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Handbags and Gladrags*

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

Sounding rather like a John Peel show opening sequence from yesteryear I thought the morning was distinctly autumnal as I drove from El Presidente Palais on my way to Ruskin Drive today A weak sunshine defied the date and it was unseasonably dry too Perfect morning to stretch the limbs and recapture footballIng memories with my good friends at SHWFC

There was good news from the treatment room which has been full to bursting in recent weeks Les and COVID-free Coach Davies returned to action, putting thirteen players through their paces before employing Moneyball to select two finely balanced sides He inserted himself into the Blues and so 7 v 7 and perfect conditions prevailing

The sides were;

Blues - Steve Honeyman, Phil, Citeh Geoff, Mika, Chopper, El Presidente and Coach

Yellow - Tom Stretch, Nigel, Anita, Les, Thatto Dave, Cockney Rebel and Tony

Officiating for the day was Jeff Betty (Pitt the Elder?) with a welcome guest appearance from the Late Colin Williams Colin visiting to catch up with old comrades and pass on the news about his injury progress (if indeed progress is the correct expression) He replaced Jeff Betty as Ballboy for the day but failed to displace the man in the middle as the world’s oldest ballboy (albeit falling just 2 days short - a marker for the competitive nature of today’s session?)

The game was a real end to end close encounter Blues had a sturdy rearguard with Chopper and Citeh Geoff in their line up and rugged frontline with Steve and Phil a constant threat However the midfield battleground was dominated by Yellow, led by Tom, Thatto Dave, ably assisted by the Cockney Rebel and Smudger Smith El Presidente and the injured Mika (hamstring gah) struggled to bridge the void between defence and offence for the Blues Whilst Tony and Anita were constantly able to find spaces out wide Somehow there was just one goal to show for all the endeavour from both sides

That goal from Tom gave Yellow the advantage for three quarters of the match Despite further chances, wasteful finishing and good defending and goalkeeping kept the statisticIan redundant until the final period

The final period brought a simmering feud between Steve the Honeyman and Thatto’s finest to the boil Those watching could hardly believe their eyes or ears Mild-mannered Honeyman and Thatto Dave squaring up? A few insults and some gentle pushes - swiftly brought under control by the iron grip of Pitt the Elder

Anita, who in total truth would know a handbag when she saw one, described the incident as ‘handbags’ Some of us who in days gone by would also know handbags of a somewhat different nature laughed as two minutes later the boys were kissing and cuddling in the centre circle (that is probably an exaggeration but you get the point)

The final segment of play produced a flurry of goals with Nigel doubling the Yellow advantage El Presidente played Steve in, who with some work still to do, guided his effort into the Yellow net

2-1 and at last goal action to excite the watching seagulls Tom found a goal to settle Yellow nerves only for Citeh Geoff to hit the goal of the day a low drive across the keeper to nestle in the far corner More chances followed as both sides tired Blues with Mika a virtual passenger, were stretched but held out and took the fight to Yellow

As time expired Jeff allowed one last chance but to no avail An excellent match played in a sporting manner by two teams wearing the finest assembly of bibs ever seen at Ruskin And victory to Yellow by the odd goal in five

On a day when it looked as if goal starvation we had a classic game with two delicately balanced sides Well done one and all

The afternoon brought news of further injuries to the squad Wednesday’s session could be attritional Survival of the fittest

Handbags and Gladrags* Mike d’Abo

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