Stamford 52 Vets 24
This is a difficult report to type. Not because of the emotion welling inside me when I recall our dogged performance against a powerful and well drilled opposition but because there isn’t a part of me which is not aching.
Stamford appears to be a long way up the A1 and it is. However, the journey is quite simple, particularly when someone else is driving. This was the first match in our Cup pool of three. We needed to bring a strong squad but in the event we managed to bring just 15 and Shrek.
This meant that injuries, fatigue or mental collapse could not be tolerated as no replacements would be forthcoming, fortunately the Opposition were also not over burdened with replacements. Sadly, this did not mean that we played a softer game hence my difficulties.
The first half started well with a typical sniping run up the wing by Norm for our first points. Play was generally equal thereafter except for a period of about 7 minutes when Stamford found a way to break through our line in a simple but devastating way and ran in four tries without answer.
It was a big hill to climb after that (not unlike the leg sapping gradient running sideways on the pitch) but after 28 minutes Drakey found his way across the line and we thought we were back in the game.
The second half was marked by a serious change in their scrummaging, in the first half we had no problem and were not moved at all meaning secure possession. In the second half it seemed like Stamford either added a couple of extra players or their replacements were much more massive as they started to push us back.
Great leadership was provided by Norm in the backs and by the three J’s in the forwards leading to two scores. First, Stacy scalped their backs to go under the posts in quite a casual manner (I thought). Later Josh punched a hole off a penalty move and the off load gave Jez his opening Vets try of the season. Both tries were converted by Alex (Elegant) Ness who was having a very creditable debut at No 10.
The match (wrote Shrek the Spectator) was “played in great spirit”. Stamford proved to be a proper Vets team and we hope to arrange future fixtures.
Norm had a great match and was awarded Old Man of the Match by us (though we didn’t tell him at the time) and also Oppo Man of the Match by Stamford, apparently he won the beer race too.
I admit to being completely spent by the end of the match but we were still competing at the final whistle. Hats off to Griffo who played on with some tape holding two fingers together and unable to properly bind for the last 15 minutes. He has just told me his finger is broken in two places and may have to be pinned.
That’s true Vet behaviour although he did leave half a pint of Guinness behind as he went off to A&E which I had to finish for him so not wholly perfect.