Sunday, 13 January 2008

Shattered and stuffed


It's fair to say that we took a bit of a pounding yesterday. I'm sore in places I didn't know I had and, even after several glasses of medicinal red wine this evening, can still feel every tackle from yesterday's game.

The good news was that it was a gloriously sunny winter's afternoon, the rain having deigned to cease for twelve hours or so. The bad news, or at least the beginning of the bad news , was that it was obvious when we turned up at the High Wycombe clubhouse that it probably wasn't exactly the strongest team that Chesham Vets had ever put out. After all, with me at 43 being the youngest member of the back five and with both of our flankers being the wrong side of 50, it was always going to be a huge ask to be competitive against a strong High Wycombe team.

That's not to criticise the effort of anyone on the team - in fact in terms of effort and endeavour the team was pretty much faultless and, although we saw little to no ball for the majority of the first half, we held our much stronger (and, it must be said, much younger and fitter) opposition for about 20 minutes, before fatigue allowed 3 tries in before half time.

The start of the second half saw a transformation in the opposition as several changes were made. Unfortunately the players coming on were even better, quicker and without doubt younger than the guys they replaced. In fact I'd swear that the two guys that came on in their back row were under 30, let alone under 35. At least that's my excuse for failing to get anywhere near them for the entire half. As the pace was upped, so our resistance fell away, four second half tries sealing our fate.

That said, we did have our moments in the second half and were able to exert some pressure on the opposition for a period, but unfortunately our inability to secure lineout possession deep in their 22 (I even tried to ressurect my no. 2 lineout jumping days with no effect whatsover) meant that we emerged from the game with nothing, zilch, nada, nul points, which was a little demoralising given the amount of effort that we put in.

From a personal point of view, although I hardly covered myself in glory I felt that, partly through necessity, I was involved far more than in previous games, especially in a defensive capacity where I got through plenty of work and put in more than my fair share of tackles. Certainly that's what my body's still telling me more than 24 hours later.

Final score? 0-37 I'm afraid - and we were saved from a further drubbing by High Wycombe's decision to try converting their tries with drop kicks, with only one finding the target. We learned after the game that the opposition's ranks had, in fact, been boosted by the cancellation of their 2nd and 3rd XVs' respective fixtures, resulting in several young and eager tyros chomping at the bit to be let loose on Chesham's older generation.

Moral victory to us then...:)


Nursedude said...

Flanker, how many practices a week do you and your mates do? One of the frustrations for me the last year was that I work evening shifts with my job, which means making to practice is almost impossible. I still try to show up for matches to cheer my teamates on, but it actually might behoove my rugby if I end up switching to nights. Hang in there and hope you are feeling better. with your game, did you get a chance to watch any Heineken cup matches?

Total Flanker said...

Hi Nursedude,
The club trains twice a week but in true Vets tradition us oldies do no training at all (although I did attend training sessions semi-regularly until a combination of foul weather and injury management dampened my enthusiasm). This, added to the fact that we play only once a month and the team's personnel changes dramatically game to game (for instance 9 changes between games 1 and 2, a further 8 changes between games 2 and 3 and I've had three entirely different sets of flankers playing with me in the back row each game) means that we pretty much start from scratch every game.
I'm not complaining - it would be nice to have a bit of continuity and familiarity but, despite the pain, I'm still enjoying it. One of these days it'll click :)