Friday, 3 April 2009

Under 11 Rugby meets amature photography at its worst.

Big Sis managed to talk Mrs B and me into joining her on our nephew's Rugby Tour. While not an extensive tour, consisting as it did of two matches, one night away from home and a rugby quiz, it was quite probably the event of the year for a bunch of 11 year olds.

I decided to take the opportunity to practice my sports photography skills and discovered the delights of always being at the wrong end of the pitch to the action. This is not as easy as it looks but I perfected it relatively quickly. As valiantly as they may have played, "The Drifters", my nephew's rugby team, were no real match for their hosts "The Heathfield Hurricanes". The match (or in truth matches, as they were broken down into 10 minute segments) were so one-sided that by the time the Drifters managed to find Heathfield's half of the pitch it put me in such a state of shock I squandered the opportunity of photographing their one and only try.

It turns out that Sports Photography is actually quite stressful. Even if you do manage, by some miracle, to be in the right place to take a picture there is always an endless supply of referees, coaches, corner flags, players and supporters willing and able to thrust part of their anatomy in front of your killer-shot. I had to bite down on my tongue on a number of occasions, not to say anything, particularly when people kept coming up and offering unsolicited advice, such as "You would probably be better over there where the action is".

All this trying to be on best behaviour (I did swear once but I think I got away with it) eventually wore me down and I accidentally managed to insult two onlookers. I was busy clicking away when two of the Drifters banged heads and had to be taken off (Yes I managed to miss that shot as well) when I overheard a conversation:

Mother - "That's why you should wear a scrum cap, stops you getting badly hurt, especially as you are playing hooker....."

Son - "They don't stop nothing, just make you look stupid....."

Without looking around I chirped in "If you are in the pack, they would at least stop you getting cauliflower ears"

I turned to see the kid and mother both sporting huge ears, the sort you would buy in a fancy dress shop, only these hadn't been purchased but looked like they had been grafted on during an horrendous Lab experiment. I managed to turn an embarrassed laugh into a strangled smile and went back to taking pictures while attempting to sidle away up the touchline. In retrospect it's just as well I didn't get onto the subject of gum shields as they had goofy gnashers to die for.

The following day we made our way to Eastbourne. Learning nothing from the first match I stayed up at the opposition's try line. At this point my new-found skill abandoned me and I found myself with loads of opportunities to ruin close up shots of the Drifters' many Try opportunities......

You can now click on the photo's to get a larger image

Howz that?.....sorry, what do
you mean that's the wrong sport

The rest of the herd look on
in frozen fascination as one of their
number is brought down by a predator

The prey become preditors

It's a fix - The Rugby Quiz
Now, I'm happy to admit that my knowledge of rugby boils down to :-

"It's played with an odd shaped ball"
"Any decision for the England Rugby team is correct and any decision against them is an outrage and a gross miscarriage of justice"

So you will agree my knowledge is pretty rounded but possibly a bit limited when it comes to a rugby quiz. Before agreeing to take part I was promised the teams would be split evenly. Imagine my delight to find that my team mates were: a woman (who I'm sure has many fine attributes but rugby knowledge was certainly not one of them);
a five year old, who admittedly answered one of the limited number of general knowledge questions - the answer was Tinkywinky. I didn't have the heart to burst her little bubble and admit that I knew the answer; the rest of the team was made up of two 11 year olds, one of whose specialist subject appeared to be "I know it,I know it, but can't think of it now....." and the other's was "I dunno". Unfortunately neither of these specialist subjects made an appearance in the quiz. With hindsight perhaps I should not have voiced the opinion that I thought football was a better sport than rugby, just as they were dividing the teams "equally".

My first task was to get my team mates to be realistic about the team name. "Winners", "Champions","Dave?" were all rejected, before I managed to convince them that we should perhaps be more realistic about our chances and sold them on "The important thing is taking part". Imagine my delight when we managed a rather creditable 10th, putting aside that there were only 9 other teams, I was almost impressed with our record low score.........

Hanging out with the A list
I found myself within 20 feet of President Obama Yesterday morning. If I had had my wits about me I could have had a brief conversation with him. Unfortunately, as I was doing 70mph (possibly 80mph, although I won't admit to that in court) I could not get my window down in time. Still, since his cavalcade was doing about 60mph, in the opposite direction, I don't suppose we would have had much time for a chat.

Me -"Hellllloooooooooooooooooooooo"

Obama - "Sorry did you say something, Michelle?"

Michelle - "No dear, I think it was that idiot hanging out of the VW Golf......"

It could have been so different if I had not lent ElleGee(1) to Mitch for the day....

Me - "Hellllloooooooooooooooooooooo"

Obalma - "Sorry did you say something, Michelle?"

Michelle - "No dear I think it was that idiot with the roof down on his BMW, I know it's not raining and the temperature is just above freezing but I'm not sure it's appropriate for this time of year......"

(1)For those of you new to the BlackLOG, or with poor/selective memory, Ellegee is our convertible car which spends most of his time with his roof down. As long as it is dry and the temperature at the start of journey is above freezing.

Bishop Stortford with the lens cap on -
Obama's Calvalcade ends up in South street after he made the
mistake of borrowing Nafman(2) to get back to the airport

(2)Our old Car Navigation system that could manage to get lost just getting out of its box

That's it for another BlackLOG Drop in again soon. After this week you never know who you might meet.


  1. I had to look twice at that photo, the black and gold kit is very similar to The Boys High.

    Can I just say your latest photo of Stortford surpasses all the others.

  2. IMO Thank you, I do think it brings out the power of the man (Obama), as well as showing Stortford at its magnificent best, with the litter strewn streets and gormless ASBO candidates hanging around the street corners. How can anyone resist an extended stay hear.....

  3. You forgot to mention Stortford's unrivalled collection of its many and varied different types and sizes of potholes. It's a miracle O's Calvalcade managed to depart with it's tyres still intact.


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