Friday 3 January 2014 – 7.45pm
Kingston Park, Newcastle
Aviva Premiership #12
I got on the train home from the office and got a text off the missus saying “Electricity’s off”. Not for the first time recently. I blame myself. The previous two times I’d tried to listen to Falcons games on the internet this season hadn’t worked out, so it was maybe fate that last night wouldn’t either.
No mobile signal in the Village of the Damned so no chance at following Twitter either.
Then, at 8.30pm, we had light again! It took me a few minutes to work out that the modem wasn’t working because we had the old phone plugged in instead, and then the internet wouldn’t work very quickly. Another reset of the modem. Finally I got the BBC commentary page up on the tablet. “This content is not available on your device” prompted a Homer Simpson-style yelp from me, and I whipped out the computer to try on there. “If this doesn’t work, I’m watching Hebburn,” I said.
It worked. We were 8-13 and a man down at half-time, and there didn’t seem too much positivity from the commentators at the break. I clung to what I later found out were straws – in 80 minutes we had doubled our try tally for the Premiership season.
In the second half, it just seemed that again and again the Falcons ran into walls and had no idea how to do anything different. “Stupid” was a word used by Big Smithy and friends several times. In the end, we couldn’t even keep hold of the bonus point.
There didn’t sound like there was any creativity at all, any possibility of doing something new or unpredictable. The cheer when Godman came off and Clegg on was probably the biggest of the second half, or so it sounded on the radio, but that led me to look at who we had on the bench.
Montanella, Tomaszczyk, Tomes, Mayhew, Clegg, Fitzpatrick. All useful players, but not ones who are going to change a game when we need something new. Five of those are big, physical guys, and Clegg is very much a steady Eddie at fly-half. Putting on someone like Hodgson, Kibirige or even if we were to bring Mark Wilson on for Mayhew gives the tiring Sale defence something a bit different to think about.
I’d like to think that we will go out in the next four games, in the Amlin and LV= Cups, and attack our opponents, try to build a winning style and a momentum. We have had six cup games so far this season, and with the possible exception of Brive away, utterly wasted the lot of them according to the league results that followed. We don’t have much time left.
Realistically, Worcester are not going to find the form to win four or five games while we do not win another this season, so we should be safe. Worcester this year are the worst team the Premiership since Rotherham lost 22 out of 22, so we should be letting the team off the leash rather than always looking over our shoulders. That isn’t working.
Belief in what you are doing is one thing. Recognising when to listen to Einstein’s “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” is a skill that the best managers have. It is time for Dean Richards to prove he is still up there with the best.
Too bad that in the coming Thursday night games there won’t be many people around to witness any improvement.
(Follow The South Stand Choir on Twitter: @SouthStandChoir)