Trainee accountant adds up for Newcastle
March 9, 2009
Fenby battles for a high ball with Harlequins' Mike Brown during last year's Middlesex Sevens at Twickenham © Getty Images
And the 23-year-old had a match to remember as he scored, four minutes into his appearance as a second-half substitute, in a 32-25 victory that highlighted the rejuvenated form of Newcastle and the struggles of Sale to keep pace at the top of the Premiership.
Fenby is hoping to gain a full-time chance at Newcastle next season but first he is determined to complete those accounting exams before setting out in the far more unpredictable world of professional rugby.
He was called into the Newcastle squad last week after John Rudd was suspended and took his chance when Danny Williams was injured early in the second half on Sunday. Newcastle have been keeping tabs on Fenby since he started at Blaydon, the National Two club, where he has scored 73 tries in 77 games. He has continued the remarkable tally by touching down a further 10 times in three academy games for the Premiership club. The demands of accountancy meant he was expecting to be back in the Newcastle office first thing Monday morning but hoped his understanding bosses would allow more time to train this week if he was wanted him for next Sunday's Premiership match against Harlequins.
Fenby said he was still buzzing after his second-half efforts in a victory that was Newcastle's fifth in succession. He scored the third try by finishing off a sweeping move that started through a neat midfield link between Tane Tu'ipulotu and Brent Wilson.
"I don't remember anything much other than shouting for the ball, taking the pass and then thinking just run as fast as you can to the line. I'm just on such a high at the moment.
"I was just praying that I'd get a little five minutes at the end of the game, I never honestly thought it would be any more than that, but when Danny Williams' groin went and the coaches told me to warm up, my heart was beating like a drum.
"I always knew it would be a bit of a step up from National Two, and there was one point where that was brought home to me in pretty brutal fashion. I had the ball on the counter-attack, went to do a dummy kick and absolutely nobody bought it. I looked up and just saw this perfectly-organised defensive wall, so all I could do really was run as hard as possible in to it and hope the ball came back the right way. It was definitely a big step, but hopefully I'll learn quickly."
Fenby finished his university studies last year and has since combined rugby and the work needed to become a chartered accountant.
"I sat my exams in November and passed all of those, but taking the exams as well as working has held me back a bit in terms of how much time I could commit to rugby.
"Luckily for me Price Waterhouse Cooper are amazing about letting me be pretty flexible and fitting in my rugby training, especially this week where they let me train three times with the Falcons building up to this game.
"I'll have to be careful how I celebrate on the bus on the way home, because I've got to be at work at 9am on Monday morning. We're auditing at the moment, so I'll be ticking a few invoices through I would imagine. I'm sure my boss might just forgive me a little hangover though."
Fenby is on a match-by-match basis at Newcastle but is hopeful of that full-time professional chance.
"I'm meant to be in the England Counties squad to play at Twickenham next weekend, so I suppose I'll have to sit down with Steve Bates and see if they want me involved against Harlequins for the Falcons or not. It would be great to be a part of that, but obviously I've only played half a game at this level so I'm taking nothing for granted.
"It's down the coaches to decide whether or not I've earned it, that's not for me to say. There are a lot of good players at the club at the moment, but I'll just give it a go and see if I can make the step when the chances come my way."
He teed up Obolensky's try, fought in Burma and played cricket for Warwickshire - we Rewind to look at the story of Peter Cranmer
With the World Cup just a year away, Tom Hamilton picks out five matches to ensure you have tickets for
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup