England Twickenham Diary - I have taken a trip down memory lane here and reviewed a Diary that I did for the Falcons site a few years back. This was one of my adventures to Twickenham in 2002 - Looking at it now, well it made me laugh and it also brought back great memories.
Twickenham Tales - February 2006
I have taken a trip down memory lane here and reviewed a Diary that I did for the Falcons site a few years back. This was one of my adventures to Twickenham in 2002 - Looking at it now, well it made me laugh and it also brought back great memories.
Sat. 23rd Nov, 2002 - England v South Africa
Dry/ Cold Day Temp. 6°
0554 Set off From Newcastle
0803 Tipshelf – Comfort stop and refreshment - I drove from Tipshelf to Toddington – just typical that I had the driving rain and spray from the lorries when it was my turn!!!
0947 Making really good time this week – Aarrgghhh spoke to soon… J6a to M25 - more road works! - "Junction 6a Now Closed!" - Once again diverted this time via A405 and signs to St. Albans – I don’t want to go there! Honest I don’t!
1023 Back onto the M25
1046 J3/A312 road to Twickenham.
1104 Twickenham - Arrived this week in very good time – parked up the car and made sure I had all the bits I needed for the main event – checklist, Camera, Binoculars, Scarf, Ref Link, Brandy Hip Flask, Mobile, Money, Hankies!
Just about to leave the car and walk down to the ground when this almighty ROAR breaks above us, we did here this last week but the cloud base was so low – but this week found out it was not the Red Arrows as I thought last week (Doh)! It was only Concord screaming about 200 feet above us. Blimey, would not want to live in Whitton with that going over daily. Nice to see though!
1230 West Car Park – bought the programme. The car park is very muddy with huge pools but they still picnic, lots of champagne flowing as well as beer and lots of food.
1245 The England bus arrives escorted by the Police Bike Outriders – the team comes out, not so much security this week as last but the shouts from the crowd are just as loud and the clapping of the team all the way into the stadium was one of those few tingly moments you get in a lifetime.
Now I just could not be bothered to wait for the opposition to arrive – I hot footed it over to see my friend Chris the England Coach Driver (me and him are like that! – honest, honest!!)
Well, if I can digress for one moment.
Cast your minds back some years ago when England were beaten by the Scots at Murrayfield – remember the First Grand Slam we missed! I remember it very well because I was there. It was cold, raining and we got soaked and I was one very depressed person driving home from Edinburgh that Sunday. Anyway – on the Monday, I set off to do my regular training at a local hotel next to Newcastle Airport and guess what was standing in the Car Park – The England Bus!!! I nearly had a fit - to cut a long story short – I chatted to Chris for a while and asked him to give a note to Team England and tell them not to be down + lots of smileys – he promised to give the note to them in the June when they were off to South Africa and he give me two of the England and Scotland pin badges, which I still have. So each year I go and say hallo and bless him he always remembers me and says hallo my Newcastle friend and this Saturday – well hey I got a kiss too! So have taken a picture of Chris – he is the man who looks after our team very carefully.
1315 Lunch – Sitting next to the Golden Lion, watching the various television crews doing their jobs – two South African supporters stop and chat to us saying they don’t hold out much hope of winning. They were all dressed up in the South African colours, we talked about Mark Andrews coming to Falcons and they said he is a great player – and that they wished the South African Rugby Union would re-think this policy they have about not letting overseas players play in the International side. It would seem they insist on all of their players playing in South Africa to qualify for an International Cap?
Celebs on show this week 1) Brian Moore who is much smaller than how I remember him on the television and 2) Paul Ackford - now he was just how I remembered him.
1345 Into the ground and because the sun was shining and we were on the East side this week, I decided to take my seat and sunbathe - I’m not kidding you it was very nice sitting there – but guess who forgot the sunglasses! TIP: If you get the chance to go to Twickenham and you get seats in the East Stand, take a pair of sunglasses or a peak cap because its very difficult to see the action until the sun drops behind the stadium!
1420 Now I must get this correct this week (as my hubby is a member of this lot):
The St. George’s Cross is revealed by the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. The flags of England and South Africa are brought onto the pitch and the Tenors & Divas sing again Land of Hope and Glory.
Once again the Fireworks and out come the Springboks preceded by an African Warrior mascot with spear and shield and then it's England and the roof nearly lifts off Twickenham. Anthems are sung and the teams take up their positions.
1430 Off we go! The first 10 minutes are frantic – everything is going on off the ball, South Africa coming at England in our 22 - players being hit with such crunching tackles – blimey their bodies are going to hurt after this. Listening to the Ref Link (by the way these are worth paying the Ł5.00 for) you can hear the ref’s decisions and comments. Paddy O’Brien pulled both Captains over and told them both to calm everyone down otherwise the next player was going to the BIN! Martin Johnson, came away and motioned with his hands to all England players to calm down and cool it.
However, it would seem that South Africa did not intend to heed the call, as within minutes our Jonny was prostrate on the ground after a late tackle – the crowd were baying for blood and Mr. O’Brien decided enough was enough and the card shown was RED!
In my opinion that was the correct decision as things were kicking off all over and if the Ref. had not stamped is authority on the game it would have ended in shambles.
I don’t agree with some critics who say people pay to see XV against XV – if players are engaging in dangerous play this needs to be stamped out otherwise what are the youngsters of the next generation to think?
Try after Try, and England are on their way to beat the Springbok by a record! This was a very physical and nasty game played by the South Africans, but we can be very proud of our players as they took it all and showed the Springbok how to play rugby. Bodies were going down all over the field, hits were ruthless the physios were working overtime first it was Moody, then Wilkinson then Dawson. Dawes was out of it for a few moments, he looked concussed to me. Jason took a pounding, they all did!
My man of the match was Will Greenwood, much improved performance this week and I am sure he looked heavenward after scoring his tries – I am sure they were dedicated to the little boy he lost.
Tries: Ben Cohen, Will Greenwood (2), Neil Back, Richard Hill, Lawrence Dallaglio, & Penalty Try Phil Cristophers
Conversions: Jonny Wilkinson (2), Andy Gomarsall (2), Tim Stimpson (2), Matt Dawson
Penalty Kicks: Jonny Wilkinson (2)
England 53 v South Africa 3
England are the Investec Champions – up Martin Johnson and the players go for the trophy, being on the East stand we had a good view of the presentation this week and the team photo. It was a wonderful, moment.
1740 Walked around the stadium to West Stand – took one last look and out into the west car park – parties going on all over the place karaoke, in the bars – Hey, Hey Baby Oooh Ahhh! I wanna knoooowww if you be my girl….. Hey, Hey Baby Ooohh Ahh
1704 Set off home.
2207 Arrived home. Temp 7°
2300 Watched the video and had midnight feast and celebration – disagreed with Barnsey over the Red card – he said it should have been Yellow – I mean what does he know about? One would have thought he had played for England wouldn’t one – yes I know he did – but he does get on ones nerves he does!
0200 What at wonderful November this has been!
Note to Diary
"Oh my good Lord England are NUMBER 1 in the world again – guess who knocked us off that spot last time?….. France! Next game up for England at Twickenham – correct!!!! England v France Saturday 15/2/03, the Six Nations opener. Wow, I can’t wait."