Third place

The County Cup feels like unfinished business for my younger son’s rugby team. Every year, they get so near, yet they never quite make it. Last year, they drew in the final and went out on the evil silver try rule (when it’s a draw, the team that scored first wins).

This year, they’ve been playing better than ever. Before The Tournament That Didn’t Go to Plan the previous week, they’d scored 159 tries this season and conceded just seven. Surely a team like that should win the County Cup?

Before THAT tournament, it felt, to me at least, like the County Cup already had our name on it. But after THAT tournament, it didn’t seem quite as likely. Especially as the team which had defeated us was in the semi-final too.

I’m not a massive rugby fan. In fact, I’m not a rugby fan at all. I actually don’t understand any more than the very basics of the game. I don’t know when it’s a penalty, I don’t know what it means when the ball ‘goes into touch’ and I don’t know why they have scrums, but I do know that I love watching my younger son’s team play. I always have done, right since he was 7. The team has changed a lot (possibly too much, but that’s a whole other story), but I still love that team and still feel a part of it. And I look forward to the County Cup all season.

After THAT tournament, we, and the rest of the team, were assured that my son would play the majority of the games in the County Cup, which was good news. So the entire family got up far too early on the day we altered the clocks and headed for the County Cup in the pouring rain.

Rugby is not a fair weather game. Rugby is wet and cold and muddy.

And the County Cup was wetter, colder and muddier than usual. We’re used to wind, but the wind on that day was on a whole different level. The playing conditions were tough.

Rugby, Son, Rain, County Cup

No filter, that’s all rain and wind…


The semi-final, against a Bristol team (I never understand why Bristol teams enter Gloucestershire competitions, possibly it’s because they can beat us!), was hard. They were very good. Very strong and passed brilliantly. They didn’t give our boys the space they needed to play the game.

There were injuries and there was an awful lot of very cold, very wet boys, caked in mud from head to toe.

We hung on but, just before half-time, the inevitable happened. The opposition scored.

The second half was no different and no better. The opposition hadn’t improved, but they didn’t show any signs of slipping up either. They fought every step of the way, and so did we. And they got another try. There was no coming back. No way to break through to even score a consolation try.

We were looking at a third and fourth place play-off position against our local rivals, because there’s no way they were going to beat The Team From the Other Week.

Daughter, Rain, Rugby

How wet are those waterproof trousers?!


I don’t think the boys were even disappointed. All they cared about was getting warm and dry. Basic survival trumped all thoughts of victory and defeat. Any tears were down to cold and niggling injuries. They were rubbed down with towels, bundled up in damp joggers and coats, given warm drinks and shoved into various cars with the heat blasting to warm up.

Slowly, their spirits rose. Once warmer and drier, they became their normal selves again. They were ready to get out there and WIN! They were ready to come third.

And then the news came. The local rivals, defeated as predicted in their own semi-final were too cold, too wet and too injured. They didn’t want to fight for third. They were calling it quits.

The boys should have been disappointed. They should have wanted to go out there and fight for third place. But they didn’t.

They cheered. They could go home. They didn’t have to get cold and wet again.

They would still get a medal. They’d still come third. Fair and square.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Well done on third place! I bet they were happy to get warm, clean and dry.

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    • Thank you very much! We didn’t want third place, of course, but I think they were happy with it after playing in such appalling conditions!

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  2. That is lovely and great to read that you have had a positive sporting experience. It is so horrible for them when the weather is like that but fair play to them for carrying on and trying so hard.

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    • Thanks very much! The weather really was horrific, but they did very well.

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    • Thanks very much! I must say they didn’t find it as much fun as usual as the conditions really were horrific. x

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  3. That sounds like a really really tough game and well done to them for keeping going through all the conditions. 3rd place is still great!

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    • Thanks very much! They did really well, but were relieved to get it over and done with!

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  4. Well done on third place. I do like rugby-brought up on it as a Scot, but yes it is definitely a cold and wet weather game the majority of the time!

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    • It certainly is, but that was a bad one even by rugby standards! They were disappointed not to win, of course, but on a day like that were happy to settle for third place!

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  5. I’m not surprised they were relieved to not have to play again. Sounds like they fought hard though, in horrible conditions!

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    • They did! It wasn’t easy and they certainly tried their best. It was a huge relief to be going home!

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  6. It’s great that the boys tried their hardest in their match, it’s just a shame that the other team weren’t as affected by the cold. It’s great that your son’s team got third place even if it’s because the other team didn’t want to play their second game. It’s great to see that they carried on playing as hard as they could even in the pouring rain. Thanks for linking up with me on Country Kids.

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    • Thanks very much, they certainly did their best! Always a pleasure to link up with Country Kids 🙂

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  7. Well done them on even getting out there. Third place is fab and nothing to be ashamed off. Here’s to next season!

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    • Thanks very much! Third place is very respectable, but they’re still holding out for that big win!

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  8. Your sports post are always action packed! This one is no exception! Well done for the kids for the fighting spirit! In that weather I would already raise the white flag and just go home but them they fight till the end. #countrykids

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