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Count Your Blessings*

You're minding your own business getting quietly focused on the morning ahead, You’ve chatted amicably with Grazer on the trip up from leafy Cheshire, All is well with world, The weather is respectable, perhaps a tad chilly, breeze reminds you it is mid January It’s mercifully dry and set fair for a decent session. Then wham! A jumbo jet full of members decides today’s the day they’re going to come out to play Thirty Eight Steps along a side line (except we prefer to use not one line but two or three) a throng of eager to please more eager to play huddle ready to ply their wares

Kirsty returns having spent 7 weeks in a wheelchair and we are delighted to see her Chopper & El Pres’ are brooding waiting to see how they cope with the influx of players

Andy Man(anger) welcomes all with a round of warm up exercises whilst reckoning the maths of 2 or 3 games We settle for 2 games with this cast of thousands Bibs are secured, counted and belatedly distributed Two teams of ten! And two teams of Nine! And the promise we want get caught flat footed again Logistically the nightmare is temporarily sidelined for today at least

The Teams selected were

Green- John Wicki Whittaker, Roger Moore, Come on Eileen, Julie (need a bit of work on that name), Robin, Donal, Tom Stretch, Jeff Betty, Tony Snakehips and Triallist

Purple - Dave Grazer Clark, Sheila, Gonzalo, Thatto Dave, Charlie, Enoch, Tom Derby, Andy Man(anger), Mika and Steve Honeyman

Pink - Anita, Norman, Haggis, Willo, Grav, Les Meldrew, Chris K(elsall), Little John and Dave Prime

Black - Tony Kenny, Dave Seagull, Eamon, Liz, Mark NR, Cockney Rebel, Lord Rainford, Paul Jennings (returning after lengthy spell on touchline) and Andy Zac

In the spirit of all things new we enjoyed the rarity of half time breaks though only to change round The low sun beaming down had caused havoc with efforts to identify a. Who was actually playing? and b. Where had the ball got to from that clearance?

In the first round Pink took an early lead when Grav scampered through to fire home against Black Referee Chopper was satisfied there was no run but not everyone was so convinced The Referee is always right so 1-0 to Pink it was Norman secured the victory with a second goal (having finally mastered dressing in a bib) Pink 2 - Black 0

Purple produced an early claim on goal of the day when Gonzalo received the ball from a sideline restart juggle the ball past Green defender to set up Tom Derby (not sure Gonzalo had intended to get off a shot with that third touch) The bulging net couldn’t differentiate whether Tom had stolen Gonzalo’s thunder or not Either way it was the only goal of the game Purple 1 - Green 0

Round 2 Pink v Green was a scrappy affair The number of players delaying passes and then firing inaccurate attempts into a throng of players was largely to blame El Pres’ urged players to find space and to talk illustrated how we’d made a meal of the simple game Play continued in the inevitable stalemate until the last minute when Wickie strayed deep inside the keeper’s area to concede a penalty Grav made no mistake from the spot to hand Pink a 1 - 0 win over Green

On the adjacent pitch Steve Honeyman scored the solitary goal as Purple shaded Black by the same 1-0 score line

In Round Three Dave Grazer Clark hurtled about the defensive areas with reckless abandon before inevitably crashing earthwards chasing a wayward ball Reassured that his knees were intact at least he spent a profitable period in the keeper’s role producing a string of saves to preserve Purple’s clean sheet Regrettably the Purple hot shots were out of luck and so their Pink opponents were able to claim a share of the spoils 0-0 a disappointing end to the match

Green faced Black in the other game and grabbed a victory with Andy Zac claiming the only goal of another tight affair

With time remaining a hasty bonus round of matches was accommodated with a repeat of the first series Black v Pink and Green playing Purple. Mark (no relation) Davies had a couple of long range attempts but just off target for the Black but Pink held out as the clock ran down Dave Seagull ensured his reputation for using up the clock continued when with the ‘Final Minute’ advice saw him drive a pass back from the half way line towards his keeper to see out time He claimed that he thought his team was leading at that moment But in fact it was goal less and the chance to launch a final attempt on goal was passed up by his negativity The whistle blast that signalled the end of the session followed shortly thereafter On the adjacent pitch Steve Honeyman steered his Purples to a hard earned win by the narrowest of margins 1-0 and Green tasting defeat yet again

Table (for those of a needy or statistically retentive disposition)

Team. W. D. L. For. Against. Points

Purple. 3. 1. 0. 3. 0. 10

Pink. 2. 2. 0. 3. 0. 8

Black. 1. 1. 2. 1. 2. 4

Green. 0. 0. 4. 0. 4. 0

Well done to all who played in a spirited but sportsmanlike manner throughout Our Referees were able to keep play moving (apart from the odd hearing aid challenge) at all times

Kudos to Kirsty who recruited an on-watching spectator with such enthusiasm that he has already joined up We look forward to welcoming Harry Williams (Hatchet Harry suggested our other Williams Chopper)

Count Your Blessings* - Rita Wilson & Vince Gill or NAS and Damian “Jr Gong” Marley

Count Your Blessings Instead Of Sheep* - Bing Crosby

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