Previous entry Next entry

Michael’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 27 Jul 2008

Location: Southampton, UK

MapThe end of July there was only one thing on my mind – taking the Southampton Titans to championship glory and winning the ARUK Southern Division Premiership. Having missed a couple of games due to being back in Oz for Jaime’s wedding, I was keen to get back into the swing of things, and get some momentum and regularity back into the team. By all reports, training had been ‘lack-luster’ at best in my absence. Then again, it is rarely a polished, well-oiled machine, but at least it took place! The last round of the season saw us beat last year’s champions, the Bournemouth Demons by 50-odd points. The team played well, and dominated all day aside from a patch in the 3rd quarter.

The game was a bit of an anti-climax, as the following week we were to repeat the performance, this time in Southampton for the Semi-Finals. Another beautiful day in Southampton for a Titan’s home match (this year certainly made up for the atrocious conditions of the home games last year) and the Titans, despite finishing second on the table, we’re given the luxury of the early game. Disposing of Bournemouth easily by an almost identical score-line to the previous week, the team were starting to fire on all cylinders, with almost too much talent to get everyone a solid run on the park, and coaching was getting too hard.

With training stepping up from Wednesday nights to both Tuesday and Thursday nights, I was getting worn out with all of the ferry travel and rushing around after work, then eating take-away, or Walkabout meals, while waiting for the ferry back home. But training was getting better and better, and despite not being with 12 goals in our two matches against Sussex this season, the boys were confident that we could turn the tables and get a win in the Grand Final. Of course, their less than impressive semi-final win over Chippenham added fuel to that notion.

We trained hard through the week again, and with a pretty full squad ventured to Brighton for one of the warmest days of the summer – if you can call it that. We jumped out of the block and at quarter time were up 42-3. The second quarter was a stalemate, and in the third the Swans got a few back. With Stroudy having done his hammy in the opening minutes of the game, he sat on the sideline coaching and I tried to do as much from the field as I could – a situation I hadn’t been in all year. With the difference back to 25 at the final change, we came out and slotted the first two of the quarter in a matter of minutes and the game was over. Big Laz managed to kick 11 for the day, securing the B&F for the game, as well as the league B&F at the presentations later in the evening.

It was sad to see a few of the lads head off to Europe the night after the game, but they were here to travel and see Europe, not play Aussie Rules which they could do back at home. In honesty, I probably would have gone as well if Cadel Evans had of got up in the final time trial and was going to win the TDF, but as he was in second place, my decision was made for me. When we finally made it back to the Walkie, the back section was cordoned off, drinks were already on ice (beer, Champagne and shots) and the jumper I had given Lyall was framed sitting the corner. The ‘Reserved for Champions” signs was a great touch too. Obviously, partying went wellllll into the night, with us drinking at the bar till 6 am, 4 hours after closing time!