1st XV 1999/2000

Back row: G. Evenett, N. Thurston, H. Cooper, J. Thomas, J. Read, B. Tresidder, A. Newton-Walters, R. McAllister, K. Powell, T. Cotton
Front row: O. Marsden, M. Foulger, R. Crook, S. Hickey (Captain), R. Zoers, N. Protani, E. Shelton

Having read with some interest the tales of past 1st XV captains, I thought I might add my own assortment of tales from time in the Firsts.

Upon joining the college at the start of my upper sixth I began the slippery slope through the sides starting with the 2nd XV before playing 7s and 10s for the 1sts after Christmas. Then came my chance, upper sixth and a near full season of Wymondham College 1st XV rugby.

During my time at college the enemies were still Norwich, but also Greshams School, although they did have a great tea after the match. The Greshams game was probably the most taught and torrid affair I played in for many year. We lost by I think 5 points in the end and should have won, if we'd had a kicker in the side! It probably didn't help that we conceded two tries in the first ten minutes. Never mind.

However, the most violent game I played in was probably the affair against KES later that term. KES had many things going against them:

1. They were from Kings Lynn, but more importantly...
2. They were utter s***, but very violent and aggressive. Half their pack were shaven headed and were real bruisers without an ounce of skill between them. Playing tight head, along with my fellow front row colleagues we succeeded in having their hooker carried off after 10 minutes with a neck injury and two other enforced changes to the front row throughout the game. At first their dirtiness was quite subtle, a bit like mens rugby, a few elbows and knees here and there, but it didn't last.

Those of my time will no doubt remember Ross McAllister. Winger, built like a tank, quick as train (old fashion one that could run on time mind you) and about as powerful too. Ross scored a hatrick that day, but on his third got a blatant knee to the head on grounding the ball. Ross himself was fine, brick s**t house as was probably didn't feel it. However, the ref did f*%& all so it was left to us to sort it out.

At first I wasn't too bothered about the various scrapes and niggles, half the time I was to far from the breakdown anyway pretending to be a back scoring tries. However, just after half time, it happened. I came up from a scrum (which we'd won of course) only to find myself receiving 5 or 6 blows the head and face. Their stupid little hooker decided he wanted some action. As I was casually bringing back my right though one of our second rows caught me, held me back saying it wasn't worth it!

I got him back though. Next breakdown swift left upper cut, he needed to be helped off the field. I'm sure Taff (who was coaching us then) saw it, and it probably explains why I didn't get senior colours. Still I got the College Lion when I left so I didn't lose out too much.

One quick story I do have from a Norwich game. My brother (also of Fry and Lincoln) scored a hat trick against them during a game in his lower sixth. They must have been so p***ed off. He was a tight head too!!!

Owen Marsden

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