Match Report: Round 1 vs Brothers

Welcome to the 2013 season, people. I have missed you, and I am positive that you have missed me.

For the benefit of the uninitiated, allow me to offer a brief explanation. Each week (time permitting) I will endeavour to give a bit of a rundown on how I saw things the previous Saturday. Normally these reviews are incisive and intelligent, humorous yet profound. You will emerge from each knowing more about not only rugby, but life as well.

I require no thanks for this, it is just one of the (many) things that I do for this club. So with that in mind, let’s get stuck into Round 1…

After many months of planning and many weeks of training the sun finally dawned on a Kings School Saturday for Round 1. However thanks to a junior school cross-country we were banished from our rightful home (the Kingdome) and placed on Doyle 37, which is luckily in my top 15 favourite Doyle grounds. But this wasn’t going to stand in the way of us having a great Saturday, so in the face of this considerable affront we nonetheless pressed on.

4ths were first up, as they will be every week in 2013. And rightfully so. 4ths is the most important grade, and it makes sense to put it on first. Start with your big guns, and finish with the minor events. You don’t see the Olympics opening with some poxy Taekwondo event; they lead off with the event everyone wanted to see (in 2012 it was, of course, the women’s 10m air rifle). After all 4ths, as everyone knows, is the grade where boys become men, and men transcend the bounds of mortality to become gods. And so it was for the fine men of KOBs 4ths this week.

Last year's 4th grade team photo

Last year’s 4th grade team photo

Now as it happens I was on the BBQ for most of the morning, so my view of these games was somewhat obscured. So I have to use a bit of creative license here (which is unusual for these match reports, as they are usually so rigidly factual). KOBs went down 16-10 after being in front for most of the game thanks to an early try to the Featherston Flyer, Andy MacVicar (I presume you are from there, Andy. If not just roll with it, as I couldn’t find any other NZ place that starts with F). The lads put in a good effort but were thwarted by a bit of ill-discipline and a few long-range penalties late in the game. Plenty of positives for next week though, with solid performances by new recruits Kent Joseph, Sam Shumack and Jamie Craig.

After the usual 20 minute wait to allow the 4th grade crowd to dissipate (looked like 12,000 to my eyes, with a few thousand more watching the live stream), 3s were up next and provided the clear highlight of the day. It looked like an even contest, but then another new recruit, Will ‘White Lightning’ Beaumont, struck with two long range tries. KOBs were up 14-0 but with Brothers on attack the job was still far from over. But then came the moment of the day.

Brothers had a lineout on our 22, which they won comfortably. The ball was brought down and given to the halfback, who threw a pass to the five-eighth. But out of nowhere came Old Man Loughlin, the ageing patriarch of the Loughlin clan. He plucked an intercept out of nowhere, and then set sail for the tryline. But the job wasn’t done! A spritely Brothers winger looked to be chasing him down. At that moment, the music started playing. Time slowed down. Kyle, using all the wisdom of his 43 years, somehow summoned his old speed. He burned off the Brothers pretender and scored next to the posts. Gus stuffed up the conversion, but who cares. KOBs won 19-7 and Kyle finally has a story to tell his grandchildren (a few of whom are playing colts this year, I think).

So then we come to Colts, who fielded an impressive line-up for their first proper game of the season. A few old faces were there (Luke Rowntree, Sam Renzag, Elia Morisio, Tom Berry amongst others) as well as plenty of new ones. They looked good early, spreading the ball well and working in tight. The first half was a close tussle with Brothers scoring first late in the half. Unfortunately they would score the next two tries as well, and it looked like the game may be beyond us. But we responded well- first with a try to Zenon Kosmider (who I need a nickname for, if anyone has any ideas. ‘Z-score’ is what I am tossing up, for all the maths nerds out there. Or maybe ‘Louis ZK’. Neither are very good), and then with one to Luke Rowntree. Unfortunately that is where it ended and we went down 20-12. But there were some encouraging signs nonetheless.

2nds were up next, and put in an impressive display against a good Brothers side. Down 12-0 relatively early it looked like Brothers may run away with it, but we slowly pegged them back with a penalty goal to Charlie Crane and then a well-worked try to Brendan McClenaghan after a baa-rnstorming run. As hard as we tried for a late score, it wasn’t to be and Brothers took it out. There were a few big games put in, especially in the forwards. Max ‘Dusatoir’ Fontes had a great game, and so did the backrow- Sam McOwan, Tom Hosegood and James Scott. Also a big thanks to the subs from Colts- Sam Renzaglia, Duncan Sutherland and Emmanuel Sautu.

Even though people were still talking about 4th grade, it was time for 1sts to have a run. As the team ran out it seemed that we had recruited a few of the under 8 cross-country runners, but upon closer inspection it was just the Moule brothers, back for another year. Without giving too detailed an account of the game, there were plenty of positives for KOBs despite the 45-7 scoreline. Brothers are a well-drilled side that has lost one game in its past 60. Plenty of blokes rose to the challenge and put in great efforts: 18 year old colt Toby Johnston played a stellar game in the centres against a NSW Subbies rep, Ed Love stopped being the Love Boat and became the Love Train, Ravin Kumar and Mark Rowntree both terrorised Brothers at every breakdown, Brendan Davis took multiple lineout steals, Heath Morley scored a great individual try, Jimmy and Coatesy had flashes of brilliance, while Tim Moule scooped a ref’s point despite doing very little.

So while it was a disappointing day on the scoreboard, there were still plenty of positives. Make sure you get down to training tomorrow night, Gerard and Brendan are doing a fantastic job with some innovative drills and set moves. On Saturday we have Oatley at Oatley, which promises to be a great day. Get excited, get your mates and get down there.