A rare visit for me to Cirencester RFC today - invited by a good friend to watch the game against his home town of Burnham on Sea. A rare visit these days, but the pitches and clubhouse there were as good as home for me through the 80's. A regular player on the wing - I was faster than the larger chaps in those days - I enjoyed many seasons for the Thirds and Seconds, before establishing a firm place in the Firsts. This was when the league structures were started, and we played in the the Western Counties, travelling from Gloucestershire down to Cornwall. We also travelled further afield, and my own memorable tour was to Berlin - guests of the British Army - where we were fortunate to see the divided Berlin just six months before the wall came down.
It was great to see the grounds again, and sample the hospitality of the bar after - even if it was only a black coffee. A long way from the guiness and beer that was previously consumed. And fortunately there was no sign of the 'Dick Drink' concocted from various forms of alcohol that was always presented, to be downed in one, by the nominated 'dick' of the match.
Sadly the likely recipient of the game today would have been the ref - I have never seen a player penalised for time wasting in rugby before. But even with that and other strange official decisions, Burnham spent more time than Ciren in the attacking 22, and on balance deserved the win with a converted penalty in the last minutes of a tightly fought game.
So I caught up with a few old teammates today, and reminisced about the good old days. Makes me sound old - which is odd, because given my current running fitness and now-diagnosed Coeliac condition, I actually suspect that I am a lot fitter now than I was back in my Rugby playing days. But you won't be seeing me on the the field again - the game is too quick now and too physical.
So there won't be another chance for a photo opportunity such as the one below - me crossing the line for a try back in the season 1987/89.