Spit-roast Pigs, Baked Pastries, and One Pressure-cooked Atmosphere for the Win

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An intense game in front of a packed stadium.
The atmosphere at Christian Goumondie stadium this past Sunday was one to remember for a long time. Fans and players united in an overflowing stadium as two intense rugby battles between the top two clubs in the pool unfolded. When the dust settled, Sarlat's A and B teams had both sealed well-deserved victories. However, neither came easy, with Bergerac putting up a worthy fight in both games.

As promised, spit-roast pigs and baked pastries were on full show during Sunday’s prematch lunch. However, as the day wore on, it also became clear that one item had been left off the official menu—one of the finest pressure-cooker atmospheres we’ve tasted in quite a long time.

For those unfamiliar with this dish, the recipe is simple. Take one stadium packed full of rugby fans. Add a few of the league’s top players to the field. Then season with airhorns, tambourines, and other assorted noise-making devices to taste. Delicious.

Here’s how it all unfolded.

What are the boys in blue and black celebrating here? Read on and all will be revealed.

La Mise en Place: B Teams Take to the Field

Like any great dish, a little preparation ahead of the final cooking is needed. In this case, the B team game provided the perfect backdrop for the Sarlat and Bergerac supporters to get in place.

Of course, while the stands were still half-empty when the B teams took to the field, the fans present were still of the highest quality. If this wasn’t evident from the outset, it certainly became apparent just short of the eight-minute mark.

Full of energy and with no intention of letting the game end in a draw, as was the case last time the two sides met, Lucas Cousin and Jarod Millet unleashed down the left-hand side of the field. Passing the ball between themselves and evading every Bergerac attempt to bring them down, the duo carried the ball right up to the line, where Millet dove across it to finish the effort in nothing less than a try.

Lucas Cousin and Jarod Millet take the ball for a run as one Sarlat fan makes it clear that he approves.

Unfortunately for Sarlat, this all took place down the side of the field, making for a difficult conversion kick which, while close, was still a little overcooked by Matt Doyle. Making matters worse, Bergerac shortly followed up by landing a penalty kick between their goalposts, bringing the score to an almost-even 5-3.

With scoring now open for both sides, supporters’ lungs were too. This became evident during the Cousin-Millet effort, with a steady build in the ambient noise quickly ending in a crescendo of air horns, screams, and wild applause, which could be heard for miles. And this was just the beginning.

After this, scoring stagnated for the better part of 30 minutes, aside from one redeeming penalty kick where Doyle took another shot at goal, this time from a little less left-of-field. In fact, this time, he was off to the right of the posts and managed to send the ball sailing right between them, taking the score to 8-3.

The first real break in the relatively tight score finally took place just ahead of halftime. Again, Cousin found himself right at the center of the action, this time being the one to go sailing over the line.

The score was now 13-3, and Doyle, once again, found himself confronted by a daunting penalty kick, squashed right up along the side of the field and facing into a slight headwind. Unfortunately, the kick hooked a little too hard to the left, sending it flying across the front of the two posts. But Sarlat had still established a lead they could be proud of heading into halftime.

When the players returned to the field after the break, it was clear that things were starting to heat up. The crowd had visibly swollen in size as both the locals and Bergerac’s buses full of supporters began to stream in. And both teams hit the field with renewed vigor… perhaps a little too much.

This time, the first game-changing action took place right on the three-minute mark, when Sarlat’s #7 and #13, looking to regain control of the ball, took on Bergerac’s #19. This sent Bergerac’s player flying head-first into the ground, whipping the team’s supporters into a frenzy. Crys for a red card were heard around the stadium, eventually turning into a coordinated chant. The ref, obliging as always, handed one out, sideling Antoine Delmas (#13) for the rest of the game.

The resulting penalty kick saw Bergerac narrow the gap to just six points, and the whole affair more or less spelled out the tone that would follow for the rest of the day. And, while Sarlat’s B team did manage to extend its lead out once again, at one point reaching 23-6, the final result was also more or less hinted at.

This glorious try by Nico Testut early in the second half saw Sarlat extend its lead (20-6 after Millet’s confirmation).

By the end of the game, Bergerac had once again closed the gap (this time to just five points), and supporters from both sides had filled the stands. And boy were they hungry, with Sarlat having just taken the win, giving supporters from both sides something they could feel passionate about.

Le Plat Principal: A Teams Take their Turn

All the elements for greatness were now in place. Fans had packed the stadium, filling the stands and sprawling out around the boundaries. Many were undoubtedly well marinated by this stage, too, adding further vocal backup to the increasing number of airhorns, musical instruments, and clanky/bangy things that could be heard as the players emerged from the changerooms.

Despite the earlier noise, tones of hushed anticipation soon descended on the stadium as Serafin Bordoli took the ball in his hands in preparation for the kickoff. This didn’t last long, however. Bordoli once again found himself with the ball in his hands in preparation for another kick less than one minute into the game.

This kick was, of course, a penalty kick, and Sarlat’s fans were determined to make it known that they approved when Bordoli sent it flying through the posts. With the score now opened and in Sarlat’s favor, some had even turned to banging on the stadium itself as a drum.

In front of a now-packed stadium, Sarlat and Bergerac spent the first half locked in a tense battle with neither team ceding any ground.

This early lead wouldn’t last for long, however. Just minutes after, flying down the wing, a Bergerac player who was clearly undeterred by the number on his back (unlucky #13) came flying down the side. After snaring one swift pass of the ball into his hands, he quickly flew over the line for a try. With a similar position to Doyle’s first difficult confirmation kick from the B team game, Bergerac was also unable to nail the conversion, putting the score at 5-7.

With scores on the board for both sides and the action well and truly underway, the pressure only continued to build from here on out. Supporters from both sides now competing for the best cheer squad of the year award, and the teams on the field were locked in an equally tense battle.

Egged on by their respective supporters, neither team was ready to give an inch, and the scores would remain frozen in place for another fifteen minutes. The deadlock was only broken when Bordoli sent another penalty kick flying through the posts, putting Sarlat back in the lead at 6-5.

With the rhythm for the first half now established, the scores would remain locked up right until the halftime break. At one point, Sarlat did have its nose out slightly more in front following another stellar Bordoli penalty kick. But Bergerac shut this down, scoring a penalty kick of its own just ahead of the players heading off the field, tying up the first half at 9-8.

The pressure was now on. Bergerac had no intention of letting the home side get the better of them again. And Sarlat’s players were keen to show once more why they are sitting at the top of the leaderboard.

Again, the scores remained frozen for some time, with the first six or so minutes passing without any sign that things would change. But it wouldn’t stay like this for long.

The turning point was perhaps anticipated when Bergerac started to fumble the ball, with two back-to-back passes that were well overcooked. First, it was #9 who sent the ball flying over his intended target’s head (#1). The ball was then promptly recovered by Bergerac’s #10, who then did the same, sending the ball flying into no man’s land.

Minutes after this, and with another three penalty kick points under their belt, Sarlat finally managed to land its first try. Urged on by the crowd, Eroni Tuwai went flying down the wing with the ball, dodging tackles and breaking clear enough that he even had time to run the ball a little closer to the posts before finally touching it down for the try. Confirmed by Bordoli, the score was now 19-8.

Eroni Tuwai stamps his authority down on the game to the delight of Sarlat’s supporters.

Sarlat’s fans liked what they saw, and the double-digit lead had them roaring from this point onwards. Not to be outdone, Bergerac’s fans joined the fray, making for one of the most electric atmospheres to hit Christian-Goumondie stadium for quite some time.

To cut a long story short, the game’s fate was more or less sealed at this point. Bergerac went on to land a couple more penalty kicks, bringing its score up to 14 by the final siren. And Sarlat stretched its score to 26 points when Achraf Ben Hamouda’s turn on a carried ball saw the ball once again crossing the line for a try, which Bordoli confirmed once again.

One town, one club, one family. United.

When the dust settled, Sarlat’s teams walked away with a solid pair of victories in their hands. The A team managed to retain its undefeated status. And fans from both sides left with a day worth remembering, even if it were just for the electric atmosphere enjoyed by all.

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