“You Have To Get The Ball Over That Line By Throwing It Backwards”

Here is the post I didn’t have time for yesterday, featuring the Six Nations rugby match between Wales and Ireland.

The primary aim of a game of rugby is to score as many tries as possible by

grounding the ball on the opposite side of the opponents’ goal line.

The try notches up 5 points. Afterwards the best place kicker has the opportunity to convert this to 7 by kicking the ball over the bar and between the goal posts.

The referee, in the white shirt is there to ensure fair play, to interpret the rules, and to make decisions about points scoring.

We now, with the benefit of technology, have the Television Match Official who, having access to replays, has the task, at his request, of aiding the on field referee.

The grounding must be controlled and the feet inside the touchline. The score above was legitimate.

The ball carrier may be tackled by an opposition player. There are strict rules about the execution of this.

One of the consequences of an infringement is the set scrum. This is where two packs of forwards, each weighing in total 850/950 kilos, shove against each other to gain mastery and possession of the ball which is tossed into the middle by the scrum half, seen in green in the first picture, and red in the second. This can eat up 5 minutes of playing time.

Loose scrums. rucks, and, mauls result in less choreographed tussles.

These pieces, with or without the intervention of the referee, are followed by a lining up of the three quarter backs, one of whom will pass the ball along while the opposition attempt to dispossess them. It was this passing process that in 1965 prompted my late brother Chris, accompanying Jackie on her first time of watching me play, to utter the memorable one line explanation; “You have to get the ball over that line by throwing it backwards.” Although players may kick the ball ahead, a forward pass is not allowed.

Medical assistance is essentially on hand. This player struggled on fo a while before having to leave the field.

This one, captain Jonathon Sexton, had no choice. Despite his reluctance he had to go off for a compulsory Head Injury Assessment.

Earlier, he was the first of the faces I pictured in this gallery. His opposing captain, facing him, sporting a black eye, has plaster on his ear.

The masked supporters could not show theirs.

This scene reminded me of the season in which I lost three contact lenses in a fortnight. I then gave them up on the grounds that there is a limit to the number of times one can have 30 men in rugby kit crawling around in the mud in search of them.

Optical Aids

DawnMoon at dawnAs the dawn sun emerged behind the trees in our back garden, the moon still occupied the sky at the front of the house.
By the time I returned from my Hordle Cliff top walk the bright, cold, day had warmed up a little because these skies had clouded over.
Ivy CottagesFramed by a leafless arched bough, Ivy Cottages, dating from 1897, with their neighbours beyond Downton Service Station on BrackenCoke tin in hedgeChristchurch Road, could now be seen from the hedgerow on Downton Lane, where bracken has browned, and a Coca Cola tin blends with red berries. Most cans and bottles similarly discarded are not so happily juxtaposed.

Ice shardsShards of ice shattered by passing cars had been tossed onto the verges.

Isle of Wight, Needles, lighthouseThe Isle of Wight, The Needles, and their lighthouse were silhouetted against a pale pastel palette.
Cow parsley seedsOn a small piece of ground at the top of the steps leading into Shorefield from the path to the beach, fresh cow parsley still blooms. Some of this has begun to seed.
It is time to return to the ‘through the ages’ series. Today I have chosen to reproduce three, being Derrick and Samnumbers 53, 54, and 55, the first two from 1980 and the third from the following spring. These photographs Derrick and Sam 12.80were all taken by Jessica, the first two at Gracedale Road, the month of the second being indicated by its background Christmas tree.
The indentations left by over-tight nose pads in the first photo show that I was wearing specs in those days. Having been somewhat short-sighted since I was eighteen, vanity had led me to contact lenses in my twenties, but I managed to play Rugby without them, until, into my thirties I needed them to see clearly across the field. This was rather crucial for a second row forward, one of whose tasks was to cover the corners. I therefore began to wear lenses during the games. Until I lost three in a fortnight, that is. Quite apart from the cost of replacements, the search for little pieces of plastic in cold and soggy mud became somewhat disruptive. So I returned to spectacles.
The story of my first embarrassing visit to an optician, and of the accident which, many years later, resulted in a cataract operation, was told on 13th July 2012. Whether I have the eye specialist’s prediction or the new lens inserted more than fifteen years ago to thank for it, I just use varifocal lenses in specs with the close up element being plain glass, only for watching television or drawing from life. Until I purchased these about six years ago I had to choose between viewing either the model (with specs), or the texture of the paper (without them). Either that or keeping taking the glasses on and off.  I have never needed such assistance to read, and don’t even take them with me on my rambles with the camera.
Derrick and Sam 1981The third picture was taken at the very attractive Owl House Gardens at Lamberhurst near Tunbridge Wells in Kent. It was from one of the photographs in that day’s set that I made the drawing featured on 4th May.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s Cottage Pie, to which she had very successfully added a touch of garam masala; cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, runner beans and brussels sprouts; followed by blackberry and apple crumble and custard. She drank Stella, and I finished the malbec.