Congratulations to Pingvin who took the male title for the first time in 19 years with a hard-fought home victory against reigning champions Exiles by 18 – 12. Exiles held the lead at half-time by 12 – 3 with two opportunist tries, but Pingvin had a strong wind behind them in the second half and began to exert pressure. A clever line-out move gave Pingvin a first try after 43” and a conversion made it 12 – 10 to the visitors. Play swayed back and forward for the next 20” with Exiles backs beginning to look dangerous. But on 62” Campbell landed a long-distance penalty and Pingvin went into the lead för the first time by 13 – 12. Sean Burke returned from a lone-term injury with 25” to go but was given a yellow card for a late tackle with ten minutes to go and Pingvin promptly won a scrum against the head. More pressure and scrum-half Hanou darted over. Exiles had time for one last drive up the field, but Pingvin held on to take the title. The home-team just had the edge over the whole game and they deserve to be the Champions in this their 60th season. Congratulations once again on both counts.
There was plenty of other action today when the semifinals for the Ladies´ title and the male Allsvenskan were played. For the Ladies, Göteborg seemed to have the upper hand, but Enköping never gave up and snatched the winning try, 24 – 21 in the final minute. In the other semi, Exiles against all expectations led 17 – 12 against Skåne Ladies with five minutes to go. But in an astonishing burst that started in injury time the ladies from the South, added 17 points to win 29 – 17. It will now be Skåne Ladies in the one-off final against Enköping. That could be a close one as well.
In the return male semis, Erikslund had to catch up one point against Göteborg. They scored four tries in the first half and ran out easy winners 33 – 12. The surprise of the fist round of semis was that Lugi beat Spartacus 16 – 5 in Göteborg. I doubted if Spartacus would win the return down in Lund but they managed it with 2 points to spare with an unlikely score of 48 – 35. That gives a final of Spartacus vs Erikslund, both coached recently by Andy Stewart. But where will the one-off final be played?
So Exiles and Göteborg will both be unhappy after two narrow defeats along with Lugi who missed out on their 50th Anniversary. But if there are to be winners there will also be losers and we must accept that it would be meaningless if a club were to be permanently on one side or the other.
I´ll return in a week or so for a look at the season as a whole.