The annual FB7s took place, as usual, at Reading Abbey RFC last weekend and was the last under the event directorship of David Marsh, RFU referee, insatiable fund raiser and all round top man who is standing down from his role. As usual KSM put in a team, originally called (by the organisers) KSM Glos Orcs Nomads, a name which has stuck.
This year saw a few enforced changes to our squad which meant that, after seven consecutive years, Adrian Lecocq and Danny Rumble became the last two who have played each year since we started and James Eastwood, this year’s captain, has attended each one and played in all but one (the non-playing one being the year when he had a plate in his shoulder).
We were drawn in Group 2 and played all our games on pitch 3. This year the pool games were condensed into a shortish time frame which probably helped potential stiffness problems but certainly meant that there very tired bodies at the end.
First up for us were the Whitton Lions and we steamed into game quickly from the off, eventually running out 54-7 winners. Next up were old rivals Worcester Wobblers to whom we lost last year. This time we fared loads better and ran out 34-5 winners.
The third game was against The Drones. We have had some niggly games against them in the past and this one was no exception. It was very physical and maybe more like 15s played by 7 players, with much pick and go and fierce rucking. We ended up 24-12 winners and, by calculation, it seemed we were guaranteed of a semi-final place because only The Incredible Bulks (who were mainly giants) and us remained unbeaten.
We lost the final pool game to the Bulks by 10-24 and it was another fierce, physical contest. Injuries (including Danny Ryland off to hospital with a broken hand and Steve Vincett popped a groin) began to take their toll when we learned we would play KayCee’s Crusaders, the winners of Group 1, in our semi-final. We have played KC’s Crusaders (so named in memory of one of their players who was killed in the Bali bombings) many times in the past and we have always succumbed to them.
A tired and somewhat depleted squad re-gathered for the semi and it turned out to be a tremendous game. To a man we defended heroically and took our chances when they came, albeit having captain James Eastwood break his nose during it, finishing as 38-24 winners.
The semi proved to be our final and there wasn’t much left in the tank for the last charge, despite our being fortified by some Widden Old Boys. There was a big crowd on the touchline for the final and, led by Staines RFC squad players, the Bulks, and the Worcester Wobblers, as well as our subs, the whole of the game was played to the constant, loud chant of Gloucester, Gloucester!
Our opponents, and hosts of the competition, were very organised, looked lots fresher than us and proved to be too smart in most departments. Nevertheless, we gave it a right lash in going down 12-29.
As an aside, our fellow finalists warmed up with protein shakes while our “support staff” went to the bar and brought back a couple of jugs of cider for the boys to supplement their King’s Biltong. Our great thanks to the manufacturers of this top quality product, which fuelled our players all day long (except one who preferred his own dietary supplement of a tin of cold spaghetti!).
All in all, none of the guys left anything on the pitch (or, probably, in the bar) and should be proud of some massive shifts. Whether or not this was the best performance ever, the shirts were, by common consent, our best ever (unfortunately, the rat who stole Peter Scott’s shirt from the changing room while Scottie was in the shower probably thought so too. A vile act and a shame he didn’t return it).
Try scorers included Jack Alford, Steve Baker, Nicky Dunne, James Eastwood (four), Adrian Lecocq, Ben Morris, Dan Newberry, Johnny Newman, Andy Packer, Richard Nunn, Danny Rumble, Peter Scott (twelve!), Steve Vincett.
Once again it was a great pleasure to be associated with ordinary people who come together once a year and do extraordinary things; and right up there with those is the indefatigable Maria Apperley who pieces together the broken players year after year. This year Maria was working in Glasgow, in readiness for the Commonwealth Games where she will be working from tomorrow till their conclusion, and simply drove all the way down to Reading so as not to let down the lads. She grafted all day long and even once taped up a member of the opposition!
Following a number of requests, we have decided to order more of this year’s excellent shirts and they will be available to KSM members for the next two weeks at £45 each. They are real 7s shirts, made by Gilbert, and are therefore excellent quality.
Please let us hear from you if you would like to order one (or more). They are available in sizes M, L, XL, XXL, and XXXL. As a guide, see image with players holding Kings Biltong – from left M, XXXL, M, L, XL; and other images on Kingsholm Supporters Mutual Facebook page or here.