Coming the day after England’s Euro victory session for over Germany – and from a group of players mostly old enough to remember the last English tournament victory over their old rivals - Wednesday night’s session at Sutton for St Helens WFC was littered with comments related to incidents in that game. But who was the centre forward who shrugged off some recent indifferent performances with a goal; who missed a complete sitter which could have changed the course of the game, and (going back to 1966) who was compared to Gottfried Dienst? (#). My lips are sealed.
In pre-cup training mode, we stuck with the unlimited touch format for the second week running and played 20-minutesessions as an attempt to get used to what it will be like away at Everton and home to Bolton. But such was the enthusiasm for walking football, sticking to a 6 a side format would havemeant too many dissatisfied punters on the side; so with no John Davies (having a well-earned break) to work on our ball skills we moved to an all-in game which meant 10 v 11.
The first complication came when it was apparent that the best laid plans of kit man Hawkins had gang aft aglay; as last week’s washing volunteer failed to appear with the freshly laundered bibs! Fortunately, we have moved on from school days and the need to play skins v shirts was avoided by thejudicious picking of teams comprising mostly of players whohad the same colour tops on! And thanks to the generous offer from Alan; going forward we now have a permanent kit man volunteer for Wednesdays. But who was our absent-minded teammate who failed to turn up with the bibs? Well to spare his blushes; once again my lips are sealed; the pie legs (^). So, we lined up as follows: -
Blues (ish, with a bit of grey too): - Ian B, Dave B, Steve, Mick, John, Andy, Len, Geoff, Ian H, Grav
Reds of various hues plus a smattering of fetching Orange: -Chris, Derek, Phil, Les, Joe, Martin W, Colin, Tom, Nigel, Tony Despite having the extra man Blues took some time to get themselves sorted out and one or two early chances fell to Chris and Derek who failed to take them (see title of blog). But having sussed out they had a man over Blues then played with an extra man in defence (“now there’s a team after my own heart” – G Southgate) which – for the most part – kept Reds forwards quiet; and then towards the end of the first twenty minutes two goals from Steve F (who is definitely a bit Stirling-ish at the moment) nudged the Blues in front.
The 2nd period of the game was much more even but very competitive with both teams forgetting that in Walking Football you are NOT supposed to tackle from behind or come in from the side. It’s something that we all struggle with- when you’ve been playing football for decades the urge to get stuck in is very hard to curb! Eventually, from one such infringement just outside the Red’s box Derek curved an absolute beauty into the corner of the net past an unsighted Steve whose view was blocked by the defensive wall in front of him, to reduce Blue’s deficit to 2-1. Into the final 20 minutes session and with the sun disappearing over the target of many a clearance (ThattoHeath) Reds finally made their man advantage tell with both Ian’s getting on the scoresheet, making the final score 4-1. But, as ever with this type of score, that’s not the full story. If Blues hadn’t had an extra man? If Reds had taken their chances?? Who knows!
Another enjoyable nights footy; well played all and good lucks to all those playing in the cu games this weekend. (* My thanks for Derek for suggesting this title. I’d runout of inspiration)
(# Look it up)
(^ You know what an anagram is, don’t you?)