We had a great day out, coach trip from York over to Otley, enjoying the victory as The North put one over them Kiwis, in one of the classic upsets of all times.
Upon joining Lymm RFC back in the early 1990’s, I was playing in the 3rd team and people kept mentioning that “down” in the 4th team (the Vets) there was this guy Tony Wright who had played in The North team that had beaten the New Zealand All-Blacks on that famous day back in 1979, wouldn’t it be great to play at least one game with the guy I thought.
The years went on, and I kept playing in the 3’s with the occasional call-up to the 2’s when they were REALLY desperate, and Tony kept playing “down in the 4’s”, and then the opportunity arose !
I cant remember the exact details, but I think the 3’s was cancelled that week and the 4’s were short of their full-back and I was asked if I could play for the 4’s, away at Sandbach … of course I replied, especially when I saw Tony’s name was already down on the team sheet, here it was, the moment i’d been hoping may come my way.
I drove down to Sandbach, and met up with the team at the ground, and then the news came out… Sandbach only had 11 players and had no fullback ….. and our Captain, think it may have been Mally Pritchard but I can’t remember exactly (as he pailed into insignificance to the news that was coming), said “Sorry Oz, Sandbach only have 11, can you play for them to even up the teams ?” and pointed me towards their captain to go and have a chat with.
To say I was gutted was putting it mildly, but at least i’d be able to play against Tony Wright I thought !
We played the game, and to be fair, Tony did naff all in the first half, but he got the ball in the 2nd half near the half way line and ran straight at me and I thought “Right, here you go Mr. Wright, feel this as I lowered by left shoulder and pushed off with my feet to make the tackle.”
“S**t, where’s he gone ?” I thought as the 50 yr(ish) old side-stepped me (30yr ish) and left me for dead, but I did manage to ankle tap him and he went crashing into the grass and was swamped by the Sandbach back row”
And that was that, the closest that I got to playing with, or tackling, the legend that is Tony Wright !!
Good on you Tony, are you playing Walking Rugby nowadays? … if so …. there’s hope for me yet.