On a cold dark day, on the only pitch in England that could be used as an Olympic slalom, we faced one of our closest rivals. They had a large pack of mean looking experienced men. This was no surprise but their back line was a shock, there were at least three very fast, very fit skilful lads who could kick. All in their early twenties and all with the very confident edge of ringers playing well below their level. We were in for a very long afternoon.
Our squad was far fewer in numbers than what we were used to, with several late cry-offs and only Velcro Joe, in retraining as a back row, representing the University. Luckily Niall had decided he was homesick from his lofty career in YM seconds, so came to bolster the front row. From my reckoning, he bolstered it by an extra couple of stone since last time he played! Plus Spike made a rare away performance to give wisdom and leadership at nine, but wearing a prop’s shirt. Steve Blakey made his come back at hooker after a three year sabbatical. Was it enough, hopefully but it was going to be in the god’s hands!
Effort would have to be high and every point was going to be hard won and of great significance. Parry and Bez stepped up to play in the forwards, Bez complaining about being second row, but he literally complains about everything, so who cares. Parry starting at number eight! He was delighted with yet another opportunity to show that passing was overrated. I returned to match day Captain and won the toss. I elected to play down from the summet, towards the apres-ski. So we kicked off and the game was under way.
Their backs were razor sharp! Right from the off they threatened to score every time they went wide. We worked hard and defended with everything we had but sadly after 20 mins they crossed the lines after a very slick backs move. They converted too, 7-0 to Brods. We fought back and with ten minutes to go had some sustained pressure, we had a quick tap, Niall charged, three tried to tackle him but he cleverly flicked the ball wide to me who had a one on one with a back from 2m, he stood no chance. Parry neatly slotted the conversion from near the left touch line 7-7.
They came back at us with everything they had and were a constant threat. Then we once again gained a penalty another quick tap from Spike to me and I beat several players to score from 20m out scoring ten metres to the left of the posts. Parry sliced the kick 7-12. The ref blew up very shortly after.
Luke Carter appeared to have a go at hooker, apparently, he works for the council and has no concept of being on time! Luke Hindley came on to further his budding career, now on game three.
We were in front but now had a mountain to climb, literally, in the second half. Our odds weren’t good but we rallied round and vowed to throw everything at it. They proved even more dangerous in the second half scoring in the first five minutes and converting easily. Their tails were up, they were in front, they had the hill, they had the wind. They applied a lot of pressure for twenty minutes but some particularly strong play from Parry at 8 and the half backs helped to keep them at bay. Tinks then Eddie at full back did some truly heroic defensive work plus counter-attacking.
With 9 minutes to go we were 10m from their line and took a quick penalty again going quickly wide, Spike to Parry then you guessed it for me to get over the line for another. 20 yards to the right of the posts, uphill into a strong wind, Parry struck the ball and it was long and true! Brods 14-19 A-Team.
Seven minutes left and I lost it, the team was firmly told not to pass the ball without permission, strictly no kicking, we were to play 7 minutes of keep ball to kill off the game. The plan was set could we steal a great victory? Of course we could, we are the A-Team! We were strong and controlled and when we were victorious at the final whistle they were shocked, their first defeat of the season. Some of their players were damn right furious but most were genuinely impressed with the high standard of the battle between two good very evenly matched sides.
All praise for the lads from Me, Parry and Spike, who unfortunately broke a nail and now won’t be available for four weeks. Parry also added that his goal kicking single handedly won the game? A bold statement, baring in mind he scored just four points and we won by 5. But all in all a great performance and I’m now the third person to join the Hat-trick club this season. Don’t worry lads I’m sure I’ll be back to being rubbish next week.
By George Hinchliff