The A-Team were hit by several late cry offs this weekend. Joe Shiel sadly couldn’t make it as his cover shoot for Men’s Health clashed. Niall Phayer couldn’t make it because he was helping his mum with the dishes. All the half backs were off getting spray tans. Most notable of all was Irish was unavailable due to testing positive. He’s a huge teacher with a strong Ulster accent and I’m pretty sure it’s the first time anyone in his class has ever had a positive test result!
So we were severely diminished, Young Callum Dyson made his debut in the second row, an impressive feat at only 12. Harry Scholes came up from Laund Hill. There were also Toby Styles and Joe Carter making debuts. Carter at a mere 6’8” and 21 stone looked impressive. Plus our star new 10. He tells me he’s just Like Jonny Wilkinson but for those who’ve seen Ethan Myers play, Jonny Wilkinson might not be the first player that comes to mind. Nonetheless, we had to persevere.
So we arrived at West Leeds and we warmed up with 10 whilst the ‘Special’ players tried the right address I’d supplied instead. Did we have enough on the day? Ethan was convinced he was enough on his own! You’ve got to love that kind of confidence. However he also thinks he’s incredibly handsome, so his judgement might be slightly impaired!
When the squad finally turned up we were informed that the home team insisted on uncontested scrummaging. So we would have to wait to see big Joe Carter scrummage. With just two front rowers, Karl Haigh stepped up to hook. Like Tigger, completely clueless but extremely excited at the challenge. This weakened the lineout. However, on a rainy September afternoon anything could happen.
They kicked off and they immediately started playing silly buggers. They reversed the initial kick off. Then after some pressure they tried the cross field kick. Luke Hindley lined up the catch, and leapt to gather it. If he’d been 5m closer he may have had a chance, instead, their winger caught it and walked in for the try. 5 minutes later they successfully did the exact same move. I sent Luke for a rest and brought on debutant Toby Styles to defend the aerial threat. Things seemed to shore up and we gained some momentum. Joe Carter made good yards, Harry Scholes showed real rugby ability from 8. The real shock was that Ethan was surprisingly good at 10. He kicked well in open play and to touch. He carried well, using Parry’s patented 10 crash. He then made a break and got tackled 10m short but the power slide that carried him over was simply Klinsmann-esque! He stepped up for the conversion. Knowing full well he’d be kicking he’d brought his custom Rugby League kicking boots! Steel toe capped, then hammered completely flat at the end for the huge straight toe poke. Simply sublime and straight through the middle of the uprights. They scored again then Ethan scored a second.
Half time- West Leeds 21, Ethan Wilkinson-Myers 14
The second half started badly and they put pressure on and scored out wide twice again. However, then we got the engines up and running and took the lead after a short drive from powerful Harry Scholes. Then first tries from the club for Karl Haigh, from a driven lineout, plus Justin Brown for getting on the end of Joe Carters’ charge, then Justin made the last 8m carrying four defenders over the line to score. We were winning. 29-33. A little more pressure gave us a penalty 30m out, 5m from touch. So Jonny Myers-Wilkinson once again toe blasted it through the uprights. In front by 7 with 16 minutes to play. Did the mighty A-Team have enough to see it through? Sadly not today! We conceded two late converted tries, to lose the game.
However, on a cold rainy November afternoon somewhere on the wrong side of the M62, we showed real character. So I was once again proud of the boys. Although the A-Team team sheet is less predictable than the Euromillions these days, we persevere. A rare home game next week against Cleckheaton, so we’ll probably have 47 to choose from.
Some strong performances to be proud of. Man of the Match goes to Ethan Myers for being surprisingly good at 10. Callum Dyson at just 17 showed promise in the second row. Joe Carter played his colossal weight. Toby Styles wasn’t bad. Cooky was also one to watch, his lineout throwing was out of this world. Some went wide but most were that high they went into orbit! Maybe next week mate.
The tickets for the presentation will be a sell out, all full of mums and WAGs. As we are now 1/3 the way through the season and I’m looking increasingly likely to be doing the infamous Naked Lap! I have done it before for moral support. I was complimented on my swift pace but sadly not for my naked form. So far this season I’ve been held up twice but still no try.
In truth we were one half decent player away from winning the game. Shame there wasn’t a Falcon in sight, this Avian Flu outbreak must be worse than we thought!
West Leeds 43-36 HRUFC A-Team
Ethan Myers goal kicking 83%, not bad for a fat lad.