Cauliflower Ears by Bill Nagelkerke – Chapter 15

Chapter 15: Try

What’s happened?

The whistle’s happened, that’s what. The ref has blown his whistle and it’s all over, the game’s finished. We’ve lost. I’ve lost.

Grubber and Chip and Danny and all the others have crowded around me. Mr Marlow is suddenly there, too, helping me to my feet.

‘I’m sorry guys,’ I said, ‘I just couldn’t make it.’

I didn’t even try blaming the tackle, or suggesting it was another one of the Red’s fouls. No, it was all down to me.

‘It was all down to you,’ Mr Marlow said.

I hung my head in shame.

‘The chips were down and you did it,’ said Chip, using his favourite joke.

Finally I looked up. I knew I’d have to face them sometime.

Everyone was smiling. There were no frowns or scowls. Grubber was hopping up and down like he needed to go to the toilet, but this time it was a dance of joy.

‘Did what?’ I asked.

‘You got the ball over the line without letting go of it, even when you were brought down,’ says another voice. It’s Dad, and Mum’s there too. ‘You got a try right smack between the posts.’

Grubber’s dad has come onto the field as well, and right now he doesn’t look like a man who’s been at work for the past nine hours, and has spent most of the morning chewing his fingernails worrying about Grubber ending up in Accident and Emergency.

Sprigs has hobbled over with his mum because his ankle’s sore and bruised from that tackle.

‘Knew that lace would do the trick,’ he said.

‘You mean I did it?’ I said, still not believing it.

‘Course you did,’ said Chips. ‘You got five points for the Greens. And you don’t even have to convert the try. We’ve won!’

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