“The hardest skill to acquire in sport is the one where you compete all out, give it all you have, and you are still getting beat no matter what you do.”
Eddie Reese, Olympic coach
An unfortunate combination of injury, illness and unavailability resulted in a significant number of new faces in the Askeans team that took to the field on Saturday to play top of the table Old Colfeians II (Colfeians)
Ian had managed to get 15 on to the field, but our replacements were outnumbered 3-0!
Despite Storm Henk, the Rectory Field pitch was in great nick, thanks to Ground Manager Danny Rouse and we were promised a fast game.
Askeans finished 2023 strongly and had moved rapidly up the table following some fine wins – however Colfeians are unbeaten in the league and were determined to protect their record. From the start the packs matched each other and the set pieces were even – but Colfeians are blessed with a back line who are fast, elusive and would not look out of place several leagues higher.
The Rectory Field is huge and is almost as wide as other league pitches are long.
Given the wide-open space offered and the speed and side stepping of the Colfeians outside backs, it was not long before they started scoring from long range.
The first half saw two scores from distance when Askeans were camped on the Colfeians’ goal line, only to cough up the ball and watch as their winger did a good impression of Usain Bolt before crossing under the posts at the other end! A score of 33-0 at half time disguised the efforts and commitment of all 15 Askeans.
Most of the second half was something of a repeat with Colfeians’ fast backs capitalising on the vast pitch and on any loose ball. This included another 100- metre score when Askeans were stripped of the ball as they were about to score themselves!
Colfeians, with the benefit of their full complement of replacements climbed to 80-0 – it is worth noting that this by no means their highest score so far this season! But not one of the Askean 15 gave up – they fought hard to the final whistle.
Colfeians’ were desperate to keep a clean sheet even though they were so far ahead, but they could not hold back the Askean determination which resulted in two tries in the final 10 minutes, scored by Igor Pestrikov and Charlie Grist -
The first try was a good team effort, following several drives in Colfeians’ 22. The second try, epitomised Askeans’ spirit, harrying Colfeians behind their goal line, resulting in an excellent opportunist try out of nowhere.
Final score 12 - 80
The spirit and commitment for the full 80 minutes and the refusal to give up was testament to the Askeans efforts and was rightly applauded at the end despite the score line.
In the bar afterwards it was more beer than spirits – but the latter was in full flow in terms of the on and off pitch camaraderie!
“I can accept failure; everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying again.”
Written by Dave Shute
Next Match: Saturday 13th January - Bromley II - Away - 2.00 PM
Next Home Game: Saturday 20th January - Greenwich - Rectory Field - 2.00 PM