The people’s front of Wotton RFC returned to action on Saturday 8th September for their final pre-season game. As with the previous game there were several absentees including devout Wotton disciples Alex Irons, James Needs, Tom Gibbs and Chairman Dai Lloyd (injury). A final attempt had been made to resurrect the career of Wotton’s talisman Gareth ‘Mr Rugby’ Davies but despite the hopes and prayers of all Wotton RFC fans, there was to be no second coming.
However, following a productive training session on Thursday, there was growing optimism in the Wotton camp and a feeling of ‘what have those absentees ever done for us.’ In the end it was decided that apart from:
• Attending Committee Meetings
• Acting as Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and Combination Rep of the Club
• Attending multiple committee related RFU meetings
• Various fundraising efforts and tour organising
• Securing lineout ball
• Acting as a human wrecking ball and winning multiple turnovers
• Orchestrating attack and defence from fly half
• Scoring multiple match winning tries
• Making thundering tackles from full back
• Winning multiple awards for outstanding all round commitment to the club
…what have they ever done for us?
Wotton’s build up to the game had been excellent, largely thanks to the efforts in training and pre-game of its 3 wise men: coaches Justin ‘you’ve all been told’ Barton & Peter ‘That frankly makes no sense’ White and Chairman Dai ‘Myrrthyr’ Lloyd. Further to this, Wotton were further boosted by the return of Tom ‘The Messiah’ Horton to his rightful role on the wing. Having spent much of the off season in the gym and eating only from the juniper bushes local to Berkeley, the now athletic winger stood silently focused, prior to kick off.
The game kicked off with Wotton immediately on the offensive. Wotton’s mobile pack were ferocious in attack and repeatedly made huge headway into Yatton’s half. Sticking devoutly to the plans laid down by the 3 wise men it was a simple as A, B, back to A, B, back to A again and then C. There was strong running from Wotton’s front row forwards with Captain Sam Chappell leading the charge alongside fellow front rowers Dan Isaacs and Jon Muckle who were both ferocious in the loose. Wotton dominated in both the scrums and lineouts with second row Tristan Willis and back rows Ben Jones and Matt Barton ensuring that Wotton both won their own ball and stole much of Yatton’s. Whenever Yatton did threaten they were met with fierce resistance, especially from Mark Astley who secured several turnovers.
The backs were also imposing themselves on the game with Wotton’s debutant at 9, Tom Barton delivering lightning fast ball to his backs. This allowed Wotton’s try machine Dan ‘Bwian’ Page to score 2 early tries. With Wotton so dominant it was only a matter of time before Tom ‘The Messiah’ Horton scored in the corner and began his own try count for the season. The first 20 minutes of play ended with Wotton’s debutant at flanker, Ben Jones, receiving an outstanding double miss pass from scrum half Tom Barton to score his first try for Wotton.
With Wotton so dominant after 20 minutes and a Yatton player succumbing to injury, the writing was very much on the wall for Yatton (Yatton ite domum). With the game played in excellent spirits and just being a friendly Wotton were happy to lend Yatton a player or 2. To their very great credit, Yatton fronted up in the second 20 and gave Wotton a much sterner test.
Wotton had made several substitutions of their own with James ‘Loretta’ Weeks and Huw Edwards coming into the Wotton pack and Al Boshier taking up a place on the wing. Wotton initially struggled to make an impact with Yatton providing strong resistance, but their back line was beginning to purr and no 10 Dan ‘Pontius’ Hart, who is growing in confidence with every game, was now pulling the strings. Hart released his strong runners in Chris Stokes and Dave Ferraby and they both made significant inroads into the Yatton half. A slick move from the backs was again finished off as Hart was able to ‘welease’ Dan ‘Bwian’ Page for his hat trick. That was the only try that Wotton managed in the second 20-minute period.
Half time brought talk of a miracle - a reported sighting of Justin Barton on the pitch, but these rumours were quickly dispelled however by the players who had no recollection of this event.
The second half kicked off in much the same way as the first. This time however the Wotton backs ran riot. With Dan ‘Pontius’ Hart pulling the strings there was another try for Dan ‘Bwian’ Page, a powerful drive over the line for Chris Stokes and Wotton’s new number 10 scored his first try for the club. Tom ‘The Messiah’ Horton almost went in for his second try but was stopped just short of the line by a huge hit from an unnamed Yatton player. Yatton again were denied any points thanks to ferocious tackling from Huw Edwards and Mark Astley.
With Yatton now tiring and injuries beginning to take their toll Wotton leant more players to the opposition, including Tom ‘The Messiah’ Horton. This proved to be fatal for one member of the Wotton team. As ex Russian International Gary Alexanderov made a break down the blind side he found himself 2 vs 1 against the last man. Drawing the defender, he delivered a perfect pass into the hands of the man calling outside him. Sadly, this cheeky call proved to be from Wotton’s messiah, Tom ‘Biggus’ Horton, who, now playing for the opposition, promptly turned on his heels and stormed off down the wing. Turns out, he’s not the messiah……
As the game drew to a close Wotton winger Al Boshier was denied his first Wotton try, tackled just short of the line and there was just time enough left in the game for James ‘Loretta’ Weeks to make a storming run into the opposition half and release Mark Easton to score in the corner.
The game ended with Wotton winning 57-0. Wotton scored 9 tries and fly half Dan Hart scored 6 excellent conversions. His all-round performance was excellent, and he was unlucky to miss out on the man of the match award. This was awarded to scrum half Tom ‘Cipriani’ Barton who has a wonderful game, delivering quick ball and making several breath-taking passes.
Sincere thanks must also be conveyed to all those who came to support Wotton especially the injured players who kept the team hydrated, Steve Wilkins and Steve ‘Naughtius Maximus’ Black and all the supporters who turned up.
This friendly match was also played to help raise money for the Wotton defib fund and all match fees from both sides were donated to this cause. Wotton RFC would like to express their sincere thanks to Yatton for also donating their match fees to this excellent cause. Wotton RFC would also like to sincerely thank all those members of the team who helped run the bbq on Friday and Saturday to raise tour funds; notably Jon Muckle, Mark Easton, Tristan Willis and Al Boshier.
Wotton will return to action for their first league game away to Yate on Saturday 15th September, K.O. 14:30. Training continues Thursday evenings at KLB School at 6:45pm. New players of all abilities are always welcome and can contact Chairman Dai Lloyd for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org . There will also be additional fitness sessions available on Tuesday evenings at 7:30pm at KLB. At just £3 a session these are an absolute bargain!