By Adam Daff, Secretary
“Reds, our black arm bands today are for a great volunteer – Lee Poole – who was with us for over 35 years, so hands in and lets have ‘Lee on 3’; 1… 2 … 3, Lee.”
And so an emotional day of Dirty Red rugby began for players, volunteers and supporters alike. It was certainly fitting that this was our official “Family Day” involving some of our Junior teams.
Drummoyne’s tribute to Lee, the mother of Colin and Danny Rawlings, DDRFC’s current President, culminated with some words from past-President, Colin Fleming – who proved you don’t need to say much to say something truly meaningful – and a minute’s silence with our Juniors standing with our Kentwell Cup XV.
We thank Petersham too for their understanding and the words of their Club Captain in particular during speeches afterwards.
On the field, our 4th grade side had a brilliant first half, defending hard against the Shammies who had one move – the pick-and-go. Our backs, including a few new faces, did a great job in broken play making big metres consistently.
Our Judd Cup side couldn’t hold onto the ball at all in the second half though. The Shammies piled all their forwards into all but every ruck, which should have meant more consistent space in the outside backs. But the referee didn’t appear too concerned when a ruck had formed, or not, and Drummoyne didn’t react.
In Whiddon Cup a win wasn’t expected against a Petersham side which has been a powerhouse at this level, this season – but the score certainly reflected the sincere improvement Drummoyne has made.
3s have come as close as any side needs to get at this level to perfecting head-up rugby and when you have your head up – your defence is always better.
Some issues in attack clearly remain, but none that can’t be resolved at training. After winning the premiership in 2015, our Whiddon Cup side remain on the hunt for their first win in 2016 and most would be confident this is the week they will get it done.
Colts have been a pleasure to watch most of this season and they were again for the first 20 minutes – not so much after that. A near-perfect win against Colleagues the week prior appeared to have drained this hearty lot.
There were lots of unforced errors but still plenty of positive effort.
Our Burke Cup side were full of confidence. Unfortunately, they seemed to continue the dropseys theme that started in 4s. If they’d had any more handling errors Coach Mew might have had to stop the game to check for holes in the ball!
A bizarre refereeing offside call resulting in a yellow card didn’t help their chances but, like Colts, they were still some very solid signs. Flanker-come-hooker Rich Halstead was everywhere, captain Richard Jobson appeared back to his stoic best while flyhalf/fullback Patty Long made great metres consistently.
Given the day’s results – all of a sudden – this was a huge danger game for our Kentwell side missing some regular starters.
Astutely captained by flyhalf Luke Giles though and led in the forwards by No.8 Sam Roach and, hooker, Lewis Williams, 1st grade got the job done.
Roach is a player you want to see in every team, technically sound and so positive. Williams is quite possibly our most passionate rugby man and when he controls his emotion, he does what he did in this game; scrummaged and threw well, communicated effectively in defence, kept his team mates pumped up and made some great charges to boot.
Having nearly had his head ripped off his shoulders in an incident where the offending player from Petersham was yellow-carded, replacement loosehead prop Maxime Mauries did a lot to enhance his reputation as a genuine hard man too.
After a physio check Mauries stood up, rolled his neck around a few times and promptly buckled his opposite number, who was at least 25kg heavier, near clean in half to be an integral part of a sensational push-over try near the end of the game.
It was a positive end to an eventful day, which included news that our Director of Rugby, Dan Henderson, and his partner, Jenny, had welcomed a son into the world. Our congratulations to them both!
Lastly, I feel obliged to single out two people. Firstly, Committee member, lower grade prop and Juniors’ parent – Jerry Tukudra – for his assistance around Family Day. Jerry spent several days posting flyers around the community to raise awareness and draw a crowd. He also invited a raft of community groups and liaison officers to be involved, including the Police who attended.
Jerry’s efforts proved – once again – that plain old enthusiasm and a willingness to have a go matters, particularly in a community rugby club run by volunteers.
And finally, it was great to several DDRFC Life Members, including our Patron, and NSW Rugby legend, John Mulford, at Lee’s funeral. At 88, having driven himself from the central coast, John’s attendance alone not only demonstrated the widespread respect Lee had, but what being a Dirty Red really means.