The afternoon started with a stomach-in-mouth moment as I realised that letting toddler-son play with my whistle after the last match meant it hadn’t found its way back in my kit bag. The advice of keeping a (rusty) spare prevented any embarrassment.
The combatants were two well organised Old Boys sides and happily were a side higher than I had previously encountered from those clubs.
The home side, Blue started strongly setting up a Red line-out on their own 5m line. Red 8 left the line early and I awarded a free-kick, an ensuing ruck saw Red 8 go to ground and tap penalty saw Blue score neatly in the corner. However, once Red got their act together the tight play from their forwards was too disciplined for Blue to cope with, there was great running and handling from the Red backs, some neat behind the back flips. In contrast, on the many occasions that Blue pushed forward, the ball carrier was isolated and was turned over or conceded a penalty.
Comedy moment of the match came a Blue 15 was chasing down a kick that ran into touch, realising that he was heading for the half way flag he attempted to vault the flag, which raised a sensitive target for the top of the flag to whip into. The ensuing line out was delayed as the forwards and referee composed themselves.
The game ended with a healthy 38-18 win to the visitors thanks to better organisation and individual skills. From my perspective, no major flare-ups, though it seems I did miss an obstruction in the lead up to a try. I was well positioned but wasn’t looking at that aspect, I suspect they were right to question it; at least it didn’t affect the result. I came off feeling the afternoon had gone well and the feed back from the teams seems good too. Sadly no beers with the captains afterwards as I needed to run off to the Harlequins match.