Monday, 22 November 2010


Well another eighty minuets of rugby under my belt and I have to say it was far more enjoyable than the last eighty minutes. I still hate losing, but I have learnt to realise that in a team sport which involves games against teams of all manner of skills. You sometimes have to except you can’t change the world and you can only do your best. Individually I felt I did ok and offered a lot more by way of positive encouragement than I have done in the last few outings. I know I need to reign in my big mouth a bit but when I feel the need to say something I find it hard to stop myself. I made a couple of shocking errors, the biggest one that haunts me is the missed tackle on the centre who left me with more pain in my shoulder than any full on tackle ever could have. The second pushing out and calling a drift only to overrun my man I was left to tackle. I tend to at times beat myself up over these things and I have to say on this occasion I was right to. Silly mistakes and the first allowed in a try. Having to take pills after games which mean I can’t drink was harder than I thought possible. That said: no migraines so it seemed to work, however the thought of not being able to drink on the final autumn international weekend is too much. So it’s social over playing for me this weekend. As a result of Saturday’s game I really want another one. As I was stepping on the platform of retirement (again); I found that maybe there were still another couple of stops left on my journey and I have to thank a lot of the people who have been so positive and encouraging. It’s hard to pick someone up when they seem to keep falling down but people have been brilliant in doing that for me.

Some of the youngsters and some oldies who started the season.
The young lads again led the way around the field on Saturday. The 2 young flankers had real standout performances. I have developed an unbelievable respect for these young lads who have come through our club. Every one of them I take to the field with exceeds my expectations. They put in a work rate that is far and beyond what I can do and they also play with their heads up. They seem to be coming out of the woodwork at such a rate; each week I see another one with great potential and great skill. Even though they all love beating me up and smashing me around I can’t help but feel hugely protective of all of them. It’s not just in the men’s section that this is the case. I got to watch the junior girls play on Sunday and in amongst them, some players with great potential. The ones who have stepped up this year into our senior women’s side have already shown how quickly they can settle into the set up. Not only are these young rugby players filled with talent and capable individuals they are all genuinely nice lads and lasses too. They are entertaining and enjoyable company. I have socialised with a few of the guys who came into the adult section this year and although at times I feel like I have stepped into an episode of ‘the inbetweeners’ I can’t help but enjoy it. Managing them in a rugby sense and keeping them all keen is the real challenge facing the club.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Scrum Again

I love the scrum; I love it so much I could easily watch eighty minutes of it. At international level, you can have great trys and I appreciate the deft skill of these flighty ball handlers. They work their way through defences; unlocking them like a prison guard opening cell doors at slop out time but for me these are different games. The one that sees people: fleet of foot, dancing through a psychotic back row, intent on destruction, is beautiful. There is a huge part of me that wishes I had the ability to step and dance like that. However, like my golf swing, which resembles a man throwing a sack of spuds onto a lorry, my stepping ability looks like a man trying to put out his shoes after they have been set alight.

The scrum though. The scrum is more than beautiful. When those eight men are locked together like a giant 3 headed mythical beast and stop being eight individuals; when the focus of the one, becomes the focus of all for five seconds of furious battle. They share the same goal, a destructive aggressive aim to rip apart the threat that sits in front of it. When you get a scrum right; when all the shoulders shunt up; when all the feet move forward at the same time, there is little sensation capable of bettering that feeling in the world; When the opposition start to grip on to the turf in a desperate bid to hold their ground before finally letting go and retreating. The feeling is primitive; the feeling is all the things we are encouraged not to feel in our lives; dominance of someone else through sheer physical force.

To the outsider it all sounds a bit odd, a bit of a weird thing to do for pleasure. To those who do it and most importantly enjoy it, there is no better place to be. That is the key though; there are hundreds of front row players who dream of being a ten, or an outside centre. They don’t want to be in the scrum, they are just biding their time for that call to glory. “Prop we need a new fly half, we decided on you”, is how they dream it will happen; it never does. These players are worth their weight in gold. The pillars of the game; you can have your miss pass, dummy switch, back inside to the full back. Me I would rather see a push over try.

Monday, 1 November 2010

A Better Day. Weekend Part 2.

On the Charge.

You will see this is part 2 of the weekend. I don’t really wish to advertise part 1. So we will just leave it at that.

Now I woke up Sunday feeling pretty fed up. The thought of travelling across London in the rain to watch the women play wasn’t really top of my list but I really was pleased to see the Chesham team take to the field again.

I have said before that for rugby games to take place it involves an awful lot of work from the same very few people. The people who have fought and battled, to get a team together to play on Sunday, deserve all the respect that they can be given. They did not give up when they easily could have; they didn’t walk away when so many others did. They kept on, they battled and they pulled in every favour they could find to get the team back onto the field. As achievements go I don’t think they come much bigger. You could see in the face of the captain on the day and the players that have battled with her to make it happen how much it meant. That enthusiasm filtered all the way through the team.

I am not going to glamorise the game it was a very confusing thing to watch as Kilburn looked like team intent on smashing through Chesham. Chesham had other ideas and regularly sent them backwards. The truth is though the result, which was a resounding victory for Chesham was secondary to the attitude and effort the team put in. Players playing their first games were put in positions players in their first games don’t often have to play. Yet they did it without complaint, and they did it well. People were asked to hook who had never hooked and did it well. The scrum half played out of position and was quite brilliant. The team was lead well and in the right places you had some experience to guide people around the field.

The most exciting thing about the game is the young players coming in. Raw talent and pace was in abundance and really good players. Everything in life goes through cycles. The same thing stands for rugby clubs. Our men’s team is in a cycle of growth and development which is impressive. The women’s team also now has light at the end of the tunnel with youngsters coming in who can start to create a team of their own and take ownership of it and its responsibilities.

Actions Speak Louder than Words. Weekend Part 1.

Take everything I wrote last week and throw it away. I don’t think I have ever been as disappointed with myself as I was on Saturday. Not just the performance, but the behaviour was something I am mortally ashamed of.

I had so many high hopes for the game so much desire to make a difference and really I was left floundering. I basically walked my way from one scrap to another around the rugby field unable to provide any real impact on the game. There are one or two things I really need to sort out before I can carry on. All in all it was a very frustrating 80 minutes and as my good friend said to me after the game. I allowed myself to be “mindf****d” and you couldn’t sum it up with any more eloquent language. That was exactly what had happened.

In the past I would have sucked it up, but this guy was shouting all the things I was thinking in my head. Verbalising my own annoyances and I let it get to me. When I missed a tackle I heard my opposition prop shout “haha ha ha ha good work prop what a great tackle”, It’s worse when someone tells you something you are already screaming at yourself. I went the only way I knew how which was trying and punch him at every opportunity and choke the life out of him at the scrum. I actually wanted to physically hurt him. It was so bad; I am ashamed to admit I never even shook his hand at the end of the game. I didn’t want to, I didn’t like him and I didn’t want to pretend it was all harmless fun. It wasn’t, my pride was seriously hurt my ego smashed. That is all I want to say about it. Let’s call this an apology to all the people I played with on Saturday.