Afterwards, in a phone conversation with his mum, he asked the question: ‘Am I the first ever Jerseyman, born and bred, to score at Twickenham?’ Former Jersey RFC Youth forward Banahan was playing for London Irish in the annual Compass Group Middlesex Sevens’ tournament, watched by 32,000 and shown on Sky TV.
On the pitch from the start in their opening game against Newcastle Falcons, his try came when he was given the ball with the Newcastle regular 1st team full-back to beat.
He did so, with a big hand-off, as Irish went on to win 24-14.
Other tries were scored by Topsy Ojo and Paul Hodgson, both internationals from a squad of nine capped players – plus Banahan.
Ross Laidlaw kicked two conversions.
Through to the quarter-finals, London Irish were knocked out by eventual finalists London Wasps, who went 26-7 up at the break, mainly because of the pace of Wasps’ flyer, Thom Evans, who scored a hat-trick of tries.
However, in that first half Banahan again got his name on the score sheet, with a terrific 60-yard run which prompted commentator Tony Diprose to say: ‘He may be a second row forward, but my, can’t he run.’ Banahan’s try was followed by a second half come-back with tries from Ojo, Nick Canty and Laidlaw, who kicked four conversions before his team went out to Wasps, 33-28, in a game which was dominated by Evans, who finished with four tries, plus a fifth by Eoin Reddan.
Jeremy Staunton converted four of them.
In the final Wasps lost to Gloucester, 35-26, while Newcastle Falcons went on to win the plate final against Worcester Warriors.
As Banahan’s mother, Ann, pointed out, for London Irish to beat the eventual plate winners showed to what a high standard the team were playing, although Matt said, afterwards, he was simply enjoying himself at the rugby academy, particularly as he has only been there since early summer.
On Friday Banahan, a former pupil at Les Quennevais and Highlands, was a replacement for the 1st team, for the last five minutes, in a friendly against NEC Harlequins, which the exiles won 28-14 and, only a day later he was enjoying the Twickenham experience which, both his parents pointed out, was another milestone in his career, not least because he had never played competitive sevens before.