14 sets of smelly battered armour and helmets were lined up in the changing room after the match. All 14 had some sort of damage to them that had happened during the match. A loose strap here, a missing pad there, all dented and stretched, to prove just how physical the match had been.
One large set sat alone, blooded with the name Wing and Prayer, just visible through mud and blood stains. The helmet, or what was left of it, caved in, blood stained, lining hanging loose; the armour had at least two slates missing. Someone had hand written a quick note R.I.P next to it, and a single flower was propped up next to it.
The coach was getting used to this after every match: the same hand written note and same flower. Of the 44 matches the team had now played, they had seen 21 deaths; someone in the back room staff had worked out that was a 47.7% death rate; no wonder they drew a crowd, nothing drew a blood bowl crowd like the chance of death. Something wasn’t right, the coach knew the Gnoblars would come (they only wore what they did to keep the authorities happy) and go but it was the ogres who were a dying race. He smelt a rat.
As for the game, the ogres had managed to somehow come up with a draw; their first drive almost came up fruitful, but a stray lighting bolt put a stop to that. They were able to stop the orcs from scoring, although there was a bit of nuffle luck when the orcs just couldn’t pick up the ball with the end zone in sight. Second half, orcs scored, driving the ogre back and scoring under the posts. Nuffle was then kind, with a short kick giving Not Giving Up the Ball he linked with Inspired for a beautiful throw down the pitch; he did stumble but ended up in the end zone making it 1-1. From that point it was a fight to finish. With Gnoblars and ogres leaving the pitch, it was left to the chosen few to stop rampaging orcs. And it came down to the final inches, the Gnoblars surrounded the Orcs who were just yards from the end zone , just hoping for a slip or a trip. Then it happened: Gold Star just put out her foot, the orc went over and the draw was done.
Despite the draw, the coach was convinced something was not right, with the 5 KOs and 6 injuries (and not causing even a slight dent in the other team), it just didn’t add up. So he took a spare body armour and helmet, placed it on tackle dummy and tapped it with his hand. The armour shattered and helmet fell apart.
The coach shocked stormed off, he was looking for answers and wouldn’t give up till he found them.