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London Gibraltar's first game abandoned

London Gibraltar RFC did not get of to a good start. Our first encounter with the Sharks, comprised of Antipodean flair was disappointing to say the least.

The tone was set from the off, when Marco Cirillo turned up looking a bit worse for wear from the previous night's school disco. Our guest star player Dave had just stepped off from a 6 hour flight, from Washington, unsure as to whether it was night or day.

The lovely surroundings of Putney did not deter the attention from the muggy wet day that would only benefit our rather heavy and unhealthy looking team.

After finally finding the location of the ground we were abruptly summoned to play on pitch 4, where the Sharks were showing off their handling skills and stretching exercises. The Gibraltar side merely had enough time to put their boots on and run onto a sodden pitch with a lovely drizzle to lighten the mood.

Despite the odds the mood was high and Gibraltar looked like they were ready to take on the world, or maybe just the mighty Sharks, for now at least.

The start of the game was marred with persistent offences by the Gibraltar side as they became accustomed to the rules of Touch, which had only been learnt through a quick rundown in Declan's car. Declan incidentally is one of the honorary Gibraltarians, who was recently over in Gib to visit friends who are currently on deployment there. The persistent fouls called by the rather biased, Kiwi, referee was taking its toll on the otherwise unbreakable defence.

The Gibraltar players, all experienced rugby players were beginning to lay into the opposition with a bit more aggression than what is allowed within a normal game of touch. This was making the opposition a little bit on the angry side, this was reflected by their mud slinging, which only increased as the first half progressed. All this despite the fact they were winning quite comfortably with two tries, conceded through some fine tackling by Marco Cirillo and the gentle pace of Toby Culshaw also honorary Gibraltarians, through association.

The first half was ended by a controvertial shoulder tackle on the wind up merchant of the team, being myself Mr Azopardi was giving as much as he was getting on the verbal aspects of the game. This led to the uncalled for tackle that resulted in one of the mouthy, Sharks being sin binned.

This event marred the end of an eventful first half. The second half began with an early try to the Sharks, however the Kiwi Referee began to lose his patience on the two sides inability to shut up and play the game in a manner equal to the timid nature of touch rugby. The result of the continued mud slinging resulted in yet another shoulder tackle by the Sharks. This was the final straw for the ref, who simply unslung his whistle from his neck, and headed for the beer tent. Game abandoned due to too much aggression in a game of touch rugby, that should involve no aggression, at all. The game was unfortunately given to the Sharks as they were the team with the most points. Unfair but a result for the Gibraltar side, as everyone was now on their third wind.

The decision was met with hilarity and wonder as to why such a brash decision was made.

We all put the experience down to inexperience and made a quick dash for a couple of rewarding beverages. All in all a good day out, with plenty of anecdotes and good cheer. Not bad considering we only found out of our participation in the league, four days ago.

Next week brings together the 3 KG Legends against London Gibraltar. We all hope the weather holds out and certain player’s tempers.

Next week’s match will be attracting the participation of 3-4 Gibraltar players. This means that it is possible that all the players on the field will be Gibraltarian. Our honorary Gibraltarians, however play a defining role in the team, we look forward to their continued participation and seeing some of their silky skills, especially Damian Kerr's, jaw dropping, side steps.

For those of you who may know of friends or family of Gibraltarians who may be interested in taking part, please feel free to forward my email address: as we welcome anyone wishing to try their hand at this exciting and social sport.

Check London Gibraltar's progress in the League.

Next week a full match report with profiles of a star player, watch this space.

Pictured Declan Gaule, our mad Irishman

Touch Rugby Rules


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