I popped along to see the Academy playing Bristol this afternoon.
It was an excellent performance. I think the final score was Bris10:38 LI. I hate that moment when after a couple of scores you look for the scoreboard and find there isn't one. So don't blame me too much if I have the score wrong.
The team was well drilled and spent the first half almost exclusively down the Bristol end of the pitch. The result of that continuous pressure was five tries, three of which were converted. I noted that neither team took a penalty at goal all match. The emphasis was on bold attacking play.
In the second half, with the wind on their back, Bristol played much better. They scored two tries and were starting to dominate. But a lot of lost line-outs on both sides and a string of penalties, mostly against Irish, made for a scrappy second half.
The starting scrum half Rory Brand was impressive as was the powerful number 8, Issac Curtis Harris.
I enjoyed seeing the coaching team of Mick, Dec and Paul do their stuff. They are building a bright future for London Irish, if what I saw today was anything to go by. The Academy final in three weeks time will be well worth attending.
It was, by the way, the first match I have seen on an artificial pitch.