Allegations of a rustic rugby match…
I’m the primary to confess I’m a fortunate man relating to a terrific many issues in life.
And a type of lovely issues I’m too fortunate to be blessed with is the privilege of being related to our sport in some small methods.
From 1979, once I first tucked a ball on a muddy and depressing day in sub-glacial Tumut and ran in the direction of different lads from Cootamundra (who have been possible as equally refrigerated and terrified as I), via even to now, I’m deeply acutely aware of the great thing about the trough at-which I stand on the sting, pull on some 21mm studs but once more, and launch myself to-wit to wallow.
And wallow I do. Unashamedly. Bloodied, muddied and vaccinated with rum. Powered by sausage, onion & bacon BBQ sandwiches. And impressed by not just a little … only a bit extra … whiskey.
Alongside the journey I’ve been fortunate sufficient to play rugby in some uncommon locations. Coming from very humble nation NSW rugby roots and with out ever being a Faculty 1st XV hero or such, I’ve someway managed to beg, con, bluff, lie and connive my approach into video games on such hallowed turf as Murrayfield, Lansdowne Highway and even Cardiff Arms. However while certainly particular, these matches pale in my reminiscence when in comparison with the deeply tribal inter-village warfare skilled within the highlands of Scotland, the borderlands of Eire and the valleys of Wales. And people exist on a unique airplane once more from the matches of profound obscurity performed out in such rugby meccas as Poland, Turkey, Jerusalem and … Deniliquin (Go you Deni Drovers!).
Anyway, some 15 odd yrs in the past, I simply occurred to have a bye weekend in my common zone and by a mixture of comical and unlikely circumstances involving our new child, some impolite prick on the entrance gate to a footy oval after which working into an outdated schoolmate (‘After all I’ve bought boots in my ute!’), I wound up enjoying a totally random sport for the ever-defiant Narromine Gorillas. It was a day of gutsy nation rugby at its Bundy & dusty best. The total story of how that got here to go and its ramifications is an epic saga in its personal proper and never for as we speak.
Nonetheless, it did begin just a little custom of mine whereby each from time to time, I attempt to get entangled in a totally random nation sport of no fan-fare or consequence for anybody apart from for people who took half. And for them, it’s lethal severe. For me, the great thing about our sport lies not in gray concrete stadiums of over-priced tickets, or in traces of coiffured professionals with costly headphones and matching tracksuits de-training from luxurious coaches, however in these dozens of in any other case forgotten video games performed each Saturday within the arse-end of nowhere when “From The place?” performs “Towards Whom?”. When extraordinary fellas (and gals now) drive the miles, strap an ankle, fly into tackles, shake some palms, skoll some beers after which quietly return to their tractors, mines, class-rooms and welding kits. After which do all of it once more subsequent Saturday. And I be sure that I purchase steak-sanga’s and raffle tickets, purchase extra beers in-return than have been purchased for me, and you’ll want to repay my debt to the Rugby Gods by swapping (or maybe purloining) a jersey or three.
So sure, I’m a rugby participant of sunshine skirts and ill-repute. I’m not a whore (they receives a commission). I’m proudly novice. I do it for nowt however love of the sport and to satiate this mad compulsion to accumulate rugby jerseys.
Decide me as you’ll.
As-such the weekend gone noticed this rugby wanderer go walkabout but once more, after the Covid hibernation of the year-gone, to see some tackles made, whiskey drank and maybe just a little blood spilt on hitherto untrodden fields. And so with nice enthusiasm, just a little trepidation and never a lot by the use of ability or velocity, I discovered myself pulling on a jersey for the indomitable Gulargambone Galahs towards the redoubtable Cobar Camels. I confess to have had some nerves strapping on the 21mm in such a mighty metropolis as Gilgandra (about 1hr north of Dubbo). And with visions swimming of the good rugby struggles of yore – the Greeks defensive efforts tackling the Persians on the Battle of Thermopylae or Earl Cardigan taking over the crash ball on the Battle of Balaclava – so did I duly gird my loins for the approaching conflict on the banks of the Castlereagh River on the Battle of McGrane Oval (behind the Excessive Faculty on the finish of Milda Road).
And my fears appeared maybe well-founded when one in all our fearless quantity close to knocked himself and his opponent clear out contesting the opening kick-off. I did pause however momentarily and thought ‘Bloody hell outdated mate, whatchadoin right here?’ However into it we settled, and belted it out we did. The rugby was actually raw-boned and prepared. No quarter was requested and positively none was given within the ruck or the deal with. What it lacked in ‘Tremendous Rugby Subtlety’ it greater than made up for in directness and coronary heart. So sure it was performed laborious, bloody laborious for that matter, however above all it was performed with no malice.
And when the mud lastly settled it was grand to return away with a stable ‘a couple of factors to a bit much less’ win to the Galahs.
I’ve to call-out that the Gulargambone Rugby hospitality was faultless. I’m indebted to their generosity. It by no means ceases to amaze me the open-hearted welcome you get in little golf equipment, even for never-was-so-cannot-be-a-has-been warhorses like me. And likewise huge ups to the Cobar Camels who travelled close to 5hrs every approach for a sport of rugby, a BBQ and too many beers. Sure Metropolis people, you learn that proper, 5hrs every approach. So the subsequent time somebody arcs-up about Colleagues vs Blue Mountains…
That’s nation rugby. And what a lovely factor it’s.
The post-match escapades did duly begin on the Royal Lodge with boat-races, lies and late-night scrum binding clinics beneath the traditional grape-vine. However such secrets and techniques ought to stay so – secrets and techniques.
So I’ll finish this story of allegations, falsehoods and the barest smattering of truths right here with an enormous due to Gular, a nod in the direction of the worthy foe of Cobar and a plug for Gil on the banks of the Castlereagh River ($89 motel rooms with brekky!!).
I’ve two extra jerseys within the vault, and I’m much more smitten with this sport as we speak than I used to be earlier than (if that’s attainable).
At all times bear in mind; Saturday is Rugby day (someplace).