Sunday, 3 May 2009

Jumpers for goalposts

Just when I thought it was safe to venture back to the rugby club...

With the hours of daylight getting longer, with the weather ever-improving and with social touch rugby sessions in full swing on Tuesday evenings ahead of the touch league season starting on 12th May, I could have been forgiven for thinking that the rugby season was done and dusted for another year. Time to put the boots and gumshield into mothballs for another summer and reflect on another season back playing this wonderful game of of ours.

Or so I thought. Ever since the cancellation of our final match of the season, Vets skipper Colin had been murmuring about not letting the season peter out and about having one last match to see off the season in style...

And so it transpired that a bunch of us turned up at the club yesterday for what was, ostensibly, a Vets vs 2nd XV match. In fact, it was a game for anyone who fancied a runout (and several that didn't) and who hadn't volunteered for or been press-ganged into going on tour with the rest of the club to some seaside town full of unsuspecting English holidaymakers.

The format of the game was simple enough. Thirty players who, after ensuring that there were 2 complete front rows, were split up fairly randomly into 2 equal sides. Our team featured mainly Vets, supplemented by a few more youthful souls with extremely useful pace and stamina - and the opposition were pretty similar in make-up - so more by luck by judgement we ended up with 2 fairly evenly matched sides.

Colin, who had magnanimously declared himself to be referee, explained the laws to us - or, as they shall now be known, the CREEPs (Colin's Radical Experimental & Exciting Permutations). As the goalposts had already been taken down, there would be no kicking at goal and, just to make things interesting (for him and anyone watching, rather than for those playing) all kicking of any nature was outlawed, punishable by (ironically) a free kick. Jumpers were placed over the holes in which the goalposts had once resided and the pitch was marked out with tape and cones. And so, with the sun beating down and with the temperature rising, we kicked off - or rather tapped and passed off - to start the match...

As it turned out, despite the heat, despite the fact that there were no automatic rest periods to allow the ball to be retrieved from the hedge from whence it had been hoofed, despite the fatigue that hit me after about 10 minutes and stayed with me for the rest of the game and despite the grazed knees and chaffed elbows, it turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable runaround. Our team ended up scoring several tries, the opposition not quite so many, but no one was really keeping count and, with the no-kicking rule being strictly adhered to, there was plenty of opportunity to get hands on the ball and gallop around the paddock like a fat asthmatic gazelle with a hip replacement. And if sweating was an international sport I'd be a shoe-in for the England team, I guarantee it.

I can only hope that there are no Australians reading this blog. How long before news filters through to John O'Neil of this radical new approach to the game? How long before the IRB adopts the CREEPs internationally? How long before, in order to speed up the game and make it more "accessible", goalposts are removed, kicking of any kind is outlawed and games are decided purely on the number of tries scored?

Give me a sedate game of rugby in the mud any day.

2 comments:

Matt @ Green and Gold Rugby said...

Consider the news filtered

Nursedude said...

In midst of experimenting with the Creeps, did you get a chance to see Cardiff-Leicester? What an amazing game!