Uxbridge Second XV beat Civil Service Barbarians in last play of the game
In a game that had it all- Uxbridge Second XV win right at the death
The weekend had started like any other- the normal excuses for not playing, the backs saying they had to wait in for their jeggings to be delivered by Asos and the forwards missing due to a 2-for-1 at Greggs coming through at the last minute. Even some players who had still said they would play had to be chased and reminded of the game as they hadn’t bothered to check their watches to see what time it was.
We rocked up at the new Thunderdome (prison yard) pitch with 14 men, several standing only with the help of several rolls of tape and boxes of supermarket home brand painkillers (using Nurofen at £3.20 a packet would be like a second mortgage in the numbers needed for some of the walking dead-even just to make it down to the pitch!)
The warm up was interesting at one point the backs only move was “hands” to anyone else this would just be passing the ball and not one for the play book. The forwards went through several lineout variations even the most basic calls proving taxing for their simple brains and things looked ominous.
The teams kicked off on the stroke of 2.15pm, Uxbridge with a great hanging ball to the opposition CSSC Barbarians and the pressure was on (CSSC were a great set of lads but their named caused me problems all day as I had to explain it to nearly every single bloody Uxbridge player what it stood for). This ended after several phases later with our 10, Sean McAndrew (well normally a hooker but this is 2nd team rugby after all) smashing over the line for an early try.
CSSC came back at us and showed their class a little while later with the captain and prop smashing our line for the visitor’s first try.
The game ebbed and flowed with McAndrew going over again in a similar fashion to before and the visitors returning honours.
30-ish minutes in and playing a good game Uxbridge lost another man and were down to 13.
At some point both teams scored with our scrum half Cellan Ellis going over the line to return fire with the other team. The difference CSSC converted their efforts and Uxbridge missed theirs leaving us 17-21 down and with time running down though not quickly!!! (Einstein’s theory of relativity states that time and space are not constant as was proved on Saturday by the refs watch seemingly stuck around the 14 minute mark)
With lungs burning, bodies in tatters and time into single figures, mercurial skipper Eoin Donnelly rallied the team and (Dan Tilyer now in the backs as he kept trying to break tackles using his neck) after a solid 40 mins playing two men down Uxbridge ended up in CSSCs 22.
The first of a then massive set of scrummages (Uxbridge going to eight finally in the scrum after playing all game with a man down) led to penalty after penalty each time Uxbridge opting for the scum again. On the 9th time of popping up or wheeling the scrum the ref had, had enough and gave CSSCs prop 10 mins in the bin.
Great credit to CSSC for not taking the easy option of going uncontested with a player stepping into the sizable hole left by the departed prop (3rd scrum in he asked what was on the menu after the match-good to see there is still some proper rugby players in this protein shake warm-down world) yellow card.
Uxbridge pack dug deep and with bodies moist with perspiration, muscles glistening in the fading light pushed on inch by inch shoving the CSSC pack backwards showing an athleticism not witnessed since Super Saturday 2012 resulting in either Cellan Ellis or Sean McAndrew depending on who you talk to scoring a try taking the score to 22-21 but with time for the kick off.
The nerves showed as Uxbridge knew a clean catch and kick and we had won. CSSC put in a great long kick which was well taken by Stefan Manners and kicked out for an epic win.
Slight disclaimer: some of the above has been slightly embellished or time lines confused due to several factors not least I spent a large portion of the match nestled in the glorious cleavage of their No.3 and my view was limited, plus I smashed down a few pints afterwards, then went home for some Merlot and ended up on gin and Ribena so I’m a little fuzzy on the details.
I will say I’ve played rugby for 30 years and that was one of most enjoyable games I’ve taken part in and big thank you to everyone who turned out for both teams.