Dartfordians XV 12 Moles 17
Moles withstand 'everything but the kitchen sink' to secure satisfying win
On a very cold but bright and glorious day for rugby, the Moles wagons rolled up the A2 to the ‘badlands’ of Bexley for their latest encounter against a Dartfordians’ Vets/5ths outfit.
Despite some late drop outs, the Moles’ teams were buoyed by a travelling support contingent of retired Moles’ players and elders, Swans, Gannets and various younglings that, if anyone could be bothered to count, was estimated to be well into double figures. In all seriousness, with Moles’ rugby in a transitional ‘generation shift’ phase out on the park, it is encouraging to have Mole elders staying involved in the rugby side of the Moles’ business by actively supporting the team.
Supporters’ faith was rewarded with an excellent performance from a strong Moles’ team that, while not being paragons of virtue in terms of discipline and control at all times, certainly worked together as a cohesive unit for the entire 80 minutes. With Mole-associate Stu ‘Peggy’ Pollard, officiating as the Kent Referees’ Society-supplied referee and being observed in the process; despite a few handbags here and there from the usual suspects, it was a tough, competitive match played in the right spirit.
The first half was a tight affair with the Moles perhaps edging things at the set pieces and Darts having the upper hand at the breakdown by seemingly drawing in support from the clubhouse; it was so busy in there! Nonetheless, the Moles got some rugby going and drew first blood through Steve Wootton exploiting the narrowest of channels to score wide on the left. This was worthy credit for the Moles possession but as is so often the case, the try seemingly provoked some sleep narcolepsy amongst the Moley ranks as Dartfordians quickly got themselves back on terms.
However, the Moles and their base of players from the Swans, have the developed a degree of mental toughness over recent seasons and sure enough, they kept their composure and some great work by the pack followed a great pass from open side flanker, Toby Pearce which was finished with a great vision and running line from that man Wootton again; placing down close to the posts to enable scrum-half Swanley to add the conversion.
Half-Time: Darts 5 – Moles 12
Changes at half-time saw Big Brian ‘El-Bo’ Williams swap around in the ‘tight five’ to replace skipper Elvis (Selflessly making sure everyone got game time or saving himself for a run out with his real mates over the fence the following day? You be the judge!) at loose head and the welcome return of Moles’ accountant, Garry ‘Hair Bear’ Hodges into the second row, which gave Velcro the opportunity to pick a fight with the veteran footballers on the adjacent pitch. I hasten to add that Velcro declined this opportunity which was a good show as he was needed back on the park for the Moles twice during the second half.
Let’s face it, El-Bo is a try a machine; and shortly into the second half, more great work from the Moles’ forwards saw the man playing as prop but facing up in the outside centre position, add another score to his impressive tally for the season and career. No one except the man himself knows (or cares) how many tries Elbow has scored for the Moles; but it’s a lot. In the absence of a photo of today’s effort, his first for the Moles at Edenbridge back in 2012 is featured at the head of this report.
So, in a tough game the Moles were starting to secure the upper hand at 5 – 17 ahead. Now, it was an international weekend with no Kent RFU league games scheduled so it was perhaps inevitable that one or two Darts’ ‘superstars’ would creep into the 5ths/Vets line-up. Maybe it was a few more than one or two as the Dartfordians moved up a gear after the restart; scoring a try and converting to put themselves back in the game and within a score.
However, despite throwing the cooker, washing machine, dishwasher, American-sized fridge, tumble dryer and of course, the kitchen sink at the Moles, Darts found themselves frustrated time and time again.
The Moles’ tighthead prop and England Rugby supporting South African, Pierre du Toit had had a busy week stalking RFU patron Prince Harry on social media so rightly needed a blow. This re-introduced skipper Elvis into the Darts’ pressure cooker; as alluded to above, they we really chucking everything at it. As the Moles continued to stem the tide, Elvis was delighted to hear the sound of a firm boot whilst getting up from the bottom of a ruck in the Moles 22. As he rose to his feet, his first thought as he looked in the direction he hoped the ball had been kicked was, “Blimey, that’s long” his second thought, “and it’s going into touch!” Vice skipper, Gareth Moore enquired “Who kicked that?” “It was me” replied fly half, Carl Sells somewhat indignantly. This was fair enough on the day as Carl had another ‘Mr Consistent’ performance with loads of intelligent play and stoic defence which earned him his second ‘Mole of the Match’ tee shirt.
While not the final play of the game, Carl’s kick provided with the deep exit needed to help the Moles to re-organise in the Darts’ half of the field and manage the final minutes of the clock down; which they ultimately did to enjoy a most satisfactory victory.
Final Score: Darts 12 – Moles 17
Wins like this are only achieved through teamwork and everyone who put on the black shirt today gave nothing less than 110% for the cause. Aside from those already mentioned in this report, some selected performances of note included:
• Mark ‘Oaf’ Armitage at #8: Some fantastic carries and tackling and allegedly, he did it all again over on the other side of the fence 24 hours later.
• Dan Rumsey at outside centre: Was noticeably disappointed when Elvis asked him to ‘help out’ in the backs. “Just play your usual game, but stand in a different place at the set pieces” suggested Elvis, in an attempt to stem some of Dan’s disappointment. And Dan did just that, causing the Darts no end of problems with the ball in hand and also in defence as well.
Back at the Rectory Field clubhouse, the Moles watched ‘The Voice UK’ on ITV along with other GRFC members and a surprising number of visitors to the club who were all wearing white shirts with O2 written on the front and drinking beer out of jugs when they hadn’t been playing rugby. What’s all that about? Why give a rich telecom company free advertising and beer, Guinness in particular, tastes shit out of a jug. Surely only those stupid enough to have, earlier in a given day’s proceedings, put their bodies on the line and their heads in silly places would be stupid enough to put up with crap tasting Guinness; but seemingly, fans of ‘The Voice UK’ do it too.
There was a rumour circulating around the clubhouse suggesting that there was something involving a Scotland team being shown simultaneously on BBC. The Moles’ Scottish contingent of Taylor Major, Taylor Minor and Q made a hell of a racket for c.80 minutes so maybe Aberdeen were playing St Mirren or something? More intelligent suggestions were that it was all about that curling ‘ice bowls’ stuff, as all those snow and ice dependent sports that you do up in Scotland have been all over the telly recently.
Anyway, isn’t it nice that the Moles embraces Scottish people; our forthcoming Tour Judge, John Forbes is one too. Multi-cultural, ethnically diverse and inclusive; even more proof that the Moles is something much, much more than just a rugby team.