On Saturday Scarborough Pirates reigned victorious over the previously unbeaten Thornhill Trojans to take themselves back to the top of Yorkshire Men’s Division One, in what was a bruising and tough encounter, the final scoreline of 32-28 a fair reflection of the tightness of the games.
There were a number of strong performances among the Pirates’ players, but perhaps the standout performer was hooker, Martin Robinson, fresh from his recent trip to Twickenham with Bridlington RUFC, who timed his darts from dummy-half to perfection and controlled the game with his excellent distribution.
Robinson was ably assisted by winger Tom Jenkinson, who bagged himself a well-deserved hat-trick, and full-back Harry Sleep who looked secure under the high ball and whose kick returns set a solid platform from which the Pirates were able to play.
The game itself was one in which the Pirates had to battle, literally at times, until the final whistle to be sure of securing the two points.
It was also a game which demonstrated the Pirates’ growing maturity on the field.
In the face of extreme provocation from the home side - numerous high shots, some penalised, many others not - the Pirates remained focussed on the task at hand and concentrated on out-playing their opponents, rather than succumbing to their intimidatory tactics.
The second half of the game was marred by a small brawl which resulted in a scene I have never before seen on a rugby field, where the referee, having identified the main offender from Thornhill, called out the player’s number in order to send him off, only to be told by his teammates that they didn’t have a player wearing that number – they did.
The referee, looked more than a little perplexed, failed to pursue his line of enquires and bizarrely the player he identified remained on the field for the remaining 20 minutes of the match.
My main bugbear from Saturday’s match however, was not the countless high tackles, the often odd refereeing decisions or the lack of completed Pirates’ sets, but rather the sheer amount of dog excrement strewn across the pitch before kick-off.
During my time as I professional player I was very privileged to play on some perfectly manicured pitches that would rival the centre court at SW19 this week.
However, players in the amateur ranks all too often have to contend with the problem the Pirates and I encountered on Saturday.
Unfortunately Saturday’s close encounter was preceded last week by another unfortunate canine excrement-based incident during a junior coaching session.
Thankfully none of the junior players were affected but they could so easily have been.
Please, if you’re a dog owner and allow your dog to run free on playing fields, think of the children who will be playing on those very same fields, do the right thing, be responsible, and clear up anything your dog decides to leave behind. Thank you.