Week 2. And the squad was transforming. Jack “The Quicker” Rutherford had suffered a knee injury, and couldn’t play, so he was replaced by another of Mark’s friends, Alex “Wildman” Wright. Olly Ray and Laura Reed couldn’t play this week, and were replaced by Chris “For The Love Of Greggs” Winterburn, Helen “Thumper” Crapnell and Hayley “The Rock” Rowland. The remainder of the team were unchanged: Wheezer, Compass, Whippet and Disoranno.
There were rumours of some members of the team cheating, by taking performance enhancing exercise prior to last night’s games. Wheezer had “jalked” for a few miles, and was suffering from blisters. The Rock had been to the gym before turning up to play. Thumper had run a mile and a half to get to the ground and For The Love Of Greggs had walked from his car.
Before the second round games started, we were in the lower half of the table, but nowhere near bottom. That was Birketts privilege. Aaaaah. But to our sheer delight, the teams we had to play yesterday were all in the top 5 of the table, and many of them had played rugby competitively for years, for various local clubs. Excellent.
Our first game showed a fluid running style, with great passing and multiple scores. For our opponents. Their place at the top of the table was richly deserved. Game two saw two tries from Compass, but also another loss, and a truck load of injuries. Groin strains, calf tears, other biomechanical niggles. And that’s when we started subbing for all our worth, to allow those with injuries to try and recover. In game 3, For The Love Of Greggs scored by virtue of a decent pass, which put him into unmarked space. We were struggling to cover ground when defending, with half the team hobbling, and some of the team clearly distracted by some of the younger, fitter males on the opposing team (you know who you are). At one point we were allowed a seventh player on the pitch – someone from Ipswich Rugby Club – perversely he managed to throw a looping pass, which was intercepted and allowed our opponents to score (again). In the final game, Thumper nearly ran a try in from a 20 metre sprint, only to be tackled before she could touch down. Her good work was not in vain – Wildman scored, by diving between Whippet’s legs on the re-start. Technically not how it should be done, but a sympathetic referee (who had also started to play for our team) allowed it through.
In fairness, by the last two games, we were again showing some good passing skills and a bit of creativity, offloading the ball before the tackle and using a bit more width. It was encouraging to see good progress on our rugby skills, despite coming second in each of our four games.
But Gotelee are known as the party people, so it was more about the banter during the games and the beer afterwards. And we’re also known as good problem solvers and kudos must be given to certain team members for thinking outside of the box. In touch rugby, the aim is not to get tagged. So first mention goes to Disoranno, who managed to run backwards, towards our own try line, for a good 20 metres, without getting tackled. Second mention goes to Compass was, towards the end, touting our opponents to go on dates with Disoranno and The Rock, if they’d allow us to score. Probably a criminal offence, but hey…….
So for now – painkillers and physios. Roll on next week.
NEWSFLASH – Thumper has possibly secured a new team member on loan for next week – an England U21 prodigy – Lewis Ludlam. We’ve been told he’s easy on the eye. The Rock, Compass and Disoranno have immediately registered their interest for next week’s game. Any other takers?!