By Dougal McSteers
Let's quickly address the score line head on: Old Bedians 3s got smashed 109-0 by Marple... but the day was about so much more than just a scoreline. With huge unavailability across the club, it was great that the 3s simply managed to get a team out yesterday, and although it was a slaughtering, we finished the day with some real positives.
It was the first game back and I know that it wasn't just debutants Ryan 'Shawy' Shaw and Aidan Innes who were feeling a mixture of excitement and apprehension in the changing rooms beforehand. Marple were keen for a decent game and kindly lent us 2 players so it'd be their 11 men vs our 10. Enthusiasm was high amongst our small band of brothers as we pulled on the Bede's blue shirts and got our game heads on.
From the offset we were outnumbered and outclassed, and it certainly wasn't the most 'fun' any of us have had on a rugby pitch, but we kept our heads held high and showed solid determination from start to finish. Stephen Prescott had arguably his best performance for Old Bedians, pulling off some heroic tackles and constantly being in the thick of the action. Aidan Innes had a cracking debut playing as a forward for the first time in his life. His big tackles were constantly making it difficult for Marple to punch through the middle of the pitch and the majority of their tries were scored out wide. Fraser Court also proved to be an obstacle that Marple constantly struggled to get past, holding his own in defence and providing great support to the other forwards. As always, it was great to see James Kington being given a few hours 'leave' to come and essentially lead out the team. As 9 he had a great game and was characteristically a huge presence in defence, keeping everyone in as good a shape as possible, and being a tactical guru between tries.
We rarely had the ball, so it really wasn't a day for backs, but Oscar Garcia showed real promise in possession as well as being absolutely committed in defence. Debutant Shawy played like a hero in the centres and was awarded Man Of The Match by the opposition for his hard work. It's going to be really exciting seeing him develop and I can see him being a very valuable flanker to the club in the future.
Ryan 'Babybell' Donald was really brave in defence as fullback - an unenviable position against such quick forwards! And as for me, I'm happy to report that not only did my shoulder hold up, but I managed a couple of reasonably large tackles, finishing the game by slamming their sportingly cocky - but admittedly really good - multi-try scoring fullback Ollie into touch and then delivering an NFL style tackle celebration in his face.
Special mention to Marple forward Neil for volunteering to play for us for the second time now. He was arguably our best player, and really embraced the camaraderie in the face of defeat. Also thanks to future Bede James Murdoch for being waterboy! We're looking forward to getting you out in a couple of weeks mate!
So yeh, we got annihilated, and the main challenge for lesser men would have been staying positive in such a potentially demotivating match, but I can honestly say that every player in a Bedes 3s shirt yesterday did the club proud. There was nothing but support and a real sense of old Bedians brotherhood against Marple. Things really will get better and everyone involved is looking forward to what's to come. It's great to be back!