Disclaimer: the author acknowledges that copious notes taken on the day were regrettably stolen and certainly not mistakenly deleted from his phone. That said, with the attached picture of the team sheet, he feels satisfied that the article does not breach the team write up code of conduct in so much as every player is mentioned!
I’m no Charles Dickens, but I reckon he time-travelled forward to the Boss James last Sunday morning then headed straight back to 1859 London to coin a couple of his famous lines for his classic read A Tale of Two Suburbs (or Cities)….. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom and of foolishness…it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…
The opposition, East Brighton Vampires, have deep reserves and are a very good team so the coaching group know that the Rovers would be up against it. And so it proved.
The game started off tight and congested in the middle, then, as if all 36 boys on the oval were made of metal and a subterranean magnet was shifting them towards David St, it became tight and congested in our defensive 50. And so it remained.
Our forward line had scant pickings with 2 meaningful forays into the opposition 50.
Score at quarter time 3.2 20 to 0.0 0
My recollection of the coaches instructions are sketchy but certainly some gravitas and emphasis was put on HUNGER and CRUMBING I suspect there was not enough of either of these key ingredients.
The quarter did not start as we had planned given that the Vampires scored after 23 seconds. They tasted blood and their fangs were out to inflict maximum damage. Our boys did not cower and hide, not at all. They showed admirable endeavour and worked desperately in defence but they did not have a silver bullet, a wooden stake or even a string of garlic.
Score at half time 5.9 39 to 0.0 0
Half time coaching themes involved less culinary overtones and focused on teamwork, effort, running and an acknowledgement that the Vampires were a scaringly good team.
The third quarter started better than the second quarter with our defence holding up for almost twice as long before conceding a goal (approximately 50 seconds). More of the invisible magnet pulling was going on but also some neat passages where we were able to handball, shepherd and kick to hands.
Score at three quarter time 9.11 65 to 0.0 0
The final rally to the boys was one of encouragement and to keep plugging away.
The result never really in doubt and many a team would have completely dropped their heads, but our lads continued to tackle, chase, smother and lead. They actually improved. Indeed, with the activation of the “next goal wins” rule we conjured up a goal – you beeeauuuuty!!!! Unfortunately as the cheer squad was getting up to full voice the Vampires bit again.
So, final score 12.14 86 – 1.0 6