21 November 2012

Twickenham traffic delayed your correspondent’s arrival, but he was assured by the skipper that only two things of note had happened in the first half, both of which were fine goals by Mike O’D with assists by Ian Wallace.

The first was after 10 minutes and the second after 20 minutes. Roger had clearly overlooked the third notable happening, Dave’s new bright yellow umpire’s jumper, which he confessed to having borrowed in order to match his companion.

A half time survey revealed that B&B fielded 53, 84, 84, 105, 114 and 185. The late arrival of 114 – the very accomplished Barry Mills – to take command of the B&B defence allowed 185 more freedom to go upfield and he was to create challenges for our defence, along with some other talented players. B&B pulled one back after only 6 minutes after a period of pressure and numerous free hits, which saw the B&B umpire starting to twitch and check his stock of cards. We nearly pulled the goal back after another penetrating run by Ian led to a corner, which just eluded Roger N on the right hand post even though he was well positioned within his goalscoring range (18 inches).

Paul Norman began to make his presence felt with a B&B defender, who seemed to have come off a recent course at RADA and was treating this game as practice for a forthcoming role as a footballer. Shrieks, tumbles, finger pointing and expressions of opinion as to Paul’s direct style of hockey made no impression on our local lad. The smallest B&B player had no more luck with an attempt to push M O’D out of his way. However, M O’D soon fell foul of the B&B umpire who seemed to have been on the same RADA course as he took exception to the Aussie style of play, and with a display of arm waving, finger pointing and head shaking he finally located his yellow card which he brandished like a matador. This was Mike’s second ever sending off, for which his explanation was “I put my leg down to balance and the guy tripped over it”. This did not tally with the umpire’s account in the bar, and Mike spent most of his suspension complaining about the lack of a chair to sit on. Grumpy, some of these Aussies, what a shame our rugby boys did not keep them that way later on.

His cheery fellow Aussie, Ian, decided that he would hold onto the ball for the length of Mike’s standing rest, and beat 27 players with combined shirt numbers of 1,786 before being surrounded at the right edge of the B&B circle. His ball to the far post found Will Audland free (as were most Rogues, with the whole B&B defence trying to get the ball off Ian so that they could take advantage of their numerical superiority), and he was delighted to score his first goal for —let us say a while.

The game was evenly contested. Our half back line of Max, Robin and Nigel, and full backs Farrukh and Hugh, had plenty to do to contain an energetic and skillful B&B side, and did well to maintain parity. In attack the skipper’s several appearances added silky skills to the running of Roger N, Paul and Will, but we relied heavily on Mike and Ian’s skills and energy both in attack and defence.

Bromley pulled one back with 10 minutes left, and equalised towards the end of the game after the ball had bounced up off Eddie, who forwent the opportunity to head the ball out of the D and was unlucky as it found a way to drop behind him. Eye witness evidence suggested that he back-heeled the ball into the net whilst trying to kick it, although this may not tally with Eddie’s view, to the extent that he had a view of the ball.

Two late corners gave us the chance to snatch the game, but Mike’s shot from the first one was saved and Ian came close with the second. The 3-3 result was probably a fair reflection of a game, which was played in very good spirit and was well umpired.

A genial session followed in the bar, with a hotter than usual chicken curry, and with many admiring glances at the display of old RHC 1st team photos which Alan Cunningham has been working hard to have copied and reframed. There will be more to come, including some Rogues touring photographs.