ONLY two days to go until the nominations close for our poll to decide which game of 2018 was The Offside Line’s readers’ favourite.
There is a very obvious frontrunner, and while we do not want to influence people’s thinking at this point by revealing any specific matches, we will give a hint of what that particular game meant to one of our readers, with a few sentences from Dominic Ward‘s nomination.
“I admit to a degree of anxiousness in advance of this match. My previous 50+ years of torture watching these encounters – with notable highlights of 1983, 1984 and 1990 – has left a deep foreboding leading up to these games. Will I watch the game given we will lose? Do I amuse myself with some distraction activity before picking up the inevitable final score? I opted for the masochist version … to watch the match. And what a match – élan, grit and spirit. Russell at his mesmerising best. The back-row display was brutally brilliant. Complete joy at the final whistle and off to the pub to celebrate.”
We’ve also asked a few of our journalist chums for their thoughts, and as a contrary bunch they have come up with a mixed bag of suggestions.
Alan Lorimer also picked a Scotland victory over England, but at what level were the teams playing?
England led 27-10 deep into the second half … but then the unexpected as Scotland found an inner strength to fight back spectacularly.
And which international match was it that captured the imagination of our very own Stuart Bathgate?
Scotland’s celebrations at the end told their own story. The squad had waited a long time for a victory on the road, and while there was a sense of relief at the result, there was also a feeling of justified pride at an achievement which marked a significant landmark in the national team’s recovery.
Mark Palmer of The Sunday Times watched all three 1872 Cup games last season, but which one stood out in his mind?
Even in the worst of the dog days that Edinburgh had been living for almost a decade prior to the arrival of Richard Cockerill, they were wont to turn it on when Glasgow came to town. Twice under Alan Solomons they won the 1872 Cup, but never did these little pockets of fire threaten to become something more substantial.
Alasdair Reid of The Times couldn’t help but remind us of his playboy lifestyle.
There are few better places to watch a game of rugby than Toulon’s Stade Mayol. The Mediterranean shimmers in the background, super yachts bob in the nearby marina, and the home side glistens with some of the biggest names in the sport.
Whereas Stevie Scott of The Courier is a far more down-to-earth sort of fellow.
The reason it’s my favourite game is it was just a mad, enjoyable, fluctuating, mistake-filled game of rugby. It was club rugby at its very best. I must do about 50 pro games a year, and you get kind of inured to a certain standard of rugby. This obviously wasn’t up to that standard, but it was much more exciting than any pro game or international game I’ve been at this year.
Colin Renton saw some cracking games in the Premiership but one particular Edinburgh derby stood out for him.
The clock had ticked a long way past 80 minutes and the away defence held firm in the face of constant pressure. Then the the home pack shunted their opponents backwards and earned a penalty try that snatched victory. It was intense, enthralling and physically draining – and that was just for those watching from the stand!
Reader David McAdam takes a big interest in how Scotland develops our next generation of players and the national academy set-up.
After 80 minutes of free-flowing attacking rugby that showed everything positive about the blueprint for Scottish rugby, the game finished 45-45, with both sides scoring 7 tries. That day I glimpsed the future. It was joyous.
All these nominations will be published in full on Monday (Christmas Eve), and there is still time to get your selection in. Simply email 200 words (approximately) to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submitting entries is Saturday.
Whether you enter a nomination or not, you will then have a chance to vote in the actual poll. We will publish a shortist of 10 on Monday along with details of how to vote, and the final choice will be revealed on Hogmanay.
Scotland women winning in Dublin was the sort of backs to the wall victory that has defined Scottish Rugby through the years. A pack that was totally out-muscled, but defended as if their lives depended on it. Added to that, Chloe Rollie’s lung bursting try was as good as anything seen from Duhan van der Merwe or Niko Matawalu.