The Crawshays clinched a thrilling win 64 – 67 against Dolly’s Exeter Chief’s Originals for former Bedwas, Dragons and Crawshay’s player Phil Dollman’s testimonial year. The star studded fixture was part of a superb weekend of entertainment to celebrate and raise charitable funds for Phil Dollman and his chosen charities.
The weekend started off on the Friday night with a fundraising dinner at the conferencing facility at Sandy Park, the home of the Exeter Chiefs.
Both squads were part of the dinner where supporters from both sides and corporate sponsors were entertained with rugby tales and banter from selected members of each team. Crawshay’s All Stars Team Manger, Rhys Thomas kept an eye on the squad to ensure they didn’t over indulge in the evening. His insistence that they only drank pints of lemon Gatorade (as seen above), post 7pm, undoubtedly paid dividends on the pitch the next day.
The Crawshay’s Usual Suspects Adam Black, Ian Gough, Gareth Maule and Ceri Sweeney were on form regaling their times together with Phil Dollman at The Newport Gwent Dragons. But none of them held a torch to Crawshay’s Verbal Kint, aka Nigel Meek, who had the whole crowd rocking with laughter in his enviable style of cutting banter.
After a good night sleep the squad travelled back to Sandy Park for the main event. The Crawshay’s were decked out in the unfamiliar colours of red and white but there was nothing unfamiliar about the names on the Crawshay’s team sheet. The squad was made up 11 internationals across 3 different nationalities, with the coaching and management team headed up by Phil Dollman’s former Head Coach, Steve Law and British Lion, Richard Hibbard.
The game started at a frantic pace with the Crawshay’s collecting the kick off and retaining the ball through over 50 phases of play and ended up with winger Richard Carter going over the line to take the lead 0-7.
The Exeter crowd stunned by the early blow got into full voice when the Club Mascot, The Big Chief, orchestrated an off field and on field revival hitting back with three unanswered tries to take the lead 21-7. Richard Carter and utility back Carwyn Owen Thomas then got over the white wash for the Crawshays to take their score to 17 but Dolly’s Originals kept the scoring going and the game hit half time with the score 33-17.
The crowd were treated to a spectacle in the second half. Joe Bearman rolled back the years with an incredible break and pass out of the back door to send centre Gareth Maule over to take the scores to 40-22. It then became a see saw affair with one side scoring and the other responding with Crawshay tries from Aled Thomas, Deri Mattravers, Sam Hobbs and winger Richard Carter dabbing down for his hat trick.
As the game moved into the last few minutes and with the Crawshay’s All Stars 64-60 down, former Newport RFC hooker Gary Hicks jumped on the subs warm up bike with a view to making a match winning appearance. The coaches however had other ideas and wanted to keep faith with the team on the pitch to finish the job. Hicks, undeterred, resorted to what had worked successfully for him with Newport RFC in his professional days and attempted to sub himself on. Forwards Coach Hibbard, succeeded however where former Newport RFC Head Coach, Allan Lewis, had failed and managed to stare Hicks down from the touch line and back into the replacements seats. Hibbard’s hard stance was rewarded as the Crawshay’s scored in the dieing seconds of the game to make the final score 64-67.
Here’s a brilliant video of the day’s event.
While the win was the cherry of the cake to a superb weekend for the Club, the most important thing was that we were able to support former Crawshay’s player Phil Dolman in his testimonial year and support his charities. We were honoured to be part of the weekend and we wish Phil and the Exeter Chiefs well in the forthcoming season.
Which just leaves the Sunday and there are no prizes for guessing who the last two men standing were…….
The Crawshay’s Evergreens!!