Here is the long-awaited match report from Mrs Jonny’s rugby debut, and her subsequent initiation into her new club. From all of us at The Rugby Blog, I’d like to offer huge congratulations and thank you for keeping us posted and thoroughly entertained.
If you’d have told me 4 months ago that I would, by now, have played not one but TWO full-blown rugby matches I’m not sure I would have believed you. Re-reading my earlier blogs, the concept of me (or, dare I say it, any sane girl) playing rugby still seems mildly ridiculous. And yet I’m now so hooked, I’m already thinking about my post-season summer training and how I can improve for next winter.
My first scheduled match was a false start; a disappointing, last-minute cancellation by the opposition followed by two lacklustre training sessions with only half a dozen players.
So it was with some excitement that I packed my boots and set off to the heart of the south-west a couple of weeks later for my debut. I had an overwhelming, and somewhat alien, sense of pride and camaraderie as my new official post-match kit was thrust into my arms and I donned my team colours.
But this was quickly replaced with near-panic as I walked out of the changing rooms and realised that (a) I’d never actually been on a pitch before, thanks to our evening training sessions being held on the floodlit fringes of our club ground and (b) when faced with the real thing, I really don’t have a keen grasp of the rules after all. I managed to hang back and watch the first half but then jumped (or was thrown?) into the deep end for the second half, where I was installed at full-back.
It went pretty well I think. I put in an early tackle on someone smaller than me, just to make myself feel better, and managed to catch a few long balls – though I didn’t quite know what to do with them once I had them. (Though that hasn’t proved problematic in Ian Balshaw’s career…) And though I took what I consider to be a pretty big bash to the nose, no visible injuries ensued and I was told to stop fussing if there wasn’t any blood.
We lost, rather heavily, but despite this everyone trooped into the post-match meal and then onto the pub where I was initiated into that other great rugby tradition – downing pints. Though friends from Uni, who have seen me flourish in many a drinking game, will be amazed to hear this, I no longer seem to have the capacity for alcohol consumption I once did. As I slowly ‘downed’ a hideous pint of snakebite & black – in a record-breaking 15 minutes – I decided I may be taking after my namesake in at least one area of rugby tactics.
And as the other girl who was celebrating her debut in much the same fashion (but 10 times faster) is now known as ‘Chucky’ for her resultant downfall, I reckon I made the right move.
I’ll share the delights of the second match with you next week…