So finally the long awaited day had arrived for the mighty A-Team to kick off another supremely promising season. Many things have changed over the off season with the successful revival of the Falcons. Now the survival of the A-Team is the priority. After four more retirements, the numbers were few and the task in hand was great. Luckily Darren ‘Irish’ Neilly had brought some reinforcements in the nick of time.
We were to play York away for possibly the first time in our iconic history. Would we have the guile and experience to overcome our opponents? I hope so, because that’s about all we have left!
It would be my first return to York since that fateful midweek evening in 2011 when Huddersfield lifted the Yorkshire cup. With a record like that we weren’t going to accept anything less than a historical victory.
The weather was bright blue skies with a cold but bright sunshine. Due to half the team forgetting when our season started, we had limited options. It’s very important to keep the right balance in such a crucial game. Crucially a strong ABC, flowing interconnecting back row play, whilst still maintaining the perfect pendulum at the back. So I decided the scrum was key and went for the classic set up. Six front rowers, five back rowers, a Samoan fly half (who cried off) an alcoholic and two Falcons (just because we were desperate)!
The first warm up went about as well as could be expected, but our lads were in good spirits. We were ready to raid York like the Vikings of old.
So the game was set and all was left up to fate. We would pay the toll in blood and sweat but ultimately the game would be in the hands of the rugby gods.
We kicked off and within 5 minutes their 10 burst through the middle between me and Justin. We both smiled and pointed at each other. He scored from 60m, not an ideal start. They scored again five minutes later too. This was not a good start, but the real problem lay in the front row repeatedly going backwards in the scrum. This topped off with the inferior lineout was a recipe for disaster. However after 25 minutes Irish made a cheeky break up the left with a neat offload for Ben Royds to score the try. Liam Duns missed the conversion, unhindered by the unavailability of the kicking tee.
Shielsy jogged to the changing rooms and retrieved the water bottles and tee. This got his blood going! He was the chief of all the subs and since he was alone on the bench he decided we needed a hero! So on he came and immediately impacted the game with his glistening pace and silky skills. But alas like many great heroes he faded a bit as the game went on.
The game got away from us after that but there were a few positives. Myself and Irish both made several breaks up the middle. Karlos climbed high into the heavens to catch every high kick before surging forward with real vigour and gusto. Jamie looked pretty good during his stint at full back. We also welcomed Liam Meredith, away from playing Hagrid, as a true corner stone in the front row. The lads played with pride, but we would have faired better if we’d had at least one half back.
It’s the start of a three side season and we’ve lost players to the very strong revived Falcons team. Irish and Gav are doing a fantastic job. Now we just need to improve the interchanging links between the teams. Then the club, like the phoenix, will once again rise.
A-Team 5-35ish York 2’s
Man of the Match
Strong performances from