Who would have thought you could get sunburnt playing rugby in Canberra, of all places. But that’s what happened last Saturday at the RMC Duntroon grounds when five brave Gordon Stags took to the paddock to participate in this annual fixture. Graham “Macca” MacDonald, Thomas “Rocky” Roch, Matt “Sausage” Redward, Karl “Karlos” Houghton and Brett McLachlan enjoyed the run around, just wished we packed the sunscreen.
In our first game we joined up with the Vincentia Van Gones to take on the might of the local ACT Vikings. It was a torrid affair but we came away with a great result (another draw and a slight burning sensation on our heads). The next game followed shortly after when the organisers teamed us up with our old touring mates (to the 2008 World Festival in Edinburgh) the Orange Emus. We faced the host club, ACT Vets, and this was a real test of all our pre-season training. It’s a good thing that all our matches end in a draw because this side – deploying tactics from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War – managed to find a few holes in our defence via our Red Shorted backline provided courtesy of the Orange Emus. At this point we had red faces from the embarrassment we suffered at the hands of the Vets rather from those extra rays of sunshine.
That match concluded our scheduled involvement in the event but Karlos, Sausage and Rocky hadn’t had enough punishment and took to the field again for the Bega (old & smelly) Blue Veins to redeem themselves against the Vets. It all ended up nicely – sitting in the grandstand with a few beers, being served freshly “shucked“ oysters from the boys from Vincentia and a blue ribbon for each participating player donated by the president of the ACT Vets, John (Pudge) Hillier.
From the grounds of RMC Duntroon, we retired to the “shabby grandure” of Olims Hotel in Braddon for the post match post-mortem and a well earned BBQ feed in the Beer Garden. Oh yeah, the $2 schooners tasted pretty good as well. It certainly is good to enjoy the hospitality of a club with generous sponsors.
Unfortunately, after dinner things went down-hill rapidly as we decided that it was much safer to watch the Waratahs v Brumbies match from the luxurious hotel lounge rather than risk travelling across town to Bruce Stadium. So we settled in with a couple bottles of the 2007 Pepper Jack Shiraz (Rocky’s favourite) and a few more $2 beers while we nursed those bruises, sore ribs and sunburnt heads.
The drive back from Canberra the next day was a long one, particularly with a few sore heads. Bloody Canberra sunshine!