The Tourists arrived at the cage in drips and drabs on a glorious Saturday afternoon, with the BBQ prepped, music flowing and the sun out - it was clear the last game of the season was to be a good'un. There were a couple of new faces to the fold, two being mates of mine (one cousin never played before) and a lad from Racca Dacca, finally exchanging players to make it a two way street. In typical Tourist's fashion, not everything went to plan as the referee decided to finish their season one day early, so Glenn our Club Captain honourably stepped up to the plate and finally put all those refereeing classes to good use.
There was a sense of danger amongst the good vibes flowing thanks to Biggie Small's blaring in the background together with the lacklustre warm up that we weren't treating this game with the intensity it required. Yuppie was aware of this and gave his troops a rousing speech to get the blood flowing prior to kick off, it worked. From the off our pack was attacking everything in site against their experienced opposite numbers who could not bide enough time to create anything against the Tourist's aggressive defence. I cannot recall many exact details looking in from the backs, but our scrum was on the whole was solid which allowed Ciaran (now Magnum) at 8 to pick and go and which always gained yards (for 6'4 his runs were more slippery than bulldozing). It did not take too long for one of these runs to create space where Ciaran nearly managed to throw a forward pass with 4 on 1 overlap, but luckily it pulled off and we were off the mark. Special mentions go to ping pong, Thumbs and Sam Skinner who seemed to jump on any loose balls / passes and amongst others I think managed a few turnovers. In the backs, Cal was very effective at 9, with sniping runs and good passing that allowed Will at 10 to play 'hands' over and over...to good effect. In fairness when we tried to change it up James (Coat hanger) at 13 kept saying why change a working formula (although I think the plays were somehow confusing him). By half time the game was effectively over as we had 3 / 4 tries to one (Glen letting the injured oppo player on the try line be a useful distraction to us to allow them through).
The second half was more of the same with good build up play from the pack and some handy line out turnovers to allow the backs to make scything runs. It has to be said at this stage the score line could of been a lot better but there were a number of butchered chances (bad passes, poor hands, etc). None more so to blame than myself! As my cousin Declan stated (now named ATM) who feels I didn't give a pass to him for a certain try on the wing. The second half brought about a ref change to one of Gravesend subs as Glenn had to do his nails and this seemed to spur the oppo who did not lie down and kept plugging away, resulting in another try for their efforts (I forget the build up - I imagine sensational). Soon the Tourist's took control again with some more tries most of which were down to good pick and go's with good support. In the end of a good natured game the Tourist's were victorious with a score of 35-12.
Special mention's: Lawrence at full back who dealt with high balls with ease and countered well as well as scoring most of our conversions and Declan (ATM) for his first competitive game although his reasoning for not tackling their huge prop who bounced him two metres back was that he 'didn't want to break his ribs' in the tackle....
Everyone played well and our defence was solid, the oppo were a good set of lads, providing us a bottle of port at the end of the game, which didn't last long. Cheers.
To next season!
(By Niall Flannery - Teenwolf)