Sefton 3s Training Pays Off
Everyone wants to be Downing’s friend
For team selection, 1 text was sent to each 3rd team player and everyone responded positively, not even asking if it was an away game, or who we were playing.
On Thursday night, 2s respected Captain, James Hamling, rings to offer some ‘left over’ 2s players that want to play away.
James. The gift that keeps giving.
Saturday morning, even though there was 1 cloud in the bright blue sky, Stu Bailey didn’t WhatsApp to enquire if the game was still on.
At about 11am, JP Ellis rang to ask if he could play, as he’d just declined the extra shift at work.
At Sefton, everyone met well before the 2pm meet time, and Richie Lloyd dutifully had the water bottles filled.
Paul Murphy insists on paying his £5 Match Fees before we go, and we set off in good time, with everyone keen to contribute to the £1.70 tunnel toll.
In the New Brighton changies, Ben Webster puts on some decent rock and roll, to get the players in the mood.
Everyone is offering each other electrical tape, and queueing to assist Downing with his Dencorub.
Campo’s pristine shorts and socks have that well ironed cutting edge.
Mike Collin’s low key black boots are befitting an honest prop.
The Warm Up
Handbags Harper turned up an hour before the game to run the warm up. We talked of commitment and keeping it simple, “3rd team level”. Players consider getting their first tackle in early.
We go through our paces, re-enacting what we do religiously at training on Tuesdays and Thursdays, are well prepared.
The Team is announced. Priority is given to the fully paid up Members, Mike Collins is the first named, and Aaron Gore is not disappointed to be named on the reserve bench.
Everyone listened to Captain Campo’s encouraging pre-match speech, and even Birkenhead Andy said something meaningful, understandable and appropriate, in a low voice, without laughing over excessively.
The opposition look to be the 3rd Team of their Club, with no one over 11 stone that could do a 12 second 100, or a forward that looks to sidestep. They talk as if they’ve been playing for a long time, rather than having just met.
The referee is mature and competent. We think he has played in his time, and not been a failed teacher or security guard.
What can I say?
All those hours of hard training start to pay off.
Sefton play a fine game, as do New Brighton and there is nothing in it. No outstanding player that should be in the first team. No Cinderella story that belies each team’s lowly position in the table. No ‘subs’ that come on at half time that rip the opposition to pieces.
We saw some honest rugby. With good low tackles, no ‘hail mary’ passes.
And even though it was a 3rd Team, there were some things of beauty:
- Mike Collins’ 5 metre sprint.
- Aaron’s tackle, his second this season (just why do they call him the No Show?).
- Jamie Ashton running through 8 lads, doing a “backfill”, then offloading it to Jacob (it was a forward pass but the ref didn’t notice). Why Jamie doesn’t “go” before we go out is beyond us. It must be a hockey thing.
- When Jacob knocked it on when he grounded the ball but his tiny posterior blocked the view, the ref still awarded the try.
Oh yeah, and New Brighton’s try came because Campo missed a tackle.
This game was the real reason Soccer is called Football, and Rugby is called Rugby.
Today, we witnessed one of the most disciplined forward’s display of self control, that has ever been seen since young William Webb picked up the ball and didn’t kick it.
In fact, there were only 4 kicks from Sefton in the whole game!
K1. The kick off (by new-be Mike Bates, or as we call him, Mister Bates).
This easily went 10 metres and there was no scrum to New Brighton on the half way line.
K2. The re-start after the New Brighton try.
Again, 10 metres was never in doubt by our Mike.
K3. A penalty kick to the touch line, confidently taken by Handbags Harper, gracefully dropping the ball onto his right boot, without everyone having to chase it when it doesn’t find touch.
K4. The conversion attempt from Mike Collins.
Ok, as the score suggests, the kick was unsuccessful, but, for those few that witnessed it, it wasn’t a bad effort from the sideline, into a howling wind, and a mysterious fog...
On a day with understandably heavy balls, Mike nearly pulled it off.
Good news here too.
Birkenhead Andy came through unscathed and played the full 80 minutes without a tear in his eye.
Sam Crummy also made it through, with no mystery injury. But his number 14 jersey will probably need a second go at the launderette.
Even the opposition fared well, with Aaron Gore not falling on anyone.
Rugby was the winner today.
The Sefton 2s continued their unbeaten run towards promotion, with Lanky leading from the front, the ever dependably Owen Devlin setting up his outside backs to score, and James Hamling orchestrating it all from the sideline. We can’t wait for his comeback from knee surgery, he can only get better!
The Sefton 1s came back from a huge deficit, to narrowly win, with Liam brown showing excellent hands and Jay Keegan playing the full 80 minutes without a caution.
To cap off the fine day, we hear that Everton have also won handsomely.
And Bill is smiling.
Yours in rugby