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It's Growing*

Like a snowball rolling down the side of a snow covered hill, it's growing! - or at least Smokey Robinson & Pete Moore would have us believe At present there seems no end to the raft of new players joining our ranks each week Today we had no less than 3 newbies taking to the pitch to warm up and then strut their stuff Ruskin was resplendent today, somplete with shiny new lines marking out a variety of cunning pitches Today we chose RED but we might have selected blue or yellow with equal abandon I'm waiting for the moans from our visually colour challenged player(s) But I digress

Today we were blessed with 26 players plus a menagerie of injured cohorts and malingerers numbering at least 5 After a vigorous warm up executed by El Presidente we set to the process of explaining the format of games and then the task of team selection without recourse to Moneyball (the Club's fabled algorithm for selection problems)

The teams were

Yellow (Neon if you prefer) - Tony Kenny, Norman Bally, Phil the Power, Margaret the Mystic, Clint the Eastwood and Steve Goldie

Pink - Gonzalo, Colin new boy Phillips, Sharon, John new boy Pidgeon, Kirsty, Les Meldrew and Tom Stretch Parr

Purple - Anita, Lord Rainford, Chris Willo, Cockney Rebel, Steve Honeyman, Little John and Charlie

Red - Andy Capt., Mika, Allan Molly Maldon, Tom Derby, Dave new boy Prime (Amazon) and Mark Davies (No Relation)

Officials for the entertainment were Colin the late Williams (who wasn't too late with the double toot whistle) and Jeff Betty Birchall ( firm hand and single toot) Roving reporter and sometimes ball boy, occasional coach and Referee advisor (no one listened) El Presidente and Chopper ball boy and bon vivant The weather was set fair with warm conditions helped by a slight breeze and cloud cover later in the session

The first set of games pitched Red and Purple togther in the visual challenge match up Let's see who has been paying attention And it seemed everyone was on top of their game from the off The game was an excellent advert for SHWFC Some terrific football, lots of sharp passing, movement and vocal encouragement Lord Rainford playing in a regal purple kit befitting his status was a constant threat with his unconventional shooting style He rained shots on the Reds goal at regular intervals but couldn't find the crucial breakthrough Instead that fell to Allan Molly Maldon who steered home a good pass from Tom Derby to put his side ahead 1-0 Red There was much to admire from both sides and the biggest surprise was that there wasn't another goal to trouble the Umpires Result a 1-0 victory for the Red

Yellow and Pink served up a decent fare on the adjacent pitch lots to admire in passing and movement but always lacking in the only ingedient that really matters goals Gonzalo was wayward at times and at other times thwarted by good saves (especially from Phil and Margaret Tom Stretch rattled the woodwork but was unlucky The game was finally secured with Gonzalo finding the net to put Pink 1-0 up and on course for a deserved win

In Round Two Yellow and Red kicked off at a gallop, incurring the wrath of Referee and Tyrant Coach alike Andy capped a tidy performance with the opening goal and might have doubled that apart from a tiny step into the area Yellow levelled when Phil had too much power for Mika shooting across the area into the far corner Red mounted a token complaint for running but Williams waved away the protests in a display of serious intent 1-1 then as play hit the halfway mark Dave Prime marked his debut with a superb strike that wrong footed Steve Goldie in the nets 2-1 to Red and then Molly produced a piece of trickery to seal the win 3-1to Red (some observers questioned the number of touches but Williams now warming to the task was happy to wave away once more) In the other match Pink and Purple served up another end to end perfomance There were aspects of very sharp (almost toop sharp) defending at times as M'Lord in particular popped up at opportune moments to prevent shots on goal Tom Parr and Gonzalo pepered the Purple end whilst Steve Honeyman was a constant thorn in the Pink rearguard efforts John Pidgeon flew left to save from the Honeyman and play ended with both sides claiming a moral victory 0-0 the result from a gruelling encounter

In the morning's final match ups Red and Pink served up another treat and a 5 goal thriller Molly left the action with a minor we hope rib knock having put ahead Gonzalo equalised for Pink and there was a long period with the Pink on top and creating much of the chances but unable to turn their pressure into goals Tom Derby stole in to put Red back on top before Dave Amazon Prime hit a third for Red with a drive from an acute angle Undaunted Pink continued to pose a genuine threat and were in with a real shout of a draw when John Pidgeon unleashed a piledriver minutes before time 3-2 to Red with time running down Andy rallied his troops to claim the win and grab the morning's unbeaten honours

In sharp contrast there was a dearth of goals between Yellow and Purple a game decided by a solitary early goal 1-0 to Yellow A special mention to Margaret from her team mates a steady preformance throughout all games

Play ended with hand shakes allround and energies well spent on a day when football was the real victor

After the session El Presidente interviewed Sharon, Kirsty, Anita and Margaret and we aim to publish their stories later this week in our News section

No Monday session next week as it is a Bank Holiday (most days are holidays for Banks it seems right now)

It's Growing* - The Temptations

L-R Tony Kenny, Norman Ball, Margaret Mills, Phil Middleton, Steve Eastwood, Stev Goldthorpe

L-R Colin Phillips, Sharon Hand, John Pidgeon, Kirsty Stockton, Les Brack, Tom Parr and Gonzalo

Anita Ashcroft, Chris Wilson, John Hawkins, Martin Briggs, Charlie Bower, Steve Forshaw and John Penders

L-R Dave Prime, Mike Andrews, Andy Houghton, Allan Maldon, Tom Derbyshire and Mark Davies (NR)

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