This week’s instalment is titled: THE THINGS I DO ON SUNDAYS by Glen Clifton (Aged 38 and a bit. NO SNIGGERS PLEASE).
I start this report in the expectation of a weekends training pencilled (or keyed-in for those of the I-Pad generation) in the Diary. Already this proposed (is started this just after our efforts with Warrrington) write up has been scuppered by the arrival of today’s guest team of Ormskirk who have a good reputation for a well contested encounter. Hopefully the windy predicted conditions have not been realised with sunny sub-Saharan conditions abound; with myself armed with a gin & tonic with room for a comfy seat on the side lines. This is probably about as possible as it would be for me to attempt the high jump in my current physical presentation. Following the match with our neighbours collectively we need to remember 3 things in every game we play for the rest of the year:
1. There are no teams that we should fear or expect to be beaten by.
2. We can beat anyone if we believe the previous point and if we tackle consistently in defence.
3. If we can retain the ball (by all legal means) and attack using good passing, good positional play and sound techniques we WILL win games.
If this seems too simplistic……then I challenge you try it out and see (This of course is to the players and not hopperites and coaches). Sometimes the simplest approach can reap the greatest rewards. Over complication of simple things, like tackling, running straight and passing; have been the catalyst for less rewarding gameplay and “not” putting points on the board. OK, so as in the normal tradition of the match report the following excerpt observed by our “chief” coaching editor may throw some more light on the current state of play:
………………………………..Nothing yet …………………………………..
………………………..Probably having tea or something………………………..
……………………OK I give up now………………….Thanks Neil have your email (by no means second best “Sir”) but breaking an age old (3 week!) tradition of match report writing.
Before the match has started we received an email to the coaches pointing out the opposing team were a number of players short and could we perhaps assist in providing some players. On their arrival numerous count ups by myself and Justin failed at assure how many players they have (either due to poor mathematics skills or the fact that I continued to count one of their players as a coach – In my defence he was a very tall young man). It was agreed before the match that we would play in quarters to give as many chances for players to get some match play under belts. This therefore became more a sort of north American ball sports match therefore:
For the remainder of this report I will resort to using North American terminology to ascribe the events of the day…..
……No offence to any North Americans intended………….
Howdy ye-all. It’s a humdinger of a ring dinger we have you ay Lightfoot “field” as we face off in this weeks blitz zinger of a d-air-bie (Sic). In the first quarter it was clear that them there Preston boys were onto a ring dinger in this humdinger and it wasn’t long before the defensive blitz of the guys was shown to have enough “POWER” to zip neatly won forward ball and set up a touchdown.
From here in it was a stroll in Staten island for the freshmen Prestonians to use their ball juggling magic in forging some excellent long plays to score a number of uncontested touchdowns in the period.
FOR THE NEXT LINE I WILL REVERT TO THE QUEENS ENGLISH BRIEFLY TO EXPLAIN THE EVENTS AS SEEN.
Solid forward play led to excellent ruck, maul and scrum ball that could be quickly used by the half backs to use the superior pace of the Preston backs (and forwards) in carving out some excellent solo running and a number of tries. At this point it is only prudent to add that the Ormskirk forwards made use of their size and strength to try and contest well at the breakdown but unfortunately for them were never allowed long enough with the ball to make any serious threats at the home teams line.
RETURNING TO THE AMERICAN DRAWL….
The second “Q” had bags of meaty tussles that saw the home teams advantage pushed on still further. ‘dem boys did good in using their special teams plays and putting more meat in the score-line burger and only seemed to add relish to this sizzling platter of athletic food to an already hungry Texan of a side.
Following the halftime show; which included performances from Preston’s very own one legged Michael Jackson and some grammy nominated verbal tune-age from Preston’s very own chief Justin “The Bieber” Kyriakou whom not only showed exceptional vocal talent but added his own 6th Amendment to the constitution in motivating the team despite their already dominant display.
The second 2 quarters were pretty must more of the same with loaned franchisee’s scoring for their adopted teams either side of the quarters.
RETURNING TO NORMAL ENGLISH FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE REPORT – BECAUSE ITS VEY TIRING BEING AN AMERICAN AND FOR SOME REASON I WANT TO GET LOTS OF “PULLED” MEAT WITH WATERY GRAVY AND “FRIES”.
Today was never going to be about who wins or loses the game; but more of the quality of the play on show as opposed to the quantity of tries scored. Today’s game showed that despite the one sidedness of the game, two teams were gracious not only in losing (as the Ormskirk boys and coaches were) but gracious in winning and holding sportsmanship ahead of an overriding spirit to “win at all costs” (This line remains in the text for the specific reason that I know some opposing teams study our reports also! You know who you are!).
Heading towards the next game, and indeed the next year, we have some interesting new challenges ahead. No doubt that our forward play has come on leaps and bounds over the last 8 weeks. The backs have shown some versatility in their play and undoubtably have confidence in their speed and running. We do have to face some of our weaker points also. Persistence and quality of tackling has often left us exposed in defensive positions. Taking the ball into contact and losing control of the ball as a result has left us similarly scuppered at times; and perhaps most importantly holding the ball at the price of a pass to a supporting player can leave our scoreboard devoid of quite a number of points.
On the plus side these are all cosmetic and simple changes to a rapidly improving game. The negative is that other teams are improving too. It’s nice to know as a coach and parent that once again as a team we have shown all the qualities of a good rugby community. I know already, and am sure many would agree that the overall spirit of the team, coaches and supporters is second to none. There is a reason that we still have new players coming to the club this deep into the winter months; and for this we should collectively clap our hands in appreciation for our efforts.
SCORES AND SCORERS – Courtesy of our match sponsors “Wal-Mark” and “Scott’s” Rib House! (See how I’ve quietly done that American thing again).
Q1 – Hoppers 25 – Ormskirk 5
Charlie Smith (2 tries), Jak K(2), Tom Walker
Q2 – Hoppers 20 – Ormskirk 0
Charlie Smith (2 tries), Jak K, Archjie Ratcliffe
Q3 – Hoppers 25 – Ormskirk 5
Lincoln (2 Tries), Daniel Cooper, James Preston, Jak K (Who also scored for the opposition!)
Q4 – Hoppers 20 – Ormskirk 10
Daniel Cooper, Cian, Lincoln, Toby (Aaron and Jak also scored for the opposition too!!)
Well I’m off for a game of dodge ball and 2 hours of Oprah Winfrey on the Sky+