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Sheila take a Bow*

Our usual Blog writers, Lord Rainford and El Presidente, thought it was high time that rather than just writing to implore members to respect the man in the middle (no matter how wrong or inept his efforts might seem) today we would put our whistles where our mouths are and show the way

Most of us were thrilled to watch The Lionesses show the way last night, winning whilst enduring a thorough and ruthlessly efficient Teutonic attempted demolition The match referee was largely blind to the dubious tactics employed from the start by the Germans but our plucky gals dug deep and swept the Nation to a long-awaited Tournament triumph with great skill, perseverance and determination Decisions no matter how wrong shrugged off because there was a bigger goal within reach if the team could maintain its discipline

So today we had two esteemed executives leading the way, setting the tone and putting their necks firmly on the block as Referee for the day! Any fears or worries were quickly erased as an outbreak of common sense bathed Ruskin as bright as the sunshine that welcomed the members to the hallowed AstroTurf

El Presidente (for it was he) conducted a vigorous warm up (too vigorous for some?) Teams were then selected by blind chance - Moneyball away being overhauled by Ned Ludd and his boys at Tech'Rn'tus

The teams were;

Purple - Gonzalo, Dave Wiggins (returning after a nasty case of Twitter burn out), Kirsty, Jeff Betty and Tony K

Red - Mike Bates, Cockney Rebel, Clint Eastwood, Mika and Steve Goldie


Blues - Margaret, Tony Snakehips, Colin the Late, Mark Davies (NR), Les (aided by Sheila after her delayed arrival)

Yellow - Andy Capt., Dave Seagull, Anita, Donal and Tom Derby


The first series games were tight affairs with Lord Rainford firmly in charge of the Blue and Yellow tussle Lots of decent passing and movement that produced a draw with goals by Donal for Yellow and an own goal for Blue Honours even at 1-1 on the far pitch

On the pitch nearest the main stand Purple raced into a 2-0 lead with Gonzalo grabbing a brace Great team work, movement and passing at the heart of the opening minutes From 2-0 and being firmly under the cosh Red rallied through Steve Goldie and then Clint get a share of the spoils Both teams were patient and comfortable in possession and importantly there was great communication Such a simple and effective way to play Three touch football (apart from Jeff Betty who invented an extra touch for his own purposes) and easy for El Presidente to officiate too


In Round 2 Red proved way too strong for Blue who despite playing with an extra body were careless in possession and slow to close down all and every Red threat Clint was the grateful recipient of wayward defensive passing (not down the middle or square across the back line) Basic defending 101 or that alternative Defenders Handbook 'Defending for Dummies' well worth a read Mika had a very decent game in Red's defence, blocking crosses from Colin in particular Blue did mount a spell of some threat with Colin feeding Margaret and Sheila with some half chances But the tactical deployment of the Cockney Rebel sealed the Red win however His first effort found the corner of the net and he had a personal battle with Mark NR who produced some great if unorthodox saves to keep the score to 3-0

Yellow and Purple served up an end to end battle with neither side dominant the game marked by a solitary goal by Donal who got through an immense amount of work as usual There were numerous missed opportunities but 1-0 it ended Kirsty suffered an equipment failure when a piece of her prosthesis broke This effectively ended her morning's efforts and she had to arrange some emergency repair for the afternoon We can but wish her well and admire her amazing spirit


The last round of games featured the day's only contentious incident and on the adjoining pitch the most one sided game of the day With Kirsty now on the side line for the rest of the play Purple cunningly negotiated the transfer in of Sheila to even the sides Next to aid one of our color blind brethren Blue changed shirts to a predominantly Red look with some off white thrown in for good measure This series of wizard wheezes did the trick as the beseiged Purple were unable to stem the tide Goals by Colin 2, Tony and an unfortunate own goal by Kirsty (deflecting a Les special) and a notable first goal ever for Sheila in reply gave a 4-1 score that was rarely in doubt

Meanwhile Yellow and Red served up a tepid display for any passing spectators on the near pitch Red huffed and puffed but couldn't find a goal Yellow led by Club Captain Andy frustrated their opponents stifling all attempts to find a way through In the final few minutes in a blatant attempt to waste time much to the frustration of the Presidential Referee Yellow keeper was warned about gamesmanship Undeterred there was a further deliberate attempt to delay a restart with the keeper feigning ball release Finally patience exhausted there was a loud blast of the Acme Thunderer and Yellow were instructed to elect a player to go off for 2 minutes In the heat of the moment it was suggested that if one was off - all would go off That invitation was swiftly accepted and sYellow had to concede the error of their ways

The hapless Tom Derby left to spend time on the touchline whist Yellow accepted their punishment Andy rallied his side to play out the period with some great possession play (without resorting to the keeper's previous dubious tactics) Play ended with Tom Derby returning to see out the short time remaining Controversy apart 0-0 was probably the fair result