Sefton 3s desperate for Harper’s return
Harry Bailey confirmation: I’m a winger, not a ringer
The lead up to this match was rather pleasant, with it being a home game. Although we’d had lashings of rain, it’s the last month of the season, so the game was never in doubt.
As well, the result was never in doubt either, with Collegiate 2s having to cry off on Friday, it meant that their 3s had to forfeit their game as well.
This meant that Collegiate brought a relatively honest team to Sefton, led by their amicable caption, Jake.
Sefton had good numbers, with Dave Wolfe and Stu Bailey sensing an easy home game, and the Sefton Student Initiative finally reaping benefits with Keith bringing a couple of handy students with him.
At the last minute, we found out that our First Team’s game was postponed, which would have been a tremendous bonus had we not already had 19 players.
No Alan ‘Handbags’ Harper again this week. A huge bonus for the team’s confidence, with everyone thinking of the fewer tackles they’d have to make (this is why I normally ask Handbags to turn up after we warm up). This meant the Number 10 spot was open.
But, always one for spotting an opening, the First Team’s winger, Harry Bailey came strutting into our changies, insisting he can play 10. Blindly, Blandie gladly takes up the offer…
Brendo was back again, with his kit.
Collegiate 2s weren’t playing today.
The Sefton 3’s upper management had known that the Match result was already decided in their favour, but had declined to inform the team before the match, thinking that it could detract from their commitment and enthusiasm.
The 3s went out feeling very confident, with a benchful of substitutes as backup, and we had a Harry Bailey playing as our 10 (he’s a First Team player, right?).
Well, it didn’t take long to work out that even the Sefton First Team has the same player recruitment strategy as the Third Team (“Don’t know a thing: On the Wing. And if you’re slow: Second Row” *).
To play Rugby, there are a couple of basics. Passing and tackling are 2 major ones.
To play Wing, passing and tackling are not high priorities. Attendance, as Brendo will tell you, is the sole criteria for the specialist Wing position.
Harry on consistently missing the Collegiate Number 10: “As a winger, I’ve always had the sideline to like, shepherd the ball carrier towards me. That sideline was a long way away today!”.
Harry on his hospital passing to fearful centres, Jacob and impressive new-be Jono: “I’ve seen Wayne (First Team 10) take the ball up to the line, and then pass it out”.
Yes, that would be good Harry, if you’d not done it all in slow motion, waiting for the opposition centres to be all over our 2 boys first!!
Anyway, there were some positives to take from the game…
The impact of the students. To have some backs, and back row, that are young and can run. This is something we’re unused to. (Is Owain a student?). Thanks to Keith and his 2 mates, and Sefton’s two James’, Gaskell and Ludlow, who look to be exciting prospects.
Dave Willis’ development. Great to see some fantastic defence at fullback from Dave, with some awesome tackling of the rampaging Collegiate ringers. As well, some devastating running with the ball and the introduction of a pretty serious fend. In a few years, it looks like Sefton may well have a replacement for Campo, if he’d ever retire.
* This strategy is not followed by the Twos though, as former 2s captain Christian Caine will insist, as will Jay Dempsey.
The New Andy
The gaping hole that was left by Birkenhead Andy was always going to be hard to fill, but it seems Steve Downing has no qualms about which hole he’s willing to fill.
Today, not only did Steve step into the vacant hooker position *, he has also done well in establishing himself as the Sefton 3’s WhatsApp whipping boy, eagerly putting himself forward for some cyber bullying (“its just banter”).
But obviously, if one wants to emulate the enigmatic Andy, there are other behavioural qualities required, and it is early on the game, that Downing sees his chance….
Picking up a loose ball (the team had wholeheartedly agreed on Blandie’s “don’t pass it to Downing” strategy), the ex-StEdwardian seeks out one of the smaller Collegiatians, and promptly falls on the ground, losing the ball.
The exiled New Zealander lays unmoving, face down on the ground.
Yes, it’s a “head injury”.
It is looking like Downing has ticked off most of the “Andy criteria”, but we are unsure if he is crying, as he is facing downwards.
There is a moment of trepidation, but when we carry Steve off, the muddy patch where his face was gave us final confirmation: Andy has been fully replaced.
* Haha, no, we hadn’t advertised for a Vacant Hooker, but Steve does do “vacant” pretty well!
With so many people screaming for my return, its probably easier for me to publish it here, but there is good news.
Today, we had a physio at the club, Anna, of the great hands. She is a close friend of our (injured) Sam Barke, who is a flatmate of Harry Bailey *.
Anyway, it seems that Anna has some knowledge of the physical body (you can actually do a uni course on the treatment of injuries!).
She has adopted some radical views on Rugby injuries though, which go way beyond electrical tape, frozen peas, and 6 days of rest.
The wonderful Anna has disclosed some groundbreaking new injury treatment: Stretching and Exercising.
Its amazing, even after a couple of goes, I can see improvement and hope. I am off to retrieve those hung up boots!
Amazing Anna: Just think what she could do if she tried to tackle things like alzheimers, erectile dysfunction or even the problem with Harry…..
* It is ironic that Harry has brought those 2 good people to the Club.
A big lesson here on listening to players insisting they can play 10 (although we clearly didn’t learn from the Jacob incident a couple of years ago).
Over the years playing at Sefton, I’ve had to really bring meaning to words like regret, pain, inadequacy and incompetence.
Today Harry Bailey, with his rugby 'talent' finally being “found out”, I can expand on 2 more words:
Guilt is when only you know, Shame is when everone knows.
Harry on his tearful, one and only, Sefton Third Team appearance: “I’m going home to Portsmouth to play with mummy’s puppies”.
First Team, he’s all yours.
NB. A composite Collegiate won today, 22-7. 4 tries to 1, this probably reflected the ringers too! ☺