The sun was setting, the temperature began to drop and mist was creeping across the playing fields. The Sharks had just uncharacteristically lost two games in a row and were faced with the prospect of the last tournament of the year being their first with a losing record. We were tired, cold, hungover and wanting to go home.
But this was the end of a great season for the Sharks and we couldn’t go out like this. The talk of not going home losers began, the spirits rose and we ran out onto the field.
South Wales Rebellion left the field 20 minutes later on the wrong end of a 28-12 scoreline. Now that’s Shark football.
It was a great year for the Chichester Sharks. We broke records and bones. We scored and scored and scored. And we shut people out. We had a lot of fun.
If you’re up for a bit of reminiscing about 2005 read on…
The Season’s Numbers
1. The Sharks scored a league record 719 points in 2005. That’s a lot of touchdowns. 102 if we got the extra points, 119 if we didn’t (it’s fair to say we missed quite a few PATs so it’ll be somewhere in between).
2. Unsurprisingly, a fair number of them went to Pete (Steel) – and usually on a Post pattern! I think Pete might have mentioned he had over 60 TDs this year in domestic and international competition.
3. I think I had 6 or so. (c’mon, i play Center!)
4. The Offense averaged 21 points per game – the best in the league.
5. The Defense was terrific this year, conceding a total of 325 points, an average of 9 points per game. Coupled with the O’s output, it was the D’s strong play that helped us to 26 wins.
6. The Sharks played in all 8 league tournaments this year – the most by any team – taking in the playing fields of Horsham, Southampton, Barnstaple, Leicester, Eastbourne and of course the green, green fields of home, Chichester.
There was also the small matter of the NFL Kickoff tournament in Loughborough in October. A shiver (see, you learn something new everyday) of Sharks made their way north and came home again with 4 wins out of 4 in their…er…gills (pockets).
7. The Sharks finished the season with perfect records in 3 tournaments – Chichester (3-0, Feb), Barnstaple (5-0, Sept) and Loughborough (4-0, Oct)
8. What are the odds of the ball hitting you in the knackers in a flag game? Probably not high. How about twice? Forget that, how about 3 times in one tournament?? Those of you in attendance at Eastbourne this year would have seen Ben (Pulleybank) perfect the art of picking up firstdowns by the method known as the Bollockgrab (TM). The accompanying yelp and whimper is optional.
9. Speaking of Ben. How many times can you break your fingers in one season?
10. Rumours that I shall be dragging around an IV drip attached to my calves during the summer tournaments are strictly unfounded.
11. The Sharks were getting like Chelsea this season (OK, not quite) with our multi-national team, following the addition of Canadian Shawn (who is from Canada). He joins our other ‘overseas’ players, Felix (Germany), Justin (Hell) and Neil (Scotland). Talking of Scotland, how many Sharks suddenly discovered they had Scottish ancestors just so they could wear kilts to Neil’s wedding??
Quote of the Season
13. On hearing that they must play under the name ‘Thespians’ (in honour of Chichester’s theatre heritage), members of our rookie team put up this argument…
“Thespians?! Why do we have to be called the Thespians?”
“Because you do”
“Why can’t we be called something else? What are baby Sharks called?”
State of Reffing
14. It’s not an easy job and hats off to all those that volunteer to ref (or are volunteered!). We’ve had some great reffing in some games – kudos to Mr Dayle Kirby for one – and some truely shocking calls (no names mentioned). Let’s hope we can raise the level for the 2006 season.
15. One other thought on reffing, I still chuckle now at the image of our Beloved Chairman going absolutely bloody mental during a play in which a false start call was missed. I didn’t think he had it in him. Scary.
16. Does anyone know how this ‘rivalry’ started?? The league forum and the sidelines at matches are filled with jibes and p*sstakes, questionning of sexuality and the friendless of each others mothers. How did it all begin? I blame Nick (Watson) and Jut (Handley). Oh and Merlin, aka Jaimie (from the Babs). I think its some kind of sexual thing. Best leave them to it.
17. Or maybe its just because the Barbarians still haven’t beaten us in a COMPETITIVE game… 😉
18. Welcome back to football Sean (Scutt), the secondary missed you.
19. Hello, Goodbye and Good Luck Kev – The Reverend Kev was as entertaining off the field as he was quick on the field. He’s off to make his name in Kitted football now and is probably still working on the terms of his NFL contract in his head while he lines up to play…
20. Welcome to the world mini-JP. Almost as big as his father, we should have another WR ready for the 2008 season.
21. Barbarians, you still haven’t beaten us 😉
22. Welcome back the running game in 2005! i think it was in the 2nd half of a game in June sometime.
23. Andy (Ifould), sponsored by Duct Tape, the most banged up Safety in the league is still reeling in those picks. He may wobble but he won’t fall down.
24. Congratulations Julian (Simms), for not being ejected from a game in 2005!
Big up the Euro-Sharks
September this year saw three Sharks head to Helsinki to take on Europe’s finest in the 2005 Senior Flag Euro Championships. Pete Steel (WR), Nick Watson (QB) and Justin Handley (LB) were part of the Great Britain Lions squad that took the Bronze medal in a close fought game against Austria (21-20).
They started off with a tough game, losing 32-27 to Germany, but recovered to beat Sweden (20-18) and Italy (27-26). That gave them a place in the semi-final against France, but the french were too strong running out 27-12 winners over the Lions.
France went on to win the European title, beating Italy into Silver, while the Lions took Bronze over the Austrians.
Well done to all three Sharks and all those involved in the Lions squad.
The Sharks are dead, long live the Sharks!
We’ve come to a bit of the end of an era at the close of the 2005 season. After 4 years playing for the Sharks, both Nick (Watson) and Jut (Handley) are leaving to resume playing kitted football.
Nick is off to take a pummeling at the Sundevils and Jut is going back to school to learn how to read and to do some pummeling of his own at the Brighton Tsunami.
Both have been instrumental to the success of the Sharks O and D over the years and both will be missed (only in the making up the numbers sense, mind you, it’s not like we needed them 😉 )
So where does this leave us? Gawd knows. My suspicion is we’ll have a slightly different look next year and dare I say it, maybe a running game. I have my new boots ready, the No.34 shirt is hanging in the wardrobe, I’m ready to run…
Happy New Year all, see you on a playing field somewhere in 2006