Vets XV v CRAB RFC (H) by Chris Richardson – 10.02.23

St Mary’s College RFC VETS XV 35 vs CRAB RFC (Toulouse) 40

When you conjure an image of a Vet’s player, you see a round(ed) individual with a roguish smile, a few grey strands of hair or none, some are even fond of a few ales, and most have a story to regale from their former playing days. One common theme is they still have the desire to tog out “one more time”.


In late December, the club were contacted by a touring side from Toulouse (CRAB RFC) looking for a Vet’s match. These games don’t organise themselves and after some back and forth a date was secured. One thing we have learnt over the years is something always happens last minute. On this occasion it was the fault of the airline who lost the touring teams playing kit. After phone calls and frantic WhatsApp messages we had two options. A choice of Mick Flats J5 gear or the Silverbacks kit kindly offered by Lorcan B, we chose the latter. This is what makes it a unique club, somebody is always prepared to help you out.


Onto the game itself, which was a pleasure to play in, with some good flowing rugby on show with a few old stalwarts and some new vets togging out on the night. Everybody got into the flow of the game quickly and the adrenalin was soon flowing from playing contact rugby again. St Mary’s raced head in the first twenty minutes but the telling difference was in the second half with the couple of 20 something year olds (non-Vet’s) they had. Once they had space they danced and stepped all of us old boys, in fairness you cannot defy physics and in certain cases gravity! Rumour has it Tony asked them for ID in the bar afterwards. We played a sixty-minute game and after some contentious calls it end 40-35 to the tourists. As with any Vet’s game the key is to be able to walk off the pitch in one piece, thankfully most of us did.

The night concluded with standard Vet’s hospitality, pints and pizza and presentations of club pennants. As CRAB RFC were referred to us by Trevor Brennan it was particularly poignant for them to enjoy the Centenary bar with all the past player and team photos.


Squad from the night:

C Richardson, G McConnell, C Smythy, R Litton, J Allison, J Collery, G Lloyd, A McPhillips, C Kinnear, C Tuc, E Goulding, E Dunne, O Cleary, A Fitzpatrick, S Walkin, S Lally, A Gretsa, B Holmes, & V Gibson.


A special word of thanks to Marie for her gracious assistance, Tony for hospitality in the bar (Vet’s games usually finish with a singsong), our ref Colin B; never an easy task, Rich F and Chris OC for their touchline management and finally to all the new players who played their first game for the club.

Chris Richardson