An Alternative View of IWRFC (by O’Pinion) – Sat. 3 Sept. 2016
‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!!!’ Not Christmas. Not the start of the X Factor, or the Six Nations, or summer. No, the most wonderful time of the year is the start of the grassroots rugby season. More specifically, the start of the IWRFC rugby season. And what a wonderful time it is to be part of IWRFC.
This week has been great for the club, represented at the National Rugby Awards at Twickenham on Thursday night last where the good ship IWRFC was nominated for Club of the Year. Spiky England scrum-half Danny Care was reported to be ‘honoured’ to meet his fellow no. 9 Colman, while chairman Ollie and past chairman Nick told Chris Robshaw at length of their back row and captaincy experience, and where he went wrong in the World Cup.
Much is happening off the field, but the best thing about September is the start of the playing season. Today the 2nds opened their account in the new Solent League 3 against likely title contenders Portsmouth Veterans, and everything was in place. Panoramic Facebook images of the changing room full of spanking new kit (adorned with the club’s newest sponsors, the Anchor Inn of Cowes) stirred a warm feeling inside O’Pinion’s gut – though miles away from the ground, he could almost smell the Deep Heat, and feel the drops of sweat evaporating from the Head Coach’s forehead.
On arrival at the club at 3.40 pm (don’t ask), O’Pinion was greeted by full-back David Blackman’s family leaving. This was ominous, but he was assured that the 2nds, though trailing 12-7 at half-time, would have a strong breeze backing them in the second half. And so Tim Greedy’s charges set about wresting the game back and defending the fortress, in some style let it be said. Speedy James Fitton kicked through and outpaced the cover for the lead score. Big Aaron James took the shortest route to the try line and crashed over. Veterans Dan Taylor (how good is it to see this man back in action?) and Chris Williams combined for a sumptuous score. Fitton scored again, jinking clear and leaving Pompey grasping thin air. And there were tackles, and scrums, and lineouts and rucks. And mauls. And ultimately, a 31-17 victory. Bring on the 2nds’ first away game, at Romsey in two weeks (the firsts will be there too.)
Playing in that game looked like tremendous fun. But so was watching. Lots of familiar faces were supporting – players, ex-players, WAGs, dogs and small children. Fathers and sons watched eagerly – Kev and Dean, John and Jevon, Wally and Will (and Walter; one of our newest Rangers.) The opposition brought plenty of well lubricated support – banter and beer flowed freely. The bar area is still lovely, and the changing area renovation is not far away. An added plus – it has been confirmed by that we now have the hottest showers in Hampshire, raising more welts than the preceding 80 minutes.
This kind of thing goes on most Saturdays, whether at Fortress Wootton or on foreign shores. Next week, an IWRFC squad hosts Cobham (2 pm kickoff). If you’re not at Bestival, you’d be well advised to come up and join in, whether playing, helping out, watching and/or drinking. O’Pinion is a Ranger – are you?