After many on the day drop outs, the mighty Holbrook Hurricanes ventured down with 8 players plus a very hungover/sunburnt Kevin Wearing to Barns Green to take part in their first annual Charity Tag Tournament.
After getting down there with limited players and a even more limited interest in doing any physical exertion, the Hurricanes were happy to learn that they were playing a female team called the Tag Wags. The Hurricanes spent most of this match defending and scoring tries within 5 seconds of kick off which prompted the crowd to shout abuse at us everytime we got the ball. After a comfortable win over the Wags, the Hurricanes quietly slipped away into their Party Tent to relax and hopefully escape the glaring view of the spectators. After the match, Stuart 'Bambi' Parke realised that his standard falling over act in the Tag Wag match had actually caused him to pull his calf muscle. As the Hurricanes went down a man, they started to relax and enjoy the hot sun filtering through the clouds onto the Barns Green Village Green.
The 2nd match was against the Barns Green Stags. After a clever observation by Jamie Boon
, he noted that we should start each match going uphill. This way, as long as we stayed within a few try scores of the opposition, we would have the free reign to run downhill when we were all tired. This paid off as Holbrook comfortably beat the Stags by 5 tries to 3.
By now the crowd was really against the Hurricanes. The quick running of Dan Stockdale
and Ash Sporne on the wings coupled with our continous talking in defence had made us into the most hated team in the tournament. To make matters worse, the Canes were schedule to play Popeyes Perfect Players which consisted of Guy Viney whose son the tournament was in memory of. The Canes lost the 3rd toss in a row thanks to Capt Richie's consistent bad luck however still managed to secure the necessary uphill start. Some abusive language from Ash Sporne earned him a warning as the Hurricanes started to bitch and moan between themselves as their defensive errors became all too apparent much to the delight of the crowd. At halftime the score was 3 tries to 2 to Popeyes Perfect Players and the Canes were starting to fall apart. However, they rallied during the 2nd half to bring the score to 5 tries a piece. Luckily a Popeyes try was denied as the ball carrier dived over the line, breaking a key tournament rule of NO DIVING. However, after a blistering touchline run by Ash Sporne where supporters indicated to the ref he was out, sparked a wave of abuse towards the ref from Ash, promptly earning a red card and ejection from the Tournament.
The Hurricanes had won 2 and drawn one but morale in the party tent was low. As the Canes tried to cheer themselves up, they all focused on the next match against the Horsham vets whereby we needed to score 6 tries to come top of the group and to go through to the semi finals. During the Horsham match, the Hurricanes ran amok with the new forward pairing of Kev Wearing
and Matthew Dawson
seeing the team rack up a respectable 13 tries.
Fearing that they would not be able to compete in the semi finals with a limited squad, the team tried to convince Tomasso Gavio to play. However Tomas decided that his hand ligaments were too damaged from 7s the day before and he couldnt play a non-contact sport!!!!!!!!!! Therefore the only other option was to build some bridges as Ash Sporne aplogised to the event organiser and the referees and was allowed to continue to participate in the final few matches.
The first semi final was against the egg catchers who had also figured out that going uphill in the first half was a massive advantage. Luckily the Canes actually won a toss for the first time all day and were allowed to start uphill. The Egg Catchers started off strong and ran in several easy tries. However, the pace and the stamina of the Hurricanes eventually won out as they ran in 6 tries in the 2nd half to reach the final.
Somehow the Hurricanes had managed to shed their bad image and were starting to play some attractive 7s/touch rugby. However, a quick discussion with another Barns Green player revealed that they would be playing the Barns Green Exiles in the final which included Esher and an England U21 player. The lineup for the final was wing to wing:
Ash Sporne, Ben Wells
, Richie Smith, Matthew Dawson
, Jamie Boon
, Moose, Dan Stockdale
As the Hurricanes won the toss they decided to start uphill as per every other match in the day. As the whole of Barns Green RFC turned out to watch, the Hurricanes were far away from home and deep in enemy territory. Pre match, Jamie had set a goal of staying 1 to 2 tries behind the Exiles in the first half and then using the downhill advantage in the 2nd half to level the scores. At halftime, the score was 4 tries to the Exiles and 3 tries to the Hurricanes after some good tries from Moose, Ben Wells
and Jamie Boon
In the 2nd half, the Hurricanes went into overdrive immediately and started racking up tries. The Exiles decided that they would create space through the centre of the pitch and then all flood through, however the Hurricanes defence was on the ball and managed well by the half backs Richie and Jamie. The Exiles were denied time after time again and the Hurricanes started to rack up points by some creative running from Moose and Ben Wells
. The spirit of the Hurricanes started to lift as they slowed the game down and still managed to run in try after try. A special mention has to go to Matt Dawson, who decided that he would go on a nice run himself, held 3 defenders (including the england u21 player) then through a flat miss 1 pass to Ash Sporne to jog over for a comfortable try. This matter has been referred to the front row union.
At the final whistle the score was 13 tries to 6 to the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes collected their huge Wooden trophy and their limited edition Barns Green memorial Rugby Shirts as prizes (including Tomas Gavio who didnt play a single second of rugby all day) and thanked Barns Green for a great day out.