Trials and Tribulations by Richard D’Souza
On meeting me for the first time, my inherent Welshness may not be immediately obvious. Nor may it strike you like a well timed Wimbledon forehand on subsequent occasions. Nevertheless I have the great privilege to be eligible for the Principality and so it was that with a degree of post-vindaloo nervous tummy that I attended the trials match against West over 60s on Sunday the 11th July. Yes dear readers that Sunday…
The match being held in Bristol, I had travelled down the previous evening and settled into a charming 15th century inn where the landlady insisted on calling me her lover. In these modern times, I have no objection to the female party making the first move, but I did feel this was a little precipitate. After all, I had yet to enter my car registration into the hotel tablet. It seemed a wise precaution to settle into a corner seat where I would have a clear view of marauding landladies and put away a cider or two.
As all Masters hockey players know, quality fuelling is at the heart of all sporting excellence. Jonny Ray can provide a detailed nutrition guide. So I chose the venison burger with added onion rings and a large Malbec to ensure the necessary macronutrients.
The next day dawned and I was glad of the fact that the inn was only 3 miles from the UWE campus. I set off in good time to minimise stress. The plan worked well until I came to the roundabout where the A4174 meets the M4. With no hesitation I swept onto the M4 like the Assyrian upon the fold as the poet has it and in no time was on my way to Bath…after a brief circuit of 14 miles of the M4 I arrived at the ground with my pulse rate already nicely placed in the anaerobic zone.
West over 60s, although cunning and unnaturally fit, were no match for Hoci Wales. I put this down to the fact we had not one but two coaches and did a proper warm up too. It was almost like being back in the West country with Whately’s Wonders but without Major Beechener’s mystifying tactical pronouncements…
Game over it was back down the M4 to take my seat in the Stanstead abbotts village club to watch the other game that day and to avail myself of the offer on draught Heineken (fuelling is everything remember). As many readers will be English, let us pass swiftly onwards as the wounds will still be raw.
Waking on Monday morning with all the indicators of a tumultuous hangover, the best course of action seemed to be to linger in bed until the percussion section in my head had quite done. Out of the blue an email arrived saying I had made the cut and would be going to the four nations tournament in Nottingham in August. I did what any self respecting person would have done in the circumstances and made myself a very large bacon sandwich. Remember- it’s all about the fuelling..