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Hard Habit to Break*

Ruskin Drive looked resplendent as Monday morning settled into a pleasant autumnal breezy aspect SHWFC came to pay tribute (and more importantly Mr Meldrew) to the game we all know (although at times one might wonder) and love Another bumber crowd assembled along the touch line for role call and warm up

Club Football Manager Andy gave a quick reminder to all about the Club ethos; respect opponents and referees we all play for fun

A summary glance at numbers suggested that we would have three teams of eight plus one team with nine players

Any adjustments required would be done once play settled and realignment was neccesary El Presidente gave every individual a number between 1 and 4 and this would denote their team at bib distribution All good so far!

In the critical moments between this militarily precision movement and lining up to play the first round of matches something went awry Instead of 3 teams of 8 and 1team of 9 we were blessed with one team of seven and two of nine and just one team of eight It beggars belief that the attention span that achieved that monumental feat wasn't reserved for just one 'bewildered' player but collectively across the four teams So what was the outcome? The eventual teams were;

Purple (8) Colin Philips, Daz Samo, Tony Snakehips, Jeff Betty, Norman, Haggis, Mika and Trialist (who though the recipient of Harrys products after a good display last time out remains uncontracted)

Pink (9) Gonzalo, Chris Willo, Sheila, Donal, Charlie, Les Meldrew, Sharon, Steve Honeyman and Andy Zac (too many letters to spell wrongly)

Green (9) Andy Powell, Anita, Jill, Lord Rainford, Eileen, Dave Prime, John Pidgeon, Tom Stretch Parr and Robin

Black (7???) Cockney Rebel, Eamon, Paul Moore, Margaret, Andy Man, Little John and Paul Jennings (debutant)

The initial set of games pitted Purple and Black a civilised 7v8 affair refereed by El Presidente Elsewhere the congested 9v9 Pink and Green match up was under the watchful eye of Dave Grazer Clark (his first transit to the playing arena in many months as his convalesence contiues

There was plenty of action but no goals for Green or Pink and so Grazer eased back into the action with little to trouble hsi trusty whistle

Purple and Black was a tense affair too with both sides showing some solid defensive prowess and rather different approaches to claim any offensive advantage Purple employed Haggis and Norman in wide forward positions whereas Black preferred a more direct style of playing down the middle relying on dominating the midfield to create overloads on the Purple rearguard The Trialist had another impressive performance Jeff Betty and Mika were solid too

A long period of stalemate was finally broken when Daz fed a measured ball through and Norman tucked away from the left 1-0 to Purple the goal scored with under 2 minutes remaining The extra player advantage paid off though no one seemed too concerned about numbers during the play

As teams changed pitches prior to the second round of matches the number disparity became obvious 7 man Black moving across to play 9 man Green Before play could commence a hasty realignment was made with Lord Rainford making the trek to join the Black for the rest of the session

So 8v8 and a fair basis established for the game to kick off Green edged the early exchanges but Black were resilient and equally competitive Eamon fired home a penalty for Black after a Green defender lost their bearings and wandered in the area A simple decision for Grazer and accepted with good grace too Tom streched his frame to great effect and levelled the contest with a good goal 1-1 and honours even after an entertaining game

Andy Zac grabbed an early goal to put Pink on top in their game with Purple The goal was a great team move with smart passing from Donal and Gonzalo setting up the Cypriot hitman Purple used their familiar wide men pattern with Haggis and Norman causing alarm to the Pink defenders But Pink settled with Charlie, Les and Chris Willo more than a match for their opponents

There was a dangerous moment when Les tried to jump back over the perimeter fence but his rashness was quelled and instead he took a more sensible course to regain his defensive position Pink sealed a comfortable victory with anoether typical passing move Steve Honeyman was on the spot to finish off a sweeping move 2-0 to Pink and another excellent game

Excellence is sometimes described as repeating good habits on all and every occasion

The last games included a few examples of simple bad habits On accasions quick free kicks were taken yards away from the original incident with the ball canoning against an opponent or having to be retaken

On a couple of occasions some forgot that when a player falls to ground play is immdiately halted no exceptions It could be dangerous to ignore a stricken player Stop immediatley and ensure your Clubmate is OK before the play can restart

Some might think anwhere will do, others might think they've an advantage by being quick Some players just never listen to instruction or don't understand why it makes any difference Club ethos is there for all members

The action in the last sequence of matches presented Pink with a match with Black and a chance to finish the morning unbeaten It was a chance they never intended to miss

A hat trick from Steve the Honeyman plus goals by Gonzalo and Sheila sealed an emphatic 5-1 win Pink the day's Top Dogs

Purple and Green were fairly evenly matched in the other game Jill set the tone with a smart finish to put Green ahead, her steal from a loose clearance too sharp for the Purple defence On the offensive side of the game Purple were predictable but always in the contest with their twon wide men Following one raid Purple pulled the ball back for Tony Snakehips to rifle home 1-1 and a better contest now

The Green press seemed to be working well with Purple hemmed in their own half and struggling to find a way out Colin Philips occupied a lone strike role in a rare bit of Purple invention He found himself totally free and unmarked baring down on goal as the Green defence melted

One on one Colin slotted home in true Meldrew fashion 2-1 Purple ahead As time was running out Green made their pressure tell and it was a kind of justice that presented Andy Powell with the chance to claim an equaliser 2-2 the game was rounded off with a goal from Daz to make it 3-2 to Purple with handshakes and smiles allround at the final whistle

The sumptuous surroundings of the Slipper Lounge for post-match analysis (and occasional cake) was its usual joyous affair with players relaxing after a good session on the AstroTurf There was a guest appearance of Club stalwart Colin the Late Williams catching up on all things SHWFC Injuries and rehab' regimes were the predictable topic of much of the chat Afitting end to the day

Donal was nominated for Player of the Day with Steve Honeyman also mentioned in dispatches

Can we do it all again next week? A resounding YES please all agreed

Hard Habit to Break* Chicago

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Norman Ball
Norman Ball
Nov 09, 2022

Fair reporting well done to all.

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