Colts secure home win
Entertaining final game against Northern
Billingham Colts 2017 -18 29/04/2018 Northern at Billingham.
This is it – Melba Moore 1976.
People continually ask if the match reports are accurate and I can confirm that they are based on true events, with that in mind we move to the end of the season.
“In 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.” The man in charge is a charismatic character with a wide grin, often heard to say “I love it when a training session comes together”. His side-kick is a master of persuasion, dressing suavely and recruiting others with a combination of sympathy and flirtation. The muscle of the team provides the kit cleaning etc. in the background and then there is the unhinged oddball who wanders the touchline in trademark head gear. It’s all adds up if you look closely enough!!!!!
After the heady days of cup glory there is an unfinished league match to contest which coincides with the last first team match so a double bubble at the Greenwood Road complex. It’s an early start so the thinking is it must be on the AGP as a warm up but it’s the green, green grass of home this week and a good number has gathered to lament the passing of another season. Despite the sun a cool wind swirls around and the summer wardrobe remains in the boot although players as usual opt for sliders as they arrive.
The warm up in undertaken and looks the best of the season with passing drills working well. The Northern squad is down so players will be lent and the first half selection is announced. With a full squad loaded with talent the lent players look a daunting prospect with Sam W, Oscar, Coops and Harry Bu starting in white.
Northern kick off towards the club house end, Billingham retrieve and look to move it out. If anyone thought that the game would be pedestrian is quickly reminded as both teams set off at a cracking pace. In the early stages Billingham look forced and this is shown in the errors around the pitch but Northern set into a pattern of strong runs by the forwards and our own players looking to counter with pace. Jo and Leon are linking well in the back line and force defensive action from Northern, but again knock-ons disturb the tempo and allow Northern to set up in Billingham territory. Following a scrum Billingham look to work the ball out but the gap for the runner is filled by Harry Bu, who relives his cup glory by running the intercept in for the first try. Converted the visitors lead 0 – 7.
Billingham kick off straight into touch as the pressure is on and Harry L is patrolling the pitch. Sam W is pulling the strings so Northern look to build in the lead with strong attacks down the wing. The ruck area is pivotal, Billingham look secure quick clean ball but Northern use all the slowing down they can muster. It’s very edgy between what is off your feet or not but the man in the middle is very consistent to both teams. Isaac comes off with a bloody nose having been in the thick of it as usual with Lewis W now on. Billingham put a few sweeping moves together and the passing is crisp to create the gap, the attack goes up one side then is passed right across the pitch, Jo into the line quickens the pace with ample support to move it on. The sequence ends with Murp out of the back of the hand to Dom to score. Un-converted the visitors stay ahead.
Northern kick off and Lewis W catches under pressure but Billingham are penalised for holding on and a kick to touch is taken. Billingham take the line out and set up, the back line move the ball and the brake down work creates space on the far side as Leon is released for a pacy run in. Luke strokes the ball over for 12 – 7 and it’s a bit more relaxed.
Northern put another testing kick up but Lewis W again reprises the clean catch, the backs are now relishing the chances with Alfie asking questions, however the defence don’t look to give him a chance, insider knowledge???? There are a lot of supporting roles within the squad that allow others changes and time. Sam G, Harvey and Cain all putting in the usual graft around the park and Cain carrying strongly when given half a gap. Although it’s the opposition that grab the next points as Sam W nudges a kick through, picks up and showboats in to move the score to 12 -14.
There’s still time for more action as the kick off results in a messy ruck, it’s cleaned up and Jo moves into the line, a weighted pass releases the talismanic centre Alfie who takes a great angle to add to the season’s tally. The conversion is across the posts,17 -14 at half time and all to play for.
The four who did so much damage in the first half are swapped for Fez, Jo, Dom and Lewis K. Harry L is released onto the pitch with not a hair out of place. Our roving reporter confirms the line up from behind the sticks, yes we can see you. It’s a fair old game as the 1st team warm up on the AGP and another crowd starts to build.
Billingham kick off towards the club house or downhillish, Northern set off up the middle and Fez tries a trademark poach. Billingham defend well and a 22 dropout sees a clever Sam W kick into Alfie’s hands. Northern counter and it’s a bit see-saw in the middle. Harry Be gets his favourite leg caught which makes everyone wince but it’s not serious. Billingham look to break and the ball fizzes along the line, just like Dave who with flag is off like the clappers keeping up with play. Northern turn the ball over but then Isaac intercepts and as time slows down sets off towards the line, no one can catch him and Sam W converts. 24 -14 and the sun warms the fully entertained crowd.
Northern look to counter with Fez and Dom, then another bloody nose intervenes and we are on uncontested scrums. This give good platforms for both teams as the game continues with no reduction to the graft all the players are putting in. Sam W finishes off a move to score for both teams within the game, unconverted for 29 -14.
The Northern backs look to attack up the wing but are taken into touch, debate rages at the line out as Harry L explains the optimum position to stand to Fez. The back line create space for Coops, now in green and white, but Northern counter and Leon goes a wee bit high on Lewis K, I know his size is deceptive. The next Billingham attack sees Sam W move the ball, Murp providing the link and good hands sees Leon stretch his legs, converted Billingham move out to 36-14.
The kick off goes up and Fez is clattered while attempting the catch, Northern attack and the dangerous Jo is corralled by Alfie. Both teams still with some energy in the tank look for the break but its Northern who trouble the line, having been held up previously a runner stretches out a long hand to place the ball over the line, conversion is good for 36 -21.
There is still time for Billingham to move into the Northern half and Sam W to try an audacious (if that is how you spell it) chip over, which is then knocked on as he speeds to the line. The whistle sounds and all players take a breath of air. A game played at a very high tempo and all players getting stuck in, a great starter for a rugby afternoon. For those of you who only took the main course you missed a treat.
So what can we say, that’s the playing over for another year. The current squad, support and coaching will change but the ethic laid down will continue, the players who continue as Colts next year now carry that as Senior Colts. It’s been a cracker no doubt and I for one have been honoured to support and watch this squad.
So no time this week for He never mentions me you know, choose your kicking tee, I’m sure that will fit me, Linesman faster than players, and now relax, pre-season training, I give him all the best bits, a perfect haircut takes time and it’s time for sliders.
The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not fighting the old, but building on the new. - Socrates.