A scheduling mix up saw the Stags game conflicting with the Highlanders grade games and meant the Killara West Pymble game scheduled for 12:30pm moved to 9:00am. This was always going to be hard after Saturday night festivities and, as it turns out, us old blokes like to enjoy a sleep in on Sundays. A big thanks goes to the KWP guys for accomodating our time change as such short notice.
The early start saw the dew still glistening on the grass of Chatswood Oval as the workers and volunteers started setting up for the days Highlander games against Sydney Uni. Neither side fronted full teams – seems the lure of the warm bed is too much for some people – but with a couple of rugby tragics from Wahroonga to pad out the KWP team we were able to kick off a game of 12-a-side rugby with 5 man scrums and the full complement of backs.
Well nearly 12-a-side, the Stags has to start one short as our President Graham “Macca” MacDonald turned up well late after celebrating his 60th birthday the night before. You’d have thought that by now he’d know not to organise a big birthday extravaganza the night before a game. Let’s just put it down to being an old forward who’s bashed it up the middle a few too many times.
As you’d imagine with 12-a-side the game started off with great gusto and some free running rugby. Both sides were pretty evenly matched with a couple of tries each and ended with the Stags taking the ascendancy in the first 20 minute stanza thanks to some pretty slick work in the backline that was finished off by our wingers. The hardest task of the game was stopping Big Matt and Bruce from Wahroonga as they charged down on us. Will have to work on our dividing up the players for teams skills.
The second 20 saw KWP come out with renewed vigour and we all settled into a great game of rugby with talented forward play backed up with fast running backs. KWP showed great form backing each other up to make one break than ran for almost 60 metres just by hitting the line and turning to pass to a team mate who was always close behind. Great to watch and nearly resulted in a try for them. The defence on both sides was up to the task and neither side made much headway in the scoring stakes but plenty in the having fun category.
Not sure if it was the unfamiliarity with 12-a-side rugby or the early morning start but the third 20 saw the Stags take hold of the game over a tiring KWP thanks to some clever foward play followed up by quick ball across the back line to our flying wingers which at one stage included the big fella, Karlos, who was put into a gap on the sideline and sprinted 50 metres in the clear before remembering he is a 115kg forward who really wasn’t supposed to be running that fast, or that far, and looked for support to pass to before collapsing from the exertion. Due to the lack of reserves the big guy was conspicuous by his absence for the next 5 minutes as he tried to recover from his blistering display of speed by sucking in as much air as possible whilst not throwing up on the field.
As is usual with Golden Oldies Rugby it all ended up a drawn game that was refereed to perfection by a new comer to refereeing Golden Oldies games, Mark Montgomery. We don’t usually give refs their due, after all they don’t know the rules as well as us, but Mark did a great job and we look forward to having him back again sometime in the future. For his efforts we presented Mark with a bottle of red to drink whilst he fondly remembers his mornings work at Chatswood Oval and hopefully not too much of it will come flying out of his nose when he cracks up laughing at us old blokes.
The boys all tucked into early morning beverages to celebrate a great mornings rugby and listen to the post match speeches. The after game presentations were short and sharp, mainly to all bar one of the KWP boys having to leave for kids sporting commiments. Needless to say he was presented with our player of game medal for his tenacious tackling, spirited running and, most of all, his commitment to staying around for a drink afterwards – the Steven Bradbury of Golden Oldies Rugby.
The Stags award was tough as so many players showed fine form and it was great to see so many of the new guys making the effort for the early morning start. In the end the award went to Matt “Croz” Crozier for his outstanding work in the backline and a classic “take their legs out” takle on Big Matt from Wahroonga.
I would think at this stage it’s pretty clear who the recipient of the Stags “Mugs Mug”award is going to be, after all to organise your 60th the night beofre a match and then turn up late is one thing but when you’re President of the club it’s just unforgivable. Yes, that’s right, our President Graham “Macca” MacDonald was this weeks Mug’s Mug. He certainly looked like he was doing it tough chug-a-luging that beer as the boys sang happy birthday to him.
A big thanks too to Hamish “Gifted” McDonald who, even though injured ,came and ran water for us – cheers mate, it’s really appreciated.
A Special mention should also be made of Pablo “Alarm Clock” Bedawker who turned up around lunch time looking sheepish and apologetic for having slept in and missing the game. At least he made amends by hanging around to help out on the BBQ.