Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Match report for the Gowerton game

Our intrepid foreign correspondent has ventured forth once again from the Norton Metropolis into the wider world that is known as "beyond the Swansea borders". Some might think this is the Pizza Hut at Forestfach, but in fact Michael Morgan is in the tropical paradise of Gowerton.

This match report did not quite reach the Swansea University word count for submissions for a Doctorate in the biodiversity of the cuttlefish at Covelli's, but only by about 8 words.

February 1st 2009

Gowerton 4 Mumbles Crusaders 4

On a bitterly cold morning with the easterly wind doing its worst to make the wind chill factor particularly biting, the good ship Mumbles Crusaders arrived on schedule at 10.30 to play against our good friends and illustrious opponents from Gowerton.
With the kick off being delayed until 11.45 to allow the younger teams first dabs on the pitches, the matrix squad for the day sought refuge and warmth in the changing rooms for the inaugural Crusaders Buzz Challenge. Playing with multiples of 3's 4's and 5's a keenly fought competition ensued amongst the squad, with eventual winner Dominic beating Cameron on the number 28. With the so called dumbing down of educational standards at the forefront of government policy, Dominic was also awarded a GCSE B Grade by the Southern Examining Board for his efforts.

So to the game. The Matrix squad for today's game was Tom G, Dom, Liam, Ben H, James P, Aled, Cameron, Harry, Lloyd, Connor, Rhys D and Nathan. The honour of captain for the day was given to Keiran.

The game itself was split into 3 x 8 minutes periods with the pitch and cross winds providing little advantage to either team. In the first period it seemed that the excesses and intensity given to the pre match game of buzz had somewhat affected our players whereby a vastly improved and well organised Gowerton team took advantage of the Crusaders lackadaisical approach and stormed into a well deserved 4-1 interval lead, with the Crusaders appreciating the end of period whistle more than our opponents.
However, a rousing team talk by Rugby Raconteur Lyndon seemed to have the desired effect amongst the troops and they took to the field for the next period in far more a positive frame of mind. In the second period a re-energised Crusaders threw everything at their hosts and the little errors and apprehensions that where evident in the first period soon evaporated. With great enthusiasm and a collective team effort, the Crusaders absorbed some heavy punishment in attack and defence from the determined Gowerton players, and with no quarter asked or given and showing great physicallity at the breakdown and tackle area, came off this period trailing by 4-3

The third period continued in much the same vain as the second, with Gowerton going all out for the one try that would give them the win and the Crusaders desperately trying to get back on level terms. Fortunately through sheer grit and determination, the team managed to galvanise itself for a final flurry and salvage a richly deserved draw in one of the most entertaining, hugely competitive and good spirited games we have had all season.

For the Crusaders each one of the players stood up to be counted, especially when the easy option today was to throw in the towel when trailing by 4 scores to 1 - this really showed the inner steel of all the players today and in the squad. Today's game also shone the spotlight on some of our unsung heroes such as Liam, James P, Aled, Harry and Ben H all of whom made significant contributions to today's excellent performance. It is these players who tend to go unnoticed by all but the coaching staff and who are in our opinion arguably the most important cogs in the squad - well done to them.

Our thanks goes to a vastly improved Gowerton team and all our good friends from Gowerton, especially to Dai Treharne for his superb refereeing and ability to let the physicality of the game go to the boundary but never over it. It is always a pleasure to deal with true rugby gentlemen like Dai and his "underpants outside the trousers" sidekick Lyn.

On another issue, the tedious and protracted soap opera that is the search for a new coach for the Ospreys finally ended this week when Scott Johnson was given the role of Director of Rugby. While some in the game facetiously consider that in fact namesake Ulrika would have been a better choice, I have found three distinctive and uncanny comparables between the two, namely:-

1 - They are both renowned for a mop of long blond hair and their ability to whip a crowd into a frenzy
2 - They are both considered to be "one of the lads" and are hugely popular with the players in the changing room
3 - They both have a similar knowledge of the game of rugby and share in their ability to coach it
While this gives Mr Johnson the chance to prove he is a genuine Number 1 coach to many in the rugby fraternity he will always remain the quintessential Number 2 (rhyming slang and interpretations optional).

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