Paris COCKATOOS vs ANTONY BLUES
02/04/2022 – Championnat de France 2021/2022 / 2021/2022 French Championship – Karl ROBSON
Round 6 of the Championnat de France saw the Antony Blues take on the ladder leading Paris Cockatoos out at the plaine de jeux Mortemart in the Bois de Vincennes in the east of Paris. A last minute cancellation of the original field booking at the normal ground at Stade de la Grenouillère in Parc de Sceaux lead to much uncertainty as to whether the match could go ahead with an initial date change to the Sunday not being possible and another later date not available due to a busy end of season calendar and the public holidays in May. As a result the match was played on Saturday as scheduled but at the ‘traditional’ home ground of the Paris Cocks, the Bois de Vincennes.
With both teams undermanned due to these last minute changes and covid impacts sidelining Cockatoos coach Steven ‘Trolley’ TROLLOPE, Cockatoos team manager Brad GEDDES and Cockatoos french national team midfielder Julien ‘Dags’ DAGOIS in the lead in to the match, a 10 man Paris Cockatoos team took on an 11 man Antony Blues team. The Blues got off to a good start kicking with a strong wind, kicking an early goal from a clearance before the game tightened up. The Cockatoos had a strong run of the play but were unable to impact the scoreboard with a number of behinds and misses before an exchange of goals led to a close quarter time margin with Cockatoo Sean ‘Porno’ BARKER snapping an excellent goal from the pocket.
The second quarter saw the Cockatoos get off to a very quick start with 3 goals kicked in quick succession in the first five minutes with Callum D’SOUZA starting to put his mark on the midfield contest and Andrew ‘Senko’ SENKANS, back from Mali for a couple of weeks and out of seeming footballing retirement, starting to take strong marks in the forward line. Steven RYAN continued to provide a strong marketing target up forward for the Blues in an unfamiliar forward role seeing him reunited with Paris Cockatoos founding coach Andrew ‘Swadda’ UNSWORTH deployed at fullback in an equally unfamiliar role for him. A massive thanks to Swadda for coaching for the day in Trolley’s absence. A head knock to Steven RYAN saw the blues lose some of their structure and the Cockatoos capitalised to take a 23 point lead into half time off the back of a 5 goal to 1 quarter.
With both teams tiring and the wind still blowing strong, the final two quarters turned into a war of attrition. Steven RYAN came back onto the field to help Antony continue to keep up the rotations with Dasun and Cyril holding their own in the midfield for the Blues and causing the Cockatoos issues. Strong rebound from Nicolas LEVEQUE from fullback was also allowing the Blues to keep repelling the toos attempts to put the game away.
Various niggling injuries to Cockatoos Thomas ‘Zeze’ AZEMARD (head knock), Sean BARKER (head knock) and Clément ‘Bobby’ BOUCHET (ankle) saw the Cockatoos team struggling to keep 9 players on the field in the second half of the game. A massive effort from Jean ‘which one of you ladies is single’ ROSADO to run out the game, having been drawn out of retirement at the age of 39 at the start of the season. Jean also supplemented a weakened Cockatoos ruck division with usual ruckman Babacar SALL (broken hand) currently out and his backup Wesley ‘Snipes’ DA SILVA unavailable. The massive efforts across the field allowed the Cockatoos to hold out and match the Antony Blues around the contest and on the scoreboard, slowly drawing away to eventually run out 35 point winners. Thoughts are with Antony Blue, and former Paris Cockerels premiership player, Brice BOURNAZEL, who suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury with 1 minute remaining in the game which required an ambulance.
A great win in trying conditions which has seen the Cockatoos mathematically qualify for the finals series beginning in May in first place of the north division with a game still to play. Next up for the Toos is a derby against the Paris Cockerels on the 14th of May. For the Blues, the home and away season is now complete and they will await the derby result to see if they qualify for their first final’s series having marked the 2021/2022 season with their first win.