Note : the reports for the 2015/16 season are in the 2016 Booklet which can be found on this website.
Sunday October 9th 2016 v East India Club at Richmond. Won 51-7
Sunday October 23 2016 v Old Bryanstonians at Bryanston Lost 29-7
Despite the scoreline, it was a closely contested game with several ex professional players turning out for Bryanston who had gathered together a squad sufficient for them to field a virtually fresh team in the second half.
Played in gloriously sunny autumnal weather with perfect conditions for running rugby and watched by perhaps 150 spectators we matched them in the forwards for the first half and it was only in the last third of the game that the lack of fresh legs began to tell. Following the game we were entertained to a splendid supper.
Photo opposite: Patrick Windle, Archie Stead(Bryanston) & Ben Lyons.
Saturday 28 January 2017 v Merlins RFC .
The Merlins were an unknown quantity but it turned out to be a hard fought, entertaining match.
Saturday 4 February 2017 v Edinburgh University Medics at Edinburgh
The Pilgrims tour to Scotland was much anticipated and fulfilled all expectations. The majority of the 23 strong squad travelled up from London by train the previous afternoon arriving in time for suitable refreshment and sleep in preparation for the match the following morning.
The game itself was extremely well contested in dry sunny conditions and although the result was always in the balance we just prevailed. We were then well entertained by the Medics as the teams watched the Scotland v Ireland match on the television.
Photo opposite: Will and George Smibert.
Friday 17th February 2017 v Eastbourne Stags at Rosslyn Park.
After the success of last season’s ‘Friday Night Lights’ fixture at Allianz Park, the Pilgrims once again laced up under the floodlights, this time facing up against Eastbourne Stags at Rosslyn Park in South West London. After a victory on tour in Edinburgh, the Pilgrims were in form and had the experience of floodlit rugby over their opponents, but the Stags had the size advantage, seemingly from 1-15.
Some heavy hits set the tone in the opening 10 minutes, and it’s rare that former 1st XV captain Nick Holding-Parsons loses a collision, even more so to a fly-half. Eastbourne picked up the first three points with their beefy scrum half biffing the ball through the uprights from the best part of 40 metres, a warning for Sherborne to not give away any penalties inside their own half.
The nerves were out of the system now, and the Pilgrims began to settle. Ball was being won up front, and the three-quarter pairing of Ben Lyons and Nick Batchy were orchestrating things nicely (a la George Ford/Owen Farrell if you will). A speculative cross-field kick from Lyons somehow found the hands of the pacey Alex Cattle, and the winger raced away, but lost the ball just inches from the line.
Cattle wasn’t to be denied though, as moments later he showed his gas once more and went over to put the Pilgrims in the lead. It was a close affair, but that try relaxed the Pilgrims, and they were now putting in some big blows of their own, with George Smibert shrugging off a would-be tackler more akin to a move seen in judo than on a rugby field.
Sherborne were then in the ascendency when some good work by the pack produced consistent quick-ball for the back-line, and Ben Lyons spotted a gap to bundle over the line, with Batchy‘s conversion giving them a 12-3 lead at the break.
With nine changes made at half-time, Sherborne had energy on their side, and although Sherborne’s scrum dominance may have subsided, they were the ones hitting ruck after ruck and providing clean ball for the fresh men out wide. Eastbourne had made handling errors all game, and it didn’t improve in the second period, with no pressure being put on the Pilgrims defence.
With the Stags starting to tire, Alex Kerby took advantage of some weak guarding around the ruck, muscling through from just a yard out to seal the win for the Pilgrims. The gaps were opening up now for both sides, but Max Mallen Allen showed his superior finishing ability, shimmying past a couple of defenders to score underneath the posts, and Eastbourne heads dropped as they knew there was no way back now.
There was still time for Ben Lyons to score his second of the match, with some neat hands finding the veteran on the wing, and The Green house boy displayed fleet-of-foot to dart down the touchline and secure the Man of the Match award.
Eastbourne may have had last laugh however when James Capel bravely stepped up to attempt to thwart one of the Stags juggernauts. Needless to say, the Pilgrims hooker was thrust down to the turf, but he lives to tell the tale. ( Reporter: Alastair Pusinelli)