With Kinger and Birdsworth missing in action, one in Toulon, the other in Redhill, veteran reporter ‘Lunchtime O’ Booze’ comes out of retirement for this week’s report. Good to see that all that internet editing malarky hasn’t blunted the quill. Now read on………
Dings 19 Dorking 1st XV 32
The bickering among the most senior members of the club started before we’d even set off.
Asbo Kane arrived a little later than planned, muttering about some fool having blocked his drive preventing his departure to the rendevous point with Ted and Mozza at Lord Aarvold’s.
As it transpired later, he’d left in plenty of time but had been held captive in his rural compound by his cut-price electronic gates. He’d regretted buying them as soon as he’d had the damn things fitted, but that’s what you got when you made brilliant cut-price purchases early Saturday evening in the Dolphin, speaking fluid London Pride after lunching at Big Field.
True enough, no-one would be breeching security at Kane Towers. But then again, neither would anyone be leaving in a hurry.
As he finally stumbled and grumbled his tin legs out of his sportsmobile, his humour failed to improve as a volley of derision from Ted hit him between the eyes. “Late again, like you’ve been for the last 40 years,” shot Ivens.
“Well,” said Kane testily, “Ted, there’s bits of you I like and admire but the other bit can be a right ….”
And with that, the tone was set and off we sped for a surprisingly swift couple of hours on the Motorways filled with games (I spy something beginning with hearing aid…) broken by the odd cry of “are we nearly there yet” until Moz finally worked out his aging satnav and was able to answer that, no, we were in fact still a way off so let’s play a game of “what have I forgotten to bring?” Which was eagerly contested and won by the President who’d forgotten his field shoes. And probably his warmer coat.
And in no time we found ourselves in the middle of Bristol, detouring thanks to the President’s ad hoc directions on the back of an envelope through every road and path of a modern housing development – Shakespeare Drive, Webster Road, Austen Way, Tennison Avenue and on and on, round and round, until finally we were spat out of the literary labyrinth into a deserted carpark surrounded by razor wire.
Although the sign on the brick wall said ‘Dings’ we weren’t sure we were in the right place until Spreckers rocked up a few moments later after a three-mile detour on foot via every local sports ground that REALLY wasn’t the right place, including Bristol Rovers football ground. It had been a testing journey for the lad after all the other “train w*nkers” cried off and he found himself travelling alone on BR.
Still, our raucous and prolonged laughter at his misfortune – compounded by grinning comrade Douglas who’d been on a later train but arrived before him – soon cheered Spreckers up no end and we headed off in glorious sunshine to find the bar.
If the outside of the clubhouse didn’t look too prepossessing, inside was quite the opposite. A proper rugby bar and proper welcoming rugby people whose side have been in Nat Two South for many years, although this season they’d lost a dozen players and were struggling a bit.
Our travelling army were a little reduced in numbers this week, possibly due to pre-Christmas duties and nobody being quite sure what or where Dings Crusaders was or wasn’t. And no sign of match reporters King and Birdsworth either. They were in the South of France to watch European rugby and damage the Secretary’s internal organs (‘I’d done my month’s allowance, Moz, before we got off the Eurostar,” he sobbed earlier this week). Twit-stirrer Juddy, meanwhile, had booked himself in for a line dancing class and afternoon tea at Polesden Lacey.
But no matter, once agreeably lunched and with the shortest speeches ever despatched – “Thanks for coming” “Thanks for having us” – we stumbled out to locate the rest of the items we’d failed to bring – Ted’s hat, Mozza’s shooting stick, Kane’s revolver and cosh – and in no time at all the lads were in action in the chilly sun on a pitch sloping significantly towards the clubhouse.
Whatever plans and intentions Dings may have harboured, being shunted backwards at the first scrum to concede a pen was surely not one of them. A hanging kick deep into what the Dingsters referred to as “Dog Sh*t Corner” caused panic in the defence, the ball got overturned and Fraser Mac had the dubious pleasure of touching down in DSC for the first try after just 4 minutes, Nobes being just wide with the con.
A good start, but Dings came back first with a pen as we failed to play the ref and then a well-taken unconverted try in the corner as we dropped off tackles for an 8-5 lead. But there was no panic and we kept playing our patterns and before long Ryan slipped the softest of passes to Cam to split the defence, feed winger Duxbury and put Joe away for a sweet try in the corner, Nobes being just wide with the con.
Joe turned his ankle in putting us 10-8 up and was replaced by young Cameron Cowell, who quickly brought a touch of Tigger to proceedings with his speed and desire for action, but more Dorking indiscipline allowed Dings to ease in front with a penalty for 11-10.
Then the pack took control, driving a maul 25m to the posts where it was pulled down and the miscreant yellow carded. From the ensuing scrum the penalty try was inevitable and Nobes kick made it 17-11.
There followed an Alice Through The Looking Glass passage of play. A butchered chance in the corner, Fraser Mac carded, a sudden and quite brilliant counter attack and Ryan reached over for try No4 and the bonus point, Nobes being just wide with the con.
Dings clawed a pen back for 22-14 at half-time and the second half proved a tight and niggly affair with Dings having an ongoing fascination/crush on flanker Ollie who was in quietly devastating form. And then after a long period of pressure the best score of the afternoon – a brilliant run by Chigs, to Nunny who offloads to Duxbury diving over – only to be cruelly ruled offside.
It took our first proper sighting of Roadrunner Cowell – meep meep – bursting into the line to put Duxbury over the line again, this time legitimately for try No5, Nobes being just wide with the con.
Dings were desperately trying to slow things up and when their 7 failed to move off the ball, Ollie’s assistance earned him a long lecture which heralded the arrival of Ted Lee in the back row alongside JV and Charlie, although Ted barely had time to tuck his shirt in before he found himself on the naughty step.
At this point Dings upped their work rate and took advantage of their extra man to score for 27-19, but Ryan had the last word, collecting his chip over the defence to score his second and our try No6, Nobes being just wide with the con. Again.
And then we cheerful alickadoos were back on the road, hearing aids turned to snooze mode, but still making sure Lord A made it home in time to change into fancy dress (this week the Papa Smurf rig) for a party, while Ted was home in time to marvel at Tulisa’s road-crash botox in the X Factor final and Asbo Kane prepared himself for another long cold night hoping in vain that the electric gates blipper might deign to let him into his own property.
Next week we are on the road once more, this time at Worthing Raiders. We attack at dawn.