It was Halloween weekend, and we weren’t disappointed… small pitches, confusing field markings, dodgy decisions, drawn out schedule, variable game times… so you can’t say the Hookers didn’t get into the spirit of the occasion! Probably the biggest shock of all was that the Mini’s were able to field a team at all, with the BSN school holiday in full swing, we turned up for the Jan van Burg tournament two players short of a Halloween party!

The Dukes kindly loaned us two second row players for our first game against DIOK, The 3-J’s (Jacob, Jamie and Joseph) doing the damage up front and attacking fullback Archie side-stepping his way to a couple of tries for a comfortable 5-0 win.

Now it was time to get your popcorn and drinks ready for the horror show against the Dukes (1)… Over-confident and with little passing, the Mini’s tried to bulldoze their way through a well organized Dukes defence. Joseph eventually found his way through to levelled the scores at 1-1 but the Mini’s continued with the ‘passing is for losers’ attitude in the second half and two breakaway tries from one of the Dukes fast centres, posted the Mini’s first loss off the season… a well deserved one mind you!

After a dressing down between games, the Mini’s eventually started to get their passing game going, with Henry and Andre feeding the ball to the wings from the breakdowns. They now looked a different team… Jack scored a great team try on the right wing from a turned over scrum and new player Yann, on his rugby match debt, scoring a couple of tries as the Mini’s dismantled Rotterdam 8-0.

Henry has to run it in!

New player Yann scoring on the wing!

Finishing second in their group, the Mini’s played group 2 winners the Duke (2) in the semi-final. Our full-back Archie had taken a bit of a knock, so we were down another player, luckily Rotterdam supplying us with 3 players, which in hindsight probably wasn’t the best choice seeing we had just run them ragged!

This was a cracking topsy-turvy affair; the Dukes took the lead first from some rather loose defending, before driving runs from our forwards to put us 3-2 up. The Dukes now put our backs under pressure in the second half going 4-3 up… a couple of try saving tackles by Jamie stopped them running away with the game.  Having taken the lead, the Dukes were now under big pressure, conceding penalties in and around there own 22 but were helped by the referee who obviously didn’t understand the offside rules.  A try by the Mini’s late in the second half saw the game tied at 4 all. So it was extra time and golden try for a place in the final.

Nicolas clearing out of the breakdown

Early in extra time the Dukes turned the ball over in their 22 under pressure and a long defensive kick down field saw them run a try from an offside position. Although it wasn’t the best way to finish the match but congratulations to the Dukes for a great game, in what would have been a worthy final! The Dukes (2) went on to win the tournament and the Mini’s contested HRC for 3rd place and a little bit of silverware!

Now down to 8 players and with HRC players also dropping like flies, we decided to play the game under ‘Benjis’ rules! Hey, we had played on ‘Benjis’ sized pitches all day, so why not? A 9 a-side game with 3 man scrum… just like the good old’e day! The Mini’s control the game to lead 2-0 right up until the last two minutes, when they completely switched off, allowing HRC to score two quick tries. So it was golden try again! This time, the Mini’s quickly settled the matter to take third place and a trophy. To say this was a long day would be an understatement!

Squad: Andre, Archie, Jack, Jacob, Jamie, Joseph, Henry, Nicolas, Mathew, Yann

Captain: Jack

Man of the match: Jamie