As we finally returned to the Kingdome, I thought it appropriate that I return to my keyboard to punch out another match report. These have been all too rare this season, partly because our prolonged losing streak didn’t give me much to write about, but also because the ever-increasing brilliance of previous reports made me reluctant to continue, for fear of disappointing people with a piece that wasn’t both mind-blowingly insightful and incredibly hilarious.
But this week both of those fears have been put to one side as I heroically begin to describe the events of Saturday, 3 August.
We began, as always, with 4th grade, whose unquestionable place as the most important team in the club has been further enhanced by the fact that this year they are the only grade who seem to have worked out that scoring ‘tries’ and ‘winning’ are actually a pretty good ways to play rugby. Their motivation to succeed was boosted even more when I dislocated my elbow trying (unsuccessfully) to drag 2nd grade to their first win of the season a month ago. Each week the players run out the tunnel with tears streaming down their face, with cries to ‘do it for Cav’. Thanks guys, it really means a lot. I think the tattoo was a bit much, Marto, but I am flattered nonetheless.
And on Saturday they brought a glimmer of hope to my miserable, wheelchair-bound life with a 24-0 victory. Needing a good win to keep their finals hopes alive, they started well with an early try to Dave Smith, quickly followed up by one to Kyle James. The team was looking good but struggling to convert the many opportunities created. This wasn’t helped by Ed Love, who was completely invisible out there. We entered the second half needing two more tries for the bonus point, and this looked to be almost assured after Mike Stokes burst through a hole and put Andrew Macvicar over in the corner. But St Ives defended valiantly, and we kept spurning our opportunities. The clock ticked down… still no 4th try. The last play was called, and the forwards trucked it up from 20m out. Wave after wave, phase after phase of the greatest pick and drive you will ever see, until finally the ball was dotted down by OC. The 10,000+ crowd went wild- flares were lit, drums were beaten, horns were played. And on a beach on some European island, Kyle Loughlin started sobbing.
3rd grade were next, and from the moment the game kicked off you knew they saw 4th grade and were inspired by their efforts. Now at this point I had to drive in to Parramatta to buy a game ball and pick up some peasant colt from the train station. By the time I got back they were already singing the team song after a 17-7 victory. By the looks of it the game was never in doubt, with a dominating display lead by Tomasi and Josh Moule up front. But from the accounts of spectators the one thing that third grade did well (again!) was showing respect for the referee at all times. After the game the ref came up to me and said “never in my life have I officiated such a polite and courteous side. Not once did they backchat, verbally abuse me or my family, threaten me with physical violence, or literally shoulder charge me to the ground after I penalised them. To me that is outstanding.” So while I get tired saying this every week, I still have to say it again- well done guys.
Colts were next, and fielded a side with plenty of new faces- an influx of gappies, and a few washed up Welshies from UTS. Unlike the rest of the UTS guys these blokes weren’t totally useless, and colties managed to put on a pretty good show, going down narrowly after conceding two early tries. The sole try was scored by Zenon ‘Dragonball’ Kosmider, after good lead-up work from the rest of the forwards. Also notable was the kicking display by Alec Baggalley, who was nursing a hand injury picked up in some sort of late-night, underground Splendour in the Grass fight club, which supposedly involved studded dog collars, needle drugs and Arabian midgets. Or at least that is what Luke told me it was. Maybe. I wasn’t really listening, but I think that was the general gist of it.
So now we hit the business end of the day, with 2s and 1s chasing their first wins of the season. Unfortunately both will have to wait another week after going down to Saints. 2s had a few nice moments, and were helped by new kids Arturo, Tai, Mika and Harold. Brendan Davis and Sam Shumack also had good games. Particularly Brendan, a guy who saves us $100 each week by doing all the washing, and then uses up about that amount worth of tape every Saturday to hold his body together. Shumack shed that disgusting pony-tail and it clearly made him faster and more aerodynamic, not to mention about 1000 times less-sledgeable.
1s put in a valiant effort, going down 19-13 in a tight tussle. Two second half tries had the score at 14-13 with just minutes to play, but Saints lifted a notch and unfortunately edged us out. I think this was TMoule’s first game back- I say ‘think’ because I didn’t really see him out there so I could be wrong. Someone who I did see was Mike ‘Love Guru’ Lagudi, who rampaged through the Saints defence like he was rumoured to have rampaged through the women-folk of whatever poxy UK town he spent 2012 in. Jimmy Armstrong and Josh Moule also had good games. This was also the return of Coatesy at the back, who had a few nice touches, though I think his long passing game might need a bit of work. And Buchanan’s kicking game- don’t stress it mate, I’ll give you a few pointers on Thursday.
All in all it was a pretty good day. A few wins, a few losses and a good time was had by all. Except Drew- rest up mate, we will need you firing in 2014.
Anyway, I have to get back to work. Tune in next week as 4ths continue their march to the finals against Lindfield. I think the other grades might be playing as well, but I don’t really care.