A Nawab’s Playground……

More rugby and more blogging with Curt Russell

Khelo coaching today at Nawab Ali Park, and this time we travelled in Khelo’s newest member of the team, RAF Spitfires donated Maruti Ecco, no air conditioning though so it was a bit warm. As usual when heading through the busy Kolkata traffic the sound of a thousand horns was overwhelming but appropriate perhaps as a welcome to the Nawab’s Playground. We passed landmark after landmark, with Victoria Memorial first then The Taj Bengal and after that Alipore Zoo. I couldn’t help but notice that we were following a skip lorry for the majority of the journey, and couldn’t help but think back to the previous day’s sights of the Howrah Dhapa and thought to myself, oh no, not another rubbish dump.

When we turned right and the lorry carried on straight a feeling of relief came over me. Nanda said that we were close to the park, but all I could see were tall buildings, surely there’s no ‘maidan’ here I thought, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The Nawab's Playground

The Nawab’s Playground

We got out of the van and walked towards what looked like an empty space between high-rise buildings. There it was a small stadium, and as we entered the stadium we could see a bright green Khelo Rugby t-shirt, enter our very own Sarfaraz ‘Tiger’ Ahmed. Already he was surrounded by lots of rugby hungry children wanting to get hold of the rugby ball in his hand.

Blues on the attack....

Blues on the attack….

Tiger kicked of his Khelo, getting the children warmed up with some games then he moved onto a lateral passing drill. But they didn’t need much warming up in this temperature which was by now reaching 38 degrees. There was very little shade in the stadium, apart from the few ‘Kadam’ trees that were overhanging the top of the seating areas. Warm up over and Tiger divided the kids into two groups to play a game of tag rugby. To save any arguments, he gathered the two captains and tossed a coin for who was going to start with the ball. The pink team won the toss and the game was off. As the pitch was bigger than at Howrah there seemed to be way more tries being scored.  And what looked like Jason Robinson side steps were very professionally adapted to the dusty surface of the stadium. As Tiger shouted last try the intensity of the game went up a gear, as neither team wanted to lose. In the end a darting run by a blue going past player after player, side stepping and jinking won the game. Party time for the blues!

After the practice had finished myself, Nanda and Tiger sat down under one of the kadam trees with a cold bottle of my favourite Calcutta soft drink, Mango Slice. We all said “lets go” at least twice but as it was so hot none of us moved an inch. Tiger was the first to move as he was off  to his next Khelo practice, these coaches deserve more than a cold Mango Slice, they need a medal!

Tiger and his lads

This is what’s called a Streak of Tigers!

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