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Mayfair Occasionals (4th XV) - Match centre

Mayfair occasionals
Dorking 3
Sat 8 Mar 15:00 - League Kickoff 15:00

Mayfair Occaisionals 38 - 0 Sutton & Epson

We rode into Sutton on a train called 'Redemption'... and even managed to get off at the right station this time.

The story of this week’s game really began on Friday afternoon, we were all happily getting on with our regular Fridays; I was broking a massive deal in the city, Calvert was getting stuck into another long ‘business’ lunch, OJ was reading other club’s matchreports and firing me and Calvert inane emails – (although OJ isn’t officially a captain, we do keep him on retainer as a consultant).

Suddenly the call came through from Jane (our fixture sec) that Dorking had cried off. Desperate not to have to cancel another game after a terrible run of weather induced cancellations, we sprang into action looking for a new fixture. At first there was nothing… then up popped an away game in that British holiday hot spot Bognor Regis…. Yes Bognor Regis. Still clinging to the idea of a game of sorts OJ began researching ‘Party Buses’ to drive us there and back on Saturday. But knowing we struggle to travel to Chobham – getting a full 15 to Bognor seemed a stretch. Keeping Bognor on the burner we looked for another oppo. FINALLY at 16:30 Sutton and Epson threw their name into the hat and offered a fixture but only if we travelled to them. “To the phones!” was the call as we frantically phoned everyone that had said they’d be available.

Anymore than 2 drop outs and the game was a non-starter. With calls straight out of the Boiler Room, most conversations went along the lines of “I don’t care how your day was or what’s new with you or that your baby is being sick… give me one word; are you in or out?”

17 fine Occies answered with an unwavering “IN!”. Even the lesser-spotted Lee Bod answered the call, a player that has previsouly been spotted near the Wetlands centre, but experts had recently called into question his existence fearing extinction.

Dorking may have denied us the chance of a rematch, but S&E had given us an equally appealing opportunity to put right the injustice of when they fielded half their 2s in a league game.


At so to Saturday.
The sun was out and the ground was dry – conditions looked ideal. But something was missing. We were struggling to shake off our journey…. Queue the ‘formally-reserved-for-special-occasions- but-now-considered-fairly-standard-angry-Suki-teamtalk. A few Fs and Cs later and there was grit in the stare of each Occie in the circle.

From the outset we were in control, but not for a moment was this going to be an easy game. S&E were a big physical team. Notably with a 10 and an outside centre that were craving contact. Playing up hill and with the bright sun in our eyes we knew they were going to challenge us with the high ball, kicking for deep. Fortunately we had Jonny still in a rich vein of form covering our collective back. The first ten minutes was spent in attack. We ran good strong lines. There were lots of off loads and support runs. Finally after a campaign of marching up the field at an eager defence we were rewarded with a try. Tom Santa spotted a Rick Moranis sized hole at the fringe of the breakdown diving to ground the ball over the line.

The second try followed another long period of attack from the Occies. The eventual flow of play was through the backs hands out to Martin on the wing who popped it back in to Tom Theakston who showed us his gas running a great line leaving his opposite man in the dust. Sadly Theako had to go off soon after with a flared up old hip injury.. hope you have a speedy recovery.

One of my favourite moments soon followed. After a botched lineout from oppo. OJ finds himself in the uncomfortable position of being a forward, with the ball in hand, and too much space to play with. Without a clear target to run at he took off on a course straight across the pitch. Deciding that Occie backs do enough crab running anyway, I can only assume that, in an attempt to straighten up, he turned the wrong directionto start running towards our own try line. Realising the error of his ways he decided it was time for the offload….straight into Suki’s throat….

Although this was a great moment, its wasn’t quite good enough to claim the coveted d!ck of the day prize. That goes to our man Jean. When S&E, who had been struggling with their kicking game, overcooked a kick that landed well into our try line, Jean with plenty of time spare retreated to collect the ball. The Occies drew a collective sigh of relief as we saw the ball appear to be in safe hands. But rather than a simple grounding to gain a 22 drop-out Jean decided to give our defence a challenge, by running with the ball about 3 yards and spooning it out for a 5 metre opposition line out. Take a bow my friend.

The Occies scored one more before the end of the half, much the same as the first, the entire team worked to get the ball up the field to within striking distance for Tom Santa to give a little dummy out to Huw and jump over the line for a second time.

For the first time in a long time we only had one flanker on the teamsheet (don’t tell Fitzy, but that last sentence is all part of a cunning secret plan to subliminally reaffirm the message that really he’s a front rower) which allowed Calvert to revert back to his regular position of choice. Happy to be back at flanker Calvert threw himself around in defence, managing to this hold on to his “I never miss a tackle” mantra.

Filling the 8 shirt was Steve Ball, a returning Occie, who actually returned to London in November but didn’t want to tell anyone –Cheers Steve. Spotting an opportunity for a good running game on a wide dry pitch Ballsy decided to introduce a secret calling system between no8 and scrum half to decide at each scrum who got the ball. In true northern fashion Ball wanted the calls to be class-based. Anything chavvy was a Number 8 pick up, anything posh was to be left to Tom Santa to deal with. There were some obvious calls; mushy peas, vauxhall nova clearly being for Ballsy to take. Pheasant shooting, and caviar were clearly mine…. However, the seemingly flawless plan did cause some confusion when I called Eel Pie (obviously the East London delicacy) but Balls heard “Ale Pie”. Not being sure with class legitimately laid claim to the homely Steak and Ale Pie there was a moment of confusion as we debated at the back of the scrum who should go. Over the course of the game Steve made some fantastic breaks from the back of the scrum.

Also our very own row-of-woe (Dai and Paul) wreaked havoc both in the lineout and with their running game, consistently breaking tackles and crossing the gain line. Paul even discovered that phases didn’t always have to finish once contact is made… the humble pass was also an option. Over the course of the day Paul gave some great offloads. One such offload put Jean in for a huge try darting 40 odd yards to score in the second half – his first of two tries that more than made up for his earlier indiscretion.

With the weather finally onside the Occies were able to revert back to their strongest game. Fast paced with lots of passing. It was a great display of rugby. Huw and Lee had great games at 10, both controlling the flow of the game well and being able to catch the sh!t that was being shovelled at them making Santa look good. Suki, Theakston and Gwill all had outstanding running games.

The running game was really working for us on Satruday. Our match fitness for a team that does not train is truly impressive. Another great try and display of hands (after a fantastic line out from the pack) saw the ball in the procession of one half or our French-axis-of-gas. Charging ahead beating his opposite man, Martin was left with only the full back in front of him. Just as he hit contact he managed to offload the ball to our perennial support runner OJ who managed to run the try in, taking his yardage stats back up to net positive. It was a beautiful try but S&E still tried to call foul with a forward pass....
In the finest of French accents, equalled only by John Cleese in The Holy Grail, Martin turned to the man he had just bested and said " 'ow can it be a forward pass? My 'ands went backwards!" At this his opposite man could only laugh and accept the rationale.... if only Martin had followed up with "now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!".

All in all – it was a great game. Both pack and backs played well. A special mention has to go to our front row (ahem Fitzy – another subliminal message). Hitman, Fitzy and Alex had a great time dominating a heavier pack. Turning their scrums into a 50/50 ball helped our caused no end!

DOD: Jean (even though you had a cracking second half)
MOM: Tom Santa
Scorers: Tom Santa x2, Jean x2, Tom Theakston, OJ
Conversions: Lee x4

Random fact: in our last 3 games, one team has been held to 0 points. We held both Hampstead and S&E to clean sheets… but sadly Law Soc did the same to us in the middle.

Lessons learnt: you never know when you'll see a ref again. We had the same ref this week as we did last week. Just goes to show how important it is to keep them onside…. Like elephants – a referee never forgets… isn’t that right Sharpie?!

Goods, Bads and Funnies

Goods
- great to see Lee Bod and Steve, aka Lord Lucan and the Scarlet Pimpernel, back on the pitch. Both had great games - Steve was a carrying presence at 8 [insert Calvert joke here], while Lee was a livewire at 10, and announced his arrival with a thumping hit on their biggest player [insert Huw joke here].
- on a warm day and a dry pitch, great to play some vintage Occies rugby. Everyone got their hands on the ball, and there were some great off loads and lines.
- Excellent work rate from everyone - especially in the heat and sun in the eyes
- the front row had a stormer - marching us forwards against a bigger pack and giving us tonnes of ball against the head. Fitzy and Alex aren't even front rowers by trade.
- Dai and Paul were a great combination in the row. Power in the tight, soaring in the line, and marauding in the loose.
- Santa's box kick - normally a fineable offence in a friendly, but all was redeemed when he leapt to retain his kick, like a even swarthier Rob Kearney.
- all of the small kids getting on the scoreboard.
- OJ once again proving the importance of support running.
- JB's post-game Spring Collection. Necktie, multi-coloured deck shoes - a wondrous sight.

Bads
- some bits where we got a bit carried away and lost possession in knocks ons etc - but you play games like this to get that sort of thing out of your system.
- although our defence was strong there was some poor first up tackling - second game on the bounce now

Funnies
- Another sighting of a Chalcon taking flight.
- JB's moment of insanity - running it from the dead ball area, then hoofing it
- JB's kick not being the worst of the day - that went to the oppo, who somehow managed to kick a penalty to touch flat sideways. Potentially backwards.
- Paul Rein's attempts to enforce International Drinking Rules on innocent civilians much later in the evening.
-Paul introducing chilli oil to the drinking games.
- OJ taking himself off with a sprain ankle, but still deciding it’s a good idea to run for travel beers before the train arrives.
- Huw coming back on to play at flanker. Suki then taking over the flanking role but getting caught in the 9/10 channel.
The story of this week’s game really began on Friday afternoon, we were all happily getting on with our regular Fridays; I was broking a massive deal in the city, Calvert was getting stuck into another long ‘business’ lunch, OJ was reading other club’s matchreports and firing me and Calvert inane emails – (although OJ isn’t officially a captain, we do keep him on retainer as a consultant).

Suddenly the call came through from Jane (our fixture sec) that Dorking had cried off. Desperate not to have to cancel another game after a terrible run of weather induced cancellations, we sprang into action looking for a new fixture. At first there was nothing… then up popped an away game in that British holiday hot spot Bognor Regis…. Yes Bognor Regis. Still clinging to the idea of a game of sorts OJ began researching ‘Party Buses’ to drive us there and back on Saturday. But knowing we struggle to travel to Chobham – getting a full 15 to Bognor seemed a stretch. Keeping Bognor on the burner we looked for another oppo. FINALLY at 16:30 Sutton and Epson threw their name into the hat and offered a fixture but only if we travelled to them. “To the phones!” was the call as we frantically phoned everyone that had said they’d be available.

Anymore than 2 drop outs and the game was a non-starter. With calls straight out of the Boiler Room, most conversations went along the lines of “I don’t care how your day was or what’s new with you or that your baby is being sick… give me one word; are you in or out?”

17 fine Occies answered with an unwavering “IN!”. Even the lesser-spotted Lee Bod answered the call, a player that has previsouly been spotted near the Wetlands centre, but experts had recently called into question his existence fearing extinction.

Dorking may have denied us the chance of a rematch, but S&E had given us an equally appealing opportunity to put right the injustice of when they fielded half their 2s in a league game.


At so to Saturday.
The sun was out and the ground was dry – conditions looked ideal. But something was missing. We were struggling to shake off our journey…. Queue the ‘formally-reserved-for-special-occasions- but-now-considered-fairly-standard-angry-Suki-teamtalk. A few Fs and Cs later and there was grit in the stare of each Occie in the circle.

From the outset we were in control, but not for a moment was this going to be an easy game. S&E were a big physical team. Notably with a 10 and an outside centre that were craving contact. Playing up hill and with the bright sun in our eyes we knew they were going to challenge us with the high ball, kicking for deep. Fortunately we had Jonny still in a rich vein of form covering our collective back. The first ten minutes was spent in attack. We ran good strong lines. There were lots of off loads and support runs. Finally after a campaign of marching up the field at an eager defence we were rewarded with a try. Tom Santa spotted a Rick Moranis sized hole at the fringe of the breakdown diving to ground the ball over the line.

The second try followed another long period of attack from the Occies. The eventual flow of play was through the backs hands out to Martin on the wing who popped it back in to Tom Theakston who showed us his gas running a great line leaving his opposite man in the dust. Sadly Theako had to go off soon after with a flared up old hip injury.. hope you have a speedy recovery.

One of my favourite moments soon followed. After a botched lineout from oppo. OJ finds himself in the uncomfortable position of being a forward, with the ball in hand, and too much space to play with. Without a clear target to run at he took off on a course straight across the pitch. Deciding that Occie backs do enough crab running anyway, I can only assume that, in an attempt to straighten up, he turned the wrong directionto start running towards our own try line. Realising the error of his ways he decided it was time for the offload….straight into Suki’s throat….

Although this was a great moment, its wasn’t quite good enough to claim the coveted d!ck of the day prize. That goes to our man Jean. When S&E, who had been struggling with their kicking game, overcooked a kick that landed well into our try line, Jean with plenty of time spare retreated to collect the ball. The Occies drew a collective sigh of relief as we saw the ball appear to be in safe hands. But rather than a simple grounding to gain a 22 drop-out Jean decided to give our defence a challenge, by running with the ball about 3 yards and spooning it out for a 5 metre opposition line out. Take a bow my friend.

The Occies scored one more before the end of the half, much the same as the first, the entire team worked to get the ball up the field to within striking distance for Tom Santa to give a little dummy out to Huw and jump over the line for a second time.

For the first time in a long time we only had one flanker on the teamsheet (don’t tell Fitzy, but that last sentence is all part of a cunning secret plan to subliminally reaffirm the message that really he’s a front rower) which allowed Calvert to revert back to his regular position of choice. Happy to be back at flanker Calvert threw himself around in defence, managing to this hold on to his “I never miss a tackle” mantra.

Filling the 8 shirt was Steve Ball, a returning Occie, who actually returned to London in November but didn’t want to tell anyone –Cheers Steve. Spotting an opportunity for a good running game on a wide dry pitch Ballsy decided to introduce a secret calling system between no8 and scrum half to decide at each scrum who got the ball. In true northern fashion Ball wanted the calls to be class-based. Anything chavvy was a Number 8 pick up, anything posh was to be left to Tom Santa to deal with. There were some obvious calls; mushy peas, vauxhall nova clearly being for Ballsy to take. Pheasant shooting, and caviar were clearly mine…. However, the seemingly flawless plan did cause some confusion when I called Eel Pie (obviously the East London delicacy) but Balls heard “Ale Pie”. Not being sure with class legitimately laid claim to the homely Steak and Ale Pie there was a moment of confusion as we debated at the back of the scrum who should go. Over the course of the game Steve made some fantastic breaks from the back of the scrum.

Also our very own row-of-woe (Dai and Paul) wreaked havoc both in the lineout and with their running game, consistently breaking tackles and crossing the gain line. Paul even discovered that phases didn’t always have to finish once contact is made… the humble pass was also an option. Over the course of the day Paul gave some great offloads. One such offload put Jean in for a huge try darting 40 odd yards to score in the second half – his first of two tries that more than made up for his earlier indiscretion.

With the weather finally onside the Occies were able to revert back to their strongest game. Face paced with lots of passing. It was a great display of rugby. Huw and Lee had great games at 10, both controlling the flow of the game well and being able to catch the sh!t that was being shovelled at them making Santa look good. Suki, Theakston and Gwill all had outstanding running games.

The running game was really working for us on Satruday. Our match fitness for a team that does not train is truly impressive. Another great try and display of hands (after a fantastic line out from the pack) saw the ball in the procession of one half or our French-axis-of-gas. Charging ahead beating his opposite man, Martin was left with only the full back in front of him. Just as he hit contact he managed to offload the ball to our perennial support runner OJ who managed to run the try in, taking his yardage stats back up to net positive. It was a beautiful try but S&E still tried to call foul with a forward pass....
In the finest of French accents, equalled only by John Cleese in The Holy Grail, Martin turned to the man he had just bested and said " 'ow can it be a forward pass? My 'ands went backwards!" At this his opposite man could only laugh and accept the rationale.... if only Martin had followed up with "now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!".

All in all – it was a great game. Both pack and backs played well. A special mention has to go to our front row (ahem Fitzy – another subliminal message). Hitman, Fitzy and Alex had a great time dominating a heavier pack. Turning their scrums into a 50/50 ball helped our caused no end!

DOD: Jean (even though you had a cracking second half)
MOM: Tom Santa
Scorers: Tom Santa x2, Jean x2, Tom Theakston, OJ
Conversions: Huw x4

Random fact: in our last 3 games, one team has been held to 0 points. We held both Hampstead and S&E to clean sheets… but sadly Law Soc did the same to us in the middle.

Lessons learnt: you never know when you'll see a ref again. We had the same ref this week as we did last week. Just goes to show how important it is to keep them onside…. Like elephants – a referee never forgets… isn’t that right Sharpie?!

Goods, Bads and Funnies

Goods
- great to see Lee Bod and Steve, aka Lord Lucan and the Scarlet Pimpernel, back on the pitch. Both had great games - Steve was a carrying presence at 8 [insert Calvert joke here], while Lee was a livewire at 10, and announced his arrival with a thumping hit on their biggest player [insert Huw joke here].
- on a warm day and a dry pitch, great to play some vintage Occies rugby. Everyone got their hands on the ball, and there were some great off loads and lines.
- Excellent work rate from everyone - especially in the heat and sun in the eyes
- the front row had a stormer - marching us forwards against a bigger pack and giving us tonnes of ball against the head. Fitzy and Alex aren't even front rowers by trade.
- Dai and Paul were a great combination in the row. Power in the tight, soaring in the line, and marauding in the loose.
- Santa's box kick - normally a fineable offence in a friendly, but all was redeemed when he leapt to retain his kick, like a even swarthier Rob Kearney.
- all of the small kids getting on the scoreboard.
- OJ once again proving the importance of support running.
- JB's post-game Spring Collection. Necktie, multi-coloured deck shoes - a wondrous sight.

Bads
- some bits where we got a bit carried away and lost possession in knocks ons etc - but you play games like this to get that sort of thing out of your system.
- although our defence was strong there was some poor first up tackling - second game on the bounce now

Funnies
- Another sighting of a Chalcon taking flight.
- JB's moment of insanity - running it from the dead ball area, then hoofing it
- JB's kick not being the worst of the day - that went to the oppo, who somehow managed to kick a penalty to touch flat sideways. Potentially backwards.
- Paul Rein's attempts to enforce International Drinking Rules on innocent civilians much later in the evening.
-Paul introducing chilli oil to the drinking games.
- OJ taking himself off with a sprain ankle, but still deciding it’s a good idea to run for travel beers before the train arrives.
- Huw coming back on to play at flanker. Suki then taking over the flanking role but getting caught in the 9/10 channel.

Quilter Kids First Champions winner – November: Hinckley RFC

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