This was the day when Enköping and Hammarby, after hard-fought first semis, would rise to the occasion, catch up and pass the relatively small leads which Exiles and Pingvin had established the week before. It didn´t work out that way and the favourites progressed comfortably to the finals.
First, it was surprising to see how easily Pingvin beat Enköping at home. But looking at the team lists it was clear that Enköping had a very young team and that both Tim J. and Robin F. were on the bench. Tim, who very much holds the team together, never appeared and Robin put in a symbolic closing 10 minutes. Pingvin appeared close to full strength and only had to help themselves.
Exiles had a stronger pack than the week before and this was apparent in 4” at the first scrum when it appeared that Exiles were far more powerful. Hammarby were not helped a few minutes later when lock Sidgwick injured a knee and had to leave for the day. Both teams were subdued initially and play was much in the middle of the field. Neill missed a relatively easy penalty on 16” while Dustin Jinka converted one for Hammarby a few minutes later. 3 – 0 to Hammarby, and the lead cut to 12 points, could Hammarby make further progress? They showed little signs of doing so and the score was levelled on 30” when Neill put one over from far out.
Another nondescript period of play was ended when Dustin put through a grubber kick which the defence fumbled and winger Ash touched down to keep up his record of scoring in every match. No luck with the kick, an attacking flurry by Hammarby which came to nother and at the break it was 8 – 3 to Exiles with an aggregate lead of 20 points.
The second half started with Hammarby charging down a kick but failing to collect to score. Hammarby seemed to have shot their bolt and it was Exiles who began to take control. On 46” the Exiles pack drove for the line and No 8 Franco picked up and went over. Neill missed the kick but it was 13 – 3 and the Hammarby hopes were fading fast. Exiles´ backs were now creating lots of chances but the Hammarby defence, with Fredrik Enstad att fullback just held on. Neill put over another couple of penalties and on 60” Exiles decided to call it a day. They brought all their bench on and concentrated on avoiding injuries. Hammarby were seldom over the halfway line, Torgils and Levan had strong runs and Exiles were just stopped on a number of occasions. Aggregate score 52 – 21 and a not too exhausting day´s work for Exiles who had one eye firmly on the finals. The Exiles scrum dominated throughou, with Bevo back in action, and Casper was hitting his target better in the lineouts. Sean took a lot of ball. Matt, Dustin, Neill and Rikus were dangerous in attack and rock solid in defence. Pingvin will have a fight on their hands in the finals.
Good game for referee Rami, who kept the game flowing.
Over to the Ladies who won all six of their games in the Northern group with a points difference of 466 – 27. 300 points against Berserkers, but an average of 40 points against the other two teams as well.
In today´s match, Exiles faced a strong pack in Enköping,but they gradually gained controll as the game progressed. Their tackling was strong and they restricted Enköping to three penalty goals. 6 – 22 at half time and 9 – 46 at the finish. Captain Jenny Öhlin returned after injury and French girl Juliette Sorett showed up well, as did Canadian Jessie Biggar.
The girls will now meet Pingvin away in the first semi on 30 September, two hours before the Men´s first final. Certainly the girls should be favourites.
Ridiculous that the miniscule season only has one final, but if Exiles win the semis it is already decided by drawing lots that they will play in Stockholm. Last year they lost the draw, had to play in Gothenburg but still managed to win the title.