It would not be possible to write a match report about Saturday’s visit by Westcombe Park visit to Horn Park without mentioning full back Adrian Deane. Adrian casually mentioning in the warm up that he hadn’t played since he was 16 and had ‘world cup fever’ said it all. If a man can’t come back to the Old Boys 3s twenty years after his last game for school or club, then when can he play? There is nothing which illustrates what we try and achieve every Saturday more than this.
After the obligatory drop outs mere hours before kick-off, there was some apprehension as to what kind of side the 3s could get out this week. However, when the dust of desertion settled the rump squad of 16 still looked tidy. Further, the recent run of good weather had continued and we kicked off in near perfect conditions.
Despite a relaxed warm up we began the game with a rare bang. Defiantly playing up the hill the OC’s pack dominated the first twenty minutes with ball in hand. Goody, Tubs and Adam also quickly put the squeeze on WP’s scrum (setting a dominance at the set piece that would continue until the visitors were forced to go to uncontested after an hour). Off the back of this platform Riley and Ryan were able to make the first of several highly effective outside breaks, with Ryan quickly scoring the first try. Shortly afterwards, consistent blues and blacks paid further dividends with Cricky getting over for the second. We were 14-0 up and flying after barely 15 minutes play.
It was inevitable that Westcombe would come back: for the remainder of the half the hosts were starved of possession. However, despite WP hammering away at our line for phase after phase, a strong Colfeian defensive effort from 1 to 15 kept them out. Special mentions must go to Woodsy and Raj who took great delight in driving Combe’s big carriers back time and time again.
Towards the end of the half, your narrator spotted Dan Courtneidge (in full Peaky Blinder gear) on the touchline. For those who are unaware, the youngest Tubbs is definitely in the top three Courtneidges I’ve ever shared a rugby pitch with and we all hope that he can be convinced to turn out at least once for Old Colfes this season. Clearly distracted, the author became the first victim of the Westcombe Park 8, ruthlessly trampled underfoot. Fortunately, the cover defence was on hand and no significant ground was conceded as the half ended. Goody, Adam, Jordan and Marcus were particular highlights with ball in hand, and Hamish enjoyed probably his finest performance in a Colfeian shirt. Like all ex-forwards that move into the backline later in their career, Brockman looked like a centre that could afford to put on a few pounds – no one should be that mobile.
We took the half time oranges with the knowledge that it wasn’t perfect, but with hard work we would come out on top. After some inspiring words from Danny Gardner from the deck (he had a sore calf) we felt confident.
Despite the inspiring words, we didn’t come out as well as we had hoped and we conceded from our own lineout early in the second half. Nigel Owens has seen straighter line outs than the one thrown on our own five metre and Westcombe gobbled it up to score a try. At this point the ref had a minor wobble and initially failed to award the try. Who knows what the reason for the decision was initially (Marcus was confidentially explaining why this was in fact the right call), but eventually the try was given to Westcombe. Fair play to the ref putting his hands up and admitting he got it wrong. Brockman will go far in life speaking so eloquently about things which he knows little about – a future in British politics beckons.
After this blip, Colfes got over the line again via Bill Blythe. Shortly after being folded up by the WP 8 (a collision that made me glad that, due to various deficiencies in character and genetics, neither the Major or any other sadistic PE teacher ever looked at me and said ‘I reckon you should be a forward’), Bill successfully ran five yards over Raj to claim another crucial five pointer. Even James Good (top 3s try scorer of the season) conceded that this was the crucial try.
The game continued in an erratic and scratchy style. While our set piece advantage and dogged defence continued to keep WP out of the game, a smattering of breaks from the backs ultimately came to nothing. The next big moment of the game came on 75 minutes when the worst clearance kick this narrator has ever seen landed straight in Jordan’s bread basket with the tryline open, for about half a second before the ball bounced out again like a frog. Fortunately, we still had enough time for OCs to turn the ball over, and for Goody to hit the ball at pace in the midfield shrugging off three desperate tacklers on his way to the tryline to put the game beyond doubt – another highly mobile forward overdue a move out to the backs.
All in all an excellent win for the 3s. Westcome were superb guests and the game was played in great spirits. See you all Friday at 6.57.
Author: Ed Patton