This year’s National Championship would take place in Medway Kent, the Crushers were keen to take part but not so keen on 430 mile journey. Unlike previous year there would be only four teams taking part in the shield, as opposed to the normal six. It was pointed out that we had a one in four chance of winning the shield but judging the opposition I’m not so sure the bookies would agree.
Helping out team Crusher would be, ex-Gloucester and GB player/coach, Darren ‘Daz’ Ransome. First up on the Saturday would be Burn, playing with only one substitute the we felt confided that we could secure the victory. By the end of the first quarter, both teams came in at nine all with some nice rugby been played by the Crushers. After such a good start the wheels fell off a bit with Burn taking a ten point lead, though Michael was confident that they were still there for the taking. With renewed vigour the Crushers forced turn over after turn over, closing the ten point deficit and at one stage went three ahead. It was nip and tuck till the end of the game with Burn eventually running out the winner by only two points.
The second game against a full strength, quick and functional Yorkshire would be a much tougher test. Their pace and pinpoint passing was just too much for the Crusher resulting in a 62 – 37 victory to Yorkshire.
The final game of the day would be against the Hawks, again the Crushers felt confident they could snatch a win, since the Hawks only beat Burn by a couple of points. The Hawks, not as strong Yorkshire, still had a very good squad, two of whom would go on to win best in class. By the end of the 2nd quarter we were only six points behind, not insurmountable by any manor of means, but then the Hawks class and fitness levels showed and eventually beat us by thirteen points.
On the final day we would up against Burn again for the 3rd/4th playoff spot and the Crushers were keen to exact a bit of revenge for their two point loss the day before. Whether it was the exertion of the previous day, the Crusher just were not clicking as they had done before the previous games, with the result we went into the 2nd quarter three points down. The rest of the game went on in the same fashion with Burn extending their lead to six points at half time, by the end of the game Burn were the worthy winners 47 – 35. A bit of a disappointing to our first Nationals in a few year but they were reasons to cheer, some of the Crushers play was outstanding, especially in the first game against Burn, our very own Gemma took best in class and Michael took MPV. All that’s left is to congratulate Crash for winning the cup and Yorkshire for winning the shield and a huge thanks to Daz for pitching in to help us out.