Elegantly wore his pre-match knitwear. Elegantly strolled around the centre circle. Elegantly plopped in the winner.
Inelegantly talked his way off.
The M2s are like unto a bargain store
And we may have just what you're lookin' for
If you don't mind the fact that all the merchandise is used
But with a little mending it could be as good as new
Why you take for instance these old broken bodies
If you will just replace the missing parts
You would be surprised to find how good they really are
Take it and you never will be sorry that you did
The bargain store is open come inside
You can easily afford the price
Love is all you need to purchase all the merchandise
And I will guarantee you'll be completely satisfied
Another week for the M2s meant another trip to Lincolnshire. The fixture list from mid-January onwards really does look an awful lot friendlier in terms of mileage.
The match against our own 3rd XI had proved a very useful scouting mission, even if it didn't ultimately bring us all three points. With a couple of regulars away (notably including Barney Stuttard, who was last seen chowing down on a Full English at Heathrow with fellow 'Bon Viveur', Andy Goode, before boarding a plane to New Zealand), it was only natural that we were able to welcome Chris Matson to our defensive line and Ash Dookun to our attacking trident.
All twelve players located the patch of fertile ground that Bourne Deeping call home without too much difficulty and we thrust ourselves into the pre-match preparations. The air in the changing rooms was thick with the heady brew of deep heat and tragic bantz, as befits an ageing team of nearly-could-have-beens. Heading out into the fresh air to limber up was a sound idea. Hamstrings sawed against one another. Achilles tendons hawed in the wind. Toby vaped. (You can get all sorts of different flavours, apparently). Chris Walsh, to the chagrin of ramblers and farmers up and down the land, opened the gate but refused to close it. You can buy lots of things, but you can't buy class.
Our hosts were quick out of the traps , with a couple of lads at the back who could give the ball a biff and some coordinated and energetic movement up top. It evidently wasn't going to be a straight-forward proposition for us to head back to Cambridge with the win that we really needed.
After about ten minutes, we broke the deadlock. A long pass out of defence found Asbo Dom on the right, who helped the ball on adroitly to Jon Mann. Jon was in menacing mood all game, incising his way around the field with all the latent intent of an alpha shark - the kind that kills people and then doesn't even bother to eat them. After removing a couple of tastier titbits from his dripping jaws, Manny squared the ball to Toby to do the rest.
A second goal would have been lovely but not really suited to the dramatic narrative.
As the sun set dramatically over the wilting cabbages, seemingly signalling the end of all life in this and every other known universe, the home side equalised.
With the first half drawing to a close, Jon again sniffed the pleasant scent of chum towards the baseline. He homed in, did his ruthless business and squared to Ash. Goal.
Bourne Deeping came at us again. In the melee, one Chris Matson clearance out of the D was deemed not dangerous as it was only likely to hit Dom Reeve in the head, where the umpires quite rightly adjudged there was nothing sentient in any danger of damage. By this point, Tom Anns was struggling a little with his mobility, but thankfully nobody noticed, not even his teammates. Menzies was idling around in midfield, looking for all the world like a mildly hungover Diana Henry patrolling the aisles of Waitrose. 'Ooh, I really fancy something fresh, light and scented this evening,' I could see him thinking. 'Perhaps that pomegranate, orange and dates number I sometimes rustle up with flower water syrup.' At one point, a Bourne Deeping player attempted to purloin something from his middle-class basket. 'No you don't, you cheeky scamp!' he admonished. 'I'll need that Kurdish rhubarb tomorrow.'
A third goal for us would have been lovely but not really suited to the dramatic narrative.
The award of another penalty corner against us spelled danger, as we lined up to defend it in a manner akin to a group of naughty boys reading our Just William book under the covers by torchlight. We needed new batteries in the torch. Two-two.
Needing a final flourish to seal the deal, we delved into the box of rotten tricks that is the M2s' archive. After being awarded a shortie with about ten minutes still to go, there was only one thing for it. It was time to feed the Menzies.
Like taking freekeh from a baby.
With our unbeaten record extended to eight games, thoughts now turn to the visit of Cambridge City next Saturday.
I was asked to give individual feedback this week but don't really remember every detail of the game. The following is therefore plagiarised from today's Observer (admittedly this is based on the England v Samoa rugby match but each sport can learn from others):
Jon Mann, full back, 6/10 A perfect start creating South's first try but unusually sloppy handling thereafter. Trademark run up the middle after the break but his distribution is still a problem. Either he does not pass or does so at the wrong time.
Toby Watson, wing, 6/10 Took it upon himself to get involved, taking a sideline to himself before a mazy run and often cropping up at scrum-half – the usual barmy stuff, really, but to limited effect this week.
Ash Dookun, wing, 8/10 Kept his head up for Watson's try and took his own very well, each time stepping in off his left foot. His dander was up after his first and he continues to grow as an international winger.
Chris Walsh, fly-half, vice-vice-captain, 7/10 His size makes him an obvious target but showed how robust he is when an opposition player injured himself trying to leave his mark. Clearly relishes the added responsibility of vice-vice-captaincy and played with real poise.
James Menzies, prop, 6/10 The message from Paul Visagie was to focus on the set piece first and foremost and he did put away the second-half penalty corner. Has sharp footwork for a prop but was limited to the hard yards before he was hooked.
Joe Whittaker, hooker, 7/10 No problems at all at the lineout – dovetailing well with Matson and then Dookun – and often popped up out wide. Very little wrong all match but remains likely to make way for Harry Chalk during the Six Nations.
Tom Anns, prop, 6/10 A few touches – which is normally a few more than he wants – and the trademark penalty conceded. Rock-solid at the scrum, though, and made himself a nuisance at the breakdown.
Darren Farmer, lock, 6/10 A mixed bag. He is worth persevering with, certainly, despite South's riches in this position.
Douglas Gibson, flanker, 7/10 A pick-and-go for Watson's try and was his usual authoritative self at the lineout. Rose to the physical challenge as well. Put simply, if this autumn has shown anything it is that South are much better when he plays.
Simon Cooper, flanker, captain, 7/10 He would never admit it but surely a cathartic experience back here with the No69 jersey on his back. No frills – when are there any with Cooper? – but typical industry, and lots of it.
Chris Matson, No8, 8/10 Supposedly not big enough to play No8 at Test level but this was an excellent first international start. Not the largest but he is slippery and was among South's best carriers. We’ll see him again.
REPLACEMENTS Dom Reeve 7/10 (for Watson, 7) Set about his task well.
Their centre-forward with the greying hair, centre-forward, 10/10 Just a really nice bloke.