The coldest morning in umpteen years and the bus rejects not one but two batteries, leaving 16 southern sippers to mill around Stirling Labour Club car park looking for a warmed seat, or failing that a milk crate. Meanwhile, in remotest Flynn the North Side Two cooled their heels in said, heated most probs, vehicle. Still we got away, eventually, only about two hours late, but no matter, for what were the Wombats gonna do, start without us?
Despite this inauspicious start, we arrived without incident—although passengers did inadvertently, irredeemably overhear the two up front muse that John Denver wasn’t too bad—to find 30 plus Wombats and not a few Cockies waiting for us.
With guest DJ Bowie mixing the tunes, we ran out charged and orgamanised, ready to give hands off the deck, handball to create, and to dash off before we were rooted (a shame that, really, for it is supposed to be footy for fun.) so to keep the seven-man interchange rolling over. And we brained it with a skilful and hardworking opening salvo, so dominant in fact it was almost as if we’d started without the Wombats. To be fair, they got back into it and definitely had some handy players, but our run and sharing and their inability to make the most of a second team warming the bench told the tale.
Best: Ben the mongrel had a blinder for being a relentless, hard at it mongrel and got the protein platter in recognition, Pearl busted packs, ran, connected and sledged, Jock mainly, who while slotting a brace and being everywhere probably deserved it for being…Jock, no doubt. Manny done like Pearl, save for the sledging…far as I know. Browny did his thing and finished up with a deadly finisher’s three, meanwhile unlikely key forward Squirter also snagged a trio, not with contested clunkers but running receives. In the backline, full on Pete went flat out and mighty mighty Ben Howard—looking in good fettle after a long spell—cleaned up and dashed forward. Central defender Mal bobbed and weaved, back into as easily as if it was just a walk in the rain. Fellow soft country fancier Bish won virtually every ruck duel and bobbed up as a target around the grounds. BG and Cuzzo drifted forward from the wings and kept the pill in the good half. Dirk and Yappa were clever as ever, finding space and drawing others into it. Eccy B aka Bowie scratched it up, dangerous back and forward. Talking dangerous, hitman Rob was full throated in his appetite for the contest.
Then the long trip home, made longer by the effing choonz. Playlist Bish was bad enough, but no surprise. He did give fair warning after all. The true shockers—Queen and Cold Play for gawd’s sake—were against type and expectations, such that any other song, Annie’s even, woulda done. Thankfully, the coach soothed the savage beasts and got us home…out on the range.
Lastly, a million thanks to Mal for going above and beyond (hard to do in a bus), getting the crew to and fro happily and safely.