Flexibility and adaptability were the requirements of our last league match; we had players in new positions and Ian standing in as captain. Yet not a man there that morning was unhappy, unsure or unnerved. We laughed our way through the warm up with never a dropped ball. We supported each other and encouraged each other and appreciated each other. Above all that ensuring the team were ready with kind words, assertive actions and a motivational outlook was Ian. The order of events are blurred in my mind and I shall relay them in the confused way in which my memory of that game unfolds itself. The one thing I am certain of is: that in the first five minutes Nath, a player that cannot be held down, who bounces off tacklers, slips from loose grips, who is back on his feet if not brought down securely, stormed his way through the Tritons, who seemed to have underestimated the spirit and skill of the Roundheads, scoring our first try of the match.
Earning himself one of the awards for back of the match. As our spirits were raised, so was Liverpool’s game. They fought back hard. From that moment the game is a tumult of tackles and trys and two teams’ toil. A second try was scored by the committed captain in yellow, eager to continue his streak. Amidst the myriad line outs, most conceded, ground was gained in excellent runs by Steven and Ash, gaining Ash one of the Forwards of the Match. Through the furore of the match, and though the tritons dominated possession of the ball. It was clear: the Roundheads relish a good tackle. Toby: unwavering, defended the line, almost defying the laws of physics, he rendered a towering Triton transfixed. Ben, hunting down a giant of the forward pack, pouncing with strength and skill and commitment forcing a knock on. Ben again, with Polly this time double teaming a triton on the try line. Polly playing on with a split cheek and loosened teeth after some friendly fire in the fall out. Joe, constantly improving on the wing, unafraid to wrestle with mountains as they try to pass him by, often winning the tackle if not slowing the player down.
The defensive line was much improved, and they were quick to react as Mark steered the team through the game with a calm and quiet authority, never needing to roar to be heard. An honour he’s earned more than once, Morgan received the other Forward of the Match award for bravery in facing down the enemy, unflinchingly taking the ball and tackles to players twice his height and weight. Ben deservedly won the second back of the match award for the shift he put in as fullback, his first time in such an important position and a challenge he rose to and conquered. The Tritons played fast and physical, their forwards were heavy machinery moving at pace. The team taught us a lesson or two about diving on balls, defending contact and dominating rucks. They won the game. Our last league match was over.
We’re comfortably bottom of the league. Why did we end grinning, and laughing and embracing each other? Why did we celebrate in cold sunlight? Why was the pleasure clear in every face? Because we supported each other and encouraged each other and appreciated each other. Because we’re Roundheads.
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Images provided by EMH Photography Hull