Thurston Silverbacks 20 Bury Labradors 10 Dave Blackwell’s call to arms produced 25 players of venerable age to turn out on a crisp November day at Robinson Field. A minutes silence was held by the Vets prior to kick off to honour Mick Harkin who managed to break down during the warm up with a nasty looking finger nail injury! The Labradors clearly had bulk on their side but much of that beef had not set foot on a rugby field for several months if not years, in contrast to a Thurston team where many players still regularly turn out on a Saturday. The Silverbacks were up against it in the close quarter exchanges, Cornell, Blackwell, Williams et al rolling back the years to push them backwards but the pace of attacks did not give the flair of Fisher, Hall and Cooper the chance to break the shackles. Having absorbed the euphoric almost giddy Bury early advances, the Silverbacks slowly worked their way into the game and then picked off the ageing hounds! Silverbacks skipper OIi Paxman rampaging at No 8 prooved to hot to handle and if he didn’t score he usually set up a score for a supporting runner. Whereas ex Lion Ollie Smith takes his 1ST Team charges from the field for a 15 minute technical analysis at the interval, skipper Blackwell broke out the pickled eggs and onions to go with the obligatory Port to review the previous 40 minutes. The warming effect of Jerez’s finest clearly worked as Bury notched up two scores in the first 15 minutes. Chris Hall, given the ball in space and time brought back memories of 1999 as he ghosted through a drifting defence to race away. Surprisingly, other backs were in support, retaining the ball in time for Matt Bell to arrive and burrow his way over from 18 inches. Buoyed by the score the Labrador pack grew in confidence despite the uncertainty as to just who was actually on or off the park and in which position they were playing as the rotation policy confused most others than Blacki and Harty. A series of close quarter drives paid dividends as the Green n Golds edged to the line. Sadly a penalty was awarded and even more unfortunately, Carl Jones took the pen quickly and powered his way over from close range. Drama, excitement, a one score game as the match entered into its final quarter.. Both sides employed the tactics of a youthful bosher….Ed Balaam v Rory Williams a modern version of Ali versus Foreman in midfield but neither could side could land the knock out blow. The game was decided as a result of over excitement by the hounds. Chasing the game the Labs tried to run the ball out of defence….Worse still, someone tried what is known as a dink over, the forwards description is different.., Ollie Paxman clutched the ball out of the air and raced past a flat footed defence. No problems our erstwhile skipper was there donning the 15 role…..The irresistible force versus the immovable object…..the crowd gasped, time stood still…and Ollie side stepped Blacki for the match winning try!.
That was enough to seal the game. Our thanks to Thurston for being great hosts…despite the Beer and Guiness running out before 6pm and to Godfrey Bancroft for refereeing the game in the perfect spirit.
Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.