Monday, 29 October 2012

Ongar 18-12 Ilford

20th October 2012
Ongar 18 – 12 Ilford
Tries: Whateley-Harris (2), Browning
Penalty: Fenner
Ongar smashed their way to victory against Ilford and kick started their season. After nothing but defeats Ongar showed guts and determination as they put Ilford to the sword.
Last week’s training session boasted 21 people all slogging their guts out to get into the match day squad. This week we had to turn down players; something that is not commonplace for the Os.
The match kicked off and was lively from the start. Dave Blake captained the side and showed his power as he ran bull dozer like at the opposition.
The score was pointless for a large section of open play as both sides felt each other up. Ilford had a few fast breaks and exposed some poor tackling and over lapping Ongar’s defence at times. Ongar were lucky to not concede any points during the first half but showed grit and somehow managed to get their game face back on.
The opening score came from a fast break and good hands from the backs. The balls went along the backline and found Ben Whateley-Harris who on his 30th birthday used his pace to round the opposition to touch the ball down over the line.
Aaron Hardy stepped up to take the kick. He had been restored to number 8 after last week’s fiasco at ten. This week he didn’t say ‘I’ve got this’ before he took the kick. He simply stepped up and missed it. Not a word, just resignation to the fact that he will forever miss from now on. He says that he was cursed by Jeddy and will miss all his kicks until the spell is broken. The spell can only be broken when Aaron starts to celebrate Black history month.

This try was the potions Ongar needed for a shift in gear. They tore at Ilford for a large part of the first half after this. Although they sometimes slipped into tackling too high and giving away simple penalties. The pack was solid and they protected Ralton Fenner at nine expertly. The use of pods was good and Jon Browning playing at ten straight off a plane from Madrid put in some good distance kicks to find touch.
Ongar used their powers to good use in this game. The scrum bulldozed Ilford at times and the backs showed agility, pace and power. Alan Elvin must be singled out for praise. He put in a tireless performance and was everywhere all over the pitch like a terrible rash. He then in the club after the game somehow managed to get out of his half yard of mucky drink and give it to the new old man Ben Whateley-Harris who collapsed a little after drinking it. He was later found outside trousers round his ankles being manhandled by King Leonidas and Saint George.

Birthday boy Ben Whateley-Harris then collected a ball from Neil Wyndham and cut inside and managed to muscle his way over the line for his second try of the game and 3rd of the season.

Aaron Hardy stepped up and fluffed the kick yet again. Michael Blake started to abuse him from the sidelines and a little tear slithered down Aaron’s cheek. He felt like Sampson when Delilah cut off his hair. This however was more like the feeling Dave Lewis got when Jeddy handed him off and caused Dave to hibernate for 3 weeks.

Ilford to their credit got back into the game with two tries of their own. One of which they converted. During the second half Ongar rode their luck a little. They gave Ilford massive overlaps and somehow didn’t concede. John Minns was screaming from the sidelines at the players to come over. How Ongar didn’t conceded in these moments was sheer luck.

Ongar scored against the run of play when Jon Browning crashed over to score a brilliant team try. Mauled up the field by the forwards played out to the backs. Pods used to create space and then Ralton popped it to Wings who crashed over to score.

Aaron Hardy missed the conversion and by this time his cheeks were all puffy and red from all the crying.
Ongar continued to the last. Everyman gave it their all. The front row of Neil Springate, Fobwatch Minns and Andy Surrage put in a great performance. Michael Blake came on to a rapturous applause from the capacity crowd. Tom Bristow showed that he could gallop with the balls and Neil Wyndham ran like a 67 year old.
There was just time for Ralton to show a tearful Aaron how it was done and slot over a penalty. Giving Ongar a final points tally of 18.
A special mention must go to Nick Cronjaeger. He ran across the pitch to make a try saving challenge. The loud whack when he connected made the crowd gasp as one. Peanut lay knocked out on the ground. A brilliant tackle and a true example of laying his life on the line for Ongar. Sadly he had to go off afterwards as he didn’t know the score or who was winning and when asked who the Prime Minister was he said John Berry!
Sadly that was game over for the entire night and Peanut missed the birthday boy being stripped naked in front of the parents, waxed and put in a dress.
The final whistle went and a huge cheer went up. Ongar were off the mark. They had put in a great performance and shown some great team play. They are still a uncut diamond but they showed glimpses of the gems that they can be. The backs ran at Ilford with gay abandon. They back themselves and the support play was fantastic.
On the side-lines some people who had not watched Ongar play for a while said we look like a different team. Younger, fitter, stronger and we gelled much better as a team.
Once we sort of our habit of missing a few tackles we will be a force for anyone in our league. The believe ios back and the skill was certainly back.

With the match won and the birthday boy naked Ongar celebrated in true fancy dress style. Jeddy came as a doctor and was seen resuscitating Dave Blake’s bottom in the changing room and Dave Lewis came as a Persian!

Monday, 1 October 2012

A photo speaks a thousand words

Over the years and in and through the many places I have been I have always had a camera on me. It must be a fear of missing something or a compulsion to record what I see but the camera is never far from me.

I would not go as far as saying I am a good photographer; I have no training and only use a small compact digital camera. I think I am a lucky person who happens to take a lot of photos. Therefore I am bound to get a good one every so often.

I come back from trips and have taken in excess of 500 pictures. But inside that large number there is a gem or two.

Here are a few of my favourite photos that I have either taken or appear in and the stories they tell.

Mount Bromo, Java, Indonesia. 2006

An active Volcano in the Pacific ring of fire.
This photo was taken of me as I walked the rim looking down into the crater as the hot gases escaped from the Earth.
Bromo last erupted in 2011 and in 2004 a year before I visited two people died from an eruption.

Sirigu Mountain Village, Ghana 2005

A friend and I hiked up to this village that olny had a fleeting mention in the Bradt travel guide. We arrived dusty and covered in red clay from the walk.
When we arrived and were greeted by the village elders who we had to pay with 'Apetishi' a local highly alcoholic drink to visit them.
After a few shots of this strong liquor they were most hospitable and we wandered round with kids chasing us and chanting at us. Before that they were quite stand offish!
It was a shame we were only there for an hour because of the fading light and the need to get back down the mountain.
This photo taken with me in it shows just how I stuck out!

Baby in a bucket, Ghana 2005

You cannot look at this photo and smile. The baby has the best look on his face as if he/she is saying 'What you looking at Mr.'.
I entered this photo into a local competition at a rural show. I lost but to a picture of a tree and didn't even get a third prize. I think the judges were racist!

Pamplona, Basque Country 2012

Not the greatest photo but this one was taken when I had never had such an adrenaline rush.
The previous year I had run with the balls but not got into the arena This year I was determined that I would and I did.
We were all as high as kites from the buzz and had the thrill of a life time. So much so that I am going in 2013 for the third year running.
While in the arena they release 6 young steers one at a time, each one gets progressively more agitated and mental. Therefore they charge into the crowd and send people flying. The local and veterans slap them and jump over them. Some even back flip over them. Many get injured but everyone comes away with a heart beat faster than they ever could have imagined.

Petra, Jordan 2008

One of the most stunningly beautiful places I have ever seen.
This was a personal journey with deep meaning for me. My late father came here in the 1990s and I wanted to see why he waxed lyrical about its splendour and majesty. I found out instantly as I walked down the Siq to be greeted by the Treasury.

The Sea of Sands, Java, Indonesia 2006

Mount Bromo again. This was taken of me while I sat on a knackered old horse riding up to Mount Bromo.
I used to ride as a kid so hired the horse for a small fee and galloped across the sands towards the active volcano.
I have to admit that at the time I thought wearing a straw cowboy hat was rather cool so I am sporting it in this photo. It adds to the photo I feel and is one of my favourites.

Wadi Rum, Jordan 2008

Travelling in the footsteps on Lawrence of Arabia and hanging out of a jeep en route.
Wadi Rum is breathtakingly beautiful and even better when you camp out at night. One night we got so drunk in the desert eating a vodka and rum laced pineapple that I had to be put to bed and woke up huddled to a mate on the sand.

Hanoi, Vietnam 2007

Taken in the bustling motorbike infested streets. Crossing the roads are dangerous here. Imagine crossing the road in Italy. Well double the danger and you are no where near close.

Ooops, Pamplona 2012

A moment caught in time which shows three reactions.
While posing with our heads through a cut out sign the sign accidently fell over.
One person grabbed it, one hesitated and I did the campest pose of all time. Classic!

Whale watching, Kaikora New Zealand

In 2007 I backpacked around New Zealand seeing the wonderful country and getting very drunk. I bungy jumped, luged and climbed mountains and was blown away by the beauty of the country.

While travelling in the South Island I went off on a rickety boat that had a 'whale spotting dog' aboard and saw this humpback whale.
Needless to say I felt rather seasick on this trip.

Kbal Speen, Cambodia 2012

Kkbal Speen is otherwise known as the River of a Thousand Lingas. A linga is a penis shaped fertility symbol.
So after hiking up the hills to reach the beautifully carved river bead I was greeted by penis carvings of all shapes and sizes. You are also not allowed onto the river bed but no one was watching when this photo was taken.

Preah Khan, Cambodia 2012

Cycling out of the bustling city of Siem Reap you enter the Angkor archaeological park and as it was late after noon this temple almost reclaimed completely by the jungle was empty.
It was wonderful to walk un-pestered by trinket sellers and not see another soul as the sun set.

Rusty car in Syria, 2008

Before Syria was a bloodbath I had the pleasure to travel through it. Visiting ruins galore and wonderful cities it was a delight to experience this country.
I came across this car by the side of the road, slowly rusting away and with cactus growing through it.