From the Saracen Press
Saracens/Saints Saga not Soured by Saturday Skirmish
Posted on 2001-06-06 by Gavin Schafer
If you happened to attend the fourth annual Saints/Saracens match-o-rama this past Saturday, you were no doubt witness to a look of amazed bewilderment worn by those wearing the green, white and black.
I would imagine it be the same expression sported by the first salesperson to sell a Pontiac Aztec. But as ugly as that vehicle is, it pales in comparison to the combined division record of 0-4 we earned on the weekend in what I've learned is a match-up with a very deep rooted history.
The story starts way back with the Barbarians RFC, the original rugby team for Calgary, Alberta. Apparently tired of numerous inter-squad games, where no doubt the biggest guy got to choose his team with the fastest backs and if any one had a problem with it he'd bust their chops before taking their girlfriend, it was realized that sufficient numbers existed for more than one team.
In 1958 two sides emerged in a young Cow town, the green and white clad Saracens and the Saints in red and white. Reminiscent of the medieval era Crusades, which saw Christian armies battling the northern Arabian tribes because someone called someone else a poopy-head, the two sides were instant rivals. Though the setting for their battles was no longer amidst the harsh conditions of some Middle Eastern desert, unless they ever played Lethbridge in 30 degrees having to field two teams out of 18 players, the two sides went at it like maybe Jerusalem was the prize.
So now it's a few years later and there are a few more teams in which to invest mal intent, but it's not too thinly spread that the Saracens can't keep alive an age old grudge. Especially the old boys like John Croft, Andy Wilde, Keith Hart (yes, the same Harts) and 2nd/3rd division coach Dan Walsh. No wonder Dan was, as the Dukes of Hazzard Intro Guy would say; “I don't know 'bout yew, but that Dan looks more ornery den a bag full 'o rattlesnakes!' Baow Naow (guitar).
He had reason to be, because while the women's team got shutout and burned through small mistakes and turnovers, the third division men's team was just plain getting burned. Missed tackles and sloppy line-outs compounded the lack of unison in the 3rds attack which somehow managed a try via Jarred Neufeld in the second half. But that was a fart in the fan compared to the Saint's ten or more, mostly converted, tries.
The second division did slightly better, but while good control was shown in the rucks and mauls, too many phases inevitably resulted in turnovers which the swift Saint's backs were quick to exploit. Several penalties for being silly sausages left one wanting to kick the ball at the ref in frustration, Mary Porter style. But it wasn't his fault; it was the line judge. He was heckling us. Alas, our two unconverted tries late in the second half pushed in by Cowboy and Shotgun were not enough to surmount the 29 points amassed by the Saints.
The fourth and final game saw the Saracen first division suffering from the same types of afflictions as the rest of the club. Overuse of the forward phases with slow ball movement to the backs saw lost possession which the opposition was quick to capitalize on. Despite great tackling by the likes of Trevor Muise and King George who tackle like men possessed on a bad day, the shifty Saint backs managed timely passes out to their elusive winger. And as James Betcher was quoted, it is hard to play when you're on defense all day. Nonetheless, Todd punched it in for an unconverted try and Brian Hill managed an Aussie rules self bounce-pass to assist his 5 points. Small victories but at the end of the day it was a clean sweep for the Saints.
So what happened? Well we could sit on the couch and talk about that all day but suffice it to say it wasn't our day. Actually, Coach Dan “Bag Full 'o Rattlesnakes” Walsh made a good point about the relationship between success and the number of players at training, but I don't remember what it is.
The most important thing is, we did win the men's beer drinking boat race and then outnumbered the Saints at their own party. I think that's why I love being a Saracen. Maybe next year the games will go our way at the fifth annual Saints/Saracens Saturday. If not we'll still out drink 'em, then we'll challenge them to a big game of hockey and see how many of them are wearing that amazed and bewildered look, holding their stick upside down and skating on their ankles. Nah, that would be bitchy. But then again, isn't that what a healthy rivalry is all about!