Spirit strong as iron.....
Thank you Ironsides for a great reminder of what it’s all about.
Harrodians 43 Irons 12
6 Nations is a wonderful competition for many many reasons and of course we all have our favourites carried upon a blinded loyal passion which deepens year upon year regardless of outcome and there is nothing wrong with that. Thus it’s with this in mind I believe rugby offers more than the mere spectacle on the pitch, but a more impactful and longer lasting 'back bone' which we all carry; our challenge is to ensure the younger players in our wake develop the same backbone for the right reasons.
With no game last week our next fixture was competing in a newly created Surrey Vets Cup, or something like that, which had us drawn to play the unknown Battersea Ironsides and excitedly to play down at the cash stricken Met Police enviable sports centre facilities at Imber Court!
Yet as the fixture and social schedule is so hectic at this time of year we had to find a Friday night slot which is why we ended up under floodlights at Imber Court. Of course for yours truly, having once come up behind an unmarked police car on the M25 at 80mph+ and flashing him to move over always leaves me nervous of frequenting such establishments!!
The boys arrived in really good time and they were soon under floodlights going through a well drilled warm up orchestrated by stand in Captain Big Al; Skips carrying all manner of old age injuries, was going to watch the boys perform! We also had managed to pick up some new players thanks to the endeavours of the 'flying Stallion Si Curran' who brought down ‘Dobbo’ and his clean boots for the bench and also fresh faced Jimbo at 3.
Irons were slow to take to the field and the perception of their lethargic approach to the fixture would soon prove to be a bad judgement on our part! From the start we were quick to be all over Irions sending the ball wide to Pins and great vision always from Maysee and of course Dracula too; and Jimbo was soon in the action too with brilliant rucking and speed of delivery at the breakdown.
Barney was also involved in great interplay with Maysee and Pins and working off scraps where Beaker and Jimbo worked tirelessly to create fast ball! But, Irons soon came back at us when we were two tries up and a cloud of complacency descended over us and, they used their strong powerful pack to thump holes and soon scored. As you would expect Big Al stepped up as the voice or reason followed by Pacehole and JC all who had wise (ish) words to help steady us back into form!! Marty despite speaking in indecipherable Welsh/Kiwi had a cracking game at loose-head and worked hard in the line out where we had to work hard against Irons. Jimbo slotted in really well and was solid in the set piece and worked tirelessly in support especially following up great breaks by Sammy and Horse.
So with more Maysee magic we scored again and started to stamp our authority on Irons with brilliance from Pins, Nick H, Lewis and at-last, after months in hibernation, Jose demonstrated that he hasn't lost any of his shine despite a timid knock-on with the first touch of the ball! But yet again we went quite and Irons put together an exceptionally well worked try and showed Great Spirit in their dogged determination to not lie down! Beans and Jonno were immense in the row and gave Jimbo a great platform to cope with a very powerful Irons pack, It would be great to see more of him and Georg when he comes to play for us!!!
Irons were made of hard grit and continued to attack with real purpose and it's testament to that attitude that sadly one of their newer players Paul Grey suffered a terrible injury from falling awkwardly in a tackle dislocating and breaking a bone in his left leg. The referee rightly brought the match to an early conclusion and our attentions turned to trying to make Paul slightly more comfortable aided by an excellent Physio who knew exactly how to manage the situation.
About 90 mins later a couple of great Paramedics had Paul safely on his way to hospital and I've been told that he will be operated on Sunday most likely requiring screws and a plate and a lot of rest as he itches the plaster cast over the coming weeks!!
Paul's attitude was brilliant and he never complained once despite his pain, it says a lot about Irons who joined us in a really good post match drink and boat race, (another Harrodian win) late into the evening!
So as I said at the beginning, there is much 'we' all have to pass on to the younger generations to appreciate what rugby is really about and if Friday night was anything to go by, from the ref to Physio, to both teams, Imber's friendly bar staff and the spirit the whole game was played in, there is a very strong backbone running through Vets rugby at the moment!
Can't wait to host Irons at our humble abode at Barnes RFC and do it all again incident free…..
Tries: Barney x 2, Si C x 2, Marek, Sam, Big Al
Cons: Barney x 2, Marek and Sam one each
We will go on top meet Esher in the semi final and no doubt another Floodlit Friday fixture. This Saturday we are off as many of us recover from what will be an Epic Barnes RFC City lunch….can’t wait!!