Fullerians Vets 10 – 90 Hertford Vets
Match report courtesy of Mr Alfred Church........
After a gap of about 5 years, the Hertford Vets were back with a bang as they ran out convincing winners against Fullerians.
There was a huge amount of experience in the side and a lifetime of commitment to HRFC, with 12 of the 16 players having come through the club’s youth system. We take pride in the number of 1st xv players that progress from the youth ranks at the club, but it is a great achievement to keep hold of them until they are vets. However, there were two senior rugby debuts. One was Robbie Morris who despite 30 years of membership at the club and several years as senior and minis coach, he had more England caps than Hertford senior appearances – he has now halved that ratio, and after his brutal performance we hope that he will be back for more. He might even get a Vets shirt to be framed in the clubhouse. In addition to the brutality, he also showed off his 'show and go', although it was more go than show. The other Hertford debutant was also having his debut (or close to debut) on a rugby pitch after a lifetime of American football. Statesider Jason was a very welcome addition to the team, making big hits and showing some deft handling. The Vets can be a pathway to rugby, as well as Pernod shakers.
From the very first whistle Hertford showed their intent and flung the ball around as much as possible so that the young-uns (it is a bit disconcerting when you suddenly realise that the kids that were always the young-uns are now c37 years old) could have fun jinking and jiving. Rolling mauls were definitely not on the menu. We scored at regular intervals, with Brady getting a hat-trick whilst demonstrating his entire range of dummies, feints, side steps, fake kicks, no look passes, patting himself on the back – until someone walloped him. It might have been one of us that did it. After that he focussed on double jug avoidance.
After the initial flurry of tries, Fullerians fought back using their physicality and stopped us scoring for the last 15 minutes of the first half (it had nothing to do with Douglas being off the pitch, despite his attempts to take credit for everything; the Cherry sours quietened him down later. Indeed it was more fun having the scampering Marson on the pitch, returning to a Hertford shirt for the first time in some years). It was about 46-0 at half time.
The second half started with more tries. These included a couple that were replicas of tries that anyone who watched the 1st xv 15 years ago would have seen – the first involved Lewis making his trademark cut into the line from fall back and outsprinting everyone to score; the second was typical Giddings as we finally did a rolling maul and after 10 metres of hard graft by the forwards, Giddings snaffled the ball like an early morning edition of the Mercury to score. This is almost a Joe 90 match report of old – we do like his current work on the microphone, but we loved his match reports.
Someone once said youthfulness is a gift of nature, but age is a work of art. We may not have properly appreciated our youth, but we could appreciate some of the tries that were being scored. However, one of the draw backs of age is fitness. And whilst Sloanzy tried to tell us that now he was over the hill, he was finally able to pick up some speed, the last 15 minutes of the second half were all Fullerians as they scored two tries. We were done and ready for pitch beers in the sun.
The Vets are back. The contempt bred by the familiarity is a delight, and it is a great opportunity to meet old adversaries. Captain Storey will be getting us out for another 5 games or so this season, so keep a look out.
Team: Jason, Massey, Morris, Griffiths, Church, Moss, Douglas, Storey; Giddings, Brady, Sodeke, Sloanzy, Lawrence, Gawthorne, Lewis; Marson
Tries: Brady (3), Sodeke (2), Moss (2), Lawrence, Douglas, Lewis, Giddings, Storey, Church