A wet miserable scene greeted El Presidente as his armour-plated vehicle set off to collect Grazer (arch henchman and sometimes walking footballer) to make the epic drive from leafy Cheshire to the outer limits or St Helens as its known outside the borough But real walking footballers aren't overly concerned about a spot of rain or deluge as it known in London and beyond Rough tough Northerners are prone to strip off to the waist and be grateful for the unseasonal precipitation It sorts the men (and Anita of course) from er the other men There appeared to be several notes from their Mums but undaunted SHWFC assembled at Ruskin for their weekly Monday morning date with destiny
The squally start to play allowed 19 players plus Coach Davies and Referee Herr Jeff Betty to adjust their rainwear in preparation joined for his debut by new boy Andy Brown, signed on deadline day when the Treasurer found the necessary funds stashed behind his flask
Players creaked through the warm up and were efficiently divided in two teams of 9 and 10 for the match The teams were;
Purple - El Presidente, Colin, Phil, Anita, Package, Alex, Citeh Geoff, Les and Andy Capt.
Yellow - Lord Rainford, Oxo, Grav, Anita, Tom Stretch, Tony, Cockney Rebel, Goldie, Mika and Andy Brown (who could well be known in future imaginatively as Brownie)
Play was predictably a little frantic at times as with so many players crammed in close proximity space was at a premium Purple did spread play whenever possible with Colin, Phil, Package and Les looking to the wings for a way forward Citeh Geoff and Andy Capt kept the rearguard firmly under control But it took some swift passing before the first meaningful chances fell their way Package was unable to find the net thanks to a diving save from Tom Stretch Lord Rainford posted an early reminder of his definition of uncompromising Cockney Rebel (back after his rest cure in Blackpool's restorative waters) formed a solid defensive unit with M'Lord and Mika who does like a challenge though not half as much as illustrious team mates
It took a piece of great play to prise open the Yellow's final third Phil, El Presidente with a cute dummy, Package and finally Colin with decisive and clinical finish giving Purple a well deserved goal 1-0 and Purple looking increasingly dangerous hungry for more goals Undaunted the Yellows enjoyed a period of possession to wrest control away from their opponents In the second period play tended to be focused in congested areas with bodies piling around the areas for corners and freekicks Ref Betty went about his morning with his usual quiet ruthlessness Some decisions were politely questioned and equally quietly dismissed Yellow tested a couple of long range efforts repulsed by Alex and then El Presidente ( who calmly collected a rebounded ball he judged to sailing wide from his far post) Purple retained its lead and looked on for the narrowest of victories before Goldie hit an angled drive across the keeper into the far corner 1-1 a tad fortunate perhaps but they all count The Purple had paid a heavy price for failing to clear their lines
The weather relented as the morning progressed and the last period was positively balmy However the change brought no further goals despite plenty of spirited play on both sides
Maybe justice was well served with neither side able to claim outright victory Hands were shaken fists were pumped Bibs were collected and the good hearted banter started over
Cockney Rebel beat a hasty retreat to the dressing rooms to ensure he could luxuriate in the corner shower 20 minutes later when he emerged other shower-takers were rewarded with a increased trickle of water warm He who dares Rodders He who dares!
The new afternoon treat coffee in the sumptuous surroundings of the Slipper Cafe Bar was marked by Birthday Boy Tony Snakehips Byrne who produced a cake to mark the start of another year Happy Birthday Dear Boy!
Another reminder that we assemble at 10:45 in order to commence play at 11 am each Monday and your home could be at risk if you ignore this Presidential Decree
Oblivious* - Aztec Camera