You are never sure how your first time is going to go, I only hope that this report will last a bit longer and not be followed by an apology. On April 16th 2016AD the 1s found themselves lining up against Barnsley RFC. With the main pitch having been reduced to the Somme by the earlier Old Boys vs. Leavers, the game was played on the top pitch which was in relatively good nick. With sunshine overhead conditions were perfect for some good running rugby in front of a vocal (and in no way partisan) crowd.
SHMEDs made a good start, with Tucker nudging a tidy grubber kick through within 5 minutes of the kick off to JP who latched onto it and dotted down in the corner, Mike D sinking the extras from the tee. The supporters were noticeably buoyed by this however Barnsley hit back, using their size advantage to apply concerted pressure onto the SHMEDs try line. One view on the touchline was that this advantage was due to the fact they had eaten their 2nd XV before kick-off but the blue line held firm, Jindoe and TD putting their heads into all sorts of trouble to get the chops in (something of a theme for the afternoon). Eventually their 12 popped up from deep and found a good line, going over under the sticks to make it 7-7. SHMEDs then ventured back to the oppo’ 22 and won a penalty as Chilton was decapitated taking a nice line, Mike duly kicked over, 10-7.
Barnsley attacked again and despite one of their centres getting smashed back to the East Riding, a penalty was given for side entry, giving them a chance to draw level. Not deterred SHMEDs unleashed a bit of razzle-dazzle, with Tucker and JP combining to send Mike over in the corner from 50 yards out making it 15-10. It was at this point the supporters befriended the Barnsley 11, offering moral support and guidance as he was left with little to do for much of the first half. The pressure continued right up until the interval with Wardy using head to bosh a defender out of the way, offloading to Jindoe who was duly flattened. However, in the excitement of making a ‘reet big tuckle’ the Barnsley player forgot to roll away and the penalty was slotted by Mike to make it 18-10.
A hush fell at the start of the second half as the supporters were still in the bar to ensure they were suitably warmed up before coming back to offer the opposition wingers more friendly advice. On the pitch however things were much more interesting, Mike pulling the strings again after some good phase play and carrying from the forwards to send Ramsey over under the posts, 25-10. Once again Barnsley hit back, with another gap in the rushed defence found and under the posts they went. The pressure came on again and Chilton got hammered, going off once the referee had eventually stopped play having realised he was not just listening to the grass. His respite was short lived as Paddy then got a bang to the head as he head-butted an opposition player’s fist repeatedly while trapped under a ruck...
After this the game opened up and a Barnsley counterattack from deep in their 22 brought them back to within a point at 25-24. This was followed by a moment of magic from Mike as he stepped and weaved his way through gaps tighter than ones Sion puts his fingers in to score a solo effort under the posts which he then converted. Causer got himself a cut above the eye and donned a white head band, claiming later it was alright as ‘chicks dig scars’, although the jury is still out on crusty steri-strips.
Barnsley came at Sheffield hard in the final 10 minutes and rumbled around every corner they could find looking for a way back into bonus point territory. Despite the collisions they had been involved in up to this point, the thin blue line (well thin in comparison) held as snow began to fall much to the disgust of those watching. However, a former esteemed DoR informed me it was just ‘transient snow’, and I trusted him as he was wearing walking boots so must know about these things. Lo and behold the clouds lifted and despite the power Barnsley possessed, SHMEDs matched them right up until the final whistle where it finished 32-24.
This was a performance that was a mix of champagne and grit (much like you get in a bottle from the Broomhill Brewery) with every player putting in a shift, especially in defence against a much heftier team. The crowds then quickly dispersed to ensure they had enough time to learn how to tie their new bow ties (with mixed results) and prepare for what was likely to be their last visit to the Hilton for the next few years.
Tries: Mike D (2), Ramsey, JP
Conversions: Mike D (3)
Penalties: Mike D (2)
p.s. special thanks must go to Sheffield Tigers for hosting us for the day, it was much appreciated by all.