Inkster of the Week: Henry Cleaver

Monday 7th August 2023

As well as being a pretty big presence on the rugby field, it turns out Henry Cleaver has got a fair bit of talent as a writer too! Here's his poem, putting us right in the middle to the action of the first First XV game of the year.

The first Game of the Season

Butterflies rattle around my stomach,

intensity of the game stalks me,

an army of soldiers preparing for battle,

and adrenaline like a boxer facing off against prime Mike Tyson.

Huddle -

Nervous, fizzing

changing rooms -

walking swiftly behind the captain.

Wonderful scream of bagpipes,

school sideline cheering,

huddle at halfway.

Tracking the ball through the air

as it lands in the number 8s hands.

Don't think about getting smashed -

weight and speed built up.

Rib cage.

Like being hit by a sledgehammer.

A small wisp of air escapes him.

Factory rolling corner.

A couple metres from the try line -

The ball spirals straight

and is placed over the chalk.

Southland killed us on the wing,

fullback flying through the gaps

like a hollow tip bullet.

Our mediocre passing,

fumbling the ball,

missed lineout throws,

pushed further behind them.

Faster, with more skill,

putting the pressure on us.


David had taken on Goliath.

Under the sticks once again,

giving one last attempt before conceding….