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Break My Stride*

Updated: Mar 3

By the time you read this Dear Reader, it will be March, another month further into 2024 with Spring creeping ever-closer Chances are you'll be pounds lighter, a combination of Andy Man(anger)'s new warm up regime and Friday night's Race Night

Monday morning's Ruskin session was a splendid opener with close to three dozen lining up to attract the eye of a wandering selector The teams prior to the kick offs mill about, pose for photos and then are summarily changed in an effort to arrive at evenly balanced combinations

For the record the line ups were (possibly) but equally might not have been;

Orange -Spiro, Barry Wizz, Chopper, Chris K, Sheila and Mike McSpeed

Sky - Tony Kenny, Haggis, Enoch, Lord Rainford, El Presidente and Tom Stretch

Pink - Les Meldrew, Steve Jones, Phil the Power, Grazer, Brian and Eileen

Purple - Jill Tomo, Kirsty, Joe the Ghost of Far Far Away, Charlie and A Triallist

Black - Mark Dav, Lefty Bridge, Andy Zac, Roger, Geoff P and Eamon

Green- Andy Man, Robin, Phil the Cat, Michelle Monday, Citeh Geoff and Gonzalo

Referees - Jeff Betty Birchall, Martin Cockney Rebel Briggs and Les Lomax

The action eventually got underway with Sky tackling Orange on Pitch 1 nearest to the Grandstand under the vigilant eyes of our Refereeing Supremo Herr Jeff Betty with Black effectively squeezing the pips but having to settle for a solitary goal by Tom Stretch to secure the result 1-0

Purple and Green served up a similar result on Pitch 3 with a Gonzalo goal grabbing the spoils for Green 1-0 again The goals cascaded on Pitch 2 in the parallel universe Black thanks to Eamon and Lefty Bridge winning 2-1 with Les Meldrew, reprising his Inzaghi role (born offside), on the mark for the plucky Pink

Sky succumbed to the Green with an aerial strike from Gonzalo (which probably should have been headed clear by El Presidente) and straightforward shot by Michelle enough to reign supreme on Pitch 1 Elsewhere Round 2 was a low scoring affair with a Ghostly goal strike by Joe the only goal for a 1-0 victory for Purple over Black (in the bruise Derby) Pink and Orange was goal less and chance less and least said the better

Round Three was similarly a miserly effort with solitary strikes for Tom Stretch handing Sky a narrow win against Pink Defensive solidarity kept Pink out of scoring distance The Round's other scorer Spiro celebrated his 'wonder' goal for Orange in their game with Purple in traditional style, with Oozo all-round and lots of broken crockery Celebrations went on for the remains of the afternoon and most of Tuesday too Green and Black (a possible good name for a posh chocolate brand) could not find a goal and ended all square to no one's satisfaction

Fatigue in Round 4 seemed to be taking a toll as tiring defenders went walkabout Sky dominating but shot-shy only to fall for a sucker punch delivered in style by Mark Daverin 1-0 to Black

Orange couldn't stem the Gonzalo goal machine Two goals handing Green the upper hand Honours were even in the Pink and Purple game in a dismal nil - nil stalemate

In the final round-up Orange recovered their pride with a comfortable 2-0 win over Black Goals by McSpeed and Barry Wizz sealed the victory

Pink finished their session with a four goal humbling by Green Gonzalo was in unstoppable form grabbing all four goals in the morning's most comprehensive demolition Purple fought back for a share of the spoils with Sky Tom Stretch improved his morning's goal haul but couldn't prevent Triallist snatching an equaliser as time ran out 1-1 the final flourish on another great morning's play

There was huge disappointment afterwards when the group was evicted from their usual Slipper Salon surroundings to the relative spaciousness of the adjacent dining room The distinct lack of confectionery did not go unnoticed Executive murmurings suggest drastic action for the next Monday morning session

Sutton SoccerDome has long been the setting for our midweek meanders We are still 'enjoying' the luxury of twin games with the Sportshall used for the innards, whilst the AstroTurf steppes plays host to the outward Bounders There has been some tasty outdoor encounters recently as play has become fast(walking football let's not forget) and loose (interpretation of physical contact definition)

The game inside was skilfully, tactfully and above all brutally refereed by Martin Cockney Rebel Briggs Mr Rebel has just returned from a weekend 'darn sarf' that included a reunion of one of his old teams Crane FC of Essex In addition to the jellied eel overload, his favourite team fell just short in some meaningless Cup Final on Sunday (Would that be the same trophy that was very meaningful just a year before?) So he was not in the mood to be messed around Essex boys know some tasty geezers so tread carefully Squire

The innard teams were;

Blue - Joe the Ghost, Chris 4G, Steve C, Eileen and Simon

Green - Grav, The Honeyman, Michelle Midweek, Citeh Geoff and Joe

The game played in an excellent spirit was very fair and evenly matched Goals from Joe and Steve C with a brace were matched by strikes by the Honeyman, Jim and Grav Blue were awarded 2 penalties but failed to hit the net thanks to excellent keeping in both instances Details of the non-scorers has been redacted to save any further embarrassment But I'm sure Race Night goers will be eager to hear at first hand from the Man in the Middle

The outdoor session was fast furious and all a bit too cramped Never let a non-player dictate the length of the pitch El Presidente made a late unscheduled guest appearance as Emergency Keeper to even a numerical overload

The teams were;

Blue - Thatto Dave, Roger, Kirsty, Gonzalo, Haggis, Tom Derby and Mark Dav

White - El Presidente, Neil Stretch, Chris 10P, Andy Man, Lord Rainford, Jason and Kidda

The play flowed from end to end with White workmanlike in midfield but posing little threat in the final third Blue in contrast were robust at the back, shifted the ball quickly through the middle areas but deadly up front

Inevitably it was Gonzalo who notched the first of the night turning to fire a rising shot with real venom past the valiant keeper, who could only wave as it passed by 1-0 and then 2-0 Tom Derby seizing on a distribution blunder to drive past our favourite Tyrant into the bottom corner White pulled goals back thanks to Andy and Neil Stretch (with a wicked deflection) and then took a short-lived lead through Jason at 2-3 before Gonzalo found the far post with a smart shot 3-3 Mark Daverin who had probed all evening struck into the bottom corner to hand Blue a 4-3 lead But undaunted the White team rallied with some great passing to set up the equaliser by Chris 10P 4-4 honours just about even Rain had fallen intermittently throughout the session but couldn't dampen the enthusiasm or enjoyment Another exciting match played in remarkable circumstances and thoroughly enjoyed by all There were great performances by Kirsty and Kidda quietly getting through some great work to ensure their teams remained in the hunt for victory

The Boot Room was slightly subdued learning that one of our own, Disco Deggs is currently injured with a troublesome fetlock His absense didn't affect the scores (does it ever?) but his humour and durability somehow survived intact

All eyes are now on the 8pm first Race at Ruskin tomorrow night, where the winner is expected to pick up a tidy amount for their reward Our Treasurer is casting a dubious eye over the prospects of a major pay out (nothing new there)

Break My Stride* - Matthew Wilder

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