Friday 22 March 2013 – 7.45pm
Meadow Lane, Nottingham
RFU Championship #19
I picked up a cheap pair of headphones at the Spar opposite Kings Cross yesterday afternoon, normally £10 (so the bloke said) but I paid what my brother would call a deep sea.
On the train fron St Pancras to Nottingham I put them in and heard the Top Gun anthem in quality I’ve never known before. Impressive for £5. Amazingly, the next song my phone put on was Local Hero.
I turned the volume up loud, picked up my can of Brown Ale and closed my eyes. For the next few minutes I felt like the only person on Earth.
I began thinking about Newcastle and it suddenly hit me that I might never live properly in my home city again. Eep.
Still, at least next year we’ll hopefully have a Premiership rugby team to watch again, last night’s squozen win at Nottingham keeping up our unbeaten record in the Championship.
It was a game of two halves, as most are obviously, but this was figuratively too. In the first 40 the Falcons were very sloppy against a fired-up home side and deservedly went into the break trailing.
But after half-time Nottingham were barely in our half, and three penalties sneaked the Falcons a 12-14 victory.
As I write this I’m on a train hurtling through the Midlands and through the window I can see probably an inch of snow. Last night’s promised apocalyptic covering never materialised on the banks of the River Trent.
I’m not one to blame the weather for a poor performance, but I think both teams deserve credit for putting on what, for me anyway, was quite an enjoyable game through almost-relentless snow and a strong swirling wind.
I hated every step walking through it to the hotel in the afternoon, it can’t have been a lot of fun to play in.
The Falcons often tried to play through the backs but it just wasn’t working. Jimmy Gopperth had a distinctly off-day and it was no surprise that he was replaced by Joel Hodgson late on.
I think for next season, and perhaps this too as you never know what might happen, it’s good for the team to beat a good opponent without our star player and for Richards to show he has confidence that we can do that.
The big psychological result from last night though must surely be like after Bedford – Nottingham played well first half and defended well second half, but it still wasn’t enough. Come the last few minutes of a tight playoff, who can keep their head and their confidence could be the difference.
Meadow Lane is an interesting ground, a mix of the new football stadia you see and some nice features like a proper bar room under the stand and a raised sign on one side stand roof, like many old footy grounds had.
All things considered though it’s a shame Nottingham couldn’t have stayed at their old ground or sorted a new proper rugby facility.
Another cracking night out with some other members of the Falcons family last night, no doubt some are paying for it this morning but we have until Monday to recover.
We’ve been everywhere in the Championship now except Plymouth, looking forward to that one now after a couple more home games.
(Follow The South Stand Choir on Twitter: @SouthStandChoir)