Saturday, 14 November 2009

Purple Haze

Well, all I can say is thank heavens I missed most of the England effort at Twickenham yesterday. Fortunately I spent the majority of the afternoon soaked to the skin in the face of a gale watching Chesham Vets take on High Wycombe 4ths and therefore only had to endure the last 20 minutes at Twickenham back in the clubhouse.

My ongoing battle with sciatica was the reason I was on the touchline rather than on the pitch. Given the appalling conditions, in theory the warm clubhouse with a pint is where I should have been but I decided to stay loyal to my team and braved the lashing rain and gusty wind and, as things turned out, was far better entertained than I would have been had I chosen the soft option.

Playing into the gale, Chesham were on the defensive for most of the first half but were noticebaly quicker to, and more aggressive at, the breakdown. So, despite spending large periods stuck in their own half they were able to retain possession and, by keeping the ball in hand, nullified the advantage that the conditions had afforded our opponents.

Half time was therfore a somewhat surreal 0-0 and, with the wind and rain at our backs, we were able to take full advantage in the 2nd half. A catch and drive from a lineout (remember them?) led to the first try and two further tries followed as Chesham ran out 17-0 winners.

They obviously missed me.

So then it was back to the clubhouse to discover that England were level at 9-9 with Argentina and, by all accounts, had been bloody awful. In the last 20 minutes all I saw was England shuffling from side to side with no decoys, no disguise, no subtlety and no one, absolutely no one, coming fast and from deep to give them any momentum. Their try showed good continuity but really should have been snuffed out by the Argentinian defence. Lord knows what might have happened if Lewis Moody wasn't playing - England's best player by a mile for the second week running. The All Blacks must be licking their lips.

And the purple kit looked bloody ridiculous. Shame on you RFU.

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