Metro League Div 5 – Old Wesley 29 Naas 22 – Report by Dave Heelan
Tries: Handcock (2), Flower, Cresswell, Claxton
Cons: Handcock, O’Mara
(10thDec)2016 has been a year of traumatic events which have changed the world, Trump, Brexit, Al O’ Connor wearing matching check boxer and shirt combinations, and most shockingly MTL finding long term female love, but some constants have remained steadfast. The Old Wesley 4ths’ will to win and desire to achieve as much as this group can has not wavered all year.
Throughout this year of success we had beaten this Naas side four times including a league final. Despite a crisp warm up and the usual Captain’s motivational speech before kick-off, Old Wesley started the game slowly. The large Naas pack were challenging the Wesley gain line continuously and Wesley soon conceded a number of penalties, one of which the Naas 10 kicked. After some uncharacteristically porous defence, Naas were up a further converted try – 11 nil within 10 minutes. Old Wesley were under pressure.
Worst was to come as Michael Glynn, sporting a non-fashion related wrist band/support structure signaled that his stockbrokers wrist syndrome had returned and he was forced to retire as he “Can’t throooowa spen paaaas”. In what would have appeared an act of selfish solidarity with poor Michael, this author also had to pull out of the trenches with a hamstring injury. In my eyes it was unfair to see such a beautiful creature alone on the sidelines, brooding……silent. Frustration grew as Clatch marched the sidelines without his customary 2001 St. Andrew’s old boys’ skiing trip gilet, somehow forgetting this trademark apparel, an occurrence which had left him noticeably out of sorts.
However, just when things have looked bad at times during games this year, just as Ivan’s glasses have steamed up or Clatch’s sopranos style grey wisp of hair has grown out a little further, a member of the Wesley team has stood up to change the tide for the better. Hope grew as the ever resplendent Mark Toal Lennon was back amongst the “normal people” and Michael “I only got two hours sleep yet I will still play amazing” Mulcaire were sprung from the bench as replacements. Willie Wood’s white thighs could be seen darting ever more around the ruck like a drunk fly, the small crowd questioning the length of his Leinster underage shorts. These dazzlingly white thighs speeded up the game and some slick handling in the middle of the field saw Handcock slither through the middle of the Naas defence and score under the posts. It was the tonic needed to weather the Naas storm delivered by a man who has constantly changed the path of many games.
Further pressure from Naas after the kick off resulted in two penalties which their outhalf converted. Just as Naas thought they had wrested control of the game back within their reach, another Wesley stalwart stood up for them to take notice as he has done so many times. Chris Coughlan broke up the left side leaving a number of players clasping empty space. A beautifully timed pass put the “Man Island” Flower away in the corner on the stroke of half time to show a tiring Naas side that history should not be ignored and Wesley were not going to let them start changing it too easily. 17-12 to Naas half time.
A brief half time team talk was completed by an angry Clatch. Could Wesley score first in the second half? Could the injury toll rise? Could Sully stop talking to the Naas front row about the progress of their Christmas shopping?
Wesley again were faced with coming from behind as a quick Naas try after the restart left the score at 22-12.
Naas were growing confident but also growing tired. Wesley sensed the turning tide and from a quick thinking line out, a strong carry by Toaler batted off a number of would be Naas defenders and sucked their defence in. After a number of quick phases, Cresswell squirrelled around the Naas defence to touch down. The score was now 22-17 to Naas and momentum was with the Donnybrook men.
Always a man to sense weakness, the quick thinking Handcock scored again up the right side, outpacing his opposite man to touch down. 22-22 all and it was game on.
It was now all Wesley with the red, white and blues camped in the Naas 22. Anxious times call for steady heads and indeed steady haircuts. Claxton, now sporting a festive, dynamic, de-curled and trend challenging hairstyle finished well off a multiphase Old Wesley move to leave the score 27-22. Mulcaire managed to miraculously convert to leave the score at 29-22.
The Final whistle was sounded shortly afterwards and the result was confirmed. The Naas team were beaten 29-22 but still had time to comment that Toaler had the best hair in Metro 5.
The Wesley men returned to Kiely’s of Donnybrook on Saturday evening for a few light Christmas sherries to discuss life and changing fashion trends. Tall stories, mostly lies, were told as chests were gradually puffed out.
Achieving a calendar year unbeaten doesn’t occur without sacrifice. It has cost two Max Lane shoulders (get well soon), Captain DT buying many expensive handbags, Chris Coghlan’s lower stomach lining, a Stevie Young foot and many other knocks and bruises throughout the team but we have stuck together all year and will continue to do so for the rest of the season.
A special Christmas thanks to Poffy, Clatch, Wally and Ivan for all of their work throughout the year, this team would not be what it is without them.