Humphrey Hodgson, captain of the Baltic Exchange 1st XV reports on the club’s victorious return to the sporting arena.
Last Saturday saw the return of the Baltic Exchange Rugby Club with a fixture against Eastbourne Old Boys (Stags) at Regent’s Park. We were lucky to have a fine and sunny day, offering all the ingredients for some 7s style rugby that the Baltic had experienced over the summer. However, the game turned out to be far from relaxing, with an opposition intent on dominating and controlling the game at their own pace.
The Baltic spent the majority of the first half defending. The players who had only met for the first time that morning really gelled, slowing down the ball (legally) with some great counter-rucking. Special note should be made to Jamie McDonald (Clarksons) who put in a few try saving tackles. The back three also worked well with high ball which was controlled and coordinated by full back Charlie Rotheram (Bright Cook).
Mixed with the defensive play were some individual breaks made by the Baltic, especially from Will Knight (EDF Trading), which demoralised the opponents who had worked hard in our half to score. Crucially, Hugo Garland (BRS) scored just before the whistle went for half time and after a successful conversion from Abel Smith (ICAP) saw the scores at 7-12.
The team transformed in the second half with better organisation and players exposing gaps around the opposition. Within minutes Colin Mortimore (ISCA Marine) made a break from nowhere and ran nearly half the pitch to score. The momentum gathered further with Henry Reynolds (Gearbulk) organising the back line efficiently to run good attacking lines.
Some hard work by the pack to work the ball up the park (Engelbach and Whyte of Clarksons especially), gave Will Burrows (Denholm) an opportunity to exploit the space and score in the corner.
The team’s confidence certainly increased over the second period with plenty of ‘out of the training ground-esque’ set pieces working nicely. However there were areas where possession was easily lost either from lack of support play or recklessly kicking the ball out of hand and giving back possession to the Stags.
In the last quarter the Baltic really dominated with a try from Jack Lyons (Howe-Rob) and another one from Burrows to round up the score at 27-12 to the Baltic.
This confirms the Baltic Exchange’s first victory in over 15 years (exact date of last match not known!). More matches are planned for the New Year and anyone who is interested to play / be a part of the club should contact Humphrey Hodgson (O’Keeffe & Partners).