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One Thing At A Time*

Le Tournoi’s Second Semi Final at Sutton featured an extremely tight and well-matched affair between the Over 65’s and Over 50s.

The usual raft of absences and injuries meant some changes, but the teams eventually lined up as follows: -

Over 65s (in red): - Kenny, Eamon, Harry, Tom Stretch, Mika, Little John, Jill (despite technically being underage) and Phil Lynch.

Over 50s (in blue): - Lee Thomo, Steve Carine, Michelle Stunnin', Chris Willo, Deano, Mike Ox, Steve Angry Ford, Eileen and Joe the Ghost.

In the absence of El Presidente, recovering from his knee op, refereeing duties were taken on by Lord Rainford, with his trusty police whistle (toot ever ready) and natty hat.

Neither side could be said to be on top in the first half. Eamon played deeper than usual for the +65s letting Kenny take the strain up front with Tom and Phil in support. Jill sat in front of the defence where Mika was terrier-like in closing +50s down. And when they did get through, any Over 50s chances were dealt with by keeper Harry, with his usual sange froid, catching anything within reach, or using his feet for anything that wasn’t.

For the Over 50s Chris Willo and Lee Thomo were rocks at the back with Steve Carine and Mike Ox busy up front whilst the unconventional Ghost was Joe-like always a threat on the flanks though which flank you could never truly be sure

Eileen and Michelle were very effective in breaking up Over 65 attacks. But the notion that this was another dull midfield arm wrestle it most certainly was not There were few clear-cut chances and as half time approached, referee Lord Rainford pondered whether he’d have to invent some rules for extra time and then (dread word!) penalties.

Battle intensified in the second half and a few reminders were necessary that this was not a contact sport; all taken with good grace by the participants.

With Harry still stopping everything that came his way the over 65s started to press more on their opponents, but now in her stint in goal Eileen came to the fore with several good saves.

It was clear the deadlock would take some breaking and halfway through the period a loose pass gave Tom Stretch possession and (for once) he was able to steer his shot into the far corner of the net giving Eileen no chance. 1-0 to the elderly statesmen

The Over 50s did not let this setback get them down and upped their game to attempt to get back on level terms The enforced removal of Harry between the sticks in the substitution window provided an extra stimulus they might have hoped for Could this present the opportunity to wrest control? Harry's replacement, Mika provided the answer with more of the same Excellent blocks to deny The Ox, The Ghost and The Angry with what would have been an equaliser.

Numerous corners were defended with the Over 65s were hanging on at times. But they held firm and the game ended with just the single goal by Tom ‘Stretch’ Parr dividing the sides. The Oldies and pre-tournament favourites had triumphed, but only just in a most competitive game played in a good spirit by all concerned.

So the scene is set for our grand finale The Elderly Statesmen will play The Upstarts at Ruskin Drive on Thursday next 25th May

The Oldies hope to have Citeh Geoff Painter back in their ranks (FFP allowing) Donal should back from his World Tour of Ireland, Paul Jennings could be in contention too

At their best this squad justify their status as Tournoi favourites

Their opposition hope to have Neil coach back in their ranks after recent minor surgery

Paul 'Rod' Steiger could be thrust back into the fray The management might continue with the Cockney Rebel-Chris Prout axis with the unlucky David Martland likely to miss out Decisions Decisions

Whatever the line ups we are in for an absolute treat Two genuinely talented footballing teams playing for the honour of lifting the ultimate prize the inaugural SHWFC Tournoi Winners

Scouting for Girls (those serial turn up if you want us merchants) will not be providing pre-match entertainment The Club's AGM and Presentation Night will follow immediately after in the Wicket

Well played, SHWFC, well played!

One Thing At A Time* - Morgan Wallen

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