Thursday 16 January 2014 – 7.30pm
Kingston Park, Newcastle
Amlin Challenge Cup Pool 3 #6
I’m now wondering what’s going to go wrong next Sunday.
I was on early shift today, great I thought, get home 6pm, plenty of time for a run and shower and tea and everything before the rugby kicks off. A few train delays and mixed-up communications, and I get through the door at 6.45pm. Should have gone running last night.
Never mind, we are powering through. Pick up the pace out on the mean streets of rural Cumbria, and I was back in the kitchen and got the radio on just as Smithy was announcing the teams. A shower would have to wait until half-time. Still, got some wood chopped while listening to the first half.
The game seemed to start well with an early try and a yellow card for a Wolf, and it didn’t sound like we were ever in danger of conceding. I guess there was always going to be a gulf in quality between the two teams, as there is when we play the top Premiership sides, and Dean Richards and the coaches were in a no-win situation.
A draw, defeat or tight win, and it’s further evidence that we are rubbish. A decent win, and it’s only Bucharest. Well, it sounds like we were made to work for the win by a competitive team, which can only be a good thing.
It’s good to see some tries from the backs and if that helps confidence, then brilliant. Rory Clegg sounded like he had a canny game, not that you can really tell that from the radio. Hopefully he’ll get a run in the coming two cup games and play himself into some form for the Premiership games.
Brive got their five points at home to Calvisano so we’ll not be in the quarter-finals, but since my brother is getting married that weekend, I’m kind of glad we don’t have a game. We were done for in Europe last week really so that doesn’t really matter now. What matters is what the team have learned today that they can take to Saracens next week and, most importantly, to Bath in February.
So that’s a first victory in five games, the last being away to Calvisano. A win against Saracens, or more likely at home to Newport at the end of January, would be a first domestic success since mid-November, over two months. That’s where the morale is going to come from for the Premiership run-in. Tonight, especially with a clean sheet, gives us something to build on.
I’m missing live rugby. Might have to have another look at the trains for Saracens, but at least I’ve wangled a way to get to the Newport game. No BT Sport games this weekend, maybe there’s a good Heineken game to go to watch in the pub.
(Follow The South Stand Choir on Twitter: @SouthStandChoir)