Sunday, March 21, 2010

Saints 30- 24 Gloucester

Last season my daughter started enjoying rugby and supporting the Northampton Saints. This has proved a wonderful thing for me as I have been able to go to almost every home match this season, and even managed to start mixing in some away games. Well today was the final of the LV= Cup, played at the Worcester ground. Now, last year I was at the same final, it was at Twickers, but by coincidence it was against Gloucester. Last year Cardiff Blues trounced the cherry and whites, so I headed towards todays game thinking I would be lucky to be on the winning team two years in a row. This was not helped by Shane Geraghty being put at full back. Shane is an enigma at the best of times, sometimes sublime and sometimes substandard. To put him at full back, out of position was either an act of genius or madness.

What a game. Last year ended up quite a fun affair. The Blues ran in trys for fun and it was an "easy" game to watch. Today was nip and tuck. At times Gloucester were in the lead. Then the Saints would come back. Then the pressure would build again. It so could have gone any direction. I have no voice left (which could be interesting as I have a few presentations to do this week) and my nails are nibbled to the quick. But, in the end, we won. I do have some sympathy for Gloucester, their record is not great in these events, but they played their hearts out. Ultimately though, what makes the Saints so good at the moment, and what fosters incredible loyalty amongst their supporters, is that they really are a close team who are their for each other. It isn't that one man stands above the others but that every one of them throws everything they can into the game.

There were some wonderful moments. "Tiny" (a prop, a very large prop) making a break and runing almost the length of the field. On TV you see him smiling to start with and then the smile changing to concern as his engine fades - props are just not supposed to run that far. A great try by Lee Dickson - so deserved, no-one else puts his body on the line so often. Shane under the high ball - being targetted by Gloucester and showing that he can't be intimidated. Roger Wilson making breaks. All absolutely stunning to watch. A day where my nerves couldn't have taken another 5 minutes, the last two minutes of the game stretching for eternity when the whole game was over in a flash. So enjoyable.

Once again I can say "I was there".

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