Monday, 23 March 2009
Back on the Park
Following my ankle operation in January, I was finally back in the middle last Saturday. My last game was in December and whilst I missed the worst of the bad weather, it has been a long break. If truth be told, I should have taken a softer and longer pre-return training schedule but a couple of gentle runs and a Level 14 old lags game, that was 30 mins each way to catch the internationals was just the start I needed.
The home side were a hospitable bunch with crate of isotonic drinks in the referee changing room and small crowd sitting outside in the sunshine. The opposition rocked up a few minutes before kick-off with no subs and looked on as the full bench of the home side ran through drills and looked significantly younger than the starting line up.
Black (home) chose to play down hill in the first half and made this count with total territory and possession in the first 20 minutes, however they couldn’t score. A penalty gave the visitors a line-out platform in the oppo 22m and a great move saw the barrelling blue prop twist over- 5-nil against the run of play. On the turn of half time, a quickly taken penalty saw the home side asleep and the visitors claimed a second nicely worked try.
The visitors seemed to find their rhythm in second half, with some good forward pressure, the scrum was dominant and well-behaved. I could have been stricter on in-straight and foot-up but it was working the same for both sides. Although it was a good natured game, 7-8 minutes in a tackle in the home 22 brought about a flurry of punches from the blue centre on black’s hooker. He claimed retaliation on behalf of his put upon colleague – yellow card, I considered red, but it would have been harsh given the general spirit of the game. I didn’t see the hooker punching but I probably should have carded him to be fair; I felt there was no question of his guilt. Blue held on with 14 men and the try-scoring hooker came close once again with a chip and collect on the home 22 ( I hope rest of the front row fined him for that one). Once blue’s centre was back on he caught my attention for a second time as a trotted backwards and failed to see him on all fours until I crashed down over him!
The ankle came through and it was a pleasant re-introduction, there was bit of ‘commentary’ from blue but it stopped with a warning as I pointed out to their captain, if I refereed the game they saw, then their second try would have been a blue scrum.
I’m at the National Schools Seven’s tomorrow, and that will be a sterner test of my fitness.