The A-Team were back in action again this weekend. Once again, where we belong on The Field of Dreams. Due to a late cancellation of the Falcons game we were reinforced by a few of them. Ollie Shaw, Tom Sharrock (Sham) and Xander Nash, making his A-Team debut. Also, Nick Sharpe (ex first team captain) bolstered the back row with his substantial presence. Of course the students were also in force. Andrew Jiri, Sam Dunger, Oliver O’Donovan (OD), debutants Jackson Parr and Matty Barwell. Plus, Bailey Hart back from his big break into movies.
Now for those who don’t know Bailey Hart he’s our resident thespian. He’s been off filming a Western, so when he walked into the changing rooms walking like John Wayne, with a huge smile on his face. It was clear he’d been doing a lot of riding. I may be getting older but I don’t remember a famous Jake Gyllenhall Western but apparently the sequel was coming on nicely!
Then of course there was the usual crowd including Jamie Lynn our winger who’s still not scored this year but was pretty sure that today was the day for his hat-trick. Andy Lyon who is fastly proving to be highly competent at just about every position on the pitch, was to have a run out at Hooker. Something he hasn’t done for a long time but it is where he got his first team caps and played representative as a lad. So the team was strong and ready to get some revenge for the opening day stuffing we received up there. All we needed was a Ref and some opposition. The Ref arrived and announced that he was from Laund Hill, not ideal but a Ref none the less. We warmed up well and looked very sharp, not a common occurrence. Then they dropped the bombshell that they’d travelled all the way from York with only nine players? Hardly a strong raiding party. So they then pleaded for some players. To try to make a game of it I considered my options carefully, then apologised to the students as they would all be given the opportunity to play against us.
So, I rejigged our team and off we went. Clearly the Rugby gods were ‘buggering’ about. So, we kicked off and the shenanigans started right from the off. Eddie grubbered it short, so he could rush on and immediately regain position. A brave and cunning plan, one Baldrick would have been proud of. However, if the kick had managed to roll another nine and a half yards it would have cleared the ten yard line. So, we were immediately brought back for the scrum. They had brought all their good looking, highly talented players, so their pack was fully intact. The scrums were definitely competitive, luckily we had competent prop and top gobsh%te Niall Phayer back to hold up the scrum. It didn’t take long for Eddie to open the scoring. Sadly Bailey and Jackson Parr were the kickers and they were both on the other side. The kick looked a little tricky so Eddie passed the ball to Duncan to slice wide.
We attacked again and this time Xander started to show his power. If I was to describe him, it’d be a 6’2” virtually unstoppable Minotaur. He gets the ball he charges and if you try to tackle him you get the horns, tossed bleeding, ten feet across the paddock. He made a few promising early runs. Until he was the second to cross the white wash. This time under the posts so Eddie drop kicked the conversion. I pulled Xander to one side and explained that it was great to show his power but his main role was to create the overlap then get the pass away.
Next the visitors plus students got a bit of possession and hard running centre Jiri stepped back inside then beat me on my broken side. Then made a half break, quick ball came to Matty Barwell who picked up from the ruck and broke past Niall, who was scratching his ample behind. Barwell sprinted up at our line then stepped. Ollie Shaw tried his patented three foot leap and swinging arm but sadly slipped in the process and got his lovely moustache all muddy. So, they scored under the posts and kicked the conversion.
Next, they kicked it back to us and after a couple of phases we spun it out to Jamie Lynn for the first of his hat trick? No! He got rammed hard by Bailey, straight into touch. They got the ball and went wide, where Jiri once again started to run, straight into Xander, BIG mistake! Xander picked him up, twisted him round and smashed him hard into the floor. I’m pretty sure some fire came out of Xanders nostrils. Jiri looked up, half winded, thinking what the hell was that! A hit Jiri didn’t really recover from. Xander, who was faced with a seven mile walk home, had clearly heard about the big tackle jackpot of twenty quid and decided he was getting some taxi money. We gained possession and a tap penalty seven metres out. Now, anyone that’s ever met Sharpey knows this is his speciality. Duncan tapped and popped it to him and Sharpey started his approach. These days he doesn’t have a lot of pace but he is 6’3” and carrying a nineteen stone frame. Their biggest senior player lined him up at about 6’4” and eighteen stone. In slow motion they collided it was like a scene out of Clash of the Titans! The impact was deafening and the whole ground shook, but as the dust settled like a champion sumo Sharpey forced the other Titan backwards behind the try line for the score. It being an easy kick Eddie drop kicked it over.
Then came half time but everything went well. No need for any hard line speeches. I agreed with Sharpey about the team talk so we had a calm chat of composure and more of the same. We prepared for the second half, playing towards the club with a 19-7 lead. They had lost a player, seasoned veteran Ian Agnew bravely volunteered to play in the wrong colours. His character is something to behold.
Something changed in the air for the second half. They kicked down the middle and Niall did his patent no call, let it bounce twice, kick off receive. Tom Sharrock took a charge and got absolutely buried like a kitten getting hit by a steam roller. Yes, Matty Barwell, had got it in his head that he was allowed to smash our players. I dare even say he fancied himself as the best player on the pitch, well as long as he stayed away from Xander anyway, that guy’s crazy! We ran back ten yards and dug Sharrock out and recycled slowly building some possession til Xander made a charging run, except this time after he swatted a couple of inferiors, he got the offload away. This let Eddie score his second. Sadly it wasn’t under the posts. He passed the ball to Duncan who pulled it wide of the posts.
Then they came at us again with OD making some impressive yards along with Matty Barwell. They kicked long for Jamie Lynn to go for glory but this time he got put to bed by a York winger. They exerted pressure and we resisted for a short while. Determination allowed them to break our line for their second score. They kicked the conversion (it must be nice borrowing our kicker!) Well done Jackson. We scraped Sham off the floor where he was still plastered and told him to get on with it.
They kicked to us, Niall took his time then we went back at them. There were some tasty hits and Barwell even had the cheek to try and line me up but I stepped out of it at the last second and off loaded, the nerve of this kid! Then, we had Sham vs Barwell take two… Sham tried to hit him hard and gave off a little squeak which sounded a bit like “ouch”. Sham started to go back, Sharpey gave them a nudge getting Sham going slightly forward. Sham gave out a more calm ‘Aha, got ya! Then I saw a huge cheap shot opportunity and joined the fray. Barwell realised his dilemma and mumbled ‘aww sh*&e!’ We drove him back about ten yards then smashed him into the ground, turned over the ball and left him bleeding from his nose and mouth. Lesson learned! Meanwhile, Sham’s voice had turned manly and had managed, ‘Ha Ha get back, ya bas$%rd!’
At some point Eddie Squeezed over for his hat trick and drop kicked the conversion.
Four minutes to go, we sustained some pressure, built around our superiority in the lineout due to Lyonsy’s superb throwing. So we gained field position but Niall went down in a ruck the Ref asked if he was ok? He pathetically mumbled “Hurt…I got screwed…Brokeback”. He held the game up before announcing that he could prop up one more scrum, because he was a Hero! A simple backs move saw Xander coming in tight on the switch then it was like watching a strike in ten pin bowling. The defence just parted. Some getting flung out of the way by his rampage, others just diving for cover. It wasn’t under the posts so Duncan had a go and this time was happy with the conversion. He waved his index finger at the crowd indicating that one out of three is an accomplishment.
The ref told us to receive one more of Niall’s ‘Special’ kick off receives. We cleared the ruck and Justin decided to kick the ball out. When I asked the huge second rower, why the hell he did that? He replied he had to because it was the end of the game! Not when we are winning by nineteen points! Well done sonny Jim you’ve just got your self dropped for next weeks game! Forwards kicking the ball, its enough to make a man turn in his grave. Find something more respectable to do like drowning your opposite number in a pool of his own blood or something! Jesus, what is the game coming too!
So, we won the game 38-19. There was clearly a lot of Pride on show!
Joint Man of the Match- goes to Matty Barwell for a very strong performance. He’s aggressive, cocky, good on the ground, strong tackling, hard running complete nightmare. FAN BLOODY TASTIC!
Joint Man of the Match- Xander Nash, pure power. Great attitude, an unpolished diamond. Reminds me of Ben Harris, arguably better.
Truly awful performance by Jamie Lynn who got shafted all day long by every player he dared to look at!
Strong performances from: Ollie Shaw, Andy Lyon, Andy Maden and hat trick Hero Eddie Newman.