What a game! Where do I start.
I have to begin with Hatfield RFC who were instrumental in my decision not to retire with their FB encouragements. A community team with an ethos that celebrates its town, encouraging rugby participation. Two things about Hatfield rfc spring to mind; Firstly, in the 3 years that I have played them, their shirt colours have changed radically! I have seen them wear scarlet (homage to Taffy), all black (a homage to the kiwis that seem to appear in other opposition teams) and their current green and yellow(a homage to Hendon?) – which one is it? I think the red, yellow and green tie on a black background may be a tribute to Hatfield’s hitherto undocumented Rastafarian history. Please educate me on this?
The second thing about Hatfield is that Gillette is definitely not sponsoring them there given the amount of beards in display! I believe that since Jamie Beeney has returned to coaching he has imposed the rule stipulating that you won’t get selected unless you have facial hair. This exclusion policy for clean shaving has paradoxically doubled their squad size.
On their players, one particularly stood out-Chris Archer. He returned more clean shaven than most with his erstwhile afro hairdo clipped (not saying much given the above) after an absence and it is a priviledge to be on the same pitch as him! His was the most significant moment of the match when he took a catch at the front of a line out and crashed over in the corner. I even celebrated that try even though I was on the opposition!! You may ask why I am only mentioning Hatfield front rowers so far-I have never known a club to have so many front rowers and put 2 teams out with 3 props not actually playing! I was in my element in the Town inn, sharing drinking duties with fellow props talking about scrums! Rugby heaven !!
Back to the match-sorry about the diversion I will try and focus now!
It started with trying to distract us by a long arduous walk full of hazards, lugging kit from the carpark, crossing mountains and rivers, past female hockey players , eventually reaching the pitch tired , dazed and confused. We didn’t show it though , scoring converted 4 tries in the first 20 minutes . Hatfield fought back after half time with quick 3 tries of their own-I believe the ubiquitous Toby G claimed one of them and it was two way, fast flowing free running rugby that was nothing like the first half. The calculators roughly nailed down the final score. Conversions seemed to make the difference to the winning margin.
Man of the match and principal reason why OM’s early advantage proved significant was Louis ‘L’Oiseau’ Bird. Everytime Mad Dog went on his rampages from FB, L’Oiseau was fearless in being the first to meet and greet him in the tackle. Countless counterattacks were curtailed by L’Oiseau’s textbook technique.
Champagne moment for Oms is so much harder to call so sorry guys, I have to laboriously go through everyone’s claims. Everybody, as a team contributed! From a slimmed down shrunken Jamie Marcou at 1 who scrummaged well to Rob Morris who plays with such freedom and joi-de-vivre at 15. Rob has Mabulla written all over him with creativity, fun and imagination. At hooker, Fraser lays a claim for constantly trying to steal a try-Most comically from Paul Wyllie when Paul crossed the line, Fraser tried to rip the ball from his hands and lied on top of the ball, looking up to the ref inquisitively who correctly pointed to Paul when awarding the try. The number 3, constantly , and in my humble opinion not totally unfairly nor unreasonably got himself penalised for offside at rucks. However atonement was achieved at one ruck where the correct entrance was made, a steal effected and a try ensued. Paul Wyllie ran some eccentric lines at 2nd row showing off his pirouette skills and Danny ‘ I may look like a winger but I am actually a 2nd row’ Weller made tackle after tackle guaranteeing possession at key moments. The Samoan just loves to carry the ball in contact and just looks scary! Another claimant is Panny who loves advertising his hairy bottom to his own teammates! Every time he carries the ball, his shirt goes up and his shorts go down (denying gravity laws ) to the result that his prudish team mates don’t always follow him into rucks as much as they should.
Lawrence ‘Me in the 2nd row-you cannot be serious’ Ford put his broad range of rugby skills to good effect on his return . He just executes all the necessary tecniques correctly in terms of tackling, rucking and disctribution. He just has a flawless all round game that is team focussed. Rob ‘Put me in the 2nd row if that is what you want to do’ Bevan is another rugby Jack of all trades. Despite issues around his hairstyle, he is another one who plays selflessly for the team cause- A subscriber to the mabulla cause if ever there was one. Steve ‘ I am a Kiwi and I go anywhere’ literally lived up to this epithet, filling in …..everywhere from 2nd row to wing.
The half backs deserve a special mention. Tom is a more unorthodox and adventurous version of his more celebrated older brother James and takes himself far less seriously. This is more what’s needed as his forwards understand him better. He doesn’t try to complicate things. Jack Fitzpatrick embraced his 10 shirt with panache, offering speed with style.
I wont talk about our skipper PRH because , in the 7 seasons of doing my job, he has had more column inches in match reports than the rest of the team put together which leads me nicely on to Blazej. An intellectual and physical powerhouse, he keeps informing the rest of the team that he does actually own 3 pairs of trousers. He always turns up in beach shorts to games in sub-arctic conditions which toughens him up for contact which he relishes. An enigmatic combination of brain and brawn in equal measure.
Finally I need to mention the non-playing team members who have contributed massively to the overall team spirit. Jeremy ‘top two inches’ Graves would have played had he not damaged himself during Touch rugby at training, again oozes intellectual gravitas on and off the pitch and a final mention goes to Chris Roycroft who is a reluctantly appointed match day team manager who just adds a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ to proceedings.
I would like to apologise to all readers on the Tolstoi unneccesary length of these reports, especially if you have to read them in your lunch hour. I was too busy to do one last week so this one is to make up for that.
MABULLA MABULLA MABULLA HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!