….and come in The Fall they did at Ruskin on Monday. On a bright autumn morning SHWFC were graced with 28 players keen to get stuck into walking football.Chopper once again nobly refereed; and we even had spectators, including Eileen and Paul who, apparently enthused by what they saw, will be joining us out on the pitch soon to further expand our numbers!
Mind you at Ruskin it wasn’t so much the autumn fall of leaves we had to contend with, but the autumn fall of rubber. Tons of the tiny black bits that get in your boots and socks (the cause of many a scene of domestic disharmony on Monday afternoons for SHWFC members), had been spread on the pitch. This made it look like an outbreak of some fungal disease had taken place; and caused some difficulty in marking out the pitches.
Once this had been done Andy Man took everyone through a warmup; with a pause to honour the first of our Football Manager’s Award winners, to be awarded up to Christmas. Step forward Dave ‘Seagull’ Trennerwho won the award for his all-round performance at Ruskin last Monday; and the eagle (seagull?) eyed among you will see that the cameras have recorded this for posterity.
Now comes the first real tense part of the morning (unless during the warmup you have inadvertently pulled something or accidentally broken wind). The selection of the teams. Would Les be able to pick four evenly matched sides? Would there be a bib in your colour large enough to cover your…err… ample bulk? Would you manage to finally be on the same side as ‘x’ who constantly humiliates you with nutmegs when on an opposing team?
This is what we ended up with and I reckon Les did a fairly good job (to be fair he does most weeks). So, as they say on the Sunday night ‘Strictly’ results show; in no particular order: -
Green: Mark ‘unrelated’ Davies, Jill, Tony ‘Snakehips’ Byrne, Steve Goldie, Eamon, MikeA and Dave Prime
Purple: Robin, John Pidgeon, Sharon, Tom ‘Stretch’ Parr, Sheila, Les ‘Meldrew/Goalhanger’ Brack and A Triallist
Black: Tom Derby, Liz, Kirsty, Andy Man, Lord Rainford, Phil the Power & Cockney Rebel
Pink: Margaret, Dave Seagull, Tony K, Julie, Steve the Honeyman, Jeff Betty and Andy Powell
Black and Purple kicked off on the far side with a 0-0 stalemate which had plenty of good moves from both sides but no real chances for either team. With Chopper reffing on the pitch nearer the stand both sides managed to play the game in a sporting spirit although I am sure an official might have been a bit harsher on the running.
On the near pitch however, Pinks took a while to get going and finished up on the wrong end of a 4-0 defeat with Eamon showing he is not only a goalkeeper by bagging all 4 goals. Fortunately for our salmon clad friends, this was as bad as it got.
Into round two and it was deja vue for the Blacks who, despite having most of the play, still could not find the net. This was because the Pinks stiffened their backbones (and doubtless other body parts too) to put in a much-improved performance in a 0-0 draw after their earlier debacle.
Under the benign eye of ref Chopper, Purple and Green also fought out a draw. But at least those watching had some goals to excite them with Jill on the scoresheet forGreens and Tom Parr overcoming his weekend drinking excesses to keep up his average of at least one per session with Purple’s goal.
And so, to the final round of matches where Blacks moved over to the near pitch to come under Chopper’s scrutiny for the first time that morning. And it looked as though it would be the same story with several incisive moves, usually with Tom Derby on the end of them, but with still no goal. Could Greens give them a sucker punch? Almost, as Eamon bore down on a defenceless Lord R in the Black goal, his defenders having gone AWOL, but his shot went just wide.
And then, finally…. the goal drought ended. A flowing move involving Kirsty and Liz (both of whose play was mentioned in despatches by Andy Man afterwards) left Tom D in front of goal for about the 5th time in the match. A hushed silence fell over the crowd (all 3 of them). Could he…finally???……He could!! Although with typical showman style, he made sure the ball hit the post first and went in on the far side.
Now we all know what happens when a team goes in front after a huge effort. They drop off positionally. And Blacks did, almost costing them a win but for some last ditch defending in their worst spell of the morning. Butbrave keeping from Kirsty meant they managed to hang on to get their first win.
On the far pitch another even game was played out between Purple and Pink, with Les scoring for Purple and, confidence no doubt boosted by his award earlier, Dave Seagull getting on the scoresheet for Pinks.
And so, another hugely enjoyable morning finished just before the heavens opened. Many of our players eagerly aimed for coffee in the Slipper Bar (as we call it)at Ruskin having seen the Italian RL team coach in the Car Park. Sadly, however, the squad were fewer in number this week and those that were there decided to remain fully dressed. But no matter, we sat round, congratulated each other on our performances and looked forward to doing it again soon. And I can revealthat, after nominations from three different sources on different teams, this Monday’s Football Manager’s Award goes to Purple’s A Triallist, for what was described as excellent distribution, ball control and positioning throughout the morning. Well done sir! Your grooming products await!
(* Inspiral Carpets)