Captain Bob wins the day!
Report by Mark Manning
New captain Bob Fice won the toss and chose to play up the extremely steep hill, a robust speech given just before kick-off and DK Vets were up and into the faces of a younger Bourneville 15, that is except for their 63 year old scrum half who Tot couldn’t catch. You could describe this game as one played in fits and starts, with an officious referee who was being assessed, whistle happy and using a different law book to that of both teams.
Unusually DK did not have the better of the scrums, coming under pressure from a determined BV 8, the first scrum was wheeled and the restart put-in went to Bouneville. 10 minutes into the game Gary Morgan was held over the line resulting in a scrum five which came to nothing with a stern Bourneville defence repelling a DK attack. 3 minutes latter through a series of forward and backs interplay with Andy Hart, Matt Wagstaff and Robbie Lannaway cutting some fine angles saw Gary Morgan go in for the 1st try of the game putting DK in the lead 5 – 0, the conversion fell short.
The backrow support from Lee Evans and Simon Hart was superb, Simon popping up to secure the ball from the DK backline, too often though the passage of play was disrupted by basic errors by the DK team. 20 minutes in and without having to jump Lee Evans took a fine catch, some slick ball handling by the backs and a superbly executed switch saw Matt Wagstaff take the ball from guest winger Adam Heighway to go over the line to make it 10 – 0 to DK, again the boot of Gary Morgan failed to make the extra 2 points.
A frustrating 10 minutes began, with scrums being reset, line outs being officiated with laws yet to be invented and DK making a number of basic errors. 3 minutes before the break Lee Evans threw the ball at the opposition scrum half and then ‘slapped’ him and was binned, Captain Fice tried to explain to the referee that no malice was intended and this was out of character for the number 6; in any case the referee suggested Evans was sin binned not for the any malicious behaviour but for his feminine approach to the physical contact. DK were under self-induced pressure in the final few minutes of the half playing with a man short. In the last play of the half the ever present Simon Hart had to leave the field having dislocated his shoulder, fortunately it could have been worse if this had happened in contact; his missus will be glad to know it was a result of him patting his brother Andy on the back; should have stuck to playing rugby.
Half time arrived, Neil Blakemore replaces Simon Hart, and Captain Bob makes a very long speech, talking about his days in the trenches, the need to dig in when under enemy fire, to protect our lines and it was every body’s responsibility to do their job. A re-invigorated team started well playing with the advantage of the very slight downward slope, Bourneville were intent on making the most of DKs reduced numbers, however it was not the pressure from the opposition that ensued but DKs lack of discipline and error ridden passages of play which led to a further frustrating period and DK soon found themselves under their own post watching Bourneville convert their opening try; 10 – 7 to DK. Captain Bob welcomed Lee Evans back onto the pitch and DK went on the attack and some good interplay ensued but DK couldn’t seem to get out of their own half. For once the boot of the oppositions fly half brought them some luck, kicking the ball out beyond the dead ball line and the referee decided it was touched down by Gary Morgan thus a 22 drop out was awarded. Gary Morgan challenged the non-attentive referee that it went out of play and some communications between Morgan and the ref began which resulted in the sin binning of the DK fullback; again Captain Bob attempted to calm the referee down and did explain that the DK fullback suffered from Terrets Syndrome and it would be discrimination to send him off….Bob was not having a good day protecting his team. While down to 14 men again DK leaked another try which was duly converted, DK were now under pressure from both a very upbeat and celebratory Bourneville 15 and from their own mistakes; there celebration at taking the lead was too early.
While the team were under the posts Captain Bob gave out the biggest rollocking of the afternoon and began to make some changes, substituting himself for the soon to be ever present Mark Manning who went into the second row with Chris Marsh replacing Bob at number 8. The restart was explosive, DK won the ball and the Bourneville defence couldn’t withstand the pressure from the Wanderers pack; the DK forwards picked from the base of the ruck a number of times and drove forward, and when the final ruck released Tot Williams from the bottom of the last move he released the ball to the struggling chris barker, bringing in the fine play from Wagstaff and Hart eventually leading to a fine pass taken by Blakemore who put the ball down for DKs 3rd try; conversion missed.
DKs scrum began to work, the front row combination of Poutney, Wolfie Smith and Caldwell, the latter having been behind enemy lines since Christmas, clicked and started to have some fun. Caldwell making some fine runs, Wolfie working well in the tight and for the first game this season Poutney even put some effort into pushing in the mauls.
Morgan returned to the field and at the same time the Les Richardson work horse left the field to be replaced by Bill Hartland, the restart was caught superbly by Manning, the ball was released and what was possibly the best error free passage of play began, bringing forwards and backs together, and storming the BV line where Morgan crashed through for DKs 4th try.
In the closing quarter of the game it was unusual for DK not to have the ball and when they didn’t they were all over Bourneville like a rash. DKs hooker Richard ‘Wolfie’ Smith gave away a silly penalty by deliberately not standing in the middle at the line out, it wasn’t as though the DK line out needed a helping hand however besides this misdemeanour DK’s penalty count and handling errors dropped significantly in the final 20 minutes.
The Wanderers finished with a flourish with a further 2 tries from Andy Hart and Gary Morgan respectively; only 1 conversion from 6 went over. An away win is always good but to come from behind to win 32 v 14 makes the result all the more satisfying.
Captain Bob led the team from the field to the tune and words of a ‘Happy Birthday to You’……………..Happy 60th Birthday Robert Fice……………..