Spring sunshine sees OBs win 48-21 versus Kingswood
By James Trezona
Good running game against very hospitable hosts
As is traditional, we should firstly and foremostly focus on the run up to the game itself:
Hein(e) telling us how hungover he was in the car (That, plus our cavalier attitude to having 13 men meant Charlie was starting to worry about how professional this OBs outfit was), and then Hein proceeding to demolish their team both in defence and when he decided he fancied a try and there was nothing the five or so chaps who tried to get in his way could do about it.
The oppo's excellent stripey blazers, and general good-humour making this sunny day even more of a joy - especially the positively upbeat way they took my sheepish mention that we only had one front rower. Huge thanks to the lads they lent us.
Breaking with tradition, and as it was a great game, some in-play highlights:
Generally, they were bigger but our tackling was excellent - I actually can't recall a missed tackle, and pace and skills won out in the second half as they started to tire and champagne rugby was uncorked.
The anguished cries from Tom each time our-one-front-rower-but-wanna-be-half-back-hair-twin Giddings chipped, drop-goalled, toe-punted or generally abused the ball with his feet (other than any actual hooking - the scrums were pretty darn good, even when we were inexplicably penalised for turning). To be fair at least one of the kicks came off brilliantly, and unlike later for England, sticking to the plan of kicking (down the slope with the wind) was the right tactic.
Debutante Charlie scoring his hat-trick with Jonny May-like running - a whirling blur of limbs. His technique and try count contrasting with our left wing's (traditionally the 'scoring wing') more uni-directional and ambling pace.
The ref's apoplectic annoyance with us through much of the first half. Nicest chap in the world Gareth was singled out for being especially "cynical". To be fair, he set the tone before kickoff when upon introducing myself in the bar I was immediately and firmly told a proper stud check would be carried out and any dubious studs would be banished to the changing rooms. Tumbleweed moment. I suspect he perhaps was trying to inject some semblance of seriousness to proceedings, which was a thankless task, as was insisting on straight throws.
A gazelle-like break from Debley, who gambolled through a few tackles to find himself with space to score. So fantastically majestic I forgot about it while trying to count the tries, perhaps thinking it but a dream.
Ferg showing the most non-plussed (frankly jovial) attitude to an open finger dislocation. For the non-medics amongst us, this is when the bone breaks through the skin. Ouchy.
Hilharious windmill dummy from Tinks (big man, soft hands) from a scrum-pick up that worked beautifully
Gareth's silky finishing in what was a loop play with him ending up on the wing (from 10) to ghost past their last man. Also the fact that good service from Tom and the willinness to pass wide of a man who has many time been starved of ball when at 13 meaning we were getting some lovely wide play going on.
Similarly Garth injecting a bit of 7s magic into what felt like a godfathers kind of day, with Bambi leaps and some fast feet to also find the try-line. And then an proper old-school tee-less 'trez-can-you-hold-the-ball' conversion (attempt).
Coughlan turning out to be an inspired (by necessity) choice at centre, once he'd gotten over the fact that I wasn't joking about him being in the backs - especially having seen his brilliant carrying (and handing off of unfortunate opposition) the week before. Again, the big JC hand off came out again, to great glee
Grzonk's constant enthusiasm, from pretty much sunrise to the final whistle, it's a beautiful thing to behold and should be celebrated at all times
Tinks picking their largest player up and driving him back about 10 yards, at which point you could pretty much hear the 'twang' of the oppo's enthusiasm snapping, even though they brought on a couple of useful young-uns near the end - but the game was done by then and everyone's minds was on the bar...
Team Millard's (or the A-team, as it seems to be a family rule to have a name starting with "A") support. Ambrose was an excellent hydration engineer and Amy and family on the sideline seemed to inspire Alex to put an excellent tackling shift in.
on their side, the captain was a handy 9 belying his age, and the 10 was a pretty class player, with a few strong ball carriers in the back row.
MOTM - Coughlan disqualified for winning it the week before and being young - but a Manu-like performance put in. Hein also a close contender but black-balled for being hungover and therefore robbing us of additional majestic bullocking runs/tackles. So the obvious choice wins out, as a hatrick on debut should be rightly honoured - Well done and welcome Charlie! (And looking forward to meeting your bigger recently ex-marine brother).
Lovely fun - thanks to the dirty thirteen of legends for stepping up during ski-season/6N/half term and huge thanks to Kingswood for being great hosts, especially the lads who propped up our pack.