It was an amazing start…..speed, accuracy, a right scrum, a great selection policy and some enthusiastic jostling for position……. and that was just the buffet. Then someone noticed out of the window (the one that wasn’t still iced up) that the match was about to kick off! Reluctantly tearing ourselves away from the hot sausage rolls and samosas (but with a pocketful of those tasty little sausage things that are served up on the 25th with bacon wrapped round them) we headed out to watch Askeans take on Weavering Warriors. The game was on the second pitch, the main one was still frozen!
As cold as it was we congratulated ourselves that we had braved the conditions…unfortunately the Warriors started strongly and soon went ahead with an unconverted try. The lure of the warm club house, the spring rolls and cheese platter was beginning to edge me away when Jack Henderson dived over following a strong run from Ywain Shakespeare and some mighty efforts from the forwards over the ball. James Roddy (aka ‘Roddy’) converted from the touch line and we decided the mince pies on the buffet could wait….well at least until half time anyway! 7-5 up soon turned into 12-5 when Struan Kerr (Replacement for Will Glendenning, who retired with a neck injury) scored, followed closely by Toby Rush diving over…this one converted by Roddy to bring up a score of 19-5. Better yet, Roddy kicked a long -range penalty to make if 22 -5. Despite some aggressive tackling Weavering Warriors rallied and got back to 22-12
Askeans then suffered a double blow when both Ghazi Kadi (aka ‘Ghaz’) - a popped shoulder - and Fionn O’Connor – a bloody nose and a bit shaken and stirred - were injured and went off, needing some hospital intervention. - Both were ably looked after by Ian Johns and our debut ‘Match Day Assistant', Felix who was enthusiastically busy up and down the touchline with water and support for the players. (Ghaz came back for the post match celebrations, sporting a rather fetching sling and after observation, Fionn was discharged with no ill effects.) With a full subs bench we never went below 15 on the turf, possibly for the first time this season - Harrison Sanford and Tim Barnett having come off the bench to join in the fun. No one was thinking of leaving, well except for their bloke who got yellow carded for a high tackle. Half time and there was a bit of an exodus from the touchline….the cold having go to us old blokes who headed for the Gents rather than the buffet …that’s what happens when it’s freezing! Hurriedly returning for the second half (via the hot sausages obviously) we were dismayed to see them score just after their man returned after his 10 on the naughty step. He didn’t last long as he was soon yellow carded again! That’s red then everyone thought, well everyone except the ref who surprisingly signalled him back on after what seemed like only 5 minutes. The man in charge was obviously having some trouble with his Rolex as the first half had lasted over 50 minutes! Being Askeans we respected the ref, rather than pointing out the fact that it was no big surprise that he wasn’t sponsored by Specsavers. At 22-17 the match was finely balanced (unlike Ian and myself), and we held our breath..but we needn’t have worried. A try from Jack Henderson – another of his defence scything runs and Adam Maguire, a bullocking run to secure the win, followed by another fine conversion from Roddy, brought the Askeans score to 34 and a guaranteed try bonus point.
The Warriors grabbed a consolation try at the death, but couldn’t prevent a fine Askeans winning score of 34-22. The whole squad deserves to be lauded for such a fine performance, whilst the plaudits will naturally go to the scorers, every one of the 18 played a full role in this victory, the tackling and aggression in every encounter was full blooded………on occasion literally! I don’t know who was more delighted at the final whistle – the team or the reaction of the supporters…although possibly the bloke with the whistle might have been a bit chuffed it had ended when he realised that he should have whipped out his red card. To be fair he did apologise in the bar! The atmosphere in the bar was fantastic as the team deservedly enjoyed notching up 5 points…their spirit and enthusiasm not even that much dimmed by watching the match from Qatar (although several of the team looked as shaken and stirred as Fionn, long before Harry perfected his imitation of Jonny Wilkinson.) A Big Thank You to the many supporters – former players, Blackheath members and especially Players’ girlfriends, Mums and Dads, and of course, Jack’s football mates, who came along on a bitterly cold day – There was a wonderful ‘Family’ feel to the day and we look forward to welcoming you once more in 2023! Another grand day out and a great way to head into Christmas
Written by Dave Shute The full squad -
1. Devon Maynard 2. Daniel Walkden 3. Oliver Stevens 4. Ciaran O’Flynn (Capt.) 5. Ghazi Kadi 6. Adam Maguire 7. Jack Fiennes 8. Henry Gillett 9. Toby Rush 10. James Roddy 11. Will Glendening 12.Lewis Bainbridge 13.Ywain Shakespeare 14.Fionn O’Connor 15.Jack Henderson 16.Struan Kerr 17. Tim Barnet 18.Harrison Sandford
Player of the Match - Devon Maynard
Next Home Match – 7th January 2 pm– Sheppey