You may well ask…

Guys Hospital 7 Derelicts 24

Being sensitive souls, I’m sure we all marvel at the beauty of choral music. The power of a group of fine voices achieving critical mass sends shivers down the spine. And none more so than The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from Verdi’s opera Nabucco. Pleasure on the way to paradise it is. Play loud, sing along.

It sounds better in Italian, obveeeeously, but translates thus…

Fly, thought, on wings of gold,
go settle upon the slopes and the hills
where the sweet airs of our
native soil smell soft and mild!
Greet the banks of the river Jordan
and Zion’s tumbled towers.
Oh, my country, so lovely and lost!
Oh remembrance so dear yet unhappy!

Golden harp of the prophetic wise men,
why hang so silently from the willows?
Rekindle the memories in our hearts,
tell us about the times gone by!
Remembering the fate of Jerusalem
play us a sad lament
or else be inspired by the Lord
to fortify us to endure our suffering!

Something lost in the translation, I suspect, but a useful addition to the kit bag none the less.

Anyway, fortify us indeed to endure our suffering. For suffer we did on Saturday in a perplexing encounter at Guys’ Cobham ground, now so sadly colonised by Chelsea FC, and so sadly no longer the rugby experience it once was. Guys, struggling to field numbers again this season, were grateful for the assistance of not just one or two, but six of our players. 

And we never got above first gear. Struggled. Match Of The Day Highlight: The Challice inadvertently knocking Thorners’ head clean off his shoulders while he ferreted out a ruck.  “And on my sodding feet I was too,” said an irate man with no head later. Other oddments included some fool in the pack badly executing a box kick (back to Flossie for the naked electro convulsion therapy me thinks) and the gifting of their try which redefined for all time the parameters of the term “tosspottery”. 

We managed  a decent pushover try, after which the scrums inevitably went uncontested and later Gav scuttled over for a front row score and Lord Greed sealed it with a bullish canter and sidestep over the whitewash to keep the score respectable. Gerbil persisted in wasting overlaps with his insatiable appetite for running into trouble. And we had to change the line-out calls because half the oppo pack knew what we were doing. Scud, of course, adapted to the new line out calls like a sheep learning to speak penguin for the first time.

“Call whatever you like Scud, but 8 is the trigger number so if you want it to go to 2 or 3 (ie the front) the call will be 6478…then say 2 or 3,” explained The Challice nice and simply. 

So at the next line out. Scud: “The call is 18.” 

Pack: “You f***ing what?” 

Scud: “That’s 6472, er, 3568, er, oh b*llocks I don’t know…” 

DC: “Just throw it to the No4 jumper Veness. No4. Veness. Everybody, it’s coming to the No4 jumper.”

Not long after that we were enjoying a phenomenally long walk back to the changing rooms. Sadly no bar, so a swift exit. Sad really. The world’s oldest club deserves better.

Other memories are of The Juggler falling on his arse under a bouncing ball, though not dropped this time. And finding at every, single sodding turn, the The Count and Buzz in our faces. Top boys.

Anyhow, enough of that. Our thoughts and best wishes are with Comrade Tap who has recently undergone surgery for the troublesome shoulder hinge that has been plaguing His Grace for some while. No, not to sort the patented “Give me a moment and I’ll just put the shoulder back in aaarghyyyyaaaaarrgh” business, but rather the mild discomfort he’d encountered fetching down the rarer vintages from the higher shelves of the cellar.

While we await news of his recovery and rehabilitation, I understand he’s been reliant on the daily arrival of the Toni & Guy syrup wagon to dispense first class assistance at a very difficult time for the big man. So difficult in fact that, unable to groom himself to perfection, he elected to shave off the talismanic mane a la Britney and favour a rug which apparently makes him, in a certain light, look a little like Wolfie. 

The Challice suggests Tap might like to take the depilatory process further. His own recent “back, sack and crack” had been a spectacular success – “not a clinker in sight, I’ll bet,” said Kinger. “Too right,” smiled The Challice, “the chod now leaves the space capsule at Mack 1.” Tap, he mused, with time on his hands, and morphine still in his system, might find it an amusing way to kill a couple of hours. 

Golden harp of the prophetic wise men,
why hang so silently from the willows?

You may well ask.

Squad: Tryscoring Gav, Scud, Mozza, Kinger, Ginge, Hairnet, Buzz, Carlsberg Mike, Thornaaaaghs!, The Challice, The Count, Dave Chav, Rodders, Gazza, Gerbil, Percy, Lord Greed, Raymondo, The Juggler, Handy Andy, Ludders, Skip, Ros