Surrey League 1 Play-Off
Guildford Vets 22, Richmond Heavies 42
Welshy’s Words of Wisdom
“If you want a Happy ending, that depends, of course where you stop your story”
The final day of the season was upon two of the heavy weights of Surrey Vets League 1, God had blown the rain away and a beautiful sunny day shone on Guildford RFC.
An early 2pm kick off saw our club members come down early and enjoy the revamped clubhouse – which gets busier by the day and the bar took orders of Summer drinks and food whilst watching their Vets team welcome very familiar faces of Richmond Heavies. Pitch Numero Uno was perfect – just soft enough to slow those mighty Heavies but firm enough to show off the silky skills of the Guildford Vets backs who love running rugby.
It was one of the Guildford bulldozer wings that started it all off with some clever territory from our No.10 Ross before throwing a pass to Phil Baker who smashed into 3 players on the 15 minute mark for the first try. Ross converted with ease and it was most cetainly GAME ON Guildford. Or so we thought. But within a few minutes some excellent running by the Richmond backs, sliced big gaps in the Guildford defence to give the visitors their first try. Guildford Vets Management were shocked and perplexed that their excellent defence had been ripped apart by the not so Heavies from Richmond.
Again Guildford pushed for the line and as in the previous week against Farnham Vets, Ben Kirby was given clean ball by the forwards. However, The Heavies are past masters at the clever game and were effective at spoiling clean possession. However, the Referee got wise to Heavies guile and Heavies were adjusted offside once too often which gifted the hosts with an easy 3 points through the book of Booker.
Richmond continued to press for to be the next on the scoreboard but last minute tackles by Guildford kept them out and in doing so opened up some gaps for Guildford Vets to slice through . The welcome return of Tommy from an injury induced ‘sabbatical’ saw him back to good form and it was his powerful running that created an offload to Ross who side-stepped so many times that even the Management and Spectators on the Clubhouse balcony fell for the dummies. Indeed, there was even time to question whether he would actually score it score after running 50 yards and become the Vets top try scorer with no-one in front of him and only scrum-half Ben Kirby for company. Unselfishly Ross passed the ball to Kirby on his inside so as to ensure that the ball was dotted down closer to the sticks. The Management gave Ross the benefit of the doubt in crediting him with “lovely team work” rather than try avoidance. Guildford were playing with confidence and looked strong with ball in hand. But again the boys let Heavies back into the game with a loose kick that was gratefully collected by the Heavies winger who was more Athlete than Rugby Player and made great yardage.
Guildford were unlucky however Richmond’s guile again came to the fore and while Guildford and the Management looked to the referee for the penalty, Heavies stole the ball and scored. Consensus was that the ref was probably distracted by Les looking oh so cool pitch-side resplendent in his Foster Grant’s (shades).
Half time oranges were more welcome than ever as the heat of the day and the frustrations of the game needed to be extinguished in order that the home side could regroup and implement their game plan. Tense moments of true passion from backs and forwards at half time reiterated the desire to beat arch rivals (and good friends) Heavies once and for all. The second half started with a great forward play and clever thinking again by Ross who kicked the ball to the corner over the try line. The Management thought Ross had mistaken a supporter for a player BUT no – our true vet Julian suddenly sprinted onto the ball, caught it and crossed the line for the first try of the second half. Great play! And there ended the game for Guildford as the Heavies got into their stride as the second half wore on and their excellent No.10 dictated the rest of the match putting players into space at will and punishing loose play/kicks by driving the sword further into very tired Guildford players. It was a frustrating way to end the season as our Vets squad had carried on with so many injuries but kept bouncing back and stepping forward whenever there was a league / cup game. The whole squad has developed as a team this season and played some remarkable rugby. They will return in September – as our story is yet unfinished!
Huge congratulations to Richmond who have deserved the title and it’s a fitting way to honour their beloved ‘Bosch’ who recently passed. It was great to share post-match drinks with our friends from Richmond before their return home to TW9.
So onto the next chapter, where after a long summer break we will be back on league duty to take the title off Richmond.
Meantime, a Summer of Touch Tuesday will keep us together…