Match report for Wyvern on 12th March 2011-03-14
In these chastened times with people expecting to work past the ‘normal’ retirement age, increased numbers doing part time work, all the back to work initiatives, getting people off benefits and back to work .............................. You may well think I’m banging on about Macro Economics but no it’s a quirk of life that Camp Hill 3’s often reflects life in the broader environment.
This microcosm manifested itself at around 11.00 on Saturday morning when my mobile lit up with Bloxy’s name. I hesitated to answer but couldn’t resist the chance to press the button and say ‘I love you’ It’s our usual greeting for each other; I’m just grateful it wasn’t one of his children pissing about. ‘I love you too, but I’m short’ came the response. It’s fantastic because it opens the floodgates to all sorts of conversational directions. Should I crack a ‘short’ joke like ‘you’re fat and generally unattractive as well’ or the other extreme of making crackling and whirring noises and putting the phone down. No like a complete fathead I let him continue ‘any chance?’ A meek ‘go-on then, where and what time?’
Back to work it was. It was a touch insulting to be left to so late in the day to be asked. They knew on Tuesday that they’d be short. They must have wracked their brains to try and find someone else. They knew I wasn’t particularly happy with my retirement game against Evesham a few weeks ago so they we’re just picking on someone in a vulnerable state although this is the complete opposite of Care in the Community.
Wyvern only have one team. They may not be brilliant, in fact in the past they’ve been decidedly crap, but they have shown signs of improvement of late and you have to admire a team that sticks together without the comfort blanket of a Camp Hill type infrastructure; that’s camaraderie and that’s always difficult to beat. Bloxy assured me that it would be ok because ‘they’re fat and useless’. Has he looked in the mirror lately? I have!
No Noddy, no Leysh, no Stonky, no Rogers, no Forest, not even a pikey Ali (must be away in his new caravan). Dog and Warren were probably sailing! I hear that someone broke Glen the week before. Ade Melhuish was on the missing list, Rich Hudson propping for the 2s made me laugh, Frank was away probably doing something extreme, Sheehan, Larry, Flembo, Lardy, Ellis, Floydy ...... it goes on. ‘Has anyone got Al Murray’s number?’ seemed an obvious question to me but in the main the people I was standing with just said ‘Al who?’ That’s how time moves on I suppose but it’s an uneasy feeling standing in the middle of it waiting to lock horns with a ‘fat old Wyvern prop’ who turns out to be twenty years younger than me and still has the ability to do his own boots up without dribbling and getting out of breath.
It was nice to see the changing room banter hasn’t changed. The kids had played in the morning and were still getting changed following an impressive battle with the touring Wigton Colts earlier in the day. I thought to myself that was another tuck-up as we’d played our 17s and younger Colts against a full Colts team although they’d far from disgraced themselves, but the 1st team changing room was a mass of testosterone, fat and sarcasm. In another life I ‘take care’ of the 17s and its really nice to see them making the gentle transition from junior to senior rugby. Part of the transition comes in the form of being verbally and in some cases physically abused by senior ‘players’ and it was nice to see them holding their own in this rarefied atmosphere.
Wyvern were far from crap, they had good forwards and better backs. In short they put us to the sword in the first half. We tried, which amounted to a lot of grunting and groaning but not a lot of going forward and every time they got the ball to the backs we were in trouble because we just hadn’t got the pace to compete. The increasing volume of barracking from the 17s on the touch line was problematic as they retaliated for the verbal abuse they’d received a few minutes earlier in the changing room. Bloxy, who was heard to say ‘a first team beating a 3rd team is no reason to celebrate like a footballer you useless tosser’ to one of the Wyvern players as they whooped and skipped around as another try went between the posts. We’ve had this debate before where teams seem to get tremendous pleasure in beating Camp Hill at whatever level. I’ve always taken it as a backhanded compliment.
The second half got better as Forest and Steve Ulliot had decided to grace us with their presence. I departed as did Forest (with a broken boot!!) and Guesty, but it was a significantly improved performance and we came off with a degree of self respect. On a personal level the game was remarkable for a couple of reasons, Jacko the Floydy look-alike referee who’s made it a mission to pick on me for the last twenty years had the afternoon off from plaguing front row forwards with dodgy decisions to play in a game and to my shame I didn’t take the opportunity to shoe the living daylights out of him as I’d had to depart the pitch before his arrival, and Bloxy moving to prop, one scrum later to call it uncontested, however he did manage to get one stunning pass away from a breakdown whilst filling a front row berth, which is something I’ve never seen before either from a prop or for that matter Bloxy.
In conclusion, Wyvern were better than us on the day, the ref was a nice bloke who obviously has a great future bouncing around 3rd team rugby matches for many years to come, Bloxy’s a nice twat as are the rest of the third team, and you can stuff the Big Society of giving freely and generously to those in need, stuff the Stakeholder Society of supporting a those with a vested interest, stuff the concept of part time work - I’m back in retirement, but will still leave my phone on, on a Saturday morning just in case.