First blog of the season and I am not struggling for material to write about. Outstanding first half performances? Concerning second half displays? Some eye catching individual showings, particularly from the academy graduates? The off pitch issues…..
So much to choose from but for this piece, but I am going to go a little left field. Literally. Step forward Josh Bassett.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I actually felt a little choked up seeing Wasps’ big number eleven scoring in the corner on Friday night. First try of the evening, superbly taken, and the emotion displayed afterwards spoke volumes of the man.
For me, Josh Bassett is a brilliant example of what following club rugby is all about. I hope I am wrong, but it seems unlikely he will be capped by the national team, and consequently is probably not that well known by those who only follow the international game. Despite many ‘international fans’ possibly not knowing who he is, he has provided moments on and off the rugby pitch that matter hugely to those who follow the club game at Wasps.
I remember vividly him scoring a last minute try in a Premiership semi-final, in front of a packed stadium to send all parts of the ground into delirium. Whatever happens to the club, no one can ever take that moment away from him or those who were there to experience it.
I remember clearly, much to my children’s horror (and probably his), me jumping out the car to talk to him just after the training centre had opened and I had taken a little detour to have a nose on my way back from seeing relatives. That’s a moment that mattered deeply at that time for me because I could clearly see how excited he was to be in such a great facility, following years of broken promises. No one can take that memory away from me, whatever happens in the coming weeks.
Josh was a Wasps player when the club were playing at Adams Park. He made the move to the Ricoh Arena, stayed with the club when it became the Coventry Building Society Arena, and must have trotted out in Wasps colours with around one hundred different players over the years. Subsequently, going back to Friday evening, I cannot imagine what must have been going through his mind when the news broke on Wednesday, but you could tell what was going through his mind when he scored the first try.
This club matters to him. That badge matters to him. He is proud to be a Wasps player.
If you are reading this because you follow Wasps, have a think about what the club means to you. Have a think about those special moments, both individually and collectively, that club rugby has provided. Have a think about players like Josh Bassett who might not be appreciated at international level, but are valued hugely in the club game because of their commitment to the team. Have a think about the players at the club who despite these difficult times, went out on Friday night, put in an unbelievable first half performance, and then held their nerve when Bath inevitably fought back in the second forty, to get the rugby show back on the road.
So, with this point in mind, let’s get our show back on road against Northampton, shall we? I have no idea what is going to happen in the coming weeks but while I still can, I am going to get to the ground to support the players who create moments for me that live long in the memory.
I urge you to do the same.
WE ARE WASPS.