Despite the prediction of thunder, lightning, and tornadoes during the past few days, we made it to the rugby pitch at the New Orleans City Park. This was our first time out of the French Quarter and the irony of it was that we had to buy water from a CVS in the pouring rain. Nevertheless, we were happy to be there and got ready to play. “Good as Wood” Ben James, led the warm up. It was at this time that George tripped and allegedly cut his head on Ray’s boot. There was plenty of blood everywhere but Malcolm and Chuck managed to staunch the bleeding by patching him up. The bandages on George’s dome just added to his aura of invincibility. Steve Parrill and Nicole Brown from the Deep South Referee Association did the honours. After singing the Canadian and American anthems, the game was under way. Captain TJ arranged the first 5 minutes to be played mainly by the red and yellow shorts. George, Ian, Malcolm, Nick, Mike, Dave, and Gavan led the old boys at the kick-off They were bolstered by some of the younger players. It was great to see that red and yellow shorts could still move on the field.
Eventually, most of the senior members were subbed off. There was a lot of hard running from the Twits from the outset. Ted set the tone with his opening run of 30 m down the field. Doug was also pounding the rock through their lines and into the backfield. Tim had some precise cuts for additional yards. We were adapting to their play and had control of the game with great tackling and tight coverage. Lolly was spending time at 8 and Daren from Colorado played admirably. Dale had some blazing runs down the wing. The Twits initially kept it tight in the pack and Ben scored off a ruck in the far corner with six Vieux Garcons hanging off his back.
The Twits kept on pressing and was rewarded with another try when Luke sliced through their back line and scored. The boys did not let up and Doug scored his first try when he burst through their line. Les Vieux Garcon had a very slick flyhalf who had a breakaway run during their comeback only to have Luke run him down to prevent their first try. Luke did an outstanding job sweeping back and forth the back field, both offensively and defensively. The Twits scored the final try of the quarter when Irish rumbled down the field and passed it off to Doug, who deftly side stepped their winger and ran the last 22 metres into the promised land. By the end of the first quarter, we were up 4-0.
At the beginning of the second quarter, Les Vieux Garcons began pushing back. They started to feed the ball to their Jeune Garcons who played in the back field. Eventually they were able to punch through to get their first try. Undaunted by their success, JR had a charging run and popped the ball off to Luke who swept across the field to hook up with the backs on the other side. He then cut through the last 30 metres toward the end zone and flipped the ball to Ian, our guest from the SOB’s, who touched the ball down in the end zone. Les Vieux Garcons’ plan of attack was to get the ball to their young winger. Unfortunately, they found running hard as they were met by Danny, our import from Saskatoon. By half time, the score was 5 to 1 for the Twits.
The rains came on in the second half and so did Ted. He had several runs of over 30 meters. He broke free of the pack several times like a bulked up Andre Degrasse. His plus one, Jenn, was spurring him on from the sidelines. Perhaps she should be present at more of his games. Doug continued to play hard, he was all elbows, shoulders, and knees.
What happened next was hard to explain, was it the Vieux Garcons’ younger legs, our injuries or our late-night partying that gave the Vieux Garcons their extra boost. Andy who had been playing an outstanding game, pulled out with Achilles issues. Blue bearded Evan, who was also having a great game, got hit in the eye and had to leave because of blurred vision. Fortunately, his good looks were still intact. JR and Scott also wounded up on the injury reserve. The dwindling numbers began to take its toll on our play. They capitalized by scoring three quick tries and closed the gap considerably. The Twits fought hard to hold them off. Lolly, TJ, and Ben continued to play outstanding defense. With about 9 minutes to go, Irish had a break through run and slipped the ball to Luke who then took it for our sixth try. With less then a minute to go, their Jeune Garcon kicked a long ball and ran it down to score their fifth and final try. There was a bit of confusion of what the score was, but according to our intrepid sideline reporter, Chuck, it was Twits 6 and Vieux Garcons 5.
Regardless of the out come of the game, both teams were winners and many new friendships were formed. The NORFC hosted us with alcoholic beverages and hamburgers after the game. Lolly was awarded MOM later that night. All in all, it was a great trip and everyone got back safe and sound. (I heard the bar bill at the social that night hit $17,000.00)