Gaz we salute you!
By Rich Fenech
….and by heck Wales need you!
Evening Green Army!
After the epic awesomeness which was the 10th Anniversary Vets lunch last Saturday 16 of us gingerly managed to find our way back down the A3 to face the mighty Guildford Vets, yet the weather was not welcoming; more later!
Though quickly back to last Saturday. A huge heartfelt thanks to Gus Graham, Prop turned scrum half, turned retired, turned back to self made DOR and one day soon; yes you guessed……back to Prop! Gus has arranged this utterly brilliant lunch for 130+ of us oldies to enjoy stories of bravado, skill, exaggeration and real rugby, for the last 10 yrs in doing so raising much needed funds for the Club – THANK YOU Gus!
On Saturday Gus brought on the Oranges at half time too – Cheers Mate!
Though in all seriousness everything Green & Gold in SW London with that BARNOW feel to it is looking and feeling really good; we have much to be grateful for and are by far the ‘richest’ Club I know with the amazing people who make us brilliant!
If you were lucky enough to be invited into one of St James’s esteemed Gents Club; refined, sophisticated, eloquent and humble, well you have stumbled across the Harrodian Vets end of the Club and on Saturday 16 of us went to take on the enviable Guildford.
I devote this match report to Guildford and Harrodians for playing such a hard fought game of rugby, played very much in ‘the original spirit’; an exceptional ref, atrocious weather, utter guts and determination, with skill, from both sides, all washed down with great atmosphere and hospitality afterwards as the Club hosted 4 senior home games – brilliant GRFC!
So as 12:12 was a most fitting result, I thought we could instead enjoy a few liens from the past!
As ever Skips has usual preparations all in hand, yet due to a whole host of imponderable circumstantial changes I no longer have to wash my balls using the outside tap, but have now treated myself to full unfettered use of the ‘laundry room’. In fact I did for a minute think wouldn’t it be great to put them in the sacrosanct Miele just for a quick whirl!!! Though, I refrained and instead gave them a good scrub with the equally sacrosanct nail brush….they came up great perfect for Saturdays encounter……Gilbert would be proud….(Gilbert Rhino, NOT Gillette!!!).
A quick word of Si.....
His consistent antics; for those of you who don’t know him think a blend or Kenny Everett and Granville from ‘Open all Hours’; had him see off the 2 pint Guinness dog bowl last Saturday. Mrs Curran has now grounded him after falling asleep at the dinner table a few hours later......amongst guests!
It might not be widely known that there was a rigorous selection criteria to qualify for attendance at the inaugural Guernsey Vets training camp and many an esteemed player didn't quite cut the grade, often with a number of players falling at the last hurdle.......'no darling, you are not going to Guernsey as you promised to take the children to Santa's Grotto and me to Ikea and then we have lunch with my Aunty Bev on Sunday'.......
Thus only 14 players with a strong support team of Fitness, Physio and Skills coaching staff set off on Friday afternoon to meet at Gatwick.
For obvious reasons the full disclosure of our training regime can't be published in this forum, though a few insights might be appropriate.
Getting from the airport to our destination soon became our first training task! The bus could only go so far but couldn't make the last half mile up the steepest of hills, even I have encountered! We had to get out and carry our kit bags as we clambered up, almost crawling, to our temporary home!
On arrival we quickly familiarised ourselves with the harsh reality of the former army barracks.......damp, musty and 6 old metal bunk beds per dormitory.......we new that we needed this tough environment to get us in the right frame of mind for the training that lay ahead.
The Friday night training session was fairly intense and there were only a few casualties. Our training was so impressive that one of the local lads, a useful second row unit, developed a good rapport with the coaching staff and managed to make selection to become our 15th team member and just in time too!!
And testament to that was the fact that Sean Gibson proceeded to explain the line out calls used in the senior sides of the Club.
The only way you can visualise this is the time and I am sure it has happened to many of you, when in a small backward village near Limerick, driving lost and tiered you have wound your window down in the pouring rain to ask Seamus, a local man, for directions!
‘Well it you go pass Mahoney’s ther on da left and keep straight for 4 miles, but be careful as the road is bendy and watch the last bend because a few years ago my brother Brian came off his bike going round too fast with a sack of potatoes tat spilled everywhere and so we ended up having mashed fecking potatoes for weeks, but then after the last bend is a shop which closes today, but if you shout up to the windows the lovely Carmel might come down and give you some directions as I’m not really from round here as I live 2 miles down dat road!!!!!’
I type, (slowly) these notes reflecting on the build up to our fixture, the encounter and the post match drinks, much later into Sunday night than I would have expected, though the delights of enjoying maison lejaby finest turquoise have kept me detained! Clappy I do hope I haven’t kept you waiting too long!?
Sadly having had the last two fixtures cancelled or re-arranged, has kept Harrodians away from normal duties on the field and left Dave Doonan with nothing to read on a Sunday morning with his mug of tea and loo roll to hand!
I should clarify the above point……
The more literacy aware of you will note that ‘photobomb’ has been made word of the year, (no little thanks to the trillions of ‘selfies’ captured by image obsessed youngsters today – good or bad, who knows), yet I offer you ‘Doonanbomb’ as a contender for next years winner!
For those of you who don’t know him, Dave is our loveable Honorary Secretary and every story he tells with his distinct Irish accent has that kind of ‘Dave Allen’ feel to it! Though be warned! His story telling is most vivid and as I learnt last weekend, the timing of his introduction to close family and friends has to be carefully managed……think Gerry Adams meets the Queen!!!
Marek once stood up at the front of a coach on the return leg of a Sinners RFC match and recounted a hilarious joke of ‘two cats’…….not many people have the ability to turn a rowdy, jolly, (we won) suitably liquid rugby squad into something that resembled a funeral gathering with a punch line that left 28 players utterly confused!!! So instead I give you ‘two fat lads’……….more later!
You will all be pleased to know that my self improvement regime has been going well over the last few weeks, other than the fact one his having immense difficulty with the concept of ‘sorry’ and how often this phrase seems to now have cropped up into daily conversation. Though of course I know what’s good for me and have quickly moved on to the grovelling stage, though we are some way off from the most fragile of subjects which would require careful identification of a place to hide rugby boots – keep you posted!
After a rousing pre-match team talk in the changing room aimed at lifting Morgs out of his hangover, Marek out of his pyjamas and helping Son of Buster into a size 38 shorts, I had managed to stir passionate emotions of a Harrodian style rugby onslaught, and as the boys were at fever pitch........Sheds appropriately whipped out a bunch of Daffs from the crack of his boxers and flung them across the changing rooms at the most authentic Welsh man amongst our ranks......Jose Lucca Emanuel Jones Fernandez!!
The scene was set!!
Good People, we rest now as 6 Nations grips us all, but Harrodians Vets will be back soon and with new recruit amazing ten 1st XV seasons retiring Gaz……now that he is available for all our tour games!!