Kick-off: 1:15 at So Kong Po
Testament to the growing confidence in the squad, the Marauders approached the game against league leading Disciplined Services interested in causing an upset. Coach Stids was handed his first start as Head Coach and he delivered a heartfelt speech which came as a blow to certain squad members who were not to be able to take the field as we had too many players pitch up. Nonetheless, the 25 selected Marauders were raring to go.
The Marauders season had been built on strong defence and dominant phase play, as such, the reshuffled backline would need to perform to keep up with the FIRE-men. The first couple phases were a cagey affair typified by a strong Marauders scrum (a rarity against a ex-HK international prop) which led to some width out wide for the flyer Peter “Hands-like-tits” Budd to drop a sitter with acres of space in waiting, alas, the crowds of blonde haired, blue eyed air-hostesses would have to wait for their excitement.
From the resulting play DS drew first blood as their flyhalf danced through a few attempted tackles and raced 50m to score with only 5 mins played. 0-7 to Willie Binnie’s enemies from Immigration Tower. In true Marauders fashion, the lads were not to be outdone and worked hard to win the kick-off back. The lads set up their Dragons with Alisdair “6th straight match with a verbal warning” Jessup and Judge Coatsey looking particularly impressive. The big boys set up some more phase play before Rhys Pinna-Biggar danced through at ten and offloaded to Lawrence Rumble to dive over next to the poles. 7-7.
The next period of play can only be described as pinball. Marauders kept the ball for what felt like 10+ phases at will, spreading it wide for Hands-Like-Tits Budd to go outside, inside, upside, backwards, sideways beating tackler after tackler to eventually swerve his way over from 40m out. Unbelievably, the best was yet to come. Conversion a formality. 14-7.
The big boys were on the charge again, with great carries from standout performer Jaffa Lau, Matt Whitmell, Nubious and the dual pronged attack of Isaac Dewey Lau and Markle “Hooper” Chan all carrying well. The backs looked dangerous and we were in with a shout, but alas, another 65m long ranger off turnover ball led to their wing dotting down next to the post. 14-14.
Rather inexplicably, the firemen managed to pull off another great heist. We had worked the dragon ball well all day but perhaps it leaves us vulnerable to pace out wide as the backs cramp in. Will need to review VAR to confirm this suspicion. Another coast to coast was dotted down. 21-14 at the break.
Amongst all this chaos, a few superstar performances were bru’ing, Peter Fan was a menace all day, Rhys was making tackle after tackle and the loudhailer Ali Jessup just kept at it.
The second half got underway with “Marauders ball, Marauders ball” and on we marched. Binne, Jaffa, Channy, Wello, Nubious you couldn’t believe we managed to get so many forwards involved. And over we crashed for the third try. Jaffa Lau from near the posts after more cycnical firemen infringements. 21-21.
The go ahead Marauders try can only be described as one from the Pete Budd catalogue. Like a blend of Christian Cullen and Jonah Lomu, Buddy received the ball outside his own 22m line, beat his outside man, stopped, cut back in, handed off his centre partner (and the assist maker who should really be credited for creating the entire try), beat three men on cross cover, ran past the Subs bench and blew them a kiss, might’ve even winked at someone’s wife I suspect, shrugged off the left wing, stepped the fullback and dotted down on the 15 yard line. The kangaroo then immediately called for a sub, “My work here is done!”, he muttered. 26-21.
The FIRE-men kicked off and managed turn over a dragon ball and spread it wide once again, getting round the outside from half way, skinning the cross cover and dotting down. Conversion missed and scores were tied at 26-26.
The next 10 minutes was all Marauders, ball in hand and making metres. Turnover ball again from a silly mistake and they went quickly to their speedster who jogged it in from his own 22m line. They had time for one more of those sucker punches. 40-26 it ended.
Unbelievable turnaround from the first game where we got dominated up front and lost narrowly, this time around they played second fiddle for large parts of the game but had the pace to hurt us out wide. No doubt the boys will dust themselves off and go again in the new year.
Honorable mentions to the older, wiser and better looking Dan Budd who not only smashed his younger brother in 3 consecutive down downs but sadly broke his hand as Matt Whitmell decided it looked like a good place to sit. And even bigger commiserations for our speedster Peter Fan who’s done his knee. Come back stronger lads.
Marauders 26 – 40 Disciplined Services.
MOTM - Peter Budd
DOTD (aka Crack Spoon) - Gregoire Besset
L Rumble (3/4 conv)
P Budd x2