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Double Down*

Wednesday afternoon’s breaking news that the Council had declared the mighty Sutton AstroTurf wastelands a no-go area on safety grounds should have been the signal to relax and kick back

The indoor white heat of the Sutton SoccerDome was unaffected of course

So the usual clamour of oldies and softies who prefer to stay indoors with the Big Light on was suddenly intensified as demand for the mid week fix was notched up In an effort to accommodate as many members under one roof as possible

El Presidente loosened the strings on the Presidential Purse to secure that goal

As most members know we share the SoccerDome with the gymnastic hell-raisers so in a compromise we quickly secured our pitch for an extended period to help as many members robbed of their outdoor action with an hour’s indoor high jinks between 8-9pmIt seems though that for many it’s outside or bust as one by one the Group WhatsApp messages declared non riders or non availability

That meant we now had a 2 hour window to stage our session and just 18 combatants ready to go

Undaunted those committed and plucky few resolved to enjoy the rare chance to double their midweek test A BOGOF if ever there was one! Teams were selected based on the Club’s fabled Moneyball algorithm, rolled out to good effect as follows;

Yellow - Enoch, Tom Derby, Lord Rainford, Harry (the Hatchet) Williams, Andy Man(anger) and Cockney Rebel

Red - Joe the Ghost, Haggis, Steve Honeyman, Grav’, Ray and Les Meldrew

White - Deggs, Michelle, Neil, Norman, Chris 4G and Gonzalo

Referee Martin Chopper Williams under the watchful gaze of El Pres’ signalled to get the opening match,

Red v White underway The pea in his whistle had hardly seized rattling when Deggs was played in to record the opening goal This scribe had to quickly make his voice-note from memory as the ball hit the net

Very probably the quickest score in the Club’s history Red sleepy defenders still rubbing the sleep from their eyes and a goal down! Michelle seemed totally at home inside and enjoyed her best playing performance in this session prompting Deggs in particular to stretch the Red defence Les played at his barn storming best and needed to left unsupported by team mates for much of the night Deggs claimed his second goal before Steve Honeyman swooped to pull back a goal for Red Deggs fired against a post but Gonzalo was on hand to knock the ricochet in 3-1 to White

Ray found a reply before Gonzalo claimed another White securing a 4-2 win without really stretching themselves In Game Two Yellow seemed to have learned from the Red defensive no show and made a much better show to blunt the White attack Andy Man and Lord Rainford showing determination and application with Enoch and Cockney Rebel threats at the other end Both sides tested the posts but the game ended scoreless

Game Three was a real endurance test with 20 minutes duration rather than the previous 10 minute sprints in Games One and Two

Yellow and Red enjoyed spells of possession and pressure with nothing to show after 15 minutes play The opening goal was claimed by the largely anonymous Ghost who calmly picked his spot to gift Red the lead It was probably first contribution to the evening having been missing in action for Game One

Enoch had a goal ruled out as his shot from distance was outside the scoring Red Zone

A shame as his one-two with Andy Man was a great passage of play Haggis was pressed into keeping action and despite his reluctance gave a fine performance with a string of excellent saves

He could do nothing to prevent Lord Rainford’s equaliser however, the ennobled one finding the bottom corner with another of his now trademark Sussex sweeps (outside of foot swerving shot) off a post 1-1 Red played some tidy if energy-less football

Yellow might have pinched victory at the end but the game ended 1-1 honours even

Game Four was another endurance test White v Red with Red handed an early goal by The Ghost

Deggs tried a clever sideline restart back to his keeper but instead merely presented Joe with a tap in Red ahead 1-0 Les almost doubled the advantage but was foiled Grav did claim his usual goal to fire Red 2-0 ahead before Michelle claimed a White reply much to her obvious delight Norman brought the sides level shortly after 2-2

White seizing control as Red tired visibly Deggs made it 3-2 to White before Joe missed a glorious chance to level Deggs struck a great effort but was ruled to be outside the Red Zone, moments later he found a legitimate goal to stretch the lead to 4-2 Ray might have done better shooting straight at the keeper White polished off a comprehensive display with Norman Deggs and Gonzalo all fining the net 7-2 the end result The latter two each claiming “Meggs” goals in this one sided match

Game Five was a 10 minute sprint after the previous Marathon with White taking on Yellow The sides were slightly juggled as Harry the Hatchet had to leave after an impressive second debut

He explained that he had enjoyed some games at the Beacon back in the mists of time when Deggs was still in his teenage spell Grav elected to play as emergency keeper to boost Yellow

Moments later he was picking the ball out of the net as Gonzalo has left Lord Rainford in his wake to smash home 1-0 to White Chris 4G pulled off 2 good saves to deny Tom Derby and then Enoch He was powerless to prevent Cockney Rebel levelling however, his shot tipped upwards and over his head to trickle into the net 1-1 with El Presidente having to explain the legitimacy of the goal, possibly the only time when “Over head height” can be deemed acceptable Gonzalo sealed the game crashing a shot from a ball played back from a Michelle corner 2-1 White

The final action of the long night featured all available players remaking (some had to leave before 9pm too) The remaining 30 minutes played by Red/Blue - Joe, Haggis, Les, Norman, Grav, Ray, Michelle and Gonzalo

Yellow - Chris 4G, Lord Rainford, Cockney Rebel, Andy Man, Enoch, Neil and Deggs

Yellow tried an over elaborate style without success Possession and pressure without end product will leave the opposition with a much simpler game to play Norman took his chance to fire Red/Blue ahead

The game saw the development of a new ploy - The Goal Hanging Department contributing little to the team except saving energy to try to steal a goal As Haggis prepared to shoot Lord Rainford swept in to clear in his usual robust agricultural style Michelle grafted in the midfield battle with Andy Man Chris 4G continued to pressure attackers with his closing to the edge of his area Cockney Rebel had one especially good effort saved by Gonzalo (his palms stinging afterwards) The game was decided by Gonzalo who forced his opponent Lord Rainford to concede a penalty by his movement across the area M’Lord crossing into the area to keep his opponent out Gonzalo dispatched the penalty with gusto 2-0 Enoch repeated his Red Zone infraction to chalk off another great ‘strike Joe finish a formality to seal a 3-0 win

After the matches aching bones trooped off to reflect on an excellent session You Buy One You Get One Free said no one Shame that many missed out on this rare double session C’est la Vie say the young ones It goes to show you never can tell

Double Down* - The Sound Defects instrumental

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