Lambs to the slaughter
We arrived at Fortress Lockwood Park on a bright but blustery Saturday afternoon. 19 men strong. The anticipation and pride of running out onto The Field of Dreams however was tainted. The haunting memory of last weeks game still in the front of our memory. For me it was different this week, I could literally feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins. The stain on our reputation was to be removed and replaced with a shockwave that would wreak havoc across the whole of Yorkshire. It was a day to send a message.
The riot act was read. Changes were made. I moved to 7 to give the backs extra protection and Parry moved to 12. The plan was to reinforce the backs defensively. The 10 shirt was to be filled by the silky skills of Mr Giblin a former Ireland Students international. Who knew the Irish even played Rugby League? Who knew they had University’s in Ireland? The experienced Cleave coming in at 9 to put a rocket up the forwards. His smokers cough alone was enough to keep the much anticipated 60,000 fans away. Cooky was to take over the throwing the darts. This was also an area that needed to improve massively. We also lacked any proper lineout jumpers. So I would have to reluctantly step in to jump at 2. Crucially the students were back and it was time to work off some bed sores!
We warmed up early focussing on wide defence and lineouts. It was a massive improvement but only heroic efforts over the next 80 minutes would return us to our former glory. The game was set, the pieces were in position and it was time to toss the coin. Time to see whether we were to be loved or toyed with by the Rubgy Gods.
We won the toss and elected to play towards the clubhouse, with the wind and sun on our back. The ref started to play silly buggers by starting the game ten minutes early? This caught our entire crowd off guard. The President was still in the bar getting his pint, and so were the other two! All electing to watch the superior standard of rugby, rather than travel to Luctonians. Two minutes later we kicked off, by then the wind had decided to spin a full 180 degrees! They kicked to us and we immediately went at them. Our first score came from a drive, from the front of the lineout, which was now functioning well. It was Angus our burly tighthead who touched it down. Little did we know it was to be our only proper score of the match. Parry added the extras. I recieved the second kick off and drove it back. There was a secondary charge from Ryan also making good yards. Third phase we went wide and Eddie at 13 found a gap and ran in for a try from 40m. After this the tries started to flow. After 20 mins I decided to take a break to get some of the reinforcements on. We struggled for five minutes or so, they managed to score a forwards try up the middle but no conversion. Then we took back control with several break away tries. Knighty coming off the bench for two of them. It was clear that today was a day for outside backs. By half time we had a very comfortable lead.
At the break I came back on bringing on experienced winger Ian Agnew at flanker. 54 isn’t too old to completely retrain to play in the pack. He should be very competent by his 60th. Hodgy back for his second game back, is a prop in denial. So to compromise he came on at hooker. Whilst Andy and Bailey came on to bolster the backs.
The second half was not! He was as temperamental as the wind, which swapped again by another 180 degrees! So we played every minute into wind!! The Rugby Gods were laughing! Especially when I was sent to the bin for a high tackle.
I spent 15 minutes in the bin. Also slightly unconventional.
The day was a success, the backs were very happy with themselves they’d had a ‘Field’ day! None of the try’s were particularly special, they just involved good hands then a neat step then around a 50m run in after stepping the full back. Stuff easily done by any tighthead!
The positives were clear Angus and Ryan made a huge difference especially at lineout time. Cookys darts were an improvement. The wide backs were on fire. Giblin at 10 gave more space allowing Parry to play freely in a wider role. All good stuff!
Congratulations to Jamie Lynn our winger who after three years with no tries has finally managed to score in fact he got two. Controversially he dropped a walk in for a hat trick. It wasn’t his fault though, the pass was nowhere near him. It would have hit him between the eyes if he hadn’t managed to slap it away with both his hands at the same time. A classic case of hat trick avoidance.
Congratulations to Knighty for joining the coveted hat trick club. Eddie Newman being the second man in the quadruple club and now joint top try scorer with Parry. Parry’s kicking also was much improved, good at goal. Great at kick off time, excellent long probing kicks too. Just his touch finding, which he was just taking 10m each time but on the whole was very impressive.
The scorers were,
Eddie Newman x4
Elliot Knight x3
Jamie Lynn x2, plus a massive blunder
Eliot knight 1/1
Eddie 0/1 from straight in front….
Final score A-Team 84-15 Cleckheaton