The lead up to Saturday’s game was a turbulent one. Falcons Captain Leighton Davis and Charlie Foreman had gone for a night on the town in Newcastle. With only Xander available out of the first team squad we looked desperately low on numbers but Falcons Manager Joe Shiel pulled the cat out of the bag, or more accurately the lads out of the pub, to keep the match on. He persuaded Danny Brough to make his Falcons debut, who in turn brought his mate Billy Broughton along for a game. Joe Hodgson our Head of Tax Dodgers also rounded up three extra students in Andre, Jiri, Alfie Molyneux and Matthew Uprichard! Plus Andy Lyon and debutant Neil Thornton promised to arrive in time to play the second half. This gave us a total of 18 plus 2 and we were good to go. Besides proper Huddersfield players don’t lose at fortress Lockwood Park, especially on The Field of Dreams!
So, we got down early and got ready. A travelling insurance man got lost and tried to sell us some rugby insurance some policies in the changing rooms but he was quickly dismissed as no one ever gets injured in rugby. What a complete waste of money! You have to watch out for these vampires. I was pleasantly surprised to see the ref, yes it was fan favourite, the ‘Moustache!’ We had a brief chat where he informed me that our match reports were the best in the land. He’s clearly an uneducated man if he thinks my illiterate ramblings are entertaining! But I now have another fan which takes me up to at least 5! I’m sure the Pulitzer is on the cards for next year. With the ref in my pocket desperate for an entertaining write up we were good to go! Rugby’s all about getting the referee on side and taking the little wins.
We warmed up well for a team with 5 front rowers, 2 backs and myself in the starting pack. The backs looked big and scary. Shielsy made the slightly odd choice of putting Broughy on the wing. Allowing Harry Danger to play 9, Mike Rafferty at 10, Xander Nash at 12, Andrew Jiri at 13, Glen Keogh on the other wing and Billy Broughton at full back. Where’s Dan Copley? The 6’4” winger who can’t catch because he’s practically blind. Shiel had only stuck him in the second row, what could possibly go wrong! You can’t just stick any oversized numpty in such a highly skilled position!
So, on a dry, calm relatively sunny afternoon the game kicked off. We attacked for a few phases then conceded a penalty which they kicked in the corner. Our new look lineout involved three front rowers lifting myself (George Hinchliff) and newly promoted Copley. They threw to 4 brought it down and after a pretty impressive drive managed to open the scoring. They missed the conversion and Shielsy gave his first team talk of the day. “Lads they are ****! Just stick it up the jumper, Bully ‘em and we’ll win easily!” My kind of team talk, a bit too technical but he’ll learn.
They kicked off and our incredibly intelligent and handsome Number 8 (Hinchliff) caught the ball and ran it back. We set up some good plays culminating in Broughton stepping through neatly for our first try. Broughton converted his own try from under the posts. Very impressive for a lad with a truly horrific mullet! The game got back going and it was fairly even, they were obviously a decent side with a few lads who play Rugby League. On the 20 minute we were beginning to pile on the pressure Copley attempted to ruck and the game was stopped. One of their lads went down holding his face? Copley looked completely confused, he was picking up second rowing very quickly! There was nothing wrong with his face, just being soft. Besides if it’d been me, I’d have been more concerned about the fact his foot had relocated and appeared to be attached to his knee. The moustache stopped the game, and gave him a nice silver blanket, how kind. We suggested carrying him off so we could continue but apparently these days players welfare is more important than the result? Not in my day! The world’s gone soft. Plus the Vampire now probably owed him about £4,000!
After a 10 minute hiatus, we agreed to resume the game on the back pitch, this meant relocating the 5,000 strong crowd to the other side of the viaduct! Only 4,999 appeared as the Vampire had made a hasty exit! This relocation, sadly had damaged our momentum we played the remainder of the first half in a sort of non scoring deadlock. Until with 30 seconds to go we got a kickable penalty straight in front of the posts. The Moustache, which I must say glistened beautifully in the sunshine, started the kicking clock. We waited for the kicking tee which never appeared and with 10 seconds left The Mullet hoofed it off the ground, 1950’s style and pulled the kick to the right of the posts, 1950’s style.
Half time losing 7-8 when we should be winning by 2, it was time, when the going gets tough the tough need to bloody well get going! So, Shiel gave another awe inspiring speech and we went to work. Unfortunately, Ponte were playing at funny buggers and they kicked a penalty, 7-11. We reset and they kicked it to our number 8, who was having a magnificent game, to run back at them. We set up some strong pressure and ended up with a penalty which was missed by Brough, that replacement hip must have been faulty! Yet we kept on the pressure and this time we had a scrum, 25 metres out just to the right of the posts. The back row move was called by the incredibly greedy number 8, who was ankle tapped by the Ponte scrum half. However, a very dubious off load made it to Xander. Who picked that 8? Clearly an incompetent waste of space! Xander did what he did many times, charged on an outside arc and got tackled only to release an incredibly dubious offload. The attack came to a grinding holt. Luckily, they had given away a penalty. So, we kicked the corner, Copley soared and the backs did the unthinkable? They passed it all the way down the line and to Broughy who put his left leg in, his left leg out he did the hoke-koke and he turned around. Both defenders developed halos made of stars and birdies, then fell over. Broughy then neatly scored in the corner. What a guy, he’ll be on ‘Strictly’ next! The Mullet smashed over the conversion and we were winning, 14-11.
They then came back at us and after some sustained pressure, we conceded a kickable penalty which they kicked, 14 all. To make things worse Xander had been dismissed by The Moustache, who likes to play fast and loose with the yellows! Apparently, Xander broke some kind of Law when their lad charged at him screaming, after the whistle when neither had the ball. Xander simply stood his ground and got slapped in the face. In my opinion charging in screaming and trying to pick a fight was definitely asking for it but apparently it clearly says in the Laws, “The Moustache is always right!” Page 243, paragraph 4. This time we got the game flowing helped by our heavily dominant set piece. I’d told Alfie, a back at 6 how to scrummage so I didn’t get ankle tapped this time! As it was obviously anyone else’s fault! So, we piled the pressure on and the backs started to gain yards culminating in The Mullet with Broughy on his shoulder against their full back. Turns out Mullet’s are greedy, so he dummied stepped the other way and got tackled by the covering winger. It happens a lot when people don’t want to pass because they are worried the receiver is a useless donkey. However, if it’d have been me I’d have probably given the pass to The Super League Man of Steel! We gained a penalty and The Mullet whipped it over, 17-14. It was turning into a two pairs of underwear type of game. Neil Thornton entered the field of play on the wing, Andy Lyon came on at 6 and Jamie entered the fray.
We pressured again gaining but missing the penalty conversion attempt closely followed by them doing the same. 10 minutes to go and we needed to put this game to bed. After some Forwards pressure a pop pass reached Copley in heavy traffic. He broke the first tackle and turned on the gas from 20m out he charged for the line half stepping a covering defender. He was tackled by the full back but not before he managed to score under the posts! What a guy! The Mullet added the extras, 24-14. 5 minutes to go and it looked like we were comfortable but Ponte were no mugs and they came back at us hard and after a tap penalty charge at the line which was denied by myself and Shiel, they then quickly went wide to score in the corner. They missed the conversion and the Moustache called it time.
It was a hard fought messy victory that was more disjointed than William Wallace after the English got hold of him. BUT it was ours and we had bloody earned it. Copley was astoundingly good in the second row. The Mullet was electric in attack, if not a little greedy and it was great to blood the three new debutants.
So, we entered the bar and the boots of Guinness were lined up. It was like déjà vu. I smashed mine with an unimpressed look and everyone else took ages. However, the Mullet hid his untouched and walked off. I’ve never seen such cowardice in all my life, no wonder he plays at full back, it’s probably because no one can look him in the face! Or at his hair! Apologies to Joe Hodge who now has the second-worst Mullet on the team.
Man of the Match- Dan Copley
Oppo Nominated MOM- Billy ‘The Mullet’ Broughton
Best Student- Andrew Jiri
Dick of the Day- George Hinchliff, for last week’s yellow card!
Billy‘The Mullet’ Broughton
Billy Broughton 3/3
Danny Brough 0/1
Billy Broughton 2/4
Report by George Hinchliff