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Its an Uphill Climb to the Bottom*

Familiarity can play wicked tricks on Walking Footballers just as it can with normal people SHWFC's regular Wednesday evening sessions on the Sutton Leisure AstroTurf generally are played across the vast sways of the savannah that is available But with a healthy 21 players and assorted staff, spectators, agents and hangers-on last night's game was switched to half the length of the entire arena with some alarming findings The most obvious )but only after 10 minutes play was that there is a pronounced slope over the length of the playing area So a simple ball played down the slope would inexplicably pick up pace and glide away to the end barrier More of the consequences of that discovery later

Gaz performed a minor miracle of occupying the runners (shurely shome misthake?) and riders whilst El Presidente, Lord Rainford, Gonzalo and Colin moved posts around and planted new flat markers to blossom in the fertile soil (3G) With exercises exhausted and teams lovingly selected the teams lined up as follows;

Pink - Warm up Meister Gaz, Colin the late, Phil the Power, Sharon, Disco Deggs, Mike Ox, Chris 4G, Citeh Geoff, Mark Davies (no relation) Nigel and Steve Honeyman

White - Lord Rainford, Tom Derby, Joe the Ghost, Tony Snakehips, Steve Clint Eastwood (debutant) Gary Radford (back from injury) Harrison, Tom Stretch, Gonzalo (back from surgery) and Les

The immediate impression that one might reasonably expect to see was that with the added value 11 for the price of 10 White were up against it from the off

To rub salt in the wounds Pink had the advantage of the slope and a relatively fresh squad (injury returnees and newbie - a clear disadvantage in the early stages

The power of the slope was all too apparent to El Presidente who spent his evening making voice memo observations and then a litany of curses as shot after shot from the power obsessed Pinks drifted past the posts and took off down the slope

Pink soon strung 3 passes together to register the first goal of the night with a deft finish from the Ox finding the bottom corner of the net Almost immediately the advantage doubled with Mark Davies dispatching a shot that eluded the White keeper In contrast as White grew in to the match too much of their passing was aimless Working hard to regain the ball only for the next pass to gift it back to Pink happened much too often during this spell Pink stretched their lead to 3-0 with a stunning cross/shot from Phil finding the gap between Lord Rainford's Butler and the near post As the enobled one looked around for a pleb' to punish (and found 'nare a soul) He, instead, invoked the 1st Rule of Football Levelling Up and persuaded Gaz to reject the Pinks for a lucrative big money move to the bottom of the hill

Half Time and Pink basking in the now rain and drizzle 3-0 ahead Could White find a way back? Could El Presidente curtail his casual use of swear words and trekking down the hill?

Gaz, as one might expect of a qualified FA Coach soon made his presence felt for the revitalised White Almost losing his voice the big man urged and propelled his side to adopt a more structured line up with Tom Stretch and Les (who is reveling in new found confidence after his inclusion in the Over 65sthe second half and the chance to our Over 65s Squad) and Clint (scouted from Spanish Walking Football) all enjoyed the freedom of the spaces Tom Derby grabbed a goal following a good move and claimed his second of the night shortly after set up by the returning Gonzalo From 3-0 down it was suddenly 3-2 with momentum swinging towards White

Gary Radford restored to full health after knee problems beat the keeper all ends up but could only watch as the ball found the foot of the post and skidded wide (and down the slope inevitably) Cue some more cursing and the sight of an aged Irish International hobbling off to reclaim the ball again

Time ran out with Pink in possession and looking to extend their lead but that was a rare event in the second period 3-2 the final outcome with Pink holding out with some excellent time wasting

Sharon had another impressive evening in the Pink midfield Citeh Geoff was his usual steading influence in defence Mark Davies (no relation) was credited with the night's award for dummy of the session when he stepped over the ball to put in Chris G who also stepped over the ball (largely as he had no idea he was about to receive the ball

At the final whistle all agreed that we had no idea the slope was as significant as it really turned out The game was a challenge and enjoyed by all We look forward to a return to normal sessions for at least a week Ruskin on Monday morning and Sutton slopes on Wednesday

Its an Uphill Climb to the Bottom* - Walter Jackson (what a voice) 1966 soul classic that reached 88 in the US Billboard Pop Charts

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