Eton College XV vs. Tonbridge

Saturday, 10th November 2012

Eton went into this match against Tonbridge on the back of a tight clash with Harrow which had instilled a lot of confidence in the squad. Unfortunately, however, last minute injuries proved costly to its preparation-the team was deprived of George Vare, its rock of a captain, and also of Elliot Manley, in the week leading up to the game. Angus Nicholson was therefore handed a late call up to make his debut.

The match began with Eton piling on the pressure, although unfortunately this dominant spell came and went without translation into points. The team then paid the price when Tonbridge scored a breakaway try after a turnover in the midfield, a score that was perhaps preventable if crucial tackles had not been missed. After this, Eton once again were on the front foot, dominating in the scrums, mauls and lineouts, with Freddie Davies and Alex Goodall devastating their opposite numbers.

The team therefore went into half time still in touch, and brimming with expectation for the second half, but unfortunately the key ten minutes after the break proved to be its Achilles’ heel as Tonbridge ran in three tries in quick succession. Nevertheless, the last quarter saw Eton put in a passionate and spirited fight back, encamped in the opposition’s 22, led by Ralph Salter and Max Carlton-Smith. For Max in particular, this was a standout performance; it was his first match as skipper and in response he raised his game to lead from the front, putting in his best performance of the season so far.

Despite these brilliant individual performances, Eton succumbed to convincing margin of defeat. The team now has to look ahead to the final quarter of the season and try to put into practice the lessons they have learnt in this match, in order to finish on a high.

Angus Nicholson OS (MAG)