This is a reprint of everything written about Saturday’s Heiniken Cup semi-final match.
I’ve re-organised it, so that you can follow it through the day and especially the second half action.
0923 Saturday 22 April 2006
Bath Win… Win…Win please
Come on Bath!
I know you think there’s nobody in Ireland who gives a damn. That’s not true.
There is one person in Douglas, Cork, Ireland who will be shouting you on, just for old time sake.
When I met you first, you were top dog. You’d won the English championship something like 9 years in a row.
Then the bastards went professional and that screwed you. You couldn’t take it. The Committee fell at the first fence, squabbled themselves to death and your players collapsed under the weight of the scrum.
The free-for-all left you floundering after the likes of Leicester. You use to wipe their face in the mud of the Rec (Bath home ground); it was awful to see them run through you in the new era.
But I know you’ve been to therapy. Psycho-therapy too. You’ve all had your heads re-oriented and you’re back. The way you held out for the last 10 minutes against Leicester with only 13 men (2 feckin eejits in the sin bin) was magnificent. If Munster had done that, it would be written in the annals.
It’s time for Bath:
So today’s your day. I haven’t a clue who you’re playing. Some French lot where they go surfing instead of treading grapes. Hopefully a bunch of no-hopers.
Correction: after you beat them this afternoon, we’ll realise that Biarritz are one of the strongest French teams ever. It’ll be seen as victory again overwhelming odds: Viet Cong overcome USA.
Bath, you Vietnamese of the Heiniken world - I roar you on.
The fact that I lived in Bath from 2000-5, and down the road in Bradford upon Avon from 1993-2000 has in no way influenced the author of these views.
I am not related to any member of the Bath front row.
I do not have any shares in the company selling Bath Rugby shirts.
I have not been drinking Bath Ale (which is bloody good and is brewed by the one independent brewery left in Bath. There were over 200 brewers in Bath 100 years ago.)
There is absolutely no truth in the seditious rumour that I support Bath because I think Munster would gobble them up and might choke on Biarritz.
Now, back to my dream come true:
I need to learn all the bloody Leinster names as well. If I am to blog for Munster, I have to know who the opposition is. Contrapony isn’t is? And O’Drishcool…
He’s a dish isn’t he!
2.56 Frustrated French
Biarritz are good. But we can still do it. It was always Bath’s plan to lure the French into false confidence and zap them in the fourth quarter.
The ‘dirty’ play by one particular French man was poor example to young viewers.
I’ll certainly control which rugby matches I let Grace watch before she is 5. After that, she’s a big girl. I’m going to treat the second half of this match as a rehersal for tomorrow. So there’ll be loads of posts.
Watch the way Bath start this half. They have had an extra special team talk. Maybe we’ll see the result of all that medition. Let’s go Bath. I’m not partisan.
3.01 Restart penalty
Straight into touch…
Lineout number 1: messy win for France. Bath turn it over and now more Bath possession and another lineout on other side of field. Have the French calmed down during the interval?
Oh dear, Bath penalty. Maybe that’s the plan to put the French ahead by a bit more…
3.04 Biarritz prove to be tough olives
They are battering Bath. They are holding on to possession like possessed partiots.
What a sweet dropped goal! 6-15
Nine points - what’s 9 points?
3.07 Bath secret weapon comes on
Bath’s Samoan’s on (Fuimaono-Sapolu). Now we’ll see a turnaround.
Nothing like an islander to inspire a miracle… (Thinking about Ireland here… Christianity too)
Who gave Biarritz the right to wear red? I see that the Queen (Elizabeth) wore red yesterday, on her birthday: she’s a closet Munster supporter. (I know the tone of her dress wasn’t right.)
3.09 Only a couple of tries separate the teams
Nitty gritty time
Sublime on the way (poetic this bit)
Stay with us to the end
Send Chirac back to bed
Instead (messing with words)
3.12 French in touch with their strong side
Bath are game. They have possession. But it’s not the devil, and they need to be fierce in these closing stages
3.15 Is Leinster supporting Biarritz?
Do the blues stick together? (reference to the fact that Bath and Leinster both play in blue)
I’m getting my colours mixed up. This is terribly exciting I’ve had to turn the crown (misprint: should be crowd) off.
These English commentators, where did they get their passion? (They were egging Bath on desperately…) I though the English were an objective nation? (what I meant was detached and lacking in passion)
3.16 No point in watching this
I should be doing the washing up. (at this point the excitement started to get to me) But E. has done it already. (finding someone to blame… displacement activity) Why didn’t she leave me something to distract me?
Bath are the boys in blue. Underdogs. Stiff upper arms. Trouble with their passes.
Biarritz are the bastard in red. Cocky superdogs. Loose and flowing, like their wine.
(9-15) (I like that bit, good to take time out to review, whenever)
3.20 Where is the Samoan?
Is he in the fight? Why not? (not serious) It can’t be only the English. They are such a peaceful lot. (tongue in cheek)
Did that punch fell the French man? Or is he merely winded? This’ll show how well they recover. (pretty inhumane stuff: that guy was really hurt)
3.22 Oh Captain, my captain
Come back Walt Whitman. (my favourite poet of all time. Whitman hero-worshipped Ab Lincoln, called him his Captain, in a poem after Lincoln was assassinated. Read Leaves of Grass soon)
All is forgiven. You’d have made a wonderful rugger player. (Whitman always took to big view and wrote the strongest verse)
If you mess with the French, you might be sleeping with the snails… (it took me a minute to replace ‘fishes’ with ’snails’)
How many sin bins does it take to be mortal? (now I am completely out of control, remembering mortal sin)
3.24 Penalty for Bath
He better kick this.
Halleluia…. Hosana in excelcis….
I knew there was a mirace in the offing. (didn’t really believe it, but unless you say it, it might never happen)
3.25 Only a converted try in it
Bath can score from here. (joke) They are back on their own line. They have the French in the depth of their own territory. (it looked as if the French were about to score)
Right now French spirits are flying… Now’s the time for an interception… (desperate hope)
3.29 Blue, blue, my world is blue
The heart is thumping. (this bit is totally true) Pumping blood the pulse is pulsing
when the going gets tough, the tough get going… (remembering my management training) There’s a multi-coloured French guy going off. (he had a fantastic hat on) Great. Those colours were confusing Bath.
Why didn’t we score there? (Bath cock-up here)
3.30 I can’t take this anymore
I’m a young man. I have life left in me. I am running too much of a risk blogging during this match. How on earth could I blog for Munster? They’d have a dead man on their hands…
(This is the point where I realised that I better own up to my disability: there is no way I could blog about Munster without a whole team support)
3.32 Attack, attack
You have to do something Bath. You have to. If you go on like this, you’ll go down as game losers. Like your football team. (obvious reference to soccer team which I expect to fluff up the World Cup)
3.33 Malone can’t kick
Right now, he is a waste of space. (Malone dies… doesn’t he - just had to bring Beckett in: he’d have been watching this match. But he’d surely support Leinster)
French kickers have had loads of practice. Weren’t they the ones who invented Follies Bergeres? (I bet I didn’t spell that right)
3.34 Down to the wire
Bath have another chance. (Yes, to my surprise) If Bath could rescue this one, they’d be as good as Munster. (remembering the many times Munster dug themselves out of a lost position) Are they as good as Munster? Doesn’t look like it.
3.36 Last minute French collapse
The dream. (Yes, Laughman, this has been a dream: you were right first time Forgive me)
the dream is breaking out into the open… it’ll be with us any minute go go give it away…
do you really want to go home with nothing more than loads of bottles? (you can imagine Bath spending time after the match buying wine, to settle them down)
3.37 French in trouble
They can’t score. they deserve a score but can’t do it what a Bath victory it would be if there was time Bath are trapped says the commentator what does he know.. he’s watching the match I can’t… I have to blog (you are either at a rugby match, or not)
3.39 Bath are on the line
the long line that separates a try from not a try… (Bath were back on their own line. Biarritz on top of them) the French are arguing with each other what’s the best way to win? Typical French… Look at the Arc de Triumph… (I had to try and say something anti-French, didn’t I?)
3.41 Who taught the French to play like this?
They are squeezing Bath Bath are on the line Can they break out of here and run the whole length of the field? (That would have been a real miracle)
Oh dear… that’s a penalty for France. I think this is a good French team. (realising that this team was going to be in the final, hopefully against Munster: you need worthy opponents to win well)
He should slot this… (the French place-kicker)
Yes. well kicked (see, I’m a rugby person, not a football)
I was always a French supporter at heart Weren’t they with us at Kinsale? (Battle of Kinsale, 1609 ish) Or was that the Spanish?
3.42 Score lost in the excitement
If I was French I’d be proud… I’d have won the right to play … Munster. That’s one hell of an honour
3.45 Amen: France wins
They lost in Vietnam. (They were there, imperialists before the US)
They lost in …. where did Franch lose… ? oh yes, they lost in Canada, to the Brits…they were in alliance with the wrong Indian tribes…. (as if I knew enough about that war)
So they deserved to win… today. I hear the English commentators waxing on about how good Bath were back in the 1990s. Don’t the English love nostalgia? Munster gobbles nostalgia…
No Munster team has ever lived in the past. (playing up my Munster roots, shamelessly)
3.48 The better team won the Heiniken Cup battle
I take my hat off to the surfers of south west France. (There are wonderful waves in Biarritz)
Victors always write the history books. (remembering 1916 and its myths)
Let’s be balanced: Leinster is a good team. Well worth beating.
Bye for now. Tune in tomorrow for the real thing. (just a way of signing off. By this stage I had decided that it would not be safe for me to blog the Munster Leinster match. I woke up. It was all a dream - even if it grew out of a dream imagined while awake…)