To give a bit of context behind the plan to lose the pool games, the way the Hottest 7s tournament runs, the lowest qualifiers from each pool play for the Gecko Cup. The main goal for the team is to be the best of the worst, so taking out the Gecko Cup does that. There is two ways to get to the cup final, the second lowest qualifiers play quarter finals, and the lowest skip straight to the semis, so the quickest way to the final is to lose the pools.
True to the Mudchook traditions, they boys took to the field for their first game more than a little worse for wear, the “hydration” session from the night before had ensured they were well watered, a couple of hair of the dogs took the edge off. They put a good showing on the ground though, save for actually scoring a try, they followed the game plan to perfection and we lost.
With a couple of hours to kill and it being the hottest part of the day, we headed back to the hotel for recovery in the pool. a couple of loaves of bread and BBQ chickens saw to the nutritional needs before we were back on the bus on the way to the ground.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SA1GqDgjkXY[/youtube]Game 2 was against the Smashed Crabs and I’m not sure if it was the heightened tension because of the way the Chooka was challenged back by the ‘crabs war challenge or just a brain snap, but Kenny was carded right on half time for a late tackle. He sat out his 2 minute sin bin. On his return to the field we were kicking off, and it was a cracker, so high it was coming down with snow on it. This gave Kenny a split second too long to think and he checked the guy taking the ball. The ref went to the pocket again. The second yellow was automatically upgraded to a red and the was his tournament done (Official rules say a red card is an automatic suspension for the rest of the tournament).
We challenged the ruling and had a meeting with the judiciary booked, Fano and I were going in to save the Chooks chances. Fano fronted the tournament director with negotiation skills honed through the years at countless Kangaroo court style fining sessions. The result was that the cards stood, but the automatic suspension was reduced to one match.
Last game was in the cool and wet of night. It may have been a combination of the wet turf slowing the other team down a bit or just the fact the hangovers had passed, but the boys put on a cracking display. with a minute to go scores were levelled at 5 apiece. before the game plan was remembered and a missed tackle let them in, the loss was secured.
Elated with placing right where we wanted, nutrition was seen to with a BBQ and some more hydration. That, being what goes on tour stay on tour, is about all that can be said about that.
Finals day was the time to put it on the field. First up was the Semi-final against Arnhem Barbarians. They were promptly despatched 24-0, keeping the dream alive and progressing to the finals against the Potteroo’s. There was no way the boys were going to let the prize money be another teams bar tab, so they went out and ripped it up, as best they could. There is a recording of the match here, if you’re interested.
Needless to say, the prize money was lost behind there bar and there are some sore heads leaving town today, but what a great event. I highly recommend attending, I’ll be back next year.