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Rocket Queen*

Updated: Sep 2, 2022

Sutton’s serene Wednesday night session took on a whole new twist with the news that several members would be missing on holiday or due to urgent needs to visit aged relations Coincidentally the Premier League’s Late, Late Show returned in an entirely unrelated happenstance 18 players (make that 20 until warm up injuries kicked in) were on hand as Coach Davies led his small band of sharp shooters through some practice routines

One of them admitted later that the intensity of the routines prior to the warm ups might have a part to play in the later problems But I’m giving the plot away! El Presidente was there to introduce two more newbies to the rigours of Walking Football

Special mention must be given to Martin Cockney Rebel Briggs, who occupied the Les Meldrew role of cash collector for the South Side Mob

As the brief warm ups were concluded El Presidente selected from those assembled convinced that three teams of six would be the ideal solution for the session At the end of the selection process Jeff Betty as left looking forlorn as he “fancied a game but my ankle is sore” So gallant Jeff took on the role of Referee for the night The other absence was Phil the Power who had limped out part way through the warm ups with a thigh knack

The best laid plans were looking a little sad at this time Undaunted, players were told that there would be games of six a side with one team undergoing specialist drills with Coach Davies whilst their colleagues were battling out a normal game

The teams eventually were;

White - Chris Willo, Cockney Rebel, Eamon, Steve Honeyman, Haggis and Deano (back after a holiday break)

Black - Andy Capt., Joe the Ghost, Mike Ox, Dave Bates, Bally and Gonzalo

Blue who were the first to take part in the specialist drills - Jill, Disco Deggs, Little John, Neil and debutants Steve Ward and Michelle Dunning

In addition we had on the touch line a team (if such an expression could be termed) of injured heroes El Presidente, Phil the Power, Chris 4G, Colin the late Williams, Jeff Betty and Coach himself

The Black v White minstrel show was up first The Whites powered into the ascendancy with Andy capping a fine performance with the opening goal The lead was quickly doubled as a sweeping move presented Mike Ox with simple finish 2-0 and one pundit ventured the opinion that “these sides look very dodgy” With White ‘running riot’ it did appear a reasonable assumption But as we’ve seen over the years football is a funny old game In a rare foray in to the heart of the White rearguard the Cockney Rebel found space to unleash a drive to spark a fight back

Moments later Haggis looked to close down a White clearance and successfully diverted the ball past the keeper 2-2 and from down and looking out Black were seriously a threat Steve Honeyman fired Black into an unexpected lead White looked shell shocked but hardly out of the match with that firepower in their ranks Black defended deeply and rode their luck and at the death

Eamon convincingly wrapped up the game with Black’s 4th goal So much for dodgy punditry

Blue were next up for the Black with a spring in their collective steps after the ball work out on the adjacent pitch Errors in failing to adequately clear their lines hampered Blues early showing It was therefore little surprise when Deano converted from close in 1-0 to Black Gradually Blue employing some of Coach’s tactics, launched a series of attacks Steve Ward hit his first effort slightly too high (but thankfully below the Far End fence) Michelle found her way towards goal but couldn’t find the net Much better passing and communication meant Blue had a real chance to earn something from the game Deggs was everywhere, Little John a bundle of energy Blue on top but still without a goal to show for their efforts There was some touch line discussion of the Black tactics, employing a succession of different players to give away fouls to slow down Blue’s momentum In a moment of madness, Cockney Rebel was dispatched to the Sin Bin for denying Deggs in the act of scoring (which was by no means a given)

The DOGSO decision was given by Senior (or is it Senor?) Referee El Presidente backed by Game Referee Jeff Betty Birchall Could Blue take advantage No was the resounding cry Jill unfortunate to slip, when tidying up a passage of scrappy midfield action, unfortunate to see Eamon pounce to fire the sealing goal 2-0 Cracking match with both sides going for it White v Blue concluded the round robin matches and Jill atoned for her earlier slip by piling an unstoppable drive past Gonzalo who did well to get out the way Our pundit described the goal as ‘the best of the night’ later that prediction was invalidated by Jill finding the net again She found a little space and then swivelled to fire home Gonzalo was saved from further punishment at this stage His team mates deciding he might be better employed in his more usual forward position

Encroachment into the area led to a harsh penalty award Gonzalo fired home past Huyton’s hero only to have Jeff Betty insist that he retake the spot kick His second effort brought the same outcome 2-1 to Blue but White playing their more expansive game to stretch the Blue defence With Disco Deggs spread eagle in a wasted effort to earn a foul White fed in Mike Ox to level scores

Blue had chances to retake the lead but were wasteful and inaccurate in front of goal As time ran out Joe ghosted in to claim victory for White with the last action 3-2 the White comeback complete

The final action was a special mix and match game with White plus Chris Willo and Little John faced Black & Blue (Michelle had a retire early for an appointment) So 8 v 9:for the remaining part of the session Gonzalo gave White the early lead despite a fruitless appeal by the Huyton Hitman Our pundit and Referee Betty had a brief discussion about the frequency of wasted appealsIs Deggs on benefits then? He seems to claim for everything! Anon Joe swooped to claim White’s 2nd - the keeper motionless on the line helping Joe to pick his spot Haggis then took the High Road (Scottish reference done) but his goal was ruled out “You cannae lob the keeper young man!” Joe showed the way with a tap in from close in 3-0 White Gonzalo wrapped up the scoring with a left foot pass into the far corner of the net 4-0 and game over for Blue There was one more moment of humour as Deggs raced after a wide ball and fired the ball directly into a fence from point blank range in his haste

So a good night’s entertainment with all agreed that we must come back next week to do it all over again More holidays in all likelihood but other members returning to the action There could be some remote European games on Wednesday, but most are savouring the true European adventure on Thursday nights as Autumn moves ever closer

Rocket Queen* - Guns N’ Roses

Rocket Queen Jill Thomas Eamon O'Donnell

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