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3XV - Match centre

Widnes 3rd XV
Sefton 3rd XV
Sat 5 Jan 14:15 - Halbro North West Leagues - Division 4 West Full time

Another “if only” game for the hapless 3s

Perhaps, with 3 more players, we might have won? (perhaps, if they were international players!)

Pre-Game
—————
Today, we had Captain Gore displaying his Trump-like leadership qualities.
He managed to scrape together JUST 12 men for our trip to Widnes.
Did he fight, when the first team took Choccie?
Was he honest, when Lanky picked Sean Muirhead once again?
Did he try to groom some Collegiate or Mossley Hill players, who had no game?
Did he stand by the Sefton principle that the “away team always takes 15”?
No, I say! No, and no, and no!
(Ok, he declined to take the pleading James Goulding, but Goulding is the player that the saying, “sometimes a team plays better when they’re one man down”, was based on).

Ok, it is the first game after Christmas! 
All us old heads were gleefully rubbing our hands together, looking forward to the shower after the game. 
For all the young lads will be in that shower, with freshly unwrapped Christmas shower gel. Enough for everybody! And smelly spray afterwards. 

Not only would three be shower gel, but Chris McTeary was also showing off his Christmas prezzie from his young daughters.
He knew they’d brought him rugby boots (he’d specifically asked for a pair *), and we all watched expectantly as he gleefully ripped apart the pink wrapping paper, ignoring the little Christmas Card they’d made (with a picture of him with a Santa hat on, and what looked like a knife in his back??).
Some of were thinking though, who lets an 8 year old girl buy them rugby boots?
Anyway, fittingly enough, the boots were perfect for Chris! (who’d’ve thought that they made “Hello Kitty” rugby boots?).

* Yes, I know what you’re all wondering, what happened to his last pair? They could not have been worn out, maybe he’d lost them in the bin bagging??


The Match
—————
With 12 players, it wasn’t going to be pretty.
It was very generous of Widnes though, to lend us a player.
In the first half, they lent us this guy (sorry I forget his name), who played really well for us. Clearly the Widnes intention was not to give us good players, as the guy was promptly taken back to Widnes for the second half, with him being told that thats the best he’s ever played!
The second half, we got Harry, who had a wonderful looking pair of legs. Sadly, Harry’s intention was to keep those fine legs looking that way.

Anyway, Sefton were competitive at times, and rugby was the winner. ‘Home’ rugby of course.

Andy-Depressants anyone?
————————————-
A nice dry day today, this meant Plastic Andy could bring out his handy pocket pack of Kleenex tissues on the field.
And he certainly wanted no time in using them, seemingly going down continually from the kickoff, with one different injury after another.
Surely he was getting more than 1 injury per contact? Because contact is not part of his game.
Or was he getting injured jogging from completed ruck to completed ruck? Maybe it hurts him to breathe?

The Sefton 3s patience was wearing thin, towards the end of the first half, contemplating a modern version of, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” *, when Andy went down yet again.
Sefton were more than happy to play on, with Andy’s prostate flat out on the ground. Perhaps we could take advantage of being this particular man down!!
Anyway, the Widnesonians eventually ask the ref to stop play. And it is only our unhappy Brummy prop, Mike Collins, who waddles over to the spreadeagled Andy....

Does he crouch down and stroke Andy’s brow and say he is awesome?
Does he call for an Ambulance to be rung immediately?
Does he even bother to find out what the problem is?
No, the grabs both Andy’s ankles, and slowly drags him the 20 metres to the sideline.
The ref was a bit uncomfortable. I think he knew about Andy’s ADHD issues, but he also had some duty of care.
He asks Mike, “Should you be doing this?”.
To which Mike says, “Its ok, I’m a St John’s Ambulance Man”.
The ref was more than happy with this, and promptly blew for half time.

NB. With the resultant furrow that Andy’s massive head left trailing behind, I don’t think Widnes will be having any drainage problems this year! (It actually did a good job on dispersing the puddle of Andy tears).

* No, not a story about “The Boy Who Cried”! We were thinking about the shepherd boy who kept misleading the villagers about a wolf shagging the sheep. Like Andy’s feigning injuries.


Handbags without Harper
————————————
With Sefton’s Alan Harper still to dispose of all those extra letters and packages at the Royal Mail depot, today was always going to be played in a good spirit, with amicable banter amongst the team, usually about the decisions of the ref, which, I must say, was consistent.

So there we were, happily playing away and patting each other on the back, when out of nowhere, there was some raised voices and a clutching of shirt fronts!!
Was it any one of the Widnes Team up against our “I don’t play rugby to make friends” Jamie Luck?
Was it any one of the Sefton Team up against Plastic Andy, urging him to grow a pair?
No, it was none other than Widnes’ normally placid 10, Dave, and one of Widnes’ young second rowers!!!
In house fighting - some real entertainment!!

It was quickly settled. No one knew what it was about
Maybe the second rower was disgruntled with the amount of kicking Dave had done, when perhaps utilising a constant 2 man overlap would have been more appropriate?
Or the fact that Dave was determined to be “The Water Boy”, and selfishly score ALL of Widnes’ points today.
One of life’s mysteries....


The Captain’s Unyielding Determination
——————————————————-
This is getting a bit uncomfortable now, with Captain Gore determined to have consistency in selection, and continuing to select McTeary at 9, ahead of, shall we say, more suitable 9s (eg, ex First Team Captain and 9, and ex Third Team Captain and 9).
Does it matter that the ONLY game the Threes have won this season, was when McTeary was not on the team sheet?
Clearly not.

Perhaps Gore is thinking of the legacy that he leaves at the Club?
Developing talentedless and unskilled players, regardless of their age.
Because surely, in the remaining 10 games, we MUST win a game, even with McTeary at 9.
And then Captain Gore could smugly insist on the word, ‘improvement’, and point to an almost horizontal learning curve.

But, the secret is out. The 3s strategy is, “We shall play McTeary at 9 till we win”.


What is the World Coming To???
——————————————————
You’ve probably heard me touch upon this before, namely, the effemination of our game.
We have seen the long hair, the shin pads, the leggings, the questionable injuries...
(I am pretty sure Lanky would wear a ponytail if the Lord didn’t have a sense of humour!).

This behaviour, and the rugby ‘accessories’, is bringing the core values of our game into disrepute. 
(Rumour has it, that they are letting women play now!).

Ok, I’m as open as the next guy, and some change may not be a bad thing, but what I saw today was pretty sickening…

In the changes, there’s Jamie Luck. He of the old-school, coming back from a crippling broken shoulder.
Jamie, who sustained the injury whilst playing for Sefton, and didn’t tell a soul about the incapacitation and tremendous pain he suffered all those weeks, until he finally went for an x-ray, that confirmed the fracture.
And he declined a plaster cast.
Jamie, whose toughness was honed in the Welsh Valleys, by the farmers and miners, who has led this Club from the front, whose 6-children-masculinity has never been questioned *, who was rugby’s man’s man.
Until today.

Watching him getting changed, I was horrified to see him pull out a pair of “boots", that could only be described as something that a highly paid soccer prima donna would wear. A striker.
These things were fluorescent, of yellow and orange, and soft.
They may as well have had “Little Kitty” on them!

Well! It was like learning that they’ve proved that Lance Armstrong didn’t really walk on the moon, or that Hitler had 2 testicles.
I was devastated. I couldn’t look Jamie in the eye (especially later in the showers).
I can honestly say, it was a massive blow on team morale. We were shattered.

During the game, you could see the effect on the opposition.
Widnes’ normally placid 10, Dave, was visibly incensed. I thought the referee showed great restraint in waiting at least 2 minutes after the kickoff before taking them both aside to make them shake hands. 
The Sefton players, the rest of us, we knew that those boots weren’t gunna get dirty today, so mentally, we were only 11.

I did notice that our prop, Brummie Mike, took an unhealthy interest in the boots 'impact'. But even he would have to admit that Jamie was no faster than before, and that Jamie actually skipped, rather than ran. 

They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes, I say, you shouldn’t watch them get changed.

* Ok, the first one, Louie, at 6 foot 3 and a fine head of hair. That could be disputed.


Summation
—————
Great fun today, wish we could play Widnes every week. Amazing that their old 9 is still going. At 66 he puts a lot of us to shame.

The ref handled himself very well, I was speaking to him after he game, he’s from Ruskin Park or West Park. We chatted over a beer, and I told him I thought he could be the next Brian Ball, and keep reffing until he is 90. 

As for the other Sefton Teams, you won’t be surprised to learn that the resurgent 2s had a great win, even with Captain Lanky in utter turmoil, trying to work out how to get all his substitutes on for a game.
Of course the 12 Third Team players were delighted for the Seconds, and that they are snuggly settled safely in mid table.

But what of the Sefton First Team? They certainly suffered today, spending most of their time in their own in-goal area, contemplating their brightly coloured boots, their shin pads and ponytails, wondering when the RFU will allow players to wear stockings…..
Doesn’t their Captain, the pugnacious Craig Johnson, know the safeword?

Quilter Kids First Skills Series: 1x1 rip

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other Division 4 West results

0
48
Ormskirk 2nd XV
To be arranged 14
Liverpool St Helens 3rd XV
19
5
West Park (St Helens) 3rd XV

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
7. Firwood Waterloo 3rd XV 13 28
8. Ormskirk 2nd XV 14 27
9. Sefton 3rd XV 14 24
10. Merseyside Police 14 24
11. Hoylake 2nd XV 11 22
12. Southport 3rd XV 11 20
13. Liverpool Collegiate 3rd XV 0 0

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