Battle of The North Shore

Stags at The Battle
Stags at The Battle

We turned up for the annual Battle of the North Shore between Wahroonga, Lindfield, Gordon and Killara West Pymble. The event was hosted by new comers to The Battle, KWP who put on a great day with the BBQ pumping, icy cold beers on hand and a table full of pre filled port glasses for pre kick-off toasts or for just grabbing some fortification anytime you were off the field.

The ground was packed with players and supporters from four teams. Following the exciting boost of new players attending the Eastwood match two weeks prior and the addition of even more new players to the Stags at this venue, we anticipated a strong showing from those present. What we walked into that day was nothing short of an “ambush” with a full day of hard running, firm tackling Golden Oldies rugby.

Our first game was against our mates the Wahroonga Toothless Tigers and we were very surprised to see that they had been busy recruiting new players as well. Not only did they turn up with a full complement of players but they had secured the services of the rugby legend MARK ELLA for the day.

Intimidated? Not us! In Awe? Well, maybe just a little bit ……. after all, a man who’s played for Australia 25 times (1980-1984), was Australian Captain (1982-1984) and scored 78 points before retiring at age 25 with a reputation as being one of the best fly-half’s to ever play the game is due some respect.  What a privilege to have a person of this calibre come out for a game of Golden Oldies Rugby. If it’s good enough for him it should be good enough for anyone. Okay, enough of my man crush, on with the report.

The game got underway with great gusto and it became apparent from the start that Mark had obviously been giving some coaching to the boys from Wahroonga as they turned it on and came at us with everything they had. It was a good close game with plenty of to-and-fro.

No hands in this ruck
No hands in this ruck

The second match was against the hosts, the KWP Limping Leos. The fact that these guys have NOT had a home ground to play on or a club house to access for over 12 months had not reduced their ability to field what appeared to be a squad of about 40 players. With an endless supply of runners who were all under 40 years old and prepared to take possession of the ball at any opportunity it did not go all that well for the Stags.

Finally, our final game against our old friends, the Lindfield Funnelwebs, gave us a chance to take out our frustrations on a bunch of olders guys, so we thought. Unfortunately, we were disappointed once again, as the Webs managed to import a couple of old Gordon Highlander Graders to cut us apart in the backs.

It seemed all the opposition was out to impress Mark Ella at every opportunity.

Overall, it was a tough day at the office but happy to report there was very little blood spilt and no injuries to report so that translates to a very good outcome when all is said & done.The bright side is that the following guys had their first run with the Stags so we welcome them to our club and hope to see more of them in the future:

Kris Weston – Finally got to scratch that itch and showed great potential as a hard running back or breakaway having recovered from a knee injury that prevented him playing against Eastwood

Tony Coote – his first game of rugby ever (has an AFL background, trouble is you can’t kick very often in Golden Oldies) and will be valuable asset once he knows what he is doing. Based upon his AFL background and our current kicking for line standard we’ll be making better use of his kicking talents in the future.

Steve Green – brings some Central Coast rugby experience to our side (ex – Lindfield Rugby when he used to live at East Roseville)

Chris “Flemboy” Fleming – an excellent prop in the making, just needs to bulk up a bit more

Mark “Nerf” Herford – comes with excellent playing pedigree from Lane Cove subbies and has potential to be a devastating centre, if not No. 10

Gene Burns – Worked his magc out in the backline. Has the build of a half back but appears to be too mobile and too smart to want to play in that position on a full time basis (besides he would have to compete with Gifted, Ric and Jeremy Anderson for this position – watch this space)

And Elvis – another dynamic prop who showed great skill with the held ball as he took it up, hit after hit.  Trouble was he tried to pass the ball Bob “Lolly” Lollback style (Bob is affectionately referred to as Catapult by his fellow backs) while we were attacking 5 meters out from the KWP try line. This led to an unfortunate intercept and a full length of the field runaway try – ah well …….. another story of what could have been.

crunching tackle
Our President shows the way with a crunching tackle

Welcome back on to the field in 2011 to Jonathan “Jonno” Leek and Matt Prowse for their first run of the season.  Thanks again for the effort put in by regulars Ric Brennan, Hamish “Gifted” Macdonald, Karl “Karlos” Houghton, Scott Tanfield and Thomas “Rocky” Roch. Finally, well done to the guys that came back for their second game with the Stags in 2011, Chris Perfect, Matt Curran, Anthony Johnson, Matt “Sausage” Redward and Pablo Bawdekar.

Bring on the Hawkesbury Gala Day.

Keep thinking about inviting other mates to have a run with the Stags this season, as we need even more reserves for the upcoming away games.

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