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Hold the Line*

Many football training sessions are conducted each day with a Club's attacking stock pitted against their defensive allies Its a time-honoured way for sides to improve their attacking and defensive capabilities within the confines of behind doors private blood-lettings

So Monday morning this week at Ruskin Drive had a familiar feel to proceedings With the departure of Roy Evans as our warm up Guru (released due to contractual difficulties - PR double speak for you) and the absence of Coach Davies it fell to El Presidente to conduct the warm up routines passed down from Le Roy - our sincere thanks for his unstinting if brief work with SHWFC With the mighty assistance of Herr Jeff Betty the Club's fabled algorithm Moneyball was cranked up once more to select 2 evenish teams of 10 per side to play across the tundra that is half the Ruskin Arena

The size of the pitch is the subject of discussion at present El Presidente believes that it is too big to help players to improve their close control skills whist the dissidents favour the all in ‘Have it‘ variant

As you can see this reporter is the soul of discretion and harmonious comment - even though there's no disputing the validity of our glorious Leader's opinion

The teams selected were;

Yellow - Alex 'Greasy Thumbs', Tom Stretch, Steve Honeyman, Steve Ford, Donal, Les Meldrew, Grazer Clark, Anita, Tony Snakehips and Mika

Purple - El Presidente, Lord Rainford, Chopper, Sheila, Grav, Citeh Geoff, Andy Capt, Phil, Dave Seagull and Mike Ox

Herr Betty set the tone for the session with a shrill blast on his Acme Thunderer and play commenced with Purple setting out a formidable backline of solid seasoned citizens Chopper, Lord Rainford and El Presidente shut down the Yellow attacking threat to such extent that Yellow fell deeper to ensure their own 'backdoor' was equally firmly shut Yellow looked to utilise their over-load in midfield with Steve Ford and Tom Stretch especially dangerous but Purple's mighty rearguard blunted the attacking threat of Steve Honeyman, Anita wide on the right and Les marauding about the pitch usually behind the Purple keeper!

For all the power and assurance from their defence Purple was largely toothless in attack Mike Ox and Phil had to rely on efforts from distance as Purple consistently failed to seize real control in their opponents final third On the few occasions that Purple did create chances these were generally from wide areas and poor crossing lifted pressure on the Yellow goal Phil did go close with some typical power drives but rather than being in control and carving out clear chances Purple were toothless and easily managed by the Yellow rearguard

Donal and Mika impressed with their application and resolute defence Grazer Clark roamed at will despite an early nose dive into the sacred AstroTurf Moments later and in the spirit of equality Sheila took the same route crashing on all fours when given the space to move into A wag remarked that there must have been an outbreak of sniper activity as both incidents occurred away from any opposing players

A quiet morning for Herr Betty who might have missed the errant wandering of defensive kingpin Lord Rainford into his penalty area but did punish the member of our landed gentry as he clipped Anita just outside the same goal area The Purple defensive organisation was on hand to smuggle the threat away In truth other than a couple of fumbles from handling errors neither side really troubled the keepers all morning On a rare venture forward El Presidente drove into a dangerous position to dispatch a shot that had the corner flag quaking in terror It was that sort of morning

Play ended as it had started with neither side able or capable of mounting a serious threat on goal Herr Betty was complimentary about the spirit of the game and the manner in which all accepted his decisions It was an enjoyable if speedy hour's play with moments of magic a rarity There was lots of decent work plenty of honest endeavour but a severe shortage of attempts to break the scoring famine Nil - NIl the final outcome

In other news the first in a new series of player profiles will be published later this week The aim is to provide a background to the characters that make up this mighty Club

Herr Jeff 'Betty' Birchall will be the first victim

In order to be featured we invite you to rummage your antics, trawl through your photo albums and find some old photos that show you wearing football kit (the older the better) As we receive your photos you'll then be asked some questions about your football career for use in the final article Everyone has some sort of footballing past we aim to enlighten future generations how the mighty SHWFC and its members came to be!

Hold the Line* - TOTO 1978 maiden hit

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