Ten years ago today, at around 9.30am I was sat in the bar of my beloved rugby club. You couldn’t move, there were bacon sandwiches being eaten and Guinness being drunk. The game of a lifetime was about to kick off. England v Australia in the 2003 World Cup Final.
England red hot favourites to win and in that first period, despite conceding an early try they looked comfortable. Confidence was brimming in the rugby club except for the Scot wearing an Aussie shirt.
Then the second half the heroic Elton Flatly kicking Australia back into the game, then came the doubt. Then the extra time, the penalties, and then the line out, Moody to Dawson to Catt. Dawson snipe. Back to Johnson, Wilkinson in the pocket. Destiny…
My overriding image of the players’ faces was the relief. Not joy, relief, they were not there to do anything other than win, that was their job, that was their one goal.
The rugby club erupted, beer went everywhere we danced around and drank more and more. We sang and we walked into town it was still light on that Saturday, November afternoon and we were all smashed. That day changed my life.
I had come to rugby late but I arrived at a golden era for England and this was another thing to drag me deeper and deeper into the game and the sport.
I loved that clubhouse, for that memory sticks with me vividly, everyone has moved on and the clubhouse is no more. Though the club itself is stronger than ever, I miss that dark, dirty, damn clubhouse.
At the time I was sharing a house with one of the women’s players from Chesham and lots of people ended up there. On the floors and all over the house.
10 years on and 4 house moves later. I share a house with another member of Chesham’s women’s team and bizarrely 2 members of Worcester and England’s Women’s rugby team who are now in preperation for their own World Cup.
A lot has changed in that ten years. A lot of great moments, a lot of change but that one day on the 22nd of November 2003, will always be a day I remember it will always be a day I put on a pedestal as one of the best.
I can’t wait to see what happens in 2015