Welcome back sports fans! This season sees a few changes in the A-Team Management. I stay on as Captain/Manager with Josh Cook as Vice Captain. Joe Shiel stays on as Head of Fitness and Head of Bar Recruitment. We also now have Joe Hodgson as Head of Tax Dodgers (Students) after Bailey ran off to join the Circus. Andy Lyon joins as Assistant manager and Karl Haigh Joins as Social Secretary and Head Sponsor. With a team as highly competent as this you can expect great things! Some might say the best coaching team ever assembled, not many, but some!
After a long pre-season we finally arrived at the opening day in high spirits. Yep, some of the lads were high on vapo rub and some of the lads smelled of spirits! Some top recruitment by Head of Bar Recruitment Joe Shiel, who brought some lad down called Danny Brough. Jamie Cowie has recently moved into the area and has managed to pass the rigorous selection process to make the team. Whilst Andy Lyon is still negotiating a few other new contacts. I found the new lads some kit which was tricky as Danny Brough wears child sizes. Luckily my 6 year old had some spare! Sadly I’m no longer in tip top shape. With a right shoulder with half the ligaments missing, a left shoulder with a rotator cuff problem, a left knee that’s practically severed and a new injury of a fractured right heel. I would reluctantly have to pull out…. the tape! Two whole rolls, some vapo rub and three tubes of deep heat and I was sort of ready to play!
So, we warmed up and we looked sharp. With James Giblin, Chris Duffy and Broughy the ball fizzed down the line at lightning speed. This looked set to unleash the outside backs. The lineout functioned and we were ready to go to war. I steeled the lads with a poor speech basically telling them to provide some solid ball and wang it to Broughy. Then we took to the battlefield. In front of a fair old crowd. Apparently, Broughy is some sort of Legend and had brought a large entourage.
The Old Crossleyans had struggled for numbers and had called in reinforcements from Halifax Vandals to bolster their side. Most noticeably they had a large well built Argentinian as their Captain, who couldn’t speak English? Not the wisest choice but who complains when the oppo shoot themselves in the foot. The ref was a young athletic man with fiery red hair and a most wonderful moustachio! He did however seem to think he was reffin’ an international though, so we’d have to adapt and drop to his level. I of course won the toss like the first class tosser I am and we opted to receive, so it was time to unleash the power of The A-Team for the first time of the season.
The game flowed extremely well although the ref was a bit finickity about us actually playing by the rules. It took a good minute before we showed our superior class. A dynamic lineout, then the ball fizzed across the back line behind the dummy runners and left the right winger Danny Copley to score in the corner. In the fifth minute after a short attack Shielsy snuck over for the second try. No legendary dummy this time just a swan dive that left a crater. At this point their heroic Argentinian thoroughbred number 8 had sustained a particularly nasty grass stain and retreated to the bar. We got till 8 minutes before Danny Brough cut through neatly from 12 to score under the sticks. The first half went on like this and we began to rack up a cricket score. Leighton Davis was making good yards from 8 and the front row were heavily dominant. As opposed to just being heavy like normal.
The pick of the tries saw Broughy cross for his second from a Chris Duffy cross field kick worthy of featuring on the tele box. The only thing holding us back was the moustache and his book of NEW laws. Doesn’t he understand we don’t know all the old ones yet?
So, we kicked off for the second half and I went in for the smash but the kick was a couple of yards too long for my limping run so I stayed relatively upright, preparing to chase the catcher as he attempted to escape. To my amazement he caught the ball ducked to about 18” from the floor and stepped into me. Followed by a theatrical collapse. I looked perplexed and the moustache showed me the Yellow! Unber-frigging-leivable! So I left the field and Callum promptly fainted from separation anxiety. Apparently, he’s out for two weeks with concussion? I didn’t know you could get concussion without tackling anyone or touching the ball but it didn’t stop him!
The greatest highlight of the second half was Joe Shiel’s quick tap for the line. 10 yards out he charged and the little BAFTA winner that had got me off the pitch attempted to tackle him. It was a bit like watching a bunny rabbit trying to stop a steam roller! Suffice to say Shiel’s comfortably made the line for his second try. There were plenty more tries, Broughy got 4, Spooner impressed at full back with 2, and a whole host more.
So, we finished the day comfortable winners when on 65 mins one of their players claimed to have a spinal injury, so we called it a do.
Then came Karl Haigh, AKA Karlos, AKA Corporal Clipboard. I’d asked him to make notes on the game, scores, times and outstanding moments etc. Instead he’d scribbled some nonsense down got very excited after 6 pints and decided to name the ‘Man of the Match’ and ‘The Dick of the Day’ and ‘Biggest tackle’. We showered and entered the bar to find the results. Corporal Clipboard named Leighton as our ‘Man of the Match’, James Giblin as biggest tackler and yours truly as ‘The Dick of the Day’. (He’s going to regret that!) They named Shielsy as ‘The Man of the Match’. Sorry Broughy 4 tries and 4 assists on your debut isn’t enough to impress in this team! We named their prop and Vice Captain as their ‘Man of the Match’ and they picked some fella in a dress as ‘Dick of the Day.’. So, they lined up the pints and the race began. I drank mine and waited a further 20 seconds for the other three numptys to catch up. Shiel’s you need to get some practice in before Düsseldorf!
All in all, a flying start to the season. Dominance in the scrums and lineouts and electric outside. My one criticism would be that on no less than 3 occasions it’d have been nice if I’d been passed the ball when I was wide open to score!!!! But I’m not sore about it.
Man of the Match Danny Brough
Oppo voted MOM Joe Shiel
Strong performances from Toby Spooner, Leighton Davis and Joe Shiel
Tries: Dan Copley 2, Joe Shiel 2, Danny Brough 4, Ian Agnew, Toby Spooner 2, Niall Phayer
Conversions. Danny Brough 0/1 (better get a refund on that new hip) Chris Duffy 6/11
Written by George Hincliff