The season marked the inaugural appearance of The Lambs 2024! They had up until this point graced the field in trials and Chairman's days, amidst cold and wet conditions, only to be met by a sunlit day ideal for ‘fast and free’ Rugby at Brunel University Sporting Campus.
Ealing Academy, displaying a formidable physical presence, eagerly embraced the challenge posed by The Lambs' presence in their town. The match ignited with a swift and intense opening, as Ealing's number 8 breached The Lambs' defence within the first two minutes, scoring a try, though unconverted, to establish a 0-5 lead. The Lambs responded with composure, gaining field position, and executing a skillful manoeuvre on the left-hand side, ultimately resulting in a try by the powerful Tommy Foa of King’s College, Taunton, evening the score at 5-5.
The seesaw battle unfolded within the 22s, and Ealing capitalized on their offensive prowess to breach The Lambs’ defence, scoring out wide and bringing the score once again to 10-5 in their favour. Undeterred, The Lambs mounted a resurgence, applying relentless pressure that led to Rebun Hanson of Northampton School for Boys capitalizing on a loose ball to score from close range. Foa added his second try after a sequence of quick hands down the blindside.
As the first half concluded, The Lambs found themselves trailing 15-26 against a formidable Ealing Academy.
The second half mirrored the first, with The Lambs' mistakes being ruthlessly exploited by Ealing. A strategic kick behind The Lambs' defence extended Ealing's lead. However, The Lambs showcased resilience, with Will Neilson of Henley College executing a quick tap and clever play to score in the corner.
The tide seemed to turn as Jett Kelley of Mount St. Mary’s and Henry Trevis of King Edwards, Birmingham, infused energy with remarkable breaks.
In a pivotal moment, Toby Skelly of Mill Hill School orchestrated a brilliant play, providing Foa with the opportunity to secure his hat-trick – the first of the afternoon. The spirited defence persisted, as Hanson once again capitalized on a turnover ball to complete his hat-trick, bringing The Lambs within 8 points of the hosts (41-33). Ealing, determined to have the last say, orchestrated a final score, culminating in a nail-biting conclusion.
The final whistle echoed a slim victory for The Lambs at 41-40 over a valiant Ealing side. National Manager James Vecchio commended ‘the showcase of talent and sportsmanship, acknowledging the excellence of Ealing and looking ahead to the return on Saturday, February 24’.
National Manager James Vecchio commented ‘ What a game! Ealing as always where a good outfit and very proud of the way the Lambs stuck at it. The first game as a squad is never easy a massive congratulations to the national Lambs this season, a great start to a very exciting season.
The Lambs now anticipate their upcoming challenge against Coventry at King Edward’s School, Birmingham, on Sunday, February 4, with excitement for what promises to be a thrilling season ahead.