After being blighted with injuries and unavailability last weekend, AEI returned to the rigours of league rugby in an altogether healthier state. Fielding a full-strength side and welcoming back some almost forgotten faces (viz. man of the match Pete Pritchard in his annual cameo) the AEI proved too strong all around for a 14 man visiting team.
Eschewing a full pack in the face of a strong AEI 8 proved a mistake for the opposition as they struggled in the scrums and as a result of the effort their forwarded were ineffective in the loose; only their backs showed a threat with ball in hand and, if the forward battle had been more even, could have swung the balance of the game in their favour.
However, the AEI scrum set the foundation for the back line to show its skills, two of the five first half tries coming directly from the set piece: full back Karl Lawson burst onto a pop pass from the Number 8 and through the defence to set up winger Lee Clark for the simplest of opening tries; and scrum half Nathan Yeung was left totally unmarked to stroll in on the blind side. Jamie Barlow, Gareth Bott and Clint Nykamp added to the tally to leave AEI sitting on a commanding 29-0 half-time lead.
The game was effectively over shortly after the resumption when Joe Bott managed to outpace the Welsh defence to make the scoreline 36-0. However injuries to 4 of the AEI backline and passive scrums gave the visitors energy and space to score two tries and penalty of their own to provide a modicum of respectability.
The AEI face a stern test next weekend with the visit of Coventry Saracens in light of some of the injury concerns from this game but remain confident that the team can carry their strong performances throughout October into the Winter months.