Very much like the movie 300, only not as many Abs
"Give us water, or give us death!"
The mighty Bosworth 3rds arrived at a wind and rain swept Coppice Lane to take on the Spartans. Some players were late....which was understandable (as Nathan told us Sutton Coldfield is "a lovely place" which he had decided to have a look around?). In the changing room there was some concern about the lack of numbers but we shouldn't have worried - maudo said he had it all in hand - getting out his shiny red laptop to load up Microsoft word and the team sheet - there were only 13 players listed , with Chris Richardson filling the fly half spot. Doh. Looking round the room there was 9, yes 9 players...but what a group of players... including the experienced 55 year old Mark "Larry" Holmes. Thankfully Spartans entering into the welcoming spirit they showed all afternoon by lending us 3 players - so 12 v 15... game on. Then we had a history lesson in the changing room... which led to us roaring out on to the sodden pitch pronouncing we are Persian warriors grrrr. An awe inspiring team talk by maudo of "I know it's a bit sh*t but...." And the Bosworth Persians were ready to go with the kick off... The ball went up, and caught by the Spartans resident giant, 6'9 and with fire in his eyes he started their assault. A short passage of play and with a 3 man overlap and Spartans scored.
Some excellent defensive kicking from Larry gave them a lineout in their own 22. Chris Peckham dug deep and stopped their rolling maul, Tom Taxi Price and Neil Burton stole the ball, and suddenly Spartans were in a panic, a carry by the excellent Nathan Harrison stopped short near the 5 yard line. The pressure was building as Bosworth hit the line again and again, until finally Alex Maudinihio pushed through a gap and Scored.
Stunned silence from Spartans as suddenly they realised they had a match and not a walk over...
The mighty 9 + 3 had their tails up....."come on the Persians" was the rally cry....and continued to batter the Spartans line. However the tide turned with a couple of conceeded tries but the Bosworth defence miraculously kept this from being more. The forwards led from the front... But it was the backs of Mark Holmes, Nathan Harrison, Ben Hayward and Matt Finn who were the hero's ...closing down space, putting pressure on their attack....with Spartans having the natural overlap....either passing to floor, dropping the ball, forward passing...when clearly through and try line begging. Special mention in particular to Matt Finn (the 4th or 5th generation of his family to play for Bosworth - surely a record?) who had a tough job covering wing and fullback and Nathan Harrison - who put in some outstanding tackles all afternoon. After weathering the storm Bosworth finished the half on the front foot. Now time for another inspirational half time talk from Alex 'was it mentioned I scored a try' Alex Maudsley.
"Come on boys" shouted Alex "Xerxes" Maudsley, and the second half kicked off. The Bosworth 9 were tired and bleeding, but stood up to the never ending tide of Spartans. Our strategist Neil Burton saw how tired the team was looking so suggested scrummaging over lineout a to allow for a firmer base for our back line. The props cried in dismay!
The backs showed their tenacity with Ben, Larry and Matt stifling the Spartans repeatedly even when outnumbered and forced handling errors from them. But sadly the tries started coming against the brave Bosworth few.
But the 9 + 3 fought with vigour. Clever kicks from Nathan got us down deep into the Spartans half...with us now attacking towards the clubhouse. With nothing to lose Bosworth persistance paid off....penalty Bosworth within their half. Quick take to the snarling "raging pig" aka Chris Richardson making yards and clearly rattling Spartans with their 6ft 9 number 8 telling him to "calm down" and to"show some respect"
Another scrum but the fantastic front three of Peckham, Maudsley and Richardson...held firm as they had done all game. With the war horse power houses of Tom Taxi Price and Burton behind them...being an equal match to the bigger and more "experienced" Spartans pack, who started to try underhand early push tactics to disrupt our men of granite. Time ticked on with the referee obviously enjoying himself with still 15 minutes on the clock. With 15 minutes left on the clock, Bosworth broke up before a scrum. "Give us water, or give us death!" The Dehydrated Nine called out. An impromptu break was quickly organised by the confused ref.
The Rehydrated Nine +3 continued on, massive tackles witnessed all over the park as the line was held, but Bosworth was running out of steam. Several tries were scored as the toll of having less men started to be tell it's saddening tale. For all the fight the men on the field gave, the outcome was inevitable.
The men that played together in that match left with a renewed sense of respect for each other. They'd stared down the deficit, and shown their tenacity and talent. That day the Legend of the Bosworth Nine was made! After the final whistle "the Bosworth few" received rapturous applause through the tunnel from fellow players and the crowd. They recognised the heart and spirit on display...underlined by the Spartans coach who said he'd buy each of our players a pint (which he did(Top Lad)).
(This was supplied as a group effort from the 3rd team. Thanks for a fantastic game Spartans!)