I’m sat on the sofa on Sunday night reflecting on the weekend’s rugby and thought it was worth sharing a view or two of how things went.
Saturday was a slightly disjointed day for my club side, both our senior sides were at home in their leagues until the second team’s opposition had withdrawn on Thursday evening so a hastily arranged friendly was set up.
I’d gone over to watch my youngest son play for our 1st XV, proud dad moment but all that changed when I got there as a few call-offs caused the 2nd team manager to ask if I had kit with me and if I could sit on the bench for them.
I had boots in the car and he found the rest so watching my boy was sidelined as I took to warm-up with my teammates.
Five minutes into the game I was called onto the pitch following a shoulder injury. So at 47 years old there I was playing on the wing.
I can’t say that I had a great game – I managed to make a few tackles, spoil a few rucks and slow a few things down. Equally I missed a few tackles, made a few poor decisions but must of all I got a run out in my club shirt, with some mates and had a laugh. Probably got done by the referee for the most blatant hands in a ruck penalty this season. And he was right.
My son seemed to have a decent game too, it does make me very proud to see him and his brother playing in our first team having started at the club when they were four years old.
And that brings me to Sunday morning where I’m back at the club helping in our mini section with our mini-minis.
These are siblings of other players in that section who want to do something whilst there brothers or sisters are with other teams. So I had a little group of tiny players in the rain and mud who ran around, passed some balls and just enjoyed themselves for 40 minutes or so.
During that time two of our 1st team players and half of our under 15s squad stopped in and had a few minutes catching and passing balls with them.
Then I refereed the Colts, who in their warm up had benefited from the club captain running the pack through some stuff before kick off. The game was physical, confrontational but in the conditions very skillful from both teams. The morning saw it rain that sort of rain which was just continuous and unrelenting. The pitch already muddy from Saturday’s game was like running in treacle.
There were a couple of flash points during the game which were well managed by the young captains of both teams but on the final whistle our boys had delivered a strong win.
After they sat down with their opposition and had a meal, a chat and a laugh about the game. As it should be.
Based on that performance, I am confident that both of the team’s senior sides will be in good hands in the next couple of years.
This was equally borne out by a very traditional display of sportsmanship by both the England and Samoan teams after their game on Saturday.
It was not a brilliant game, but the England players joining the Samoan team in their player circle on the pitch after the game harked back to days before the game became so professional and in a moment connected back to clubs like ours and moments like that after our Colts game.
Two sides who had gone at each other hammer and tongs were united in sport after the final whistle.
From that point it was a good weekend of rugby.
Photo credit: The Telegraph, GETTY IMAGES