It was a wet day on Saturday, with puddles all over the pitch, and mud all over the park as remnants of the footballing community had kindly re-turfed out pitch to remove all residual grass ready for sowing of new grass seed. Some players had forgotten to change the alarms to be at the slightly earlier kick off time of 2.15.
Before the kick off of the match the 1st and 2nd teams lined with our opposition on the first pitch to pay our two minutes of respect for remembrance day. After the whistle blew, a round of applause rang out and we went of to our respective pitches.
Team talk today, don’t leave a man behind, be the man who commits, and lay your body on the line and a massive squeeze got us ready to go.
They kicked off, and from then on, we were ferocious. From a captain perspective, I have never seen such rugby from our twos, the tackle count was huge, our physical game was met with hardened force and we fronted up and met them up front in defence. We did spend most of our time in our half defending against battering rams, but we held strong, and didn’t let a lot through.
Amongst the eb and flow of the game you could tell this was going to be a physical game, we had similar game plans in place, feed it to the forwards, let them run it up until someone breaks the line and then run it quick. At one point TV’s Ed Rodgers managed to tackle one of their players, win the ball and then get flipped over his own head onto the floor behind himself to then be set upon by a rather thuggish looking crony which may have started off a few fisty cuffs from some smaller members of our team.
30 minutes in we had lost Bill Cam to a Neck injury and Michael Bush to a cracking black eye which would have made the ladies swoon.
They tried to get grasp some early points 10 minutes in, but missed a kickable 3 points, and after 30 or so minutes of hard graft, they finally managed to maul their way from a lineout over the line and scored their first points. A well earned try which they failed to convert.
The half time whistle came, some tired bodies out there, and a very fresh bench ready and waiting. Niggles were kicking in, and breaths were deep and sweaty.
The second half kicked off and they made their presence known by battering more players up and starting to wind it out into the backs a bit more with their nimble centre dashing through numerous tackles. We managed however to make our way down into their territory for a lineout call that we won and started a ruck which we then lost due to me talking to the ref too much and got our advantage over turned.
We unfortunately bled three more tries, one of which was converted. Some reinforcements from the bench came along including some boys from Market Harborough (thanks lads!) to keep the boys rolling.
In the dying minutes still with nil on the scorecard, we got pushed back and back amongst a further battering of tackles, and we ended up on our 5 yard line weathering a storm in the last play of the game. They crashed up and won a penalty. They crashed up again and won another penalty. They crashed up again and won another penalty. And again…
… I mean 4 penalties against us. Literally no idea what they were for, but there we are…
...and then there was a collision of heads and Sak and Bill decided to lose all special awareness and collide with each other knocking them both out. The opposition showed mercy and allowed themselves to settle for a missed 3 point opportunity instead.
Despite everything, I am immensely proud of our boys for their aggressiveness and determination. Special mentions to Bill for being a brave soldier and working really hard, Ed Rodgers for some outstanding tackles, George Rees for some brilliant chasing, dodging and general agility.
Man of the Match goes to Adam John however for doing a solid 80 at prop and sticking to despite everything being thrown his way. A monumental effort.
Dick of the day however - I think I had better own up to taking that for being a blabber mouth to the ref. Although special mention to Sak for knocking Bill out.