Sunday 11th February 2018 - Beccehamians Vets vs Old Gravesendians Vets
On a freezing cold afternoon down Sparrows Den the old boys from both Becchamians and Gravesendians relived their youth in a tight, closely contested game of rugby.
Upon arrival both teams warm ups were underway, deep heat and Vaseline was being liberally applied and Old Beccehamians captain Dean Borg was pulling the strings on a puppet with a combined age of over 1000 years!
Warm up done and the home faithful loosened their grip at the bar and made their way pitch side with beers in hand.
Gravesendians 10 gets the game underway in the sunshine with the ball landing in the safe hands of Rob Curl.
The first 10 minutes were equally balanced with both sides winning turn overs and conceding the obligatory penalties expected within a Vets game.
Some heavy running from the boys in green see the first points of the game – Gravesendians number 9 with the try after John Farley clocked an elbow to the face. The conversion was successful (somehow) and the kicker was supporting some very topical “Blood, Sweat and Beers” socks – nice touch.
Play back underway, 3 consecutive line outs were all messy, primarily down to difficult conditions. However, once under control the Beccehamians back line spread the ball out well to Mike “Wheels” Hamm and over for the first try for the home side – Conversion missed.
The visitors continued to apply the pressure with some strong out of hand kicking and the Becc’s pack feeling the full force of the green scrum.
Kempy (Beccs - 13) then thought he was through with an interception only to be pulled back by the referees whistle. However, Centre turned Prop turned Centre Kempy then went on another searching run – avoiding any attempt to avoid the tackle Kempy bulldozed over the helpless Gravesendians 14.
This sees the first break in play. Recovery time was needed by players on both sides, including Dean Borg (Beccs 8 – In case you didn’t know) who needed tape for a chipped nail. Play resumed with the Green Giant (Gravesendians number 4) being the only early casualty.
Jim Clarke and Rob Curl (Beccs 6 and 7) continued to be an absolute nuisance in defence and after a couple of turnovers the referee granted a kickable penalty which Beccs 10 Jim slotted over.
Stops snowing, sun returns.
Possible contender for “Dick of the Day”, Kempy attempts a “behind the back pass” with beccs in possession which clearly looked better in his head, the ball landing behind the away teams defence –scrum followed.
The home side ended the first half on a high with Jim Bryan adding to his tally and converting a penalty between the up rights.
11-7 and half time
Second half underway and the visitors started the stronger with Beccehamians camped on their own try line. Some very strong defence and a knock-on by the away side resulted in a 5 meter scrum.
From my view, I couldn’t see what happened next but later found out the break of play was due to an “accidental” cheap shot on the referee (believed to be Rob Bardell)
Once again, another break in play – Captain Dean Borgs ushering a couple of runaway dogs from the field, Once the local streakers were removed, Beccs cleared their lines through a chip “n” chase from Robin (9) which found touch.
Substitutions were made by the dynamic coaching duo of “Clueless Cliff” and “Literately no clue Lipka” who managed to get all substitutions on (Including crowd favourite, prop Dara on the wing) apart from himself.
The boys in green continued to apply pressure and some resolute Beccs defending finally left a gap and the winger (11) went over in the corner. Conversion on the touchline was, as expected, missed.
Gravesendians and Beccehamians didn’t drop in their intensity (very un-vets) and the away side continued the assault on the home teams try line, only to be stopped by a knock-on on the line which Robin (Beccs 9) tried to take a quick tap and go???
After a few more plays, the boys in green took the ball wide and passed it to the big man, from that distance there was no stopping him and he trundled over the line in the final act of the game. Conversion was missed and the game ended 11-17.
All in all a thoroughly cold day with some good rugby on show – the game could have gone either way, neither side deserved to come 2nd.
Dick of the day: Whoever clocked the ref (Believed to be Rob Bardell)
Becc’s Man of the Match, as chosen by resident piss takers Messer, Clueless Cliff and Ian Buckler: This was very closely contested and a split decision between Rob Curl and Jim Clarke with strong running, turnovers and tackling all day. The judges decided to base it on “best looks” and therefor Rob Curl deservedly wins the Man of the Match award – Congrats!
Until next time – Vets author: Louis Thorne