Confessions of a Rugby Amateur

Confessions of a Rugby Amateur

Friday, 15 April 2011

And then there was one...

So it boils down to this last week. 33 weeks ago a seemingly fresh faced and innocent Tring team took the field at Hertford to kick off the 2010/11 National League 3 London and Southeast league. Seven and a half months later, we have come full circle hosting our county counterparts for the league finale.

Our faces are no longer fresh but battle-scarred and hardened by the atrocities we have seen…ok ok so I have been reading too many war novels recently! But this has been a long and hard season and Hertford at home for our final fixture will provide a fitting test of how far we have come this season.

Hertford is always one of toughest fixtures of the season. They have a powerful and intimidating well-drilled pack with hard, aggressive backs. If you give them even the slightest chance, they will cut through you like a hot knife through butter.

Hertford have been in imposing form this season
But we have had some success against Hertford at ‘Fortress’ Cow Lane. The season before last, we played them in the final game and turned them over in front of a boisterous home crowd. Our first season in this league saw us notch a home win as well so history is on our side.

Hertford will not be taking the game at all lightly. As I mentioned in previous posts, a heavy loss to promotion rivals Barnes has put them on the back foot so they will be desperate to win and maintain their title challenge. But we are in something of a purple patch ourselves, winning five of the last seven, scoring 6 bonus points and playing some fantastic Rugby…if we do say so ourselves!

Personally, I can’t wait for Saturday to come. You always want to pit yourself against the best to see where you stand, and Hertford are up there. They have a quality back row and we have had some real battles with them in the past. With so much pressure on them for this game, I am half expecting some kind of fireworks. Myself, Radders and Hicksy will have to be on top combative form if we are to disrupt their game.

The great thing is we have nothing to lose coming into this game - the pressure is squarely on Hertford who must win and hope results go their way to avoid a tedious and totally unpredictable play off game. The possibility of a wasted season hangs over them with looming menace.

The weather forecast looks great and we are hoping for another bumper crowd to fill up the Step End - desperately trying to avoid the inevitability of B&Q and flat-pack furniture for just one more Saturday!

Training has been fairly relaxed this week. We have still done the fitness drills and focused set piece work but there hasn’t been the same intense pressure as usual. Everyone is on the same wave-length and understands what is required of them. It is a huge game against local rivals but the biggest inspiration is that it’s the last match. If we don’t perform tomorrow, we have a whole Summer to dwell on it…and no one wants that!

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