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3rd Team - "The Merlins" - Match centre

Hemel Hempstead (Camelot) RUFC
Berkhamsted 1st XV
Fri 1 Jun 19:30 - Cup Postponed

No match? No problem!

Let’s not allow a small detail like the match not actually having taken place to get in the way of a good story! Below is what might actually have happened if Berkhamsted had shown up!

Ahead of this evening’s player’s dinner and to round off the end of the season we can now publish our final match report of 2017-18 following last nights long awaited Bonfield Cup clash between Hemel Hempstead (Camelot) 3rd XV and Berkhamsted 1st XV.

Hemel Hempstead 3rd XV stole the bragging rights in the inaugral Bonfield Cup on Friday evening with a fine display of athleticism more often seen at a darts tournament!

Following a last minute decision to withdraw from the annual Morris Dancing and Broccoli Tasting convention over at Tring RUFC, and confident of victory after the last time these two sides clashed, the team from Berkhamsted RUFC, arriving on a motorbike with sidecar and towing Dan Prince’s supporters caravan, immediately set about hunting for players.

The typical Camelot warm-up began early with the squad being chased for subs around the 1st XV pitch by Chris Topping, sending abusive WhatsApp messages to skipper, Charles Riches and fighting amongst themselves before searching the hedgerows for Martyn Nunn's neck.

There was a storming performance by Chris Deeming and Chris Woods during the pre-match bicep flex competition with Deeming the eventual winner of the ‘which way to the beach’ award. After shoeing away several dozen octogenarians from the John Knowles Appreciation Society, training got underway in earnest with Nick Fitt sowing confusion by introducing several new drills based around line-dancing and dressage copied from Harpenden RFC.

Clearly more used to Hockey, the Berkhamsted squad began rehearsing drag-flicks and dummy-shorts, before heading off to look for a ground they could call their own!

Kick-off was temporally delayed after a small traveller community set up camp inside the Hemel 22. Thankfully play got underway after Aidan Walsh was able to persuade his family to move on. An appalling error from Hemel’s Tom Major saw the ball kicked straight into touch (of the Hemel half) and the resulting scrum set the tone for a match that would be marked by an astounding lack of fitness, dawdling and general obesity from both sides.

Berkhamsted gave away an early try after a mistake by Steve Dalton led to an interception by a barnstorming Ben Hamilton who barrelled through to surge over the Berko line after a surprising run from deep inside the Hemel half. Sam Hempenstall's conversion was later disallowed after being judged to have cleared the posts of the pitch next door. Hemel were unfortunate not to get another from the restart after Aaron Higgs’ grubber kick from 2 yards out ended up in the Camelot car park.

Having taken a well earned break from Tinder, Liam Atkinson shone at second row, at one point even making a try saving tackle – just a shame it was against his own player. Forced to retire following a row with Becky Whittaker, Liam and his second row buddy Jon Gardiner (wrist injury) were replaced by, the deadly father-son duo of Mark & Cory Chambers who had spent most of the half nursing hangovers on the touchline.

Persistent flatulence unfortunately meant Ben Hamilton was unable to finish the first half after complaints from Berkhamsted's Rob Peche however he was successful as Camelot’s entire boat race team later that evening.

Winger and new boy, Dean Nixon closed off the half with an excellent solo effort with Jordon Perry taking Hemel to 12 points after a successful conversion. However, Dean then had to be replaced after failing to stop telling everyone about how he scored his try.

The Camelot half-time team talk consisted of Mark Pynaert talking nonsense with Terry Hare, Stephen Greedy and Jake Bonfield providing backing vocals to John Gunstones solo rendition of “she’ll be coming round the mountain. “ The appearance of half-time port saw Scott Whittaker walk off in disgust at the absence of Chateauxneuf Du Pape and Cheese.

The restart saw the flood gates open as the Hemel side were rewarded for their repeated attacks on the beleaguered visitors; who had by now resorted to flicking elastic bands and throwing harsh language at the home sides front row, when Martyn Nunn careered through Dan Prince for Hemel’s third try. Unfortunately Martyn had to be substituted following a recurrence of the shorts-related injury which plagued him last season.

Jack Nash was unfortunate not to take Hemel to 4 tries after being thwarted within a yard of the Berkhamsted line after a fine tackle by Berkhamsted’s Sam Connolly. The flanker partnership of Alex Goodley and Tanguy Pastor continued to terrorise the visitor’s back-row. Tanguy, who it should be said tackles motor vehicles at a competitive level for a living, put in some superb hits on a shell shocked Berkhamsted and Alex was unfortunate to have his try disallowed after controversially using a Metropolitan Police batten at the breakdown.

Danny Baillie continued to impress throughout the game in his new position of hooker, putting in some thumping hits - just a shame more weren’t against the opposition!

Play did have to be briefly halted halfway through the second half after the police were called following allegations that Matt Bennett had been heard talking utter shite. Jon Biswell was later identified as the culprit having told people he would go to the gym, get fit and come training ahead of next season. Terry Hare was also cited in the same incident.

After a rare run of poor performance and a rarer still, ‘run’’, Jordan Perry continued to disappoint at 8 after a failed attempt to sidestep Fraser Harris saw him collide with a pizza delivery boy – much to Jordan’s delight! Jordon later redeemed himself after sprinting after his own box-kick to go over with ten minutes to go.

A surprised Charles Riches then closed Hemel’s account after tripping over a beleaguered Tim Brickle accidentally landing on a ball spilled by Joe Dalton.

The eagerly awaited punch-up in the tunnel was broken up by touch Judges Charles Teuma and Alistair Taylor with referee Mel Liley commenting “amidst all the fighting there were occasional outbreaks of rugby”.

Unfortunately the game didn’t pass entirely without incident. Damian Knowles, who wasn’t actually playing, suffered a nasty injury after tripping over his ego although his ill-advised “top-knot” cushioned him from more serious injury however his mid-life crisis appears to be unaffected. In a separate incident, his wife and 3rd XV manager, Mikhaila had to be rushed to hospital after suffering uncontrollable wee leakage after Carl Hobbs tried to convince her that football was much tougher than rugby. I’m pleased to say that both have now made a full recovery although Hobbs hasn’t been seen since.

Chairman Toni Massa put in a brief appearance on the touchline before being asked to retire to the clubhouse by ref Mel Liley for using abusive language in an ancient dialect - later believed to be ‘Scottish’. A similar fate befell an inebriated Colm Alcock after soiling himself just before the final whistle.

After a game marked by his usual “advice” to the referee and yard-losing running, Lee wilmot made a special effort for the post-match meal after relieving a local tramp of his trousers. James Laing was sadly unable to make the game after something ‘came up’ however his girlfriend Emma Couzens put in a sterling performance as replacement at Tight Head!

True to form, Jason Reed continued the tradition of getting a tattoo an hour before a match electing to play covered in cling film - facial tattoos are never a great idea. Jason’s performance at 9 has improved tremendously this season with only 3 passes hitting the floodlight bulbs during this match.

Although initially unavailable for the game, Berkhamsted’s Matt Cain had a stormer at 8 despite spending 10 minutes in the sin bin for repeated infringements (smoking) at the breakdown.

Following the well publicised change in league rules permitting mobility scooters in the lower leagues, Ben Goodman stood in for the injured Barry Thorne at full back. We wish Barry a speedy recovery after suffering the very common injury suffered by footballers - a bad hairstyle. Sadly, following a mechanical failure on Ben’s scooter early in the second half, locking the accelerator pedal in place, Ben hasn’t been seen since.

We are investigating complaints about the clothing worn by the Camelot cheerleaders led by Jon Byrne, Ross Merrett and Adam Whyatt and would like to apologise for any offence caused. As a gender neutral club, Camelot encourage the wearing of tutus but would advise that underwear should also be worn at all times.

Vital Match Statistics

  • Final Score: HH (Camelot) 3rd XV 25 – 0 Berkhamsted RUFC 1st XV
  • Referee (s): At least 31
  • Missing necks: 1 (Martyn Nunn)
  • Top-knot / Man-bun: 1 (Damian Knowles)
  • Arrests: 2

We look forward to rescheduling the actual fixture with Berkhamsted as a pre-season training match sometime around September and to playing them next season in the Merit Table 5 league.

We hope everyone has a fantastic summer.

Team selection

Thorne, Barry Thorne, Barry
Roberts, James Roberts, James
Riches, Charles Riches, Charles
Major, Tom Major, Tom
Deeming, Chris Deeming, Chris
Knowles, Damian Knowles, Damian
Reed, Jason Reed, Jason
Perry, Jordan Perry, Jordan
Nash, Jack Nash, Jack
Bourne, Chris Bourne, Chris
James, Matt James, Matt
Walsh, Aidan Walsh, Aidan
Nunn, Martyn Nunn, Martyn
Hobbs, Carl Hobbs, Carl
Goodman, Ben Goodman, Ben
Hemel Hempstead (Camelot) RUFC
Berkhamsted 1st XV
  • 1. Tim Brickle
  • 2. Phil Mahole
  • 3. Matt Lovett
  • 4. Rob Peche
  • 5. Matt Cain
  • 6. Karl Wordsworth
  • 7. Paul Wakelin
  • 8. Steve Dalton
  • 9. Joe Dalton
  • 10. Fraser Harris
  • 11. Dick Longenhard
  • 12. Al Caholic
  • 13. Harry Cox
  • 14. Hugh G Wrection
  • 15. Sam Groome
  • 16. Dick Hertz
  • 17. Will U Shuddup
  • 18. Dan Prince


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