Sunday, November 07, 2010

Boys will be Boys.

I have something in common with Bjorn Hurrell, the newspaper vendor who delivers newspapers to MPs, and takes a pint in the Sports and Social Club in the House of Commons. We have both been attacked (allegedly) by Labour MP, Paul Farrelly. But in my case, I readily admit that I'd asked for it, and that Paul had shown admirable restraint before resorting to what he'd likely claim as self-defence.

It was the occasion of the first ever rugby match between the National Assembly for Wales XV and the Lords and Commons team. I was captain of our team, playing at blind side flanker, while Paul was scrum half for the Westminster team. The game was played near Twickenham, and was an h'orderve before the England - Wales game later in the day. Paul very quickly realised that my legendary pace was just that - legendary - and that he could run around the blind side with impunity. So I tripped him a few times, and then by way of variation, body checked him - in an 'accidental' sort of way, looking completely innocent. Fooled the ref, but Paul had had enough, and launched a ferocious attack on my person. Rest of his team joined in, as did ours. Full on battle, which scattered the crowd on the touchline. Mrs D had slipped behind a tree - because she'd seen me play before and knew what to expect. Fabulous photographs with my face covered in blood - which was nothing to do with Paul, whom I don't recall landed anything of substance. A major subject of debate in the House of Commons at the time was the use of ASBOs!

I know its as well to await final details of any incident before jumping to any conclusion, but there is a 'mutual support network' amongst Rugby players - and I reckon that Paul Farrelly is 'a good bloke'. When he sought to 'correct' my dubious tackling style, I'll concede it just about qualified as self-defence - which is what he claims after this latest altercation. When Paul was asked if he'd thumped Bjorn, he said "I made sure he was not in a position to attack me any more". Sounds sensible to me.

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