Shipwreck A tale of hard times

Another season over sadly the Black Pig failed to last the voyage foundering 4 matches short of landfall. Instead of a glorious end sailing on a silken sea ablaze like a Viking longship on its way to the halls of Valhalla it suffered the pain of the inexorable pull of the tides into the embrace of the Maelstrom to be caught in the ever increasing swirling eddies and consumed by the unforgiving sea consigned to the deep to slumber amongst the other wrecks .The Black Pig is just the latest incarnation of the  4th team in this current decade having lain dormant for a good few years in the previous one and hopefully in time will rise from beneath the waves for even the Mary Rose succeded though it took over 400 years .I trust it will not take that long for the surviving crew members will be vey very old ancient mariners.Downbeat as one feels at this time it is worth remembering  the good times of the last six years to recall the pleasure of playing in teams who spirit and companionship carried you forth whether in victory or defeat.So thanks to the captains of the period Billy Borrett , Gary Hamer and Paul Newton and all the players that donned the shirt.                                                                                       This season was a struggle from the very start despite a opening day walkover victory providing winning points for due to injuries throughout the club meant problems for the 4th team of playing numbers.Only once during the entire season did the 4ths achieve a full complement of fifteen more often twelve was a success.It was due to the good offices of the opposing teams (except one who shall remain nameless) in lending players which helped create an almost normal match as we found that the loanees were not shy in confronting the collegues in opposition. It did create some off the cuff rugby especially when Stockport made our numbers up to 13 and there were more of them than us ? .Prior to the new year despite 6 defeats the 4ths were mid table thanks to 4 walkover concessions by the opponents  but a succession of expulsions due to the number of concessions led to the scrapping of the league table and a restart in January with new fixtures in a reduced format. Even on recommencement our first game was conceded by Tyldesley however things deteriorated with postponments  .injuries and defeats putting a strain on our rapidly depleting resources causing us to start conceding matches culminating in the 4ths expulsion from the league in early March with only one on field win and that a friendly against Oldham.The requirement for captain Paul Newton to play for the 2nd for the season due a front row shortage resulted in commendably Sam Delaney (on most occasions) Gary Hamer and Gary Dunham standing in as match day captains.Paul’s subsequent horrific injury resulting in the loss of sight in one eye certainly put our travails in perspective.Despite no on field league wins the players maintained their spirit  and competitive ensuring the opposition had to earn their victories or as they say in hackneyed sporting parlance” kept them honest”.The most successful loss a” moral victory”a victory in all but name was the 19-17 defeat away at Bury where the 4ths lost playing with only 11 men v 15 for the whole of the second half conceding the vital try in the last minute of the match.Once more thanks to all who contributed playing or otherwise and stuck with it as it cannot have been an  easy ride.