London Irish 47-7 Leicester (29th January 2000)

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London Irish 47-7 Leicester (29th January 2000)

by dom_pedro on Tue Oct 18, 2005 12:19 pm

A match mentioned recently on the Voy board.

London Irish 47-7 Leicester (29th January 2000)

"Are you alright?" said Mr Wasp on the way home "you're very quiet". QUIET??? QUIET??? Stunned more like. Here's the sort of day London Irish fans had just had - at one point in the game I'd just written the score down and wouldn't you just know it but Irish went and scored again before I'd even had a chance to put a full stop on me pad o' paper. And I write pretty fast, for crying out loud! That was what it was like.

Again, I haven't written down much match commentary in terms of who passed to whom or where the ball was going or what moves led to tries. But there's an overall feeling here which I hope to convey to those of you who couldn't make it to the match. It was one of the most perfect performances from Irish I have ever seen. The Tigers fans behind me summed it up in the dying moments of the match. "Tigers keep making mistakes, but I haven't seen Irish make a single error".

When I arrived at the ground I had to loiter outside a bit waiting for our venerable Treasurer to turn up with the tickets. As I shuffled about aimlessly, Lord Dick passed within inches of me, wearing a two piece suit (sans flasher mac) and walking with the kind of upright gait that would do the army proud. I quaked in fear and awe as he glanced at my camera lying on the ground, and as he passed I kissed the air, worshipping the very tarmac he walked on (as you do). He returned to pass my spot about five minutes later, looking very resolute. Could this be confidence, I thought, not feeling very confident really, but trying very hard.

Well, we got our backsides settled in our seats with ten minutes to go and began to take bets on how much we'd lose by. So in this mood it was really uplifting to see the Irish Kodo drummers come out with Digger in tow, making a great toe-tapping racket and cheering us all up. My initial reaction was indignation that bodhran's were not being used, but the drumming itself was so rhythmic it took about 3 seconds for indignation to turn to delight. It may have escaped your memories, but Geoff Huckstep did suggest about two seasons ago that we installed some permanent bodhran drummers on site to boost the spirits of the crowd. Nothing appeared to happen as a result of this commendable idea, but now it's happened and it proves that Geoff was right because it worked wonders. So remember, Geoff thought of it first so fair play and credit to him.

Anyway, out came the players and Tim slung the camera around my neck and told me to stop being shy and take photo's (which I did, all 30 of them). I don't know what to say, really, but by 21 minutes we were 17-0 up. We did to Leicester, in fact, what Saints did to us on Wednesday. It was bizarre and so perverse that one would think we deliberately lost to Northampton in order to keep our powder dry for the Tiggers. But this would be to detract from the Saints performance which was, without doubt, superb. But now it was our turn and we were, without doubt, superb. Honest to God, to you lesser mortals who didn't see the game, it was absolutely, totally, 100%edly beautiful beyond all belief. It was Leonardo da Vinci on turf. It was Mozart on a rugby pitch. It was marvellous. Wondrous. Magnificent.

Not only did we score 17 points within the first 20 minutes (I have Gallacher's name on my pad, and also 'Campbell. Interception'), but we nearly scored another on the half hour when our flankers (who were absolutely STUNNING all afternoon) broke out and went haring gloriously across the pitch. Two minutes later and Richard Kirke, (who was SPLENDIFEROUS all afternoon) did a most outrageous dummy and went hurtling towards the Leicester line like Linford Christie. Unbe-bloody-lievable.

At the end of the first quarter, King Jarrod stretched our lead to 20-0 with a penalty, and the hideous Austin flunked the restart. Actually, I may have this wrong. It looked like he'd flunked the restart, but the ref awarded a penalty rather than a scrum, so perhaps I'm mistaken . Whatever happened, our ****ing fantastic pack surged forward to the Leicester 22 like men possesed. With about 5 minutes to go we had twenty points in the bag and Leicester were still on a big, fat zero. I started screaming stupidly at this point "don't let them score, don't let them score', which usually has no effect whatsoever but today it did. Leicester were denied a try in the dying moments of the first half by some toptastic defence which would have made Brendan Venter proud. Is this woman running out of superlatives yet, I hear you cry. Not by a long shot, I retort.

One thing to point out to you absentees is the response to the hideous Austin. There was a bloke in the crowd behind me who did the following thing every time Austin got the ball. He opened his mouth and said 'Booooo!". What was so hysterically funny about this was that he was a solitary voice, so therefore he stood out, and how we all laughed on my row. Eventually, his example caught on, and before too long Austin was being mildly booed at regular intervals. By the second half, it had begun to take it's toll. No, really. I'm not joking here - he began to fluff and faff and fart about and eventually Dean Richards had to move him to inside centre. Within minutes of this, Deano decided to dispose of him altogether and remove him from the field of play.

If you really expect to be an international player, then you have to accept banter from the crowd and deal with it. And if it's your choice to strut around like a bully and a thug, then you have to take the consequences which is, I'm afraid to get booed from time to time. Hate him though I undoubtedly do (with a vengeance) Bumface Carling never really let it get him down, and Lally Doollally simply seems to thrive on crowd abuse. Austin's response was to buckle under the pressure to such an extent that it affected his play. Or maybe we're flattering ourselves. Maybe the arrogant little cockerel is simply crap after all. To the London Irish jury I say - you decide.

Anyway, Austin went off when the score was about 23-0 after a penalty which Jarrod converted. And then the great joy of the game took place, when The Astonishing Neal Hatley scored a try. It always cheers me up to see the lovely Beefy have a good game, and to bag five points, well - my happiness was complete. Jarrod converted and it was 30-0. Yes. THIRTY POINTS TO NIL!

After another penalty from Jarrod, Richard Kirke got the reward he so richly deserved by scoring yet another try which took the score to 40-7. Oh, sorry, did I forget to mention it? Leicester scored a pretty decent try in the midst of this Irish rugby exhibition. But never mind that.

Irish still had points in them, though. And it was Campbell who did the business. On the way down in the car, we blasted our heads off with Jimi Hendrix and upon hearing the track 'Little Wing' I couldn't help but think of Kieron. Our little wing certainly did good today with his second try, which brought the score majestically to 47-7.

Despite cries of "we want fifty! we want fifty!", that was to be the final tally. Deano, in his tattered trainer bottoms and shabby shirt, looked grim and miserable, contrasting sharply with our beloved Dick, with smart suit and enigmatic smile. Oh blx, I'm going to say it. Phwoaaaaarrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!

As an end note I'd like to extend my sympathy to the Tigers fans sat behind us. They were totally sporting throughout the entire game. They were incredibly positive about London Irish, and philosophical in defeat. They were a credit to their club and I felt for them when the Irish fans around them began to rub their noses in it. I hope they went to the bar and had a bloody good night, and a good trip home. Leicester are one of my least favourite teams, I have to admit, but the guys behind me were commendable so fair play to them.

To those of you not at The Stoop, huge cheers must go to our pack. They played the game of their lives today; they consistently won lineout ball, they recycled beautifully, were mobile around the park, played the ball quickly, neatly, artistically and God love them they were AWESOME. They shunted Leicester off their own ball at least twice in the game, but as far as I could see they were not pushed backwards, even by a millimetre, throughout the 80 minutes we watched and marvelled at them. My Waspy sidekick gave Kirke man of the match. And yes, Richard was unbelievable today. But Jake, my, my......words cannot describe his Godlike Genius. He was Olympian! If he wants my car, it's his.

Yet there were any number of players who were outstanding and to name just a few of them would be to ignore every single player who took the field. So to each and every one of you, starting fifteen and substitutes all, you did us proud, you played like heroes, you were a joy to watch. A huge ****ing hug to you all!
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