Updated: Aug 16, 2018
Captains midseason report
In late August, as the final days of summer begin to dwindle and the sun makes its daily traverse a little lower across the northern skies, one of Londons greatest natural phenomenon’s begins to take place. In every pub, bar and park - on every morning jog, tube to work and evening gym session, men eye up the biggest, burliest men they can find and strike up awkward conversation. Lame ice breakers are begrudgingly laughed at, awkward silences are suffered and the paralysing fear of rejection is pushed aside - for this is rugby recruiting season. The Quintin lads took to the task with aplomb – cards were passed out, sets were spotted, ads were posted and little by little Quintins mud covered little black book began to fill with names and numbers of willing and able, and not so willing and not so able recruits.
With numbers swelling to unprecedented levels and summer touch in full swing a tough preseason trial fixture was arranged against div 2 opposition Harrow 2nds. With numbers suddenly dropping to more familiar single digit levels frantic calls were sent out and ringers were sourced by any means. It was a new look team with 6 Quintin debutants taking the field but the team clicked and ran in a seven tries to 2 win while I was lucky enough to celebrate my first game as Captain with a hat-trick. With a decent win in the bag, plenty of new blood, an experienced senior leadership team and a new training regime taking effect all the ingredients were there to get the season off to a flyer! And so it was that the Quintin lads took up the task with... absence and injury. Unfortunately we were forced to take to the field short of players for the first few games which resulted in a run of four frustrating away losses.
Even with the first competition W proving elusive there were a number of positives to take note of, most notably a number of the new recruits showing they came to play with man of the match performances to put the incumbent, although absent, boys on notice. With a fixture against Div 4 cellar dwellers Northolt next up the win was looking assured even before taking to the field, which it actually was as Northolt defaulted. Unsatisfied with a hollow victory a replacement fixture against Div 5 highflyers Uxbridge was set up and a hard fought win was exactly what the lads needed to kick start the season. With new combinations beginning to click and perhaps as importantly, at least 15 boys turning up before the first whistle the lads began to show the potential they’d exhibited in pieces against old foes BOE with a 49 – 6 drubbing, John Sanger slotting 7/7 from all corners of the park. The dose was repeated a week later with another defensive display setting the foundation for a 25 – 5 win in difficult conditions. Feltham would’ve been high on confidence with only 1 loss against table topping Chiswick against their name but the Quintin lads were up to the task of defending their unbeaten home run in a close 19-14 win. Finally the reunion match against Quintin old boys marked the end of the first half of the season and pitted mate against mate with several current firsts crossing the line to assist what was a already a very useful old boys team. Eventually the young legs proved too much and the boys were able to continue the win streak.
After all that we enter the second half of the season in middle-of-the-table 5th place but only 3 points separate us from 2nd spot Old Streetonians while there is an 8 point gap to 6th placed Thamesians. With a lot of teams still in playoff contention a lot is on the line each week so it’s important for us to continue to improve and match the standards we’ve set over the last few wins. We also have the benefit of only having 1 away fixture in the second half of the season after having to travel nearly every week over the first half of the season.
A quick review of the stats show’s the off season recruitment has been vital with a total of 48 different players taking the field for Quintin so far this season. I’m currently atop the try scoring ladder but Rory Thompson is closing the gap and has multiple hat-tricks to his name already. More importantly we’ve had 17 different try scorers which highlights our ability to strike from anywhere. New recruit Adam Clarke has walked away with 2 MotM from 3 appearances due to his hunger in defence and high work rate around the rucks. This has been backed up by 4 fellow forwards also taking down MotM and proving that the platform for success is laid up front. John Sanger is enjoying some breathing space and kicking at reputable 75% on the season in spite of our outside backs unwillingness to run the ball under the posts. Discipline on the whole has improved, but in a tight game it’s the top 2% that edges it and we will need to stop handing the advantage to the opposition with so many unnecessary ruck penalties. Tom Mansfield is also demanding an explanation for the first four losses as since donning the red and green his stats show 5 appearances, 5 wins. Let’s keep it going and ensure we’re playing some April rugby!
1, 2, 3, SQQQUUUUEEEEZE!