by the Lineside Lion
The story of the day though belongs to Chalky’s faithful and long suffering Third Herd who held out a resurgent Soaks side to grind out their maiden win of the season, 24-22.
Bringing up the rear guard of the ladder the Third Herd have fought bravely all year and were unfortunate not to have come away with wins on at least two prior occasions however they were not to be denied their moment in the sun (and mud) today.
Traditionally a trip to Allen Park to play 3rd or 4th grade meant not knowing if you were going to be playing a bunch of old experienced hands playing social rugby or the Regiment who’re off duty that weekend. Many confident visiting 3rd grade teams have walked away battered, bruised and wishing they’d stayed at home that weekend after coming up against the latter, Chalky himself playing in the Gold and Green in a few such games over the years.
Whether this was a feature of the game is beyond my ken but it certainly did not lack willing.
Missing boy wonder (and recent birthday boy turning 18) Rayden Leef the 3rds pack was anchored by Dr Jack and Sue’ (before anyone thinks I am taking the piss Johnny Cash style it is in fact pronounced Sui) and had plenty of experience in the back line with Old Man Carmichael returning to steer the ship and Ash Peel and Razor Nell lining up as well, amassing about 1200 games of rugby between them.
Blessed with a surplus of players this week Chalky didn’t have to rely on the Silvers as heavily as he has in the past few weeks with Darren Cryer and Gus Harriman getting limited game time and being restricted to impact players roles late in the game.
At one stage the Lions were reduced to 14 men, although Tim Coffey swears that his “high tackle” was made in mitigating circumstances where the man he hit, already reduced in stature compared to Tim’s own height, was in fact falling earthwards tackled by 3 comrades and seeing Tim nearby as an innocent bystander to his predicament cunningly threw his neck deliberately at Tim’s outstretched arm milking the penalty and the yellow card. Judgment is reserved until the video replay becomes available.
However, all jokes aside there was some great rugby played. The Lions forwards fought hard to get the ball up to the 10 before the backs spun it wide allowing Mark Carmichael to touch down in the far corner whilst Jamie Pascoe scored a brilliant individual try darting through the smallest of gaps on the very narrow blind side of a ruck at the 22 to outpace the cover defence to the line. So wonderful was this display of rugby prowess that an emotional Jak Terry took to social media post-game expressing his undying affection for Jamie and his skill.
However, the Lions had to withstand a late charge by Soaks who scored in the dying minutes. A concerted effort to charge the conversion down saw the Soaks kicker spray it wide and the Lions held on for a two point win.
A visibly relieved Chalky was, well, visibly relieved and a little shell shocked if not at the win then at the size of the bar tab he faced post-game.
“Yeah – very happy to have that monkey off our backs. The boys played really well. It was nice to have a big bench turn out for us and not rely so heavily on the Silvers. I’m really happy that the boys stuck to their systems and played their hearts out.”
"We've come close but its great to finally get the win".
Never has the club song been sung with so much gusto and vigour.