tail by Casey. Free kick Bath – not sure why.
15. 38th min. LI throw on Bath 22 East side. Ref orders rethrow. Re-thrown to Casey at the tail – led to Rautenbach being dragged down 1 metre short.
16. 41st min. LI throw on Bath 22 West side. Throw to middle, won by Casey and driven.

I may even have missed the odd one, but this shows that Irish stole 5 of Bath’s lineout throws in the first half. It may even have been more in the second half. Bath threw in 10 times and were picked off half of those times. We were really mullering them in the lineout. Also note that 10 out of 16 lineouts, or over 60%, were Bath throw-ins, suggesting that Irish were employing the tactic of kicking for position and relying on Casey, Roche and Kennedy to steal ball – and they did, all match, to the point where the (delightful and generous) Bath couple sitting behind us were despairing, whenever Bath kicked for position.

I suppose it also shows just how much time the ball can spend out of play in an average game: assume 30 lineouts in the whole game, add a sprinkling of scrummages, injuries, penalties etc and it is easy to see why the ball is in play for only 35-40 mins in an average game.

We also noticed that all three London Irish line-out jumpers wore different coloured headgear – Roche – Black; Kennedy – Red; and Casey - Grey. We’d need to ask Brian Smith (who certainly wouldn’t tell us!) why that was, but our guess was that it may have had something to do either with the calls, or simply to make the individual jumper easier to spot when throwing in. Whatever – it seemed to work!

A word also for our new front row. Beefy was his usual solid best. Flav had an excellent game. Rautenbach was immense. He had the usually rock-solid Barnes in all sorts of difficulty. But when Coetzee came on, it was as if an extra injection of power was added. Suddenly we were not just slightly on top at scrum time, but Bath were visibly struggling. It was a great sight to see. Then Rautenbach was replaced by Skuse and there was little discernible slackening of the Irish effort.

It was slightly worrying when Coetzee went down with what looked like a groin injury after only a few minutes, but he was able to play on. Hope it wasn’t serious, because on the performance of Saturday, the future (up front) is not just Green, but Mean as well – we have a front row we can use as a weapon once more!

The backs played their socks off, Catt rightly being Man of the Match for running the game like a General on exercise. But this non-report is dedicated to the “Donkeys”, who completely nullified the Bath forward effort, thus creating the space, time and ball for Catt and Co to make merry behind them. And because the accompanying poster is very apposite...!

Cheers all...

Last edited by AlecW on Tue Nov 08, 2005 7:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Please look again - Poster added!

by AlecW on Mon Nov 07, 2005 12:26 pm

And a very good one it is too...

Many thanks, Catherine![/b]
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