It all looked very promising when I turned up at the clubhouse to learn that Ruislip Vets had cried off and that, instead, we were facing Hammersmith & Fulham VI. I mean, how good could a 6th team be?
We found out soon enough as the opposition sliced through our midfield defence like a red hot knife through liquidised butter to score with the first move of the match. Bugger.
Our cause was not helped by the fact that the opposition had showed up with no front row, leading to uncontested scrums. Picture the scene - 8 gnarled old, large and slow forwards against 8 young fit flankers with no set piece to slow them down. No contest.
Despite the occasional decent passage of play, including a couple of false dawn first half tries, ultimately we were spanked harder than Max Moseley in a dungeon, ending up on the wrong end of a 60-12 hiding.
My own performance was, in a word, pants. I knew it wasn't going to be my day when my old friend sciatica flared up during the warm up and I seriously considered not starting. Further proof, if proof be needed, that warm ups are bad for you.
Against my better judgement, perhaps, I decided to "run it off" but struggled throughout to get up a head of steam. Now I'd be the first to admit that, at my age, I'm hardly the quickest of players, but yesterday I managed to display all the pace of a tectonic shift. I was tempted on more than one occasion to call it a day, but the fact that we were down to 13 men shortly after half time convinced me that I should somehow soldier on. Big mistake as, over 24 hours later, I'm still in agony.
Whereas chronic lower back pain might excuse a certain lack of mobility, nothing can really explain the paucity of the rest of my performance which included some important missed tackles, failing to hang on to possession in contact and one really poor pass that was easily intercepted (although fortunately didn't result in any points against and, equally fortunately, wasn't recorded on video). No, the explanation really is quite simple - I've had no pre-season, I'm not fit enough and I'm bloody rusty. Whisper it quietly but I just might be too old.
On the plus side, that's the first of the season out of the way and surely I can't play as badly again...can I?