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Chop Chop*

Welcome to the first in a new style of Blog

Ruskin’s Monday mornings have been a constantly innovative platform since our first Monday morning back in September 2020 Games have steadily built from an average of 14/15 guys to our present 40+ members

We’ve a healthy growing membership, with a thriving number of Ladies At the heart of the Club is our policy of welcoming all, an inclusive outlook that has enriched our sessions

Later in this piece we’ll look at a couple of our newest members This will become a regular feature to help assimilate new members Into the fabric of the Club

But first let’s serve up a slice or two of Monday’s action (no cake was consumed this week in a rare exception to recent Monday’s) 36 players lined up for the usual warm up activity under the guidance of El Presidente

Referees for the morning were; Jeff Betty Birchall, Martin Chopper Williams and El Pres’

Teams were selected using blind faith, some judgement and mostly a little luck

Sky - Enoch, Little John, Robbie, Haggis, Citeh Geoff and Joe the Ghost

Purple - Tony Snakehips, Eamon, Harry the Hatchet, Sheila, Paul Jennings and Mika

Orange - Tony Kenny, Jane, Cockney Rebel, Charlie, Willo and Amazon Prime

Pink - Phil, Gonzalo, Kirsty, Walter, Wickie and Kenny Nolan

Black - Donal, Les Meldrew, Tom Derby, Goldie, Phil Moss and Jill Thomo

Green - Steve Honeyman, Thatto Dave, Grav, Robin, Chris K and Anita

In opening Round usual suspect Gonzalo found the net to secure the 1-0 win for Pink against Black Purple and Green was equally tense with a solitary goal by Eamon enough for the Purple people eaters to scoff their Greens So two games and each only decided by single goals Could Orange and Sky serve up more goals? In short NO Robbie was the only player to find the net, meaning Orange squashed Sky or was it pipped

Some great passages of play Sky calm and assured at the back but less steady in front of goal Orange started slowly but found a stranglehold on possession as time moved on Amazon Prime was lively throughout (as might be expected) Charlie, Willo and Tony Kenny defensively competent Citeh Geoff made sure Sky were solid at the back but Haggis and Joe the Ghost missed chances at vital times Robbie’s goal after just 3 minutes proved to be the winning intervention 1-0 Orange closing out 3 hard earned wins by solitary goals Great opening sequence

In Round Two goals were at a premium as defences ruled the roost

Black and Purple remained goal less despite lots of opportunities Eamon claimed the honours as Purple defeated their Black rivals in the Dark Arts Derby Papal Purple he later claimed well there might some truth in that as his was the only goal of the Round

Green and Sky cancelled each out despite some moments of magic Once again Citeh Geoff put in another defensive masterclass at the heart of the Sky rearguard Thatto Dave and Chris K were in control for most of the game and drove Green on but there were occasional lapses when Sky might have stolen the game Joe found space (just off the pitch usually) Haggis on another day might have bagged a couple of goals One shot hit the frame of Steve Honeyman (right in the Hive) but with Steve and Grav stifled at the other end the game finished all square 0-0

Round Three in contrast was a goal fest Gonzalo claimed a brace in a one sided contest Pink closing out Sky 2-0 The combination of Kenny Nolan and Gonzalo was the major difference in the sides

Orange and Purple produced a goal rush as Chris Willo and Amazon Prime for the Citrus and Paul Jennings for Purple were the scorers in a three goal thriller

Green claimed their first win and first goals as they out enthused Black by 2 goals to nil The ample Hive frame ensured Green withstood early chances for Goldie and then Jill The game turned with a terrific goal scored by Grav A ball held up and then laid into his path by Anita from wide on the left was dispatched beyond the Black keeper Tom Derby almost found a leveller but from the resultant clearance the ball into Steve Honeyman ensured he’d time to turn and fire an unstoppable winner 2-0 and game over

The final Round of games saw the return after many frustrating months of injury, operation and rehab’ for Club troubadour Martin Chopper Williams Special thanks to Tony Kenny who agreed to act as substitute referee to allow Chopper to return For the record the return ensured that Orange were able to claim a well deserved 1-1 draw with Green The Cockney Rebel on target for Orange whilst Chris Kelsall was on the mark for Green

The Sky v Black match ended as a nil - nil stalemate No scorers to trouble Stato again

Pink and Purple had much to admire with Gonzalo ending a barren early half of the game with two goals from the narrowest of angles Lots of chances for Pink to extend their lead but some stout defending and near misses meant that when Steve Honeyman found the net for the Purple near the end The 2-1 victory was closer than it needed to be. Special Mention to Kirsty with an assist in the game. It was remarked by several players that this was her best mornings football since joining the club. Keep up the good work Kirsty.

A great set of games played in a great spirit by all involved

One of our new recruits who wasn’t involved on Monday due to grandkid obligations was John ‘Wickie’ Whittaker Local man John played his first football as a school kid He graduated to join Hope and Anchor in the old St Helens Combination League as well as Sunday League soccer for the Co-op The best player he ever graced a field with was Forest and Everton player Duncan McKenzie (famously signed for nasty Leeds United by legendary manager Brian Clough) Wickie played against McKenzie’s Bay Horse from Ashton and featured in a Hospital Cup Final match on the wrong end of defeat by Blackbrook John has quickly made himself a SHWFC fixture with a number of other members recollecting their old rivalries

Chop Chop* - Tony Blackburn (sensational former Radio One DJ)

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