Depleted Gannets downed beyond the fence
By Matt Clarke
The Gees started with 15 then it was 14 and they finished with 13..but they fought to the end against their neighbours.
Things weren't looking too bad Saturday morning for Captain Wootton until a fateful trip to Bluewater that morning.In fact,he was standing in the 'toy' department of Ann Summers,Bluewater when he received notice that he had lost not one,but two front row players..add to that the loss of Jamie Feighery who had the cheek to go on holiday,some serious debugging was required in order to get the game played.
At this point it's worth mentioning that Gravesend put out five teams that day which is some achievement.Add to that the two teams that Old Gees had out that day and you understand that Rugby is thriving in Gravesend and puts pretty much every town in Kent to shame.
The downside to this however was that there were no free players within the club for the Gannets to call on.So what did Steve do? Let's find out ...
The answer was Mayhem and half man half lager Martin Riley.They played front row.Yes you're reading this right.With 'In the area for a bit' Saffa Vernon Ras stepping in at 8,the Gannets at least had a pack.
For a while at least.An accidental boot to the head early in the first period resulted in a nasty concussion meaning that Paddy stepped in at 8..not however he performed a cheeky double sit down on two would be tackles.Amazingly,he wasn't penalised.More of that later..
The first half itself was a dour affair slugged out mainly between the forwards in the middle of the park save a couple of runs from ex Gee Rafa who seems to have been on a weight gain/hair loss diet since we saw him last.To be fair though,he had a solid game in the midfield,putting in some telling tackles and always looking a threat with ball in hand.
A 3-0 lead at the break was all they had to show for their one man advantage as both teams effectively cancelled each other out.
The second half continued in a similar vein but the withdrawal of Stephen Wootton due to a rolled ankle seemed to tip the balance in the home side's favour.Now with a two man advantage,the gaps began to open and the penalties began to take their toll on the Gannets as became increasingly desperate in their attempts to stem the Old Gees attacking tide.
Two more penalties were kicked and that looked to be it as the game headed into last play territory.But a decent backs move from the OGs around their 22 resulted in their fullback evading several justifiably tired Gannets tacklers on his way to score under the wonky sticks and that was the game.
The Gannets can have no complaints about the result but they can also be proud of the shift they put in against 18 men.Some frustrating refereeing decisions went against them including Dan Grant being penalised for being tackled,Or was it because his shorts were pulled down exposing his bare arse? Who knows! Paddy being pinged for getting up after being held was another strange one considering he was clearly thrown to the floor.
But still...these are minor gripes and the result of the game was never in doubt.The return though should be one to look forward to,as long as the Gannets can field a proper front row because Mayhem hurt his thumb and he's never propping again...
Until next time...