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Rugby at its coarsest


By Patgadd
October 9 2017

"Just hold the ball like this, d'you see, and when you're ready, shout 'Coming in, colours, coming in - now', and chuck it like this". 

This was my introduction to schoolboy rugby. The speaker was none other than England flanker (or wing forward in those days) Alan Ashcroft, who taught us geography and rugby. Colours vs whites (shirts) was the norm, and I was learning to be a scrum half.

Little did I dream in those far-off days that I would eventually climb the highest peaks of amateur rugby, playing alongside or against names such as Fran Cotton and Bill Beaumont. This was just as well, as in twenty years of playing I never emerged from the lowest valleys.

Some years after leaving school, I moved to the midlands, and was approached in a pub (where else?) by a chap who was looking for somebody – anybody – who could help make up the numbers for Dudley Kingswinford's 6th team the following weekend. A few drinks later, five years without rugby was forgotten, and by the appointed day I had acquired the necessary kit.

Unfortunately, I had also acquired a massive hangover from the previous night. Red-eyed and whey-faced, I rang him to say I couldn’t make it. "Well, you have to. We've only got 14 men as it is, so we'll hide you away at full back".

Thus I found myself, still shivering and trying not to retch, on a soggy Bridgnorth meadow waiting to receive the opening kick. Imagine my horror as the ball came spinning high in the air and descended towards me with laser-like accuracy. I didn't even have to move a step, which was handy as I couldn't have. I cupped my arms in a manner which, had he been thought of then, would have been reminiscent of Mr Bean.

The ball fell straight into my arms. I don't know whether I was mesmerised like a startled rabbit in front of a ferret or felt too ill to move, or indeed was simply scared out of my wits; probably all three. All I know is that the onrushing opposition player realised in the final yard that he didn't have to execute any kind of a tackle, rib-crunching or otherwise. He slowed to a walk, gently took the ball from me (not a word of thanks, mind) and trotted over the line.

Twenty years later, I retired – or as some might say, desisted – from playing the game without ever rising to the giddy heights of playing with a number on my back, so when I shuffle off this mortal coil, will somebody please supply an appropriate shirt?

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Rugby at its coarsest
Comeonyouwarriors.co.uk (IP Logged)
09/10/2017 07:44
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017:11:17:10:24:43 by Powick Eastander.

 
schneiderlein
Re: Rugby at its coarsest
schneiderlein (IP Logged)
10/10/2017 16:33
Thanks, Mr G! I enjoyed reading that. Perhaps, when being coerced by a stranger in a pub into playing scrum half for a team you'd never heard of, you should have looked to our German friends for the appropriate shirt: you know... the "Nein!" shirt!

Du skal ikke tro at du er bedre end os!

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: Rugby at its coarsest
ARFC Warrior (IP Logged)
11/10/2017 14:30
Quote:
schneiderlein
Thanks, Mr G! I enjoyed reading that. Perhaps, when being coerced by a stranger in a pub into playing scrum half for a team you'd never heard of, you should have looked to our German friends for the appropriate shirt: you know... the "Nein!" shirt!

0 out of 10 for comprehension, Mr. Schoolmaster

PG played scrum half at school as per the article, but 15 when coerced into playing senior rugby. Don't think the shirt number would have helped.

(Sm101)

 
Patgadd
Re: Rugby at its coarsest
Patgadd (IP Logged)
11/10/2017 14:39
No ARFC, I only played the one game at full back. I spent most of my days in the game in the back row, going blind as my mother always said I would. As for the "nein" shirt, think of all the fun I'd have missed! (plug for extended version of the story to be announced shortly)

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: Rugby at its coarsest
ARFC Warrior (IP Logged)
11/10/2017 15:02
My favourite position was full back, playing most of my games there, but over the years played at least once in every position in true coarse rugby style. Lost count of the times I was 11, 14 and 15 at the same time in the same match. Least favourite was prop, which I only did once, couldn't lift my head above my shoulders for days.

 
Patgadd
Re: Rugby at its coarsest
Patgadd (IP Logged)
13/10/2017 12:22
I've taken the liberty of extending this, so if you can be bothered you'll find the finished article here.

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