18. Dinosaurs And That Jurassic Lark

Evergreen Cup 1st Round

Dorking Derelicts 25 Old Reigatians Vets 6

Dinosaurs. One of the most successful groups of animals that have ever lived. They evolved into many diverse sizes and shapes, with many capable of jolly cunning modes of operating.

Some ate a leafy diet, others were carnivores, like the ferocious Tyrannosaurus Rex (sometimes known as Boterillis Sinbinis), a colossal beast composed primarily of teak with a provocative demeanor and disregard for personal safety. And the law.

The term “Dinosauria” was invented in 1842 to describe these “fearfully great reptiles,” beasts like the Kingasaurus, identifiable by it’s mane of Percy Montgomery-like tresses, the Oddjobodon, a shorter dino with little discernable neck and a war-like attitude and, of course, the Challaceaurus, a slightly lighter variety that could be hoisted into the air to scarf the riper fruit due its aerodynamic ears.

The creatures that we normally think of as dinosaurs lived during the Mozzaoic Era, from late in the Triassic period until the end of the Cretaceous. But we now know that they actually played rugby in the pre-professional days in London 1*.

It’s that far back in time that only faded black and white images of  such specimens remain on the walls of the clubhouse, alongside colleagues of the day like the Roddersoraus, Pterelaktus and Diplodicus Scud, so old that they’ve never yet found a complete fossil.

Amazingly, some of these prehistoric creatures and a few other gnarled specimens, perhaps more in the Barney The Purple Dinosaur category, were back prowling the open plains of Big Field on Sunday, roaring and scuffling and enjoying a proper old rumpus as their competitors Old Reigatians arrived as first round fodder in the Evergreen Cup and an eagerly-awaited local derby.

And the signs looked good. A full strength side able to withstand the loss of foolhardy Noddy Holder who pulled a fetlock… in the warm up. Warm-up? What does he think Guinness and Deep Heat are for?

The dinosaurs derby kicked off, if that’s the right description, in spirited manner with commitment from both sides and no love lost, as is the way with local rivalries.

The Dorking pack were in fine form and taking the game to the oppo who in turn pinned their hopes on spinning the ball wide to their streak on the wing, a tactic which bore no fruit as Fast Graham, The Juggler, TumTum Bushe and the outstandingly grumpy Bryan The Vet scythed him down.

In the closer quarters exchanges, Sir had his work cut out interpreting just what was going on, assisted by a constant helpful trickle of commentary. “Are you going to stop him laying on the ball Sir?”… “Come on Sir, he’s killing it”… “That’s been illegal for 20 years”… “Oh referee”… “He’s doing it again”… “He’s just punched me!”… “Ow!!”… “He’s done it again”… “That’s my nipple you b*stard”… “Right, I’ll ave you”… “Watch it, watch it…”… “Leave it, he’s been doing that for 30 years”… “We’ll have the 10 metres Sir”… “Oh Sir!!!!!”

And then suddenly Sir pinged a bewildered Derelict for a perceived transgression of some technical area of play that he’d never learned, let alone forgotten, and the visitors were astonishingly 3-0 up.

Cue head scratching, but no fretting. Instead the Derelicts played the next 20 minutes upfield and Big Gav eradicated memories of his shank fest a couple of weeks before to slot two sweet penalties. Tidy.

Tidier still was the first try after heavy pressure on the Reigate line. Moz, Bouncy and Oddjob were in complete command in the front row with Kinger and Ginge behind exerting an abundance of grunt. So a scrum five to the Derelicts was only ever going to have one outcome and sure enough the pack marched over for The Challice to touch down, although we’ve given it to Rodders on account of him becoming a grandad. Huzzah! Big Gav converted for 13-3 at half-time.

These days it is hard to remember when tries were worth much less and a player having the misfortune to stumble offside could be sure of being raked to within an inch of his life. Back then referees let players get on with it and I’m pretty sure one or two whistlers may have joined in the shoe-ings themselves.

These days we have Colin. Sir. Custodian of the whistle and enforcer of law. He quickly spotted Botty. You couldn’t really miss this giant of a man. A huge chap with a menacing grin and head the size of an adult bisun, misshapen in parts as a result of the ferocity with which he’d played the game. And when he’s seen him in the changing room putting on his boots, or as the Kiwis called it “nailing in the sprigs”, Colin knew he was in for an afternoon on the very edge of the law.

At the interval, Botty rolled back the years to take his place at No8 for the spritely Reigate Mike only to be followed for the rest of his short  but outstanding stay on the pitch by an accompanying chorus of shrill blasts and peep-peeps until, for reasons neither fair nor accurate, yet strangely inevitable, the big fella’s very fine, particularly muscular return to playing fo God’s Own Side was curtailed by 10 minutes in the sin bin.

It was during this Jurassic period of play that the Derelicts lost momentum and were forced to repel waves of Reigatians attacks on our line, The Juggler, Kinger, Fast Graham and Buzz were to the fore in a great defensive performance that restricted them to a just penalty.

This seemed to spur the Derelicts into life. The ever feisty Lord Greed and Secret Agent Percy bashed big holes in the middle, The Challice and The Count  – in outstanding form all afternoon – were always quickest to the breakdown, accompanied by Buzz and in the end foul tempered Bryan the Vet, the Victor Meldrew of the backline, darted over for a fine try. Big Gav’s conversion took us to 20-6 and we were sailing.

The joustings continued and Reigatians, to their credit, continued to push for points. But from another wave of attacking play the Derelictadons marauded downfield culminating in Kinger charging for the line. Amazingly, and despite every sinew in his body telling him to “just bloody go for it son”, he passed to Big Gav who rounded the defence and dived into the corner to touch down one-handed. He turned in triumph to see his gleeful teammates making the box shape and calling for the fourth official to adjudicate. “Yae b*stards,” he spluttered.

On a sober note… shortly after, the visitors’ flanker twisted badly and suffered a dreadful knee injury, for which we wish him a speedy recovery. It can only have been made worse by the intervention of our own Holby City medics TumTum Bushe and Hunty who attended to him swiftly and efficiently before trussing him up in a selection of bandages that made him look like an oven-ready joint of meat on the touchline to wait for the ambulance.

Which just left time for Botty to return to action and Oddjob to replace him in the bin for an act of terrorism unseen by most of us.

It was a good result. We’ve all got the bruises now to prove it. And we all thoroughly enjoyed it. Except for foul tempered Victor the Vet who never knowingly enjoyed any game, despite being blessed with speed and a side-step to die for.

“You enjoy that Vic? Surely to God man, even you enjoyed that?”

“Nah,” moaned the morose Kiwi, “not really So many mistakes.”

Pah! There’s no pleasing some dinosaurs.

Squad: Mozza, Bouncy, Scud, Oddjob, Kinger, Ginge, The Challice, Reigate Mike, The Count, Buzz, Botty, Rodders, Big Gav, Fast Graham, Lord Greed, Lord Percy, TumTum, The Juggler, Victor The Vet.

…or as they appear in the Dorking Ad:

Squad: Mosley, Bunce, Veness, Pratley, King, Cross, Challice, Osbourne, Terelak, Slann, Botterill, Pengelly, McMillan, Walshe, Edwards, Dalton, Bushe, Wilson, Hughes

but where’s the fun in that?

Vandals in the next round. Be there.


*In the late 80s/early 90s, London 1 was the highest league any Dorking 1st XV side had reached, equivalent to today’s National League 3. It was a big achievement for a small club back then. They were a fearsome side with a pack consisting of many hard men. Several of these chaps went on to distinguish themselves playing for the Derelicts.

NEXT: 19. It’s Behind You!   Previous: 17. Spandex Ballet