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Just Can’t Do This Alone*

This Blog is dedicated to the self-less individuals who each and every session make the ultimate sacrifice to forego glory and instead simply play their part in their team Whilst every successful side will have its star players it can't function effectively without the solid artisans who toil at the coal face to give the Johnny Hot-shots their moment in the sun

Ruskin Sports Village this Monday morning was bathed in grey damp and seasonally cold weather but as is often the case - it didn't rain All in all a perfect setting for our usual SHWFC week starting shuffle

Reports of actual playing numbers conflict but had at least a passing resemblance to the following teams;

Pink - Harry the Hatchet, Jill Tomo, Tom Derby, Donal and Mark NR

Green - Roger (bib testing), Amazon Prime, Les Meldrew, Andy Man and Brian

Purple - Lord Rainford, Roger (who might have been Green) Chris K, Kirsty, McSpeed and Phil the Power

Orange (6) - Haggis, Citeh Geoff, Mika, Eamon, Kenny and Enoch

Sky - Sheila, Chopper, Wickie, Thatto Dave and Alan

Black - Snakehips, Paul F, Les H, Eileen and Little John

Referees for the morning saw WFA's own Les Lomax return after a break, Jeff Betty with crutches (but no break) and El Presidente pictured with the two skippers below

Orange and Sky opened proceedings with a very close game Sky, a player down, offered a stiff test moving the ball around with purpose Orange came close with a shot by Eamon that struck a post (or the net if O'Holligan was to be believed) El Presidente was unmoved 0-0 the final score and decent start to the morning's entertainment

Pink took the honours on the adjacent

pitch (nearest the stand) a brace by Mark NR tickling their fancy whilst Paul F (international monetary wizard) scored a solitary strike for Black Another close contest throughout

It took a long range winner from Chris K to shade Green, as Purple started their campaign with a 1-0 victory on the far pitch

Round Two was a talking test with plenty of encouragement and advice during Sky v Green both sides keen to impose themselves on the opposition Alan Aldridge had a very positive impact constantly available to give a pass and receive one back His rewards came when he snapped up a poor square ball to rifle home 1-0 to Sky As Green rallied to find an equaliser there was a carbon copy error that was punished again Aldo on the mark Two errors two goals to the Sky as Green's suicidal naivety was severely punished Defending 101 never try to pass across your own area

Jeff Betty had the tough job of keeping on top of Black v Purple bruise Derby But full marks for his perseverance No goals lots to admire 0-0 the end result however

Pink and Orange also failed to find a winner at the far end 0-0 another close fought effort with sadly nothing to show for all the endeavour on display

The Third Game featured Black and Green with Green dominant throughout Black penned in their own half and lacking the ambition to break out into the Green half Green took the lead when Amazon Prime exploited a yawning chasm in the Black defence to fire home Les Meldrew doubled the lead soon after when his routine shot was juggled into the net by someone who clearly didn't fancy the keeper's job Black offered little going forward and the 2-0 defeat was much better than might have been expected

Orange failed again to find the net in their match up with Purple on the far end pitch, Ref Les continued a game management regime that helped players from both sides play in the right spirit The lack of goals he could nothing about however

Tom Derby back in action after injury found the net and it turned out the only goal as Pink beat Sky 1-0 under Jeff Betty's guidance

Round Four featured Pink and Purple in what was surely the game of the day Play switched from end to end with some great passing and movement Kirsty went close forcing a smart Hatchet save. Some native Sussex twang was employed by Lord Rainford to encourage his defenders to er...defend Lots to admire before Chris K fired Purple ahead Some great passing and honest defending kept the match poised Purple employed a little too cute gamesmanship that ended with Pink going close at the other end Lord Rainford bisected the Pink defence from a clever free kick but Purple couldn't finish

My voice memo was full of praise for a pulsating game both sides playing well The Enobled One missed a gifted open goal surprised perhaps to receive such largesse Time ran out with both sides pushing Purple prevailing thanks to that single early goal Full marks to all players, no passengers, no non-contributors but excellent team work by all

Jeff Betty handled the Orange and Green potential powder keg with great patience At the end it took goals by Eamon cancelled out by a Meldrew strike to settle an honourable 1-1 draw No marching today then

At the far end there was another tight contest decided by a goal scored by Alan to steer Sky past Black by the narrowest margin

And finally the morning ended with Sky defeating Purple thanks to a goal by Thatto's finest 1-0 On the near pitch Green overcame Pink by 2 goals to nil Brian and Andy producing a winning combination to end their session

The last game of the morning brought the curtain down on a long hard day at the office for Black, who took 2 or 3 minutes to eventually arrive at the pitch Orange then proceeded to dismantle the Black with a fine team performance Citeh Geoff opened the scoring 1-0 Minutes later it was 2-0 when Eamon turned in from close to the byline Black showed little as an attacking threat and were constantly under the cosh despite the work rate of Eileen Les Hewitt and Little John The game was out of sight when Kenny scored at the halftime mark Eamon claimed the fourth with four minutes left Enoch sporting stood down to try to even up the sides Eamon hit a peach of a ball but Kenny couldn't convert (leave that to you two to resolve)

There was a penalty soon after Eamon making it 5 - 0 Seconds from the end Kenny delivered a great ball but Eamon could only hit the post Kenny back heeled a 6th goal with a minute left Play ended to save Black from further punishment

Happily the dressing rooms repair work meant there was no reported hair-drying noises from the Black management team post match And for that we should all be grateful

As the midweek temperatures dipped to around zero there was a significantly high incidence of members remembering they'd library books to return, hair dressing appointments to keep and other scurrilous excuses issued to avoid the "frozen tundra" of the Sutton SoccerDome But for every waverer there was a rough tough Northerner ready to layer up and get on with it New boy Graham Kidd joined these ranks to take his bow on the AstroTurf for an hour's jollity and fun, he fitted in swiftly and later declared he loved it, speaks volumes

The Usual Suspects (or indoor players as they are also known) assembled in their normal manner, swapping jokes, sipping cocktails and trying their best to remain awake having been up all day since setting their towels on the early morning sun beds Ten strong arranged by some dubious method into the following teams;

White - Les Meldrew, Steve Honeyman, Harry the Hatchet, Chopper and Kenny

Green - Joe the Ghost, Citeh Geoff, Lee Thomo, Chris 4G and Enoch

El Presidente, eager to experience refereeing in all conditions, decided to officiate for once indoors (possibly due to recent illness) and got play underway blissfully unsure how these line ups had been determined Moneyball, the Club's s fabled algorithm, had not been used so he was especially keen to see what lay behind the selection process

Play got underway with Joe the Ghost sneaking in to fire Green ahead 1-0

Music blasted out from the nearby miniature gymnasts to welcome the goal The next hour had constant blasts of music, almost as many as the goals!

Green took firm control on proceedings with their pace, power and passing accuracy too much for the wilting White Several chances opened for Green but through good keeping by Harry and wasteful finishing it was just 3-1 at the break though there was an obvious imbalance in the teams

Goals by Enoch with a Deggs style big toe and Lee Thomo were finally answered by a strike by Kenny somewhat out of the blue 3-1 at the break and time for some megalomaniacal mischief by El Presidente with the hope of a closer second half contest

Moves were negotiated for Citeh Geoff and Joe the Ghost to switch with Chopper and Steve Honeyman for the second stanza Some chunnering followed but all would later see how the pattern needed to change and change it certainly did

Within minutes of the Presidential decree Green's lead was wiped out Joe ghosting a goal from a loose attempt at a clearance Another goal followed and the score was 3-3 within 90 seconds of the restart The background sounds were now all about the thrash of badminton racquets 4-3 to White soon followed but Green were much more competitive and remained in the contest 5-4 with Steve Honeyman claiming the goal Quite a game now evident End to end stuff good to watch and infinitely better to play in too

A good chance for 5-5 was wasted as the White defence went walkabout before Kenny struck to give White a 6-4 lead

An edginess crept into play with neither side willing to give away anything else Enoch hit back to bring the score back to 6-5 to White Repeated warnings to "slow down' before Kenny struck again 7-5 to White

Green's lack of passing accuracy hampered their recovery but they hung in the contest until Les Meldrew found space to make it 8-5 White with some breathing space at last?

Enoch poached a goal to make 8-6 Meldrew notched White's 9th Green would claim the night's final goal via Lee Thomo and the result 9-7 a measure of a better contest than might have been suggested during the first period

The outside warriors were set up in four teams with two game round Robin format refereed by Jeff Betty and Eamon (still clearly unwilling to give up that Clubman title) Late in the session Gonzalo arrived to watch and offer his assistance from the touchline

Jeff reported that Blue beat Orange thanks to a Deano goal Blue included Eileen, Les H, Wickie and Roger The Orange team boasted Chris 10P, Jim Murph possibly Whatshisname, Thingy and Graham

Meanwhile Red included Deggs, Michelle, Phil the Power, Mike Ox but not Little John and Haggis. Yellow included Lord Rainford, Jason, Andy Man, Tom Derby and Neil Stretch

There was next a thrilling 3-3 draw with Yellow and Orange Tom Derby, Lord Rainford and Andy Man were all on target whilst in reply goals from Les H, Phil and Michelle secured a well deserved parity

In game three, Yellow hit four with M'Lord, Tom and a brace by Jason enough to secure a 4-2 victory over the Red Chris 10P scored both Red goals but sadly the inability of our Clubman of the Year to adequately multi task and give a narrative to match his refereeing performance meant the other games went un-recorded The line ups above are to be treated as indicative but not necessarily accurate Memories severely tested by the cold!

With that their details melted into the night that was increasingly colder by the minute

Winter drawers on then!

Just Can't Do This Alone* - The Doobie Brothers

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Peter Fitzpatrick
Peter Fitzpatrick
Dec 03, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

That photo with captains brings it all back

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