With 6 of our regular pack missing and facing a Chinnor 3rd team fresh from running in 70 odd points the week before, our prospects were similar to a one legged man in an ass kicking competition.
However, the build up wasn't all bad news. Dave Anfield
(D.Y.O.C.) and Manuel (S.I.D.) had been called up to the 1st team leaving Selby & Myself to pick a back line based on ability rather than our slower, lesser skilled mates. The nostril flaring steroid junky known as Horse was playing at Rosehill for the first time in 3 years.
Most importantly, I was back in the sheepskin offering words of wisdom that can only come from a Demigod.
With club debuts for Podge, Yorkie and Adam, plus Paddy Mark & Kev Clarke stepping up from the 3rd team, we knew it was going to take a huge effort to contain Chinnors traditional pack of Orcs.
And what a very different pre-xmas performance it was. The pack showed a massive set of balls to front up so well to a much bigger 8 and the three quarters defence of "Scouse Jim", "Valley Nathan
" and er, "No longer new Adam" was simply delightful.
Treacle & Louis P showed huge spirit in tackling everything that moved in the 1st twenty mins. Interestingly, Louis has developed some nice little party tricks including a Kye Punter-ish face tackle which ultimately forced him onto the wing later in the game.
Chinnor opened the scoring with a decent 3 point nudge and controlled early play before their pack appeared to blow themselves out after 25 mins. From then on, it was all Abbey. The 4 try bonus point was in the bag by half time courtesy of whitewash crossing by Dan (x2), Jimmy Mallon & Louis P. All 4 tries were a result of hard yards up front and quick ball.
In fact, the only glum Abbey face at the half was that of Coach Dollard as he saw his 3rd team boys put themselves in Killer's shop window with some gutsy displays. So much so, he was adamant that the score at the break was 22-4. With that sort of maths, I predict nothing but good things for the Dev squad.
With an interesting penalty try for Chinnor just after half time, Abbey's pack regrouped and took the game to a revitalised Chinnor. However, any thoughts of a comeback were extinguished by great defence and a 40 yard finish.
Like Ricky Hatton at a house party, Louis Pawlett's nose for the white line is making him the toast of his mates. Screamed on by his excited dad (who was bouncing about like a jockey on speed), Louis bagged his 2nd of the day, capping his man of the match performance.
In summary, job done, bonus point, strange feeling of optimism & self esteem achieved.