Crowborough Vintage XV vs Wooden Spoon Vets

MEMBERS of Wooden Spoon Vets, Crowborough RFC and old boys of Mayfield College (all over-35), convened on the hastily arranged Vizards artificial pitch, after a spell of bad weather hit East Sussex, and the Crowborough groundsman prorogued use of the pitches at Steel Cross. Fortunately, we avoided an abandoned game and 0-0 draw, which Gregor Townsend would, in retrospect, have chosen and plan B was implemented by World Rugby thanks to The Judd School.


Mayfield College old boy and former Wasps player, John Abadom, kicked off the game. However, in the first contact Wooden Spoon Vets lost their skipper, James Crouch, with a knock to the head. Some argued this helped the team play a more expansive running style that would stretch the slightly younger opposition.

With this strategy embedded, Wooden Spoon took an early lead through a Sam Law try, and then they realised they had another 60 minutes to play.

At this point, 6’1” open side flanker and glory hunter Robin Callaway suggested playing seven man rugby to give the backs a rest. This unusually good idea paid off and he scored the next try.

Wooden Spoon on the attack in the match against Crowborough RFC

Over the top

Sadly growing in confidence and not height, Wooden Spoon lost a number of line outs which called for drastic measures. The team resorted to the WWI Armistice Tour line out call, ‘Over the Top’.

Debutant Spoon Vets, Chris Seely and Simon Beadle, linked well and restored a good forward to back relationship by breaking free in midfield. Matt Connolly joined Beadle in open space with just the full back to beat.

With Connolly’s catch average in the low teen percentile, Beadle did the right thing and held onto the ball. Sadly, he was held up just short of the line.

At the ensuing ruck, Lord Booth picked up the ball. He drove the last few inches over the line, but the opposition held him up.

At the end of the first half, legendary referee Graeme Pratt, was keen to get in on the action. He decided to take on the 17 stone blindside, Nick Murphy, who at 38 was half his age.

In this collision unsurprisingly, Graeme came off second best. There was widespread concern as he laid lifeless on the floor. It was with much relief though, that he got to his feet and immediately called half time. Before one the ARs (both wearing no.9) took control of the whistle instead.

Referee, Graeme Pratt, after being knocked down by Nick Murphy


In the second half with the scoreboard ticking over nicely fly-half Andy Daly, fresh after recently completing a 100 mile marathon challenge for Wooden Spoon, was keen to encourage his back line to run the ball from anywhere on the pitch. He was mostly on his own, and we think he scored a try in the second half, but with the referee’s blurred vision and players’ fading eye sight nobody could confirm this.

The final, and most outstanding Spoon try came from Wooden Spoon legend and local Sevenoaks winger Simon Wright. He spotted debutant Darren Winspear heading (for his post match supper) in the wrong direction (towards Tunbridge Wells). Wright redirected him, received the ball and finished off with a spectacular sparrow dive.

The score against Crowborough RFC is unknown as rugby was the winner

Thankfully for the reporter nobody knew (or cared) what the score was, as rugby was the winner. A huge thank you to all who travelled to represent Wooden Spoon and Mayfield College and to Crowborough Vintage for the match.

We would also like to thank volunteers Sam and Ella at Tonbridge Juddians, who prepared a deliciously mean chilli with all the trimmings. A post match raffle made £660 for the charity.

The next Wooden Spoon Vets Match is vs British Army Masters on 6th December at Aldershot Stadium.

To get involved in Wooden Spoon Vets Rugby in matches across the UK and Ireland (and France in May 2020) email a short rugby CV to