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3rd XV - Match centre

Nottingham Casuals RFC
Ashfield RFC
Sun 30 Apr 12:00 - Cup Full time

Mighty 3rds win on Notts Final Cup

Woolley's Warriors win 3rd team cup final.

Some people think becoming a Chess Grand Master is hard, well, they've never had to fight to get into the 'Junior' Notts Cup Final, have they....??? Casuals 3rds had to win 2 whole games of Rugby to get this far and play in the first (i.e. lowest...) of 4 Cup Finals at Southwell RFC today in the Notts RFU Final's day. After beating local rival Nottingham Moderns 3rds last week, Casuals earned the right to play Ashfield RFC 3rd team for the most highly sought after trophy in Nottinghamshire 3rd team calendar.

On his last outing as Captain, Jim Woolley's Warriors rocked up without 3rd team stalwart Graham "I didn't mean to stamp on him" Robbins who injured himself side stepping in the previous game.

We had the kick off. Casual's started strongly, with veteran fly half Christian Scott's kick off attempt going almost 5 of the required 10 yards. It's almost hard to believe he's not been picked for the 2nds this season. Luckily the Cas forwards could scrummage and somehow recovered possession long enough for the backs to make 2 passes in a row and put former 2 times winner of Chilwell Comprehensive's 'Special Student of the Year', Lewis Brown in at the corner to put Casuals ahead. Kingy failed to convert from a tough angle.

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The pack were bossing the game with 2 or 3 malls in succession making up ground for the white and maroon men.Casuals relentless attack's in the first quarter paid off and after another powerful driving Mall by the forwards, Lewis Brown received the ball in error, spun around in confusion and somehow ended up at the try line, he stumbled over in surprise and in the scored Casuals' 2nd try of the game totally by accident. Kingy converted.12-0. This'll be a breeze, won't it...?

The forwards then made a tactical error, relying on the backs to tackle, and Ashfield got two quick trys in a row. Missing one kick, half time came around with the score level at 12-12.

At half time, the Mighty 3rds exchanged the standard cliches about 'sticking to the game plan', 'making our tackles' & 'using the top two inches', which was simply not possible for 2 or 3 of the Casuals team on the field at that time.

We began the 2nd half going downhill and with the wind behind us, which suited the fitness levels and physic of the forwards perfectly. Again Casuals did well in the scrum, lineout and malls, but it took 15 minutes to break through. With a, frankly top drawer, clearance by the backs, Casuals won a lineout on the Ashfield 22 and the forwards played in a characteristically 3rd team way, running straight, in numbers. Rex Walker was driven close to the line, Ash 'Little Chef' Sunderland took it on further and in the confusion the ball fell to utility forward Bryn Lewis who picked up the ball and despite having space to the left and right, did what any smart forward would do in the circumstance and ran the quickest most direct route to the try line, touching down with 3 Ashfield players hanging off him. Even Kingy couldn't miss this one.

Not long afterwards, after numerous drives by the forwards, the backs once again got the ball in error and Tobias Double-Barrel surname ran over in style in the corner after some slick, and possibly accidental, offloads by the backs.

Casuals once again thought the game was theirs when a break by the forwards in the Ashfield half occurred and Bryn Lewis fed to the ball to Lewis Brown who put Anthony (Who'd arrived 24 hours early for the game, no joke...) in to take Casuals 31-17 ahead including Kingy's conversion.

Ashfield responded strongly, and the game began to get 'tetchy', with numerous 'debates' after potential high tackles across the park. Kelvin 'I don't drink' Stephen's was lucky to stay on the pitch after he accidentally used his shoulder, and no arms, to tackle Ashfields poor full back putting him on his arse in not so much style.

There was a mass 'debate' between both sets of packs after Ashfield's scrum half accidentally punched the most mild mannered man of Beeston Rylands, Andy Weedon, after a tackle. Andy responded by not elbowing him in the face. The referee ruined both men's games by Yellow carding each player in totally unsporting fashion. (fyi, Andy's first yellow card since last Saturday)

The game almost boiled over a couple of times. The toil of the physicality and the concrete hard pitch was resulting in players from all side having to be taken off. Captain Woolley went off, followed by 'Gorgeous' George (No, we don't know his real name either), 'Where`s' Wally, Shane and Kelvin.

The changes in the pack caused confusion and utility forward Bryn Lewis switched from Prop, to Hooker, to 2nd row, to back row in the space of 20 minutes, good enough to play any position, not good enough to stay in any position... Steve 'Bakarack' and Ragsy came off the bench and provided much needed new legs to the pack to keep us going.

Ashfield got one back, 31-22, and were it not for a dubious forward pass called by the Linesman, could have had another.

The Casuals backs, Christian, Lewis, Tobias, Shane, 'M-urse' Paul, Flem, Ant & Jim were awesome and played probably the best we've seen backs play all season in the 3s. In the pack, Rex carried well,. Ash used his strength and Arron was as tenacious as always.

But... We won!!! Queue celebrations for Casuals and an almost never ending post match speech by the Ashfield Captain, who seemed to imply Casuals bought some players from our 1st and 2nd team, well, we did, they were watching on the sidelines and we appreciated the support they gave us. (Graham, Gilly, Ben, Alex, nice one!)

But this game was won by the Mighty 3rds and nobody else, the same Band of Brothers who have tasted success and loss this season in equal measure. (We all had the damn t-shirts for goodness sake!) The victory took a few of us back to Mellish RFC 8 years ago, when the 2nd team Captain'd by Christian beat Ashfield 2nds in the Intermediate Cup. (Also present Wally, Weedon & Bryn)

The only low points of the day were the bus drivers choice of radio station (Smooth FM?) and Jack Weedon's choice of music for the post match celebration in the Clubhouse.

So the seasons ends on a high. Hope to see you all on the 13th to celebrate in style!

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