I’m back playing for the mighty Poneke Pies (motto: Because we’re hot). Luckily they don’t have so much a selection policy as an attendance policy. If you turn up, you play.
Poneke Pies vs Tawa Toads/Manurewa Druids
Being Golden Oldies, the warm-up was in the bar, where it was agreed that as the Toads and Druids were a bit light on numbers they would play as a combined team. Which had the further advantage that there would be plenty of subs to go around.
For the first half the Pies played with the wind at our backs. And our backs played like the wind, finding plenty of gaps through the middle with some excellent short passes. As I stood around halfway clapping them on, it all looked pretty good.
It didn’t look so good standing around halfway when the Giant Toad got hold of the ball and fixed his eye on me. It was about then that I decided we were playing a drift defensive pattern today, and the cover defence would deal with him.
Turning around for the second half into the wind, and the Toads/Druids started getting plenty of possession, with some nice breaks down the right flank. On one of them I actually chased. Didn’t get anywhere near enough to make a tackle, but I hope it looked good for the video analysis. Meanwhile our wings were actually chasing and tackling, including a particularly gritty effort to chase down their flying 60-year old in the corner.
Then, disaster. Ned found himself in the unexpected and completely unrealistic position of first-five after a clean turnover, with the prospect of a breakout if the ball could be shifted quickly to the right. It was shifted quickly by Ned, straight into the arms of a Toad moving faster than allowed, who took a clean intercept and ran away for a try between the posts. I hope Shag wasn’t watching.
The third-half started with the wind at our backs again, and lots more gaps opening up as the big fellas tired. Only some resolute defence by Sexy Legs on the left flank kept the rampaging Toads/Druids combo out for awhile. Ned did his one good thing for the day, seagulling on the left. Took the ball at pace, drifted wider taking the defence with me, and floated a deft little inside ball to Pegs coming on at pace.
- Result: Draw
- Ground: Kilbirnie Park
- Referee: Some Welsh bloke
- Weather: overcast, northerly zephyr
- Crowd: 5 (if you count the dog)
- Player of the Day: Lew on the barbecue
In some lesser matches over the weekend, the Highlanders gave the Chiefs a lesson in southern hospitality 29-25, the Hurricanes squeezed out a win over the Crusaders 16-9, the Blues finally won on the road against the Force 40-14, Seth Efrika heaped misery on the Scots 55-6, Fiji crushed the Cook Islands 108-6 (and booked their place in the opening match of RWC2015 against England), Kenya upset Namibia 29-22, and Zimbabwe downed Madagascar 57-22.