Team is decimated by late cry-offs and no-shows, in home game fixture.
------- The Crying Game ------
I often ask myself, what is the point of selecting the team on Tuesday night? As it never reflects what turns out on a Saturday. Perhaps I should just put a message out on a Saturday morning, who’s up for a game? Maybe I would get more success. It seems in this new world of snowflakes which requires instant gratification, no one is able to keep to promises when something better comes along, usually money. I thought it was only doctors that had to be on call, if that is true, there seems to be a lot of doctors at Sefton!
No longer do players continue playing with niggling injuries, they have watched the professional game and decided they also need six weeks off for a muscle strain. Then there are the sickies, any sign of a sniffle and it is full blown man flu, put in solitary confinement within a contamination zone.
This has been my week!
Despite this, we managed to get fifteen, which included late recruitment Unworthy. Would he turn up? If not, our last hope was Precious, refusing to go ten metres from a toilet, has he not heard of man nappies, Mark Dobie swears by them. Then there was Nathan Sas, called away urgently to work, another doctor I presume, I was hoping he would be able to finish that emergency surgery, and at least get down for the second half.
As expected Unworthy never turned up, relying on him was my first mistake. My second was allotting Princess as match captain. You’d have thought that I’d learnt my lesson last time, but I believe in giving people second chances, surely he couldn’t be worse than last time?
---- The Match ------
The harsh weather dictated the type of game that would be played. Moore opted for smashing it up front, and with some solid runners they were well equipped. The extra man eventually helped them to overwhelm Sefton, and they rushed over for a try.
Our resident Spaniard the Fonze did well running the ball back at full back until he decided to kick the ball. Giving the ball straight back to the opposition, where they took it wide, and eventually scored another try.
Despite his kicking atrocities, the Fonze seemed to be our liveliest attacking option, but this was short lived when he was tackled as he attempted to pass the ball above his head, exposing his ribs. As he lands a terrible scream comes out, with everyone stepping to come to his aid. Man down was called, was he shot by a sniper on the grassy knoll? Get an ambulance straight away, this must be serious, as he rolls around in agony. However he is ok, the overdramatic Spaniard feebly walks off holding his shoulder, with his team mates turning their heads in shame.
Luckily Moore lend us a player, a second row called Tom (we all know if you've no idea, and slow you go second row), but what a stroke of luck this was. This player, only good enough to sit on the bench for Moore was a hailstorm, carrying the ball, making the tackles, why was he on the bench, had he been caught sleeping with the captains sister?
A reluctant JP Ellis moves to full back, but this allows him more space to run and an excuse to kick. With the ball rarely getting beyond the centres JP’s chance comes when a ball is kicked through and into his hands. A rare sign of encouragement goes out from our silent captain, with Princess shouting, “give them hell” as Ellis goes past the winger with a hand off, and is over in the corner for a try. This is followed by the even more embarrassing, “he’s a beast”.
These short bursts of activity were few and far between, with Carruthers having the only other chance in the half, with a break on the wing, but when he decides to kick, the bounce of the ball didn’t go his way. Sefton’s downfall was its tackling, with many players preferring the bear hug tackle which the opposition were able to brush away easily. Adam Walker was by far our best tackler, shaming our forwards by taking down the biggest of their players.
The second half was a similar process, with Moore now a comfortable few tries ahead, it was going to be damage limitations. Gardner and Dobie were now at snail pace, arriving just in time for the various lineout’s and scrum, and whenever Princess got the ball at stand-off he was met with a wall of defenders. This gave him very little option other than to take the tackle or ship it on to Paul Latham who was also immediately pounced upon. With no outlet the ball was easily lost with Moore able to use their extra man to run a couple more tries in.
Sefton did have a few chances in the second half, with plenty of pressure on the oppositions try line but no way through. Eventually a break by Carruthers saw him clean through, but not wanting to be tackled and get his shirt dirty, he passes to Princess who takes the ball into the corner where it looks as if it was coming to nothing. However quick hands allow Luke Griffiths to come through on the inside to score a try.
The highlight of the match also included Luke Griffiths when he suffers ball confusion, due to an extra ball on the pitch. Luke’s eyes light up as he sees the ball lying there with everyone else seemingly oblivious to it. He picks this pink, size three rugby ball up, and starts running with the thought of his second try, but wondering why no one is chasing him. Only when he sees everyone laughing at him, and the official ball still in the ruck, did he realise his mistake, shamelessly he gave the little boy on the side line his ball back.
Sean Muirhead continues to try and impress me with his many position roles, so I wasn’t surprised to see him turn up in the scrum-half position, just where Adam Walker disappeared to, I don’t know? Also going awol was Princess at stand-off, who thought it would be a good idea to let Carruthers go there. As you can imagine things went from bad to worse.
------ Kicking update ------
There was lots of indiscriminate kicking in this match, too many to mention, but the main contributors were Princess, JP, Fonze and Adam Walker. The standard was low, and it was hard to decide which kick was the worse, until Sean Muirhead had a go.
------- Who is Sean Muirhead? ------
Apart from Sean’s many positional talents, he also claims he can kick. So when a penalty is awarded to Sefton, he is keen to show his abilities. He can’t do any worse than Princess was the consensus, so we give him the ball. “Just aim for the floodlight post” he is told. With a sweep of the foot we see the ball soar into the air, and hit the floodlight dead on. Unfortunately it was the floodlight ten metres back from his original position, "the other floodlight" someone shouts. He was never asked to kick again.
With five minutes to go, the ref asked if we wanted to cut it short, “where is the captain”, he asks, a question we have all been asking. In the end we decided to play on, and allow Moore to score one more try.
Princess again forgets who the opposition are in the tunnel after the games, and is helped out by Carruthers still sporting his clean shirt.
There was many good personnel performances, such as Adam Walker’s tackling, and JP Ellis’ running with the ball, but as a collective we didn’t play well. Man of the match showed this, when Tom the borrowed player from Moore was given the honours, obviously wanting to prove a point to his captain. It is never easy when you start with a man down, with a number of forwards having to play in the backs, so we can’t be too negative about the performance, we just need players to keep their promises when they say their available. Remember this feeling, and think about it next time you’re thinking of crying-off.
Next week will be another challenge, although it is Didsbury lingering at the bottom of the table, it is away and it is Christmas party season, I haven’t got much hope. Christmas jumpers next week lads, we will see how long it takes for the Bush Fighter to destroy the Christmas tree.
Off now to explain to Sean the advantage of kicking forward when kicking for touch.