We were playing into the wind for the first half, which was good. It meant that the second half, when we’d be more tired, would be easier for us.
Spike Maynard, the captain of the Reds, stared over at our captain, Chip Butterfield.
‘Got the collywobbles?’ he asked.
Chip stared blankly at him.
‘Don’t you get it?’ said Spike. ‘Colly as in cauliflower.’ He turned to the Reds. ‘Not only thick ears but thick between the ears as well.’
Some of the other Reds laughed maliciously.
‘We’re going to flatten you lot,’ said Spike. He turned to look at me. ‘And you’d better keep out of the way if you know what’s good for you.’
‘Takes more than a bad haircut to frighten me,’ I said to him.
Grubber, listening to this exchange of compliments, momentarily thought he might have to dash for the toilet again but then something happened which made him forgot all about it. The ref had blown his whistle.
Danny Millwall, our first five-eighth, kicked the ball into play. The Reds and Greens both dived for it. Sprigs grabbed it but it slipped between his slippery, muddied fingers. The ball bounced and twisted like it was alive, but luckily ended back in Danny’s outstretched hands. Then Spike suddenly rammed into Danny – it looked like a high tackle to me – and bowled him over. The ball popped from Danny’s hands, bounced again and was picked up by one of the heavy Red forwards who spun round and raced into our territory. He was too quick for any of us. He threw himself between the goalposts for a perfect try.
Five points to nill.
Half of the spectators cheered. The Red Brigade.
The other half, the Greenies, stayed silent.
Five points to the Reds, and another two for the easy conversion that followed.
Seven to nill.
Seven points on the scoreboard, in the first few minutes of the game. What a way to begin the Grand Final. What a way to begin my final game.