Saturday saw the testimonial game of the great Mick Sullivan
at the tender age of (nearly) 52. Several weeks ago, after the Lions game, Mick decided to hang up his boots, and the team decided they wanted to lay something special on for this special bloke, who has done so much for Loughborough Rugby club. A text was sent to ask who his favourite opposition was and immediately the reply came back as Melton Nomads, (so long as we win!). Personally, whenever I come away from Melton I'm sore, battered and bruised as they give you nothing for free on the pitch, as their style is hard, aggressive but fair rugby. (They're also a great bunch of blokes to have a pint with afterwards!) Melton agreed to come over, and as a team, we'd like to thank them for helping to make it such an enjoyable and memorable day for the whole team, but for Mick especially.
Anyway to the game, due to some issues with "the twins" in last weeks game, I had a week off playing, which one would think, would mean an accurate, rugby-related, match report (I even took a pencil and paper for notes). Unfortunately, I found out what a fantastic lady and great drinking partner Elaine Redpath is, so again, this will be from what I can make out from my notes and Bateman's assisted memory. Sorry to anyone I miss out...
arrived at the game in a serious mood, as a true back, he'd brought along a large tin of hairspray, a hair tie and a pretty blonde. He then refused to take the field using the blonde's dance class as an excuse, but as Chris Glover
remarked, the refusal was due to it being a home game as "Reesy will only play away".
Gambo approached the game with a focused glint in his eye, enhanced, we're sure, by the "Anti-wrinkle moisturiser" that was later found in his kit bag (front row use beer and chip fat and still look this good). That said, the attention to detail seems to be paying dividends as he had a great game. They kicked off to us and the ball was soon punted up field, chased by Gambo, Fraser "the bald" winger, and a fast Melton back. It was a 50/50 ball, anyone's game, who was going to get there...........when Fraser decided to even things up a bit in Gambo's favour and put one of the most obvious shoves I've ever seen in rugby into the Melton player. Gambo won the ball; Melton won the penalty.
Shortly after, in another great display of team work, Loughborough scored their first try, Nev Jones made a great run, handing some bloke's off and just running over some others, he off loaded to Gambo who made another great run and when one of their guys got near enough to hold onto him, he managed to off load to Frodo, (aka jon hutchinson
) in the tackle, who made space, (mainly due to the fact that it took 3 of their guys to bring him down) to put Fraser into a position to run at the line.
Play then moved into the Loughborough half, Wayne Brewin
, picked up the ball in a dangerous position and, faced with about 4 of their guys and having no support, made the wise decision to kick for touch, unfortunately he didn't find touch but did find their full back. I've been told that Melton will read this report, so I hope the full back doesn't find offence when I mention several points here (1) he normally plays second row/ number 8 (2) judging from his size he may enjoy the odd Melton "delicacy" (3) He's been playing against Mick for 28 years, so his speediest years may be somewhere behind him (4) he's big! In true Melton style, the full back picked the ball up and ran it straight back to where it had come from. Wayne didn't back down and set himself for the tackle (and he probably has the second best tackle in the team!), it was going to be the clash of the titans, when at the last moment this huge bloke but a side step in that a Liberal MP would be proud of, wrong footed Wayne and continued to the line.
I've got in my notes that Fraser "the bald" winger scored another great try, but all I've noted about it is he was wearing nice Patrick shorts, so I imagine it was Elaine's round and I was debating whether to have crisps or not, (apologies Fraser, it was great).
Beer purchased, more great rugby was to come, Mick Sullivan
back flicked the ball from the back of a maul to Nev, who again steam rollered in until eventually held and off loaded to a back (my notes say "a girl", so it must have been a back!), the back off loaded out of a tackle to Wayne who secured the try.
The second half started with Jez Malpas agreeing to take over from Pete Connor as ref. Having watched Malpy play for the first team over a number of years this did suprise several spectators as we weren't aware he had any knowledge of the laws as he's spent so long breaking them! Still, he did an excellent job so appearances can be deceptive!
There are rumours that Mrs Redpath secretly buries a steak and ale pie behind the try line and at a strategic point in the match will tell Gimli (aka Mark Redpath
) where she's buried it making him unstoppable! 3 minutes into the second half the moment came! Gimli got passed the ball and with fire in his belly charged towards the Melton line knocking defenders assunder, unfortunately, at this point he found out it was chicken and mushroom, and collapsed under a pile of maroon bodies.
There was a try from a line out after a great trundle from James Hall
(hat-trick), Chris Glover
scored a great try from a great angle and Fraser scored another after a piece of quick-thinking from a lineout from Mike Turner
and some good hands from flanker Pete Connor......ooh, hold on..... does that make 3? Pete can you check my maths, and apply the appropriate costings, (a jug, I believe, is the norm!)
The end of the match was a real treat. It appears that the team had a chat and decided that no-one was to score any more apart from Mick Sullivan
, who, by his own admission, 10 minutes from the end of the match was hanging out his backside! Memorable moments included Mick being passed the ball about 7 metres from the line, big James picked Mick up and ran towards the line with Mick's feet not touching the ground but still making running actions in true cartoon style. Mick being passed the ball and Nev picking Mick up and running towards the line, Pete Connor having an undefended line in front of him but running along the line trying to find Mick, and eventually Gambo crossing the line realising that if anyone tackled him he'd fall over and a try would be awarded, looked around in panic, luckily, Mick was stood there caught the ball and fell over, end of the game!
Anyway, to end this report, Mick was sat in my dining room this morning and, in a reflective mood, said how much he had enjoyed the day, and has asked that I pass on his thanks to all those who made yesterday into the occasion it was, especially Peter Connor
who worked so hard to make it happen. He'd also like to pass on his thanks to Melton Nomads for giving us such a spirited game, no doubt there will be many more enjoyable encounters between our two clubs. I would think that we as a club would like to pass on our thanks to this great man, whose rugby career spanned from September 1973 to November 26th 2011, who has worked so hard to ensure that there is rugby available for all abilities in Loughborough nearly every week for many years. Mate, it's been an honour playing with and knowing you!
Ian "jewels" Jones