A game destined for the history books of Luckley Sport, which was assembled at 8:45 the evening before.
It began with Mr. Humphrey sending the famed email, ‘Rugby game tmrw, think we can get a team?’. After previously playing a game against the same opposition on Monday, the Senior Rugby squad had expressed their interest in another game. Mr. Humphrey’s can-do attitude meant that he immediately set to work.
Roll on Thursday. In anticipation the boys arrived to Reading Rugby Club full of energy and excitement. Upon entrance to the changing rooms the speaker was immediately set up, blasting the ‘Pre-rugby game hype mode’ playlist I had searched up moments before. Mr Humphrey stated he thought the paint would come off the walls at the current volume, but Charlie B was adamant on keeping it up, he was feeding off the playlist.
With game shirts on, the Luckley squad headed out to the pitch, where we met our other half of the squad, Sherfield. After a frantic warm-up, the game started with a minute’s silence for Remembrance. After the whistle signalling the minutes silence was over, the Luckley Barbarians immediately sprung into action. Sources say Charlie B was physically letting off steam.
St. Joe’s dominated the first 10 minutes, essentially setting up camp in the Luckley half. However, the Barbarians defence shut shop and stood strong, keeping the score level. Then, what can only be described as indescribable, Luckley gained some territory and after a few phases, passed it through the backs. After a gallant effort from Amadou ‘Big Amz’ C, Michael F picked up the ball from a breakdown and ran straight for the try line. Breaking one tackle, then another, he calmly strode to the try line and dove over. An excellent try capped off with an excellent celebration. Luckley were in front by 7 following the effortless conversion from ‘Matty’ from Sherfield.
St. Joe’s never looked disheartened about the try, only more motivated, which was shown in the next 10 minutes. A relentless effort from St. Joe’s forwards resulted in a turnover 25 metres from the Luckley try line. St. Joe’s continued to show their discipline accompanied with unparalleled desire, which is clearly a product of Coach Benji. St. Joe’s bundled towards the try line from a line out. The loud call of ‘It’s a maul’ was followed by many calls of ‘Get over’ and ‘Push back’. St. Joe’s were creeping towards the try line. The maul fell, St. Joe’s celebrated, Luckley celebrated, the whistle brought silence, ‘It’s held up!’ Luckley celebrated. Some say the Sherfield coach is still running with delight at the monumental effort from one pupil in particular, Neil B. This effort was only a mitigation of what was to come. The St. Joe’s side scored a stellar try, which was surrounded with cheers from the crowd, which included fan favourites Mr. and Mrs. Bouwer from Luckley. Scores level. Atmosphere huge.
Half-time called. The Barbarians jogged off the field to the changing rooms, followed by the coaches.
After an inspirational talk that can only be rivalled by that of Caleb’s Movember attempt, Luckley entered the field again.
The rugby that followed looked similar to England vs South Africa’s clash in the World Cup. Bodies on the line. Quick hands. Big tackles from Joe C and Connor. Maybe that last part is just this game but you get what I mean. Luckley were under pressure from the unrelenting St. Joe’s defensive line. Some quick feet from Joe W brought Luckley off their own try line, he then produced a bullseye of a pass to Sam W. Mr. Bouwer is quoted to have mistaken Sam for Usain Bolt at the speed he was travelling. After breaking one tackle, he produced the oldest trick in the book, the ‘Show and Go’ as he sprinted towards the try line. Try scored. Matty’s kick sailed through the uprights and Luckley were in front again.
Luckley then scored again, through Neil B (Sherfield), and again, facilitated by the unselfish work of Tom F and the Sherfield forwards. He sure was putting his case forward for Man of the Match !
St. Joe’s, more motivated than ever, produced an unreal play, which again was masterminded by Coach Benji. The St. Joe’s 9 sold Charlie B a Yorkie Bar and left him for dust. An overload resulted in a St. Joe’s try 1 minute before the end. 26-17. Atmosphere tense.
Whistle blown. Game over. The Luckley Barbarians had won, outbursts of delight from The Barbarians and the Sherfield coach echoed around the field. The game was hard-fought, unforgiving but a good contest, and handshakes all round ended the contest. A huge amount of respect was shown between the teams, and a thanks to St. Joe’s for setting up a great game.
The trophy hangs up in Mr. Humphrey’s office, waiting to be handed over to Sherfield in the next collaboration of the two schools. An alliance formed so strong between Luckley House and Sherfield, one I’m sure will go on for decades.
By Sam W, Head Student and Rugby Player!