10. Lord Greed: He Shall Not Pass

Derelicts 31 Barns Green 0

How clever was that, thought the young Lord Greed, as ‘Buttocks’ the dusty old history master regaled the Remove Class with the story of how the Earl of Sandwich, frightfully busy with war matters and not wishing to waste time dining, despatched his man to fetch up some roasted beast twixt a pair of slices of bread. At a swoop, he placated his voracious appetite and in the process created the sandwich. In the heat of battle, thought Greed, the man deferred to his stomach and became a legend. Genius. Single-minded genius.

As years passed, Greed often wondered about how he might be remembered by future generations. Immortality, he thought, would suit him down to the ground. But upon mere mortals such honours are seldom bestowed and Greed knew he’d have to give fate a bit of a nudge if he wasn’t to be remembered simply for his escapades as a fluffer in adult movies.

When the time came, as it surely would, he wondered whether a shrine
to his own not inconsiderable abilities would be appropriate. And then he took a sharp left turn in his thinking, without letting go of the idea, and wondered some more. A song? An airship, perhaps, or a bridge? Too obvious. A beard like Karl Marx? A medium-sized root vegetable or possibly a revolutionary KFC wrap? But nothing seemed to encapsulate the man’s extraordinary talents.

And then it came to him. He would rather forego the plaudits for his bridge building, satisfying though they would undoubtedly be, for the acclaim of his fellow Derelicts. He would, while his wonky knee still allowed him to rampage through the midfield, develop a partnership so sound that no ball would ever pass from the centres to those pesky nuisances on the wings. Hard-running full-backs and diligent back row forwards in support? Oh puurrleeese! “They ain’t getting’ nuttin’,” he chuckled to himself.

But first he would need a young, willing accomplice to carry off his foul plan and in Handy Andy Eve he found a kindred spirit whom he could groom to greatness.

“Now pay attention Eve,” said Greed. “You, like me, have a streak of pure determination and single-mindedness that permits us to display many different skills upon a rugby field.”

“Oh yes, Greed,” agreed the eager Eve.

“But passing and offloading the ball isn’t one of them, would you agree?” said Greed.

“Absolutely Greed,” said Eve. “For long ago I too took an oath that I would never waver from my quest, to be the very very best. And, quite frankly, with all due respect, b*llocks to the rest.”

“Yes, yes, yes, Eve,” cried the by now thoroughly excited Greed. “They hang around with longing eyes, their hands awaiting a deft little pass, but you and I both know so well they can all kiss my hairy little *rse … I’m not about to change my creed and pass, for I am the one and only mighty, mighty ball-clenching Lord of Greed.”

At this, Eve was hooked. At last, someone else who so exactly understood the need for the blinkers. Firm, straight lines of running, side-steps, chips ahead, shoulder charges and, oh the list went on. But passes? No no no. They were for wimps.

And on Saturday, they decided, did Greed and Eve, they would put the plan into action, set out their stall: ‘Greed & Son, centres of distinction, not distribution’. What a motto!

As the Derelicts tumbled onto the home pitch with its energy-sapping gradient, in a cloud of mirth and Deep Heat, the chaps from Barns Green could be forgiven a worried look at the steely-eyed centre pairing. And with only a few minutes gone the ball had been swung this way and that in the loose as the Derelicts made up the field when the ball found its way to Greed who, with his trademark knee-lift-and-wobble running action navigated a tortuous route through the oppo defence to touch down under the posts. In his mind, they were already erecting a plinth to house the bronze statue of his likeness.

After that, Dorking managed to run in a few more scores. Hairnet and The Challice enjoyed rare freedoms and each grabbed a brace of well-taken tries. Gazza converted three from five. But many other scoring chances went begging, Greed & Son guilty of some immaculate diversions away from opportunity back into trouble.

We were never under threat, although all credit to Barns Green 2s for fielding two senior sides on the same day for the first time. They didn’t give in despite a major imbalance in forward power, although the Derelicts pack did themselves no favours by getting pinged ridiculously often for running and stumbling into each other like a pack of wildebeest high on fermented jungle fruit.

Behind the pack we had a solid afternoon, and the defence was good. The Juggler even fielded a monster high ball on his line, although calling the mark might have been a better bet than looking for applause.

So, job done. We all know that it should have been a rather bigger scoreline. But we wouldn’t want to appear Greedy now. Would we?

This Saturday, Horsham 3rd XV away. Don’t ignore the overlaps. Really.

Squad: Mozza, Scud, Oddjob, Hairnet, Watts, Reigate Mike, The Count, The Challice, Rodders, Juggler, Wolfie, Lord Greed, Lord Greed’s Son, Delight, Gazza, Fishman, Glenn, Jonah.

Post Script: If you or anyone you know has been touched by any of the issues raised in this report, there is a helpine number to call.

Dial 0-7277-843-382537

NEXT: 11. Struggling To Play In Variable Gravity
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The ball? You want the ball? No, I don’t think so.