Stat: 80 scrums in 80 minutes
Local friendly proves to be one big forwards cuddle
With the sad demise of the Collegiate 3s, a friendly game against Mossley Hill was hastily arranged, as their 1s and 2s weren’t playing.
With Mossley Hill having Sky Sports, Sefton happily travelled there for an early kick off, so everyone could watch the england vs Australia game at 3pm. Plus, their curry and rice is a nice change to our pie and beans.
Captain Gore did some fine work on a new Wailing Wall, at the Brookhouse pub (local to a lot of the Liverpool students). Heaven only knows why AJ never turned up or couldn’t answer his phone...
Mossley Hill were the perfect hosts in providing a couple of backs for us. “They’re good defenders” we were assured.
Collegiate provided their sole Third Team survivor, the very experienced Ian, “a wing or fullback”.
N01. The 2 backs Mossley Hill lent to Sefton had never played before.
N02. Collegiate Ian played pretty well, considering his age. Personally, I would like to play like him at fullback in 5 or 10 years. (Although some of the harsher Hill players reckon Ian looked like a young Campo).
N03. Carl Ross caught the initial kick off, and managed to seek out all 15 of the Sefton team, putting them all on their arse, before he ran out of puff on the half way line.
N04. Finally, after 20 odd years, the Ross family have looked to have produced a rugby player. Young Luke (by George), could have some promise, with a better Club I guess.
N05. So, although there were 3 Ross’ on the pitch, we didn't have to put up with Ian “Shut-Up-ie” Ross, who, no doubt, had baby sitting * duties.
N05. Another crazy Captain Gore decision, having a friendly agreement with Mossley, allowing them to score at will, until Luke Ross kicks a conversion. Unfortunately for Sefton, Luke is no goal kicker, missing his first 7 goals in the first half. Eventually, we ‘gave him one’ from in front, to rapturous applause from both teams.
N06. Matt Bland had a friggin’ nightmare at 10. From Chris McTeary **, and then Adam Walker at 9, he received only the most perfectly placed of passes (“on a platter, with a red ribbon around it” as Brian Gardner would say). But, continually, he knocked the ball on.
N07. A superb debut from Sefton’s young Irish hooker, Jack. Who was tireless all day and scored a strong individual try. The good news for the 3s is that Jack could well be their hooker for the rest of the season, no matter how well he plays. The bad news for Jack, is that the 2s captain (Lanky), and the 1s captain (Craig), both play hooker.
N08. The number of scrums was astronomical. Basically, whenever each team won their scrum, with Blandie’s perpetual fumble, and Mossley’s Paul Finn’s erratic passing, the forwards trotted from scrum, to scrum.
N09. Captain Gore’s masterclass #2. In a kind hearted gesture, and to help even the game up, Mossley gave us their best play, their dynamic number 6. It obviously takes some imagination, but who’d’ve though that Gore would put this kid on the wing?
N10. Sefton did both kick offs in either half. Ok, I can understand Captain Gore not having the longest memory span, but surely the ref knows never to listen to Mossley’s Paul “Honest-ie” Finn…
N11. Brendo’s faultless match performance. Try as we might, no one can remember Brendo making a calamitous mistake. Mind you, no one can remember him doing anything really. (Did he play?).
N12. One person we do know that did play, was Birkenhead “Plastic” Andy. For quite a few few weeks, the games have been very quiet, but Andy has timed his comeback to perfection.
What better day to play, but in a friendly, when casual banter is almost encouraged.
Obviously, what Andy has to say, loudly and constantly, cannot be considered either casual, or banter, but he was determined not to be outdone, all game.
* Have I mentioned what I think about dad’s saying they have to ‘baby sit’ their own kids? I reckon, if you have kids, you really have committed to ‘look after’ your own kids. You baby sit other people’s kids. Mind you, seeing Ian Ross’ “kids”, I guess he would be baby sitting.
** Yes, yes, it goes unsaid that Chris again cried, and walked off, saying someone had punched him in the nose. (In fact, it was the ball that hit him on the nose).
The Turning Points
TP1. The early kick off. This meant Blandie could play. This meant that the only time Sefton touched the ball, was when we kissed off, and when our Number 9 passed the ball to Blandie.
TP2. The late arrival of the League Twins, Brian and Walker. By then, Sefton were 7 tries down.
TP3. Luke Ross finally getting a conversion. This meant Sefton could start scoring ties too.
TP4. Captain Gore’s masterclass #3: Down 7 tries to nothing, we get a penalty in Mossley’s half. We go for goal. Mike “I really don’t want to be here” Collins pulls it wide.
TP5. Blandie leaving the pitch during the second half. Down by 7 tries, Sefton pull back 2 or 3, now having the ball for more than one phase.
TP6. Mossley Hill “giving” us their James Goulding. This effectively stopped us in our tracks.
The Bland Conundrum
There was a lot of very “concerned” players during the game, mainly forwards, eager to understand what was wrong with Blandie.
Seeing everyone gather around Blandie at half time, I was worried about his welfare, so took him aside...
“What’s wrong mate? You are playing a lot worse than normal’.
Blandie nodded, “yes, I know, I’ve got a lot on my mind. My missus has a hair appointment today at 2:45”.
“Missus? Hair appointment? Saturday afternoon?” I query.
“Yes,” Blandie mumbles, “I’m wondering whether she’ll have it straightened with highlights, or even have a perm and colour. I wasn’t going to play today you know”.
“You’ve dropped every ball today!”.
“I know”, continues Blandie, “maybe she will finally get it done like Dave Almond, my fantasy Number 9, who I idolise. He’s just Gorgeous! And maybe then she’ll strut around with the Sefton Number 9 jumper on, in the bedroom ...”.
Look the Other Way
I know a lot has been said about Jay Goulding, and Mossley Hill really haven’t forgiven Sefton for encouraging James to “go that little bit further”, to achieve the heights of his rugby goals.
But, by leaving Sefton, and now playing wing in the Mossley Hill Second Team, in the lowest league in the land, James actually raised the average playing standards in both clubs.
Mossley’s tradition of nick naming players with a name or skill that they could improve on, soon had James affectionally known as “Catch-ie”.
But today, I think we saw James go past yet another important personal rugby milestone *.
Yes, today, we saw James catch the ball.
Everyone stopped in their tracks, stunned.
But then, James spoiled it, by deciding to have a go at passing the ball…
You guessed it, the ball sailed forward, into the crowd.
“Pass-ie” explained afterwards, “I can pass, I just can’t pass where I’m looking”.
* It was only last season that James finally progressed from velcro rugby boots, after mastering those long laces.
A good fun day out. Relations between the 2 clubs continue to be rosy, the jug hospitality afterwards was very generous, and it was only dampened a bit by the english beating the Wallabies on the big screen. Surely england do not want to peak too early, and should really save themselves for the World Cup?