Not that we ‘look down’ on others from the Plebs’ Table, but there they were, gathered in front of us, a sight to behold – a table or two full of referees!

I could hardly contain my thoughts – I would have a ‘captive audience’ of those vital officials to expound to when I rose from the high stool at the Plebs’ Table to answer the call of our current President to be ‘guest speaker’ after lunch at what was the Past Presidents’ annual luncheon gathering. The referees were there prior to their own dinner later that evening.

My companions at the Plebs’ Table listened with due seriousness and attention to what might I should say to the referees and approved of recalling the comment of the great Welsh international Jonathan Davies, who said of rugby: “I think you enjoy the game more if you don’t know the rules…Anyway, you’re on the same wavelength as the referees…”

I wasn’t too sure whether they’d appreciate that so I added the comment of Ron Atkinson, the former English soccer manager and player: “The ref’s pocket is like a toaster… every time there’s a tackle… up pop’s a yellow card…”

Anyway, they took it in good spirits!

I’d made sure to speak after they’d had lunch and a few ‘imbibers’, not before lunch. Wise man me, previous experience in other circumstances! And I did make the point that they, like journalists of whom I am one, have something in common – they must achieve fairness and balance, if not objectivity!

It was, as always, a good lunch with enjoyable company and, though I had to limit my wine intake prior to speaking, I was copiously provided with sufficient by my Plebs’ Table companions thereafter!

I did try to keep speaking brief and to the point… explaining the difference between brevity and verbiage by pointing out that the Lord’s Prayer has 66 words, the 10 Commandments 179, the famous Gettysburg address 286 and the EU Regulation on the sale of cabbage – 26,911 words. There wasn’t any cabbage at the lunch, we’d never have read our way through it!

The Past Presidents were resplendent, a great gathering of well-dressed ‘Well men’ and blazers looking positively spiffing…. One gentleman at the Plebs’ Table said he hadn’t worn his blazer since 1978 – when it last fitted – and he’d wear it again when it fitted again!  Guess who?

Barnhall were the visiting team and their club officials were also resplendent in their blazers. From their ‘top of the league table’ place, there was some fear as to what would happen to the Well on the field of play, but former Presidents of our club told me that there could be a surprise. There was and nearly a big one because the Well played to the highest standard we’d seen this season, so it was acclaimed from the spectator terrace. Indeed, but for the wind which blew a Barnhall kick against an upright where it fell fortunately for them into their own hands at the line, but not for the Well and one throw-in, taken awry also by that bloody wind, there could have been that major surprise.

Unfortunately, we lost again on a 26-20 score and, though getting a bonus point, the teams above us won their matches and now we are faced with a sizeable points gap between us at the bottom and those above us. Disappointing and particularly for the team which put in a great effort.

But, as Sir Thomas Browne wrote – “To believe only in possibilities is not faith, but philosophy…” Perhaps we should be philosophical in these troubled times, for while we have faith in our team doing its best always and hope for possible wins and as they did their best against Barnhall and will do for the rest of the season without doubt, we can philosophise too – about the great club we have at the Well, about the difficulties which have been overcome in the past and will, with determination, be in the future… What we must have is belief in the club…..

So let’s be positive…..

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