And now for something completely slightly different. Our more mathematically-minded readers will enjoy this annotated journey through the key numbers behind Barbarians' rout of Beijing Tobacco.
0 number of times Ethan’s shirt has been washed this season. Let’s hope it stays that way.
0 clean sheets thus far for the Barbarians.
1 goal each for Bulus (a technically brilliant left-footed volley from the penalty spot to open the scoring), Beswick (ensuring that nobody will try to wrest the ball from him next time the Barbarians are awarded a penalty, unless Max is playing), and Sham (more on this when we reach the number 35).
1 near mass-brawl at the end of the game, par for the course when these two meet. It must be said, though, that this one was nothing like the brawl from Beavis Blackburn’s debut game back in the Hayward-Schmeeckle glory days. Mostly because it didn’t actually descend into a brawl. Anything to bring that game up though…
2 spectators flew in all the way from America to watch this game, and what a treat it must have been for them.
2 wins in 2 for the Barbarians. A scorching start
3 number of Barbarians who turned up without shinpads. Again.
6 number of times the word ‘Super’ appears in the lyrics of future chart topping song ‘Super Gid’
9 different reasons given by Carlos that Rob Skupien wouldn’t be playing. in the end, thankfully, Skupien did play and was magnificent.
18 Tobacco’s most handsome player was missing. Their football was also far less handsome as a result.
19 brutal assaults barely disguised as tackles in the last ten minutes as one side, on realising that they weren’t going to win, decided that they weren’t going to play nice any more.
35 yard strike out of nowhere from Sham to put the Barbarians 3-0 up on 65 minutes and precipitate the state of cruise control which eventually led to Tobacco’s consolation goal. Sham’s goal was a thing of beauty, an utterly majestic hit which soared almost poetically into the top corner as the sonic boom and subsequent minor earthquakes generated by the contact between the Turkmen Thunderbolt’s right foot and the ball reverberated around the greater East Asia area. The sound is alleged to have been so loud as to cause panic in Pyongyang, with reports suggesting that the Dear Leader (no, not Chairman Broady) headed for a nuclear bunker, only to emerge Sunday morning when the shockwaves had subsided.
47 small villages (population >500 000) in Hebei reduced to rubble by the shockwaves from Sham’s shit-hot strike.
57 distance in metres that Richard had to stand from the lineup in order to focus his team photo at the beginning of the game, on account of the supermassive military-grade zoom lens on his camera.
86 minutes of the game elapsed when Tobacco scored their consolation goal, a product of Barbarians ceding possession cheaply, two sloppy defensive mistakes, and a thunderous finish
127 number of times that future chart-topper ‘Super, super Gid’ was sung at the Irish Volunteer in honour of the song’s eponymous hero and his crucial role in this Barbarians victory
136 approximate combined age of Barbarians’ starting back four for this game (This is not a joke)
1292 temperature in Fahrenheit (Freedom Degrees) at which a lit cigarette burns
Man of the Match: Sonic Boom Sham
Donkey of the Week: Marwan Who else?! (it definitely wasn’t officially awarded to Tobacco)
Shampagne Moment: Richard finally taking a team photo that was in focus, meaning that the game could actually begin.