Saturday 17th September 2011 – Merit League – Birmingham Civil Service v Camp Hill 3’s
SHAMBLES – PAIN – GLORY
Watched England – one more win, that makes it two, another will make it three and then we get the jocks. I don’t know what all the moaning is about, Scotland couldn’t score against Georgia and we scored 6 tries and we are still giving ourselves a hard time.
Got to the club at 1.30 (on time) expecting to see captain fantastic awaiting smoking a fag and studying his team sheet for our first Merit league match of the season. Birmingham Civil Service 2’s to be precise a lovely bunch of lads (as long as you are not their opposition). Now last time we played the land rover boys, well at least that’s where their ground is. Their 1’s did not have a game and quite rightly gave our under strength three’s that day a good hiding. With the merit league in full swing last week I said with great confidence that if their 1’s have got a game this one will be in the bag.
So, 1.45 pm, No Captain and a smattering of the usual lads waiting around. No worries at this point until on closer inspection 4 of the lads had been moved to the 2’s for the day, 3 of the old farts had gone to the Vet’s and 2 had apparently cried off, fan rucking tastic! More importantly with the various shuffling of people we ended up with no bloody Front Row!!!!! Called the Captain, he’s gone direct and adds some expletives as to how his morning has been. Can I get the lads over and we’ll sort it out there.
Arrive at the Land Rover ground to find we have 14 players our back row Hinksey (3 foot 2 inches tall) and Gary Owen are willing to step up to become FRUMAS for the day. Well that was until I think they remembered the 35 stone prop they would be packing down against for the next 80 mins, we were leant their own version of JD, well he was tanned at least (thanks Ian) so apart from Gary (oldest player for the team at 34) the average age of our pack was roughly 12, with an average weight of 12 stone. Sod it, we had a front row in spirit at least and went contested as we wished to compete! That meant that Russ moved from wing to Flanker and the backline consisted of 5 centre’s filling all the positions other than fatty 10 and fairy 15.
Did I mention the pitch, perfect for a fatty like me, the only fatty for Camp Hill that day but unfortunately perfect for the 14 fatties on their side. Picture the square footage of your house (not you frank) and its floor plan, now stick 15 fatties across it and you get an idea of the space our back line had to operate in. This would have been a problem but for the fact that the land rover boys who mostly looked like they had eaten themselves dominated the set piece for the next 40 minutes. Camp’s spent the vast majority of the half camped within our own 22 unable to win barely any of our own set piece ball which put us under massive pressure. With absolute credit to the whole team bar none we smashed them back until they started squealing, we leaked one try and got one back a breakaway from Captain Gump.
Towards the end of the first half with a number of the pack really suffering and our makeshift front row manfully continuing we took the decision that we needed to keep all our players on the field, by this time I don’t think there was a player who had not been on the receiving end of some friendly kissing at the bottom of the 70 or so ruck’s defended in that half, Service were obviously not enjoying the fact that our defence would not give. It was decided to go to uncontested for the second half, obviously Service were disappointed with this so the caveat was agreed that the 8’s could still run from the base. Cheers Gump.
Half time – B Civil Service 2’s 7 Camp Hill 7
The second half which, for 30 minutes became another defensive session with Service making the most of their lineout superiority and strong running they managed to dot down a couple of times, all be it one from a knock on of a couple of feet that the ref was unable to see???? Luckily their 15 'Kicker'(we’ll come on to him soon enough) missed one of his 2 conversions. With a more even footing at scrum time we started being able to run and on a couple of occasions made real headway, often running from our 22 as was the opportunity. Having gained a player at half time, who had decided apparently we were playing exiles that day (look at the website guys) allowed us to gain a full Camp Hill complement, so very selfishly Gary picked up a knock and had the leave the field. Ian, their JD look alike returned for us. A quick rally from Captain Gump explaining 12 points with 10 minutes to go was more than doable steeled us to greater excursions. Why work so bloody hard for the 70 minutes and not go for it! So knackered as we were we ran everything. A fantastic line break from second row / eight Ollie saw him in a 1 on 1 with their 15 the ‘Kicker’ who very kindly decided to attempt the tackle with both legs and feet. Ollie to his credit kept on and the resulting ruck on their line ended with ‘the kicker’ being penalised for dangerous play (ref took a little time to cover the distance from our 22 to their try line). Whilst I knew the law was on its way I though it pertinent to have a chat with ‘kicker’ and explain to him and anyone else who would listen (because i am normally such a quiet soul) what I thought of his antics. The ref then kindly asked me to stop and suggested he should deal with it. Upon restarting Captain Gump realising the opportunity looked to move it quickly and ran in for his second of the day which was converted.
5 minutes left, 5 points down and an angry service were determined to put the game to bed. Their kick off straight to Ian/JD saw him show enough of respect to his own pack charging down on him and decided to leave the ball completely for them to collect, only a knock on stopping their phase of play that had moved once again into our 22. As the players were dispersing from the ruck their lay a lonely figure who looked like he was having a nap. Jo Jo finally got to his legs to find they had stopped working so he was escorted from the field with a little help from his friends. From the resulting restart we span the ball again this time for Captain Gump to break the line and end up, yes you guessed it in a 1-on-1 with ‘Kicker’ who this time could not even be credited with attempting to use his arms with his legs in the tackle ‘dirty rucker’. This made me MAD!!!!!!! Anyway we scored and converted, C Gumps Hat trick Try (hope he’s got his money with him). So 21-19 to camps, last restart from the Service another couple of minutes of bodies on the line defence from Camps and we saw the game out.
Full time B Civil Service 19 – Camp Hill 3’s 21
I wasn’t going to write this report, more couldn’t be bothered as I had been in Wales most of the week but thinking about tomorrow another Saturday another game and quite possibly a very different team to the one I played in for this our first Merit league game and first victory proper of the season I thought it deserved to be recorded.
Even at two tries down and with very little territory all game I had the pleasure of playing with a group of lads, 8 or so having not actually even reached puberty and against a much older, bigger team put their bodies on the line, never giving up and actually relishing their defensive duties on the day. The result is we produced a team performance of a like I have not seen in a good few years, we kept on going and achieved the result we deserved.
So Jack, Jo Jo, Hartley, Ollie, Hinksey, Blakemore JNR, Kieran, Flembo Jnr, Steve, Russ, JD / Ian, Whooley, Will, Forest and Gary thanks for another one to put in the memory banks.
Happy Birthday Captain – You owe us a jug for your 3 tries a jug for not having any money to buy a jug and a Yard of ale to be purchased and consumed at the next 3’s drinkypoo’s.
The infant who played at 7 for us Will Power. Outstanding he must have nailed their 8 on the pickup and charge at least 10 times during the game
Whine of the week - Their 7, more out of disbelief than anger I think at Will Power weighing in at 8 pounds and 2 ounces dump tackling their tight head 18 stone ish! Ooosh!