When I walked into the changing room at training the other week after 6 months away travelling, I looked around with confusion. The quantity of new faces was such that I thought we must have swapped training nights with Richmond.
My fears were alleviated when I moved into my natural environment of the physio room and saw Russ and the team, together with extra quantities of cotton wool and sellotape in preparation for trying to get me actually playing some rugby. When the ‘traveller look’ I was sporting was then subjected to the level of abuse I have come to expect from my teammates, I realised normal service had been resumed. However I thought that saying I looked like Andy Murray in his ‘shaggy hair and wispy facial bumfluff’ phase was taking it a little far.
During the 6 months I have spent sorting out all of South America’s problems, much has changed. It is a very different club to the one that I left at the end of last season. The optimism and atmosphere of 2 years ago when we were promoted from London 1 has returned, which hopefully bodes well to repeat the trick this season. Following it all from afar has been exciting and frustrating in equal measure and I found myself itching to get back involved. Although the itching could have been due to hygiene issues.
On Saturday, it was good to see what all the fuss has been about on the field with another clinical display securing 5 more points. As someone hoping to spend some time in the first team this year, I learned that I have my work cut out in a big way. It was impressive stuff. Some underhand tactics in training may be in order.
I passed a pleasant pre-match lunch before the Havant game in the mature, sophisticated company of our esteemed sponsor Mr Neil Hollinshead, a quiet contemplative individual as I am sure you are all aware. The only dampener on the day, other than Nick Evans’ hot pink tie, was that the burlesque dancers took a wrong turn and headed for the Ladies’ Day marquee to provide their entertainment when it surely would have been much more enthusiastically received by the gentlemen in the clubhouse. One for the suggestions box for the future. Later I was also disappointed to be outbid in my attempts to buy a date with flame-haired Adonis Andy Fahey at the player auction. Maybe next time.