The One-Eyed Woodie’s best birthday in a long time…

EASTWOOD v RANDWICK – 9/7/16

At the outset I need to say that today is my birthday. And today I came to T G Millner Field hoping that Eastwood would offer me up the scalp of Randwick, fully wrapped and with a little bow on the top. However, the form of the Woods lately did not allow me to exude confidence. But after the 21st minute when Eastwood SMASHED the Randwick scrum, I knew that we were in for something special and the gift I so wished for would be duly delivered.

But to say that everyone contributed would be going a little too far. Today, numbers 9 to 15 owed a huge debt of gratitude to numbers 1 to 8 for this victory (plus JB who decided that number 5 was just not significant enough of a number so he decided to wear 17 instead). For it was the piggies and the loosies that created victory for the Woods over the ladder leading Wicks. So much so that the entire tight 5 won my man of the match award.

Eastwood had all the ball and all the field position but it was not until the 32nd minute, when Eastwood SMASHED the scrum, that they scored their second try to take them to 12-0 – not reflective of the possession they had. This was due to the fact that the passing was not as crisp or precise as it should have been, with the delivery from the back of breakdowns often going high and behind causing the runners to stop. But in the 35th minute Eastwood SMASHED the scrum again to continue their forward dominance. Oh yeah, then in the 38th minute Eastwood SMASHED the scrum again and at this stage I was nearly falling down from the back of the Grandstand with ecstatic jubilation, loving every time we saw the Randwick pack go backwards.

A missed penalty on the back of these dominant scrums could well have proved costly as Eastwood, after all the domination, only had a 12-0 lead at the break. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, another simple penalty missed in the opening minutes of the 2nd half meant that Randwick were still in it. But they did have one in the bin for repeated cheating (let’s not mince words now) and while he was there Malo, playing full back, beat 3 or 4 on a kick return before linking up with Masson who went in to score. Ayoub took the kicking duties and slotted the conversion to push the lead to 19-0. My birthday was starting to look real good now.

Just after the try, Eastwood (yep, let’s say all together now) SMASHED the Randwick scrum again – I was loving it!!! At this stage Randwick responded in the only way that they know how – they started a fight. Penalty to Eastwood. Little General Jai stepped up and calmly as you like potted over another 3 pointer. Eastwood 22-0 and I could even hear the happy birthday tune starting up though it was Jared Barry who was warming up so I was a tad worried. But I hear he is a very good baritone – who would have thought.

With their sin bin victim back on the field and the seat not yet cold another Wick decided to cheat and was accordingly sent to the bin. And whilst there Randwick collapsed the scrum before Eastwood could SMASH it and as a result the replacement prop was binned leaving 15 on 13. With only one seat for 2 players there was a suggestion that he sit on his lap. Needless to say he chose to sit on the ground.

It was then in the 63rd minute that I saw what I thought I would never see. Randwick had the scrum feed 5 out from their line. Yep, you guessed it – Eastwood SMASHED their scrum. But not only that, they then proceeded to trap the ball at the back and march in for a push over try. OMG I was delirious. This was amazing. And Randwick of all teams. 30-0 to Eastwood and that very valuable bonus point.

Anyway, the ref then tried his best to get Randwick back into the game blowing penalty after penalty against Eastwood. He was saying that we were offside but what it really was was that we were just too fast and he couldn’t believe his eyes. Their first try only came about because their attacking options bored our defence so much that they all nodded off to sleep and Randwick strolled in. The second try I think was even scored by the ref such was his involvement in getting Randwick close enough to Eastwoods line to score again.

But the ref was simply not good enough and the mighty Woodies prevailed with a brilliant and very much needed bonus point 30-14 victory to push them just into finals contention.

Not having the access to the coach and players that I used to, I have no comments from them but I am pretty sure that due to my deep insight into the game and the years of experience in this caper they would not have any more to add. And for Eastwood it was an amazing day in Grades with 2’s brutalising Randwick 51-17, 3’s up 40-3 and 4’s winning 30-12.

And whilst the rugby was great I must confess there was one thing better. My ego received a huge stroking when the guy sitting next to us made my day by saying that he remembered my writing back in the glory years, that it was great fun to read and he wished I would come back and do it again more regularly. Well kind sir, you, and the Eastwood boys, made my birthday today one of the best I have had in a long time. Thank you very much.

And at the next game – see you up the back of the Grandstand!!!