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Penguins v Guy's Hospital Freshers XV - Oct. 2014


(Terry Gibson's "Retirement Game")          4th October 2014             Honor Oak Park

This fixture was hanging in the balance until dawn broke on the 4th of October.  Incomprehensible machinations had seen the kick-off time moved from 1430 to 1600 to 1200 in the previous 24 hours.  Tom Jackson, unruffled as ever, miraculously assembled the Penguin team by the appointed hour.  Even more miraculously the Freshers all got out of bed before noon.  That would never have happened in the 20th Century.
The Penguins won the toss and elected to bat. Riaruidh kicked high, Johnny Youngblood caught the ball and battle was joined.  Ferocious rucking saw the Penguins gain an early advantage with Charlie Pugh and Kolin White to the fore, partners in adversity as they were 30 years before.  The Freshers were rocked back, initially conceding that agility, fitness and speed could not match the awesome physical presence of Terry Gibson and Chris Howell.  The Penguins went over for an inevitable early score.     
The Freshers responded with determined alacrity, pushing the ball wide and stretching the Penguin forwards.  Geraint Thomason, unaccustomedly playing at Number 5, and Duncan Austin, obviously slotting in at 7, strove manfully to cover the ground.  The rejuvenated Freshers were now unstoppable, however and Mike Toogood went over in the corner.  The game ebbed and flowed as fortunes changed, with each side scoring freely.  Eventually, the Penguins' seemingly inexhaustible supply of replacement players told.  The gallant Freshers were eventually overwhelmed, but went down fighting.  On the stroke of full time, Pat Gush picked up from the base of the scrum and kicked a magical drop goal from over 35 metres out.  A fitting end to a fantastic game.  Final Score Penguins 50 - Freshers 32.

Postscript:  This was allegedly Terry Gibson's 1050th, and last, game for Guy's Hospital RFC, and SkySports turned up to film the event.  He was given a rousing send off and spoke movingly at the Class of '84 dinner in the evening.  The author recalls playing in both of Terry's previous 'last game for Guy's' and fully expects to appear in the next one.


Charlie Beardmore



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