Wednesday, 12 September 2007


Half way through the warm-up drills session yesterday evening the 2nd XV captain approached me and asked "Do you play 2nd row and are you available on Saturday?"

I'm afraid my response, "Not since I was 16 and I'm not sure," probably wasn't exactly the commitment he was looking for.

The reason for my reticence is that, until he asked I'd honestly given no thought to playing anything other than Vets this season (and even then I've been having to convince myself that it's something I really want to do). And the thought of playing 2nd row again after a mere 26 year gap is a tad daunting.

After the warm up we played a full on practice match - a version of the 2nd XV that is due to pay on Saturday took on "the rest". Needless to say, after my bout of enthusiasm, I played for the rest, which actually was no bad thing as it did feature several 1st XV players who don't have a game this weekend (and in passing I should congratulate the 1sts on their 53-0 opening league victory last weekend).

So, in what was designed as a bonding exercise for the 2nds, I played blindside and number 8 for the opposition - essentially a defensive exercise really, but I got my hands on the ball a few times and set up a few rucks. It was pretty physical and boiled over on occasion but was also enjoyable, despite the darkness (the temporary floodlights light up a small fraction of the pitch and catching the ball when looking into them is nigh on impossible) and the fact that I somehow strained a pectoral muscle early on which is bloody sore this morning.

Afterwards, in the bar, it was left that I'd give the 2nd XV skipper a call to let him know my availability. On the plus side I have come though a few robust contact sessions now with no major problems (a sore right tit aside) and the match is away at Chess Valley which is very convenient for me. However, as my wife pointed out quite rightly in the opening round of negotiations last night, when I started training again I hadn't envisaged turning out regularly at this level. With two young kids, a weekly commitment to playing is something I can't give but, given that it doesn't look as if the Vets have a game until mid October, a run out sometime this month might be useful.

So, a decision is required. It may be that this week my sore body will make the decision for me, but sooner or later I'm going to have to get off the fence and decide what it is I want to do.

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