Spare Front Row – Better chance of finding rocking horse s*@t!
....and a new Orange Boy!
Of course the week’s favourite news item was Trump deciding not visit the UK! Indeed there are many more captivating locations which will provide him with an equally enriching cultural awakening, certainly Haitian cuisine is tantalising and the plethora of richness to come out of the African continent is endless. Indeed with so much cultural richness on other continents it would be selfish of the United Kingdom to deprive him of this enlightenment; move on Donald (Duck)….nothing to see here!!
Now it’s not that Skips has chip on his shoulder about foolish ignorant people, indeed there are many who fall in to this category and ‘we’ do our best to support them within society, but it’s when they have been bestowed a bit too much power that I start to twitch! So whilst
politicians the World over joust over egotistical claims of bravado to an audience of un respecting and frustrated nations, I must quickly turn to the real world of real people with real values dealing with real issues and of course ‘rugby’ regardless of which continent, offers the same over.
My last report in late December, reflecting on our feisty encounter and win over a quality Guildford side was penned from the shores of the Andaman sea, another region rich in culture and the most beautifully kind, gracious and sincere people I can think of. Though it didn’t take me long to be reminded that rugby clubs all over posses the same abundance of kind, gracious and sincere people.
The first club I devote these few lines to is Harlequin Amateurs as back in October they stunned us with an absolutely brilliant team effort to beat us 24:19 and so this reply fixture was one of real concern to me, in fact a potential cross roads for us! Mid-week matters looked dim as despite every avenue explored we simply could not find a player who could play Hooker for us. On reaching out to the senior end of the club, Spence replied as per this match report title – cheers Spence! So despite a squad of 20, I let Daz at Quins know that we may well need to go uncontested!
Come a grey damp Saturday at 1pm and the changing room brimming with anticipation the backs shared nail polish remover and endorsed a plan that Frodo could in fact go Hooker; a perfect small stature, some back row experience all lent itself to good enough reason to test him out, but Frodo was late………..again!
Fortunately Daz, the Quins Skipper quickly offered up one of theirown squad to step in at Hooker and with that Neil Oglesbee pulled on the Green and Gold.
For those of you that have never done that, play for the opposition I mean, may I enlighten you about just how much of person that takes. I don’t know Neil and in fact haven’t played against him before as he was relatively new to the Harlequin Vets camp, but all I did know is that I had to take his word for it that he was happy and willing to play for us. It really is a hard thing to do; you have prepared yourself all week for the encounter, maybe had some banter in the week with your team mates, more chatter in the changing rooms and a mood starting to simmer….but knowing you are on the bench to start. It’s all cool and you feel quite relaxed as you take to the pitch!
Minutes later, you are wearing the oppo jersey, learning the names of lads, hey I’m “Gus”, “Marek”, “Jose”, “Big AL”, “Finche”……. “Hi I’m late……err Frodo”!! New line out calls about what John actually did to Mary, (of course Joseph didn’t!) let alone looking back at all your mates and pondering - ‘why?’
As it transpires Harrodian Vets had benefitted from the festive break and decided that passing and running with the ball could be a good idea! We played with composure and phases of real class and there is a long list, too long in fact, to acknowledge. The stand out guys in no real order, Rich Mayson again audacious brilliance, Lewis so quiet yet terribly effective, Jose, Morgs and Pins – utterly invincible! Marek….Maestro!! And so good to see Becks with ball in hand – sweet!
Sadly Frodo was still frustrated with the final Dock closures on Merseyside and so the ref afforded him 10 mins to think about it. I on the other hand Salute Frodo for following in JC’s footsteps…….follow the yellow brick road…….and behaving like a true Hooker! Up front we were challenged by a highly effective Harlequin pack and lineouts were also well challenged, but the locks in Big Al and especially the younger James Wootton had brilliant games.
Yet everything we achieved arguably only came about because of Neil, the Halequin Vet was brilliant and slotted in to the side effortlessly and more than that he gave beyond 100%, simply a most selfless act of sportsmanship. Neil epitomises what makes Harlequin Vets such a brilliant club and by far was our man of the match. Thank you Neil!
We put in a cracking Harrodian performance against a cracking Harequin side who on the day we closed down by running some punishing lines in the backs……Game over, good ‘W’ and a stiff neck!
After a brief drink and catch up at the club house I popped down the M4 to another brilliant Club.
Henley RFC is the other club who I just wanted to mention. The tragic loss of Simon Priestley 46, clubman, captain, father, husband and friend to many, last Saturday during a match against High Wycombe has stunned the Club, yet their resolve and close bond of that spirit which is ‘rugby’ will carry them through.
It’s at times like this ‘we’ must be grateful for the privilege, not right, the joy, not burden the responsibility, not chore that comes from being a player within a club, be it Harlequin, Harrodian or Henley, its humble individuals which make great clubs. All three Clubs and many others, have an abundance of such players, supporters and all the other do’ers that make our match days so enjoyable. No matter your choice in a God or otherwise, we all have an immense amount to be humbly grateful for, let’s not lose sight of what we owe to ‘rugby’.
Next week we rest and enjoy the stories and banter which will unfold over the annual Vets Lunch, all of which is meticulously organised by the Gus Graham – thank you Gus. The week after we travel with great caution down the A3 to Guildford!!!! Neil are you available….text, email, wattsapp me!!
Oh and finally you will all be pleased to know Si Curran didn’t need a mention!!!!
Rich Mayson x 3 Pins x 2 Big Al x 2 Jose, Morgs and Lewis only one each!
Cons: Lewis and Marek 2 each