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Earlier in the week at a Big Cup press conference a reporter was forbidden to use the word ‘SPARK’ Quite how the media darling with more teeth than last year’s Grand National winner got away with that will remain a mystery but that’s football Sparks flew at various times during Wednesday night’s latest Sutton session We had the lot, intriguing battles between combative midfielders We had inspirational defensive displays to restore faith in the dark arts There were superb passing sequences that switched play from end to end Lots of quality to spark enthusiasm from the most world weary football reporter and lots of laughs, improbable appeals and excuses In short it was another great night for entertainment in the world of Walking Football

Twelve made the short trip downstairs to the Great Hall to soft shoe shuffle in the white heat of the Soccerdome

Red’s line-up was: Gonzalo, Grav, Chris 4G, Laura, Phil the Power and Joe the Ghost

Whilst Whites paraded: Les, Dave Babylon Gray, Michelle, Lord R, Cockney Rebel and Jeff Betty

slightly uneven perhaps but not 6-1 uneven surely?

After a goalless first period the rot quickly set-in when Lord Rainford played a ‘pass’ squarely across his own D, isolating his keeper plus another team-mate and delivering straight to the feet of Laura. She gleefully smashed the ball home for her first ever goal with SHWFC.

That was the cue for a litany of misplaced passes, hopeless Hail-Marys, wasteful back-heels. A display of incompetence from Los Blancos which, had he not been playing outside, would have given our new Football Manager Andy Man a fit of the vapours.

The only surprising thing is that, given the score line edged up to 5-0, Laura did not add to her opener. Shots rained in and only a combination of good saves, bar, post, and the sacrifice of accuracy for power (I can testify to the power, ouch!) kept her tally at one.

Eventually with the clock approaching 8 o'clock and the deafening noise from the dancers in the other half of the gym having abated (we'll be having a word) Reds managed to string two passes together without finding touch or an opponent and Jeff reduced the deficit slightly. Cue a full lap of the pitch to celebrate and cries of "we're going to win 6-5"

At this point Les introduced that famous old playground rule 'next goal wins'. But an outrageous steal by the whites was not to be as deep in added time Laura received the ball wide on the left. She curbed her every instinct she laid it off to Gonzalo and bang that was that! Gonzalo had plundered a hat full of goals to punish his hapless opponents, or work up a sweat to get rid of his Post Covid fever

Sixteen hardy souls took their courage in both hands and ventured on to the AstroTurf for a proper footballing contest And what a match up that turned out to be! El Presidente set out his refereeing stall with the Acme Thunderer blasting early for the night’s first errant run off the ball The game was a close game despite the eventual score line for almost 35 minutes The sides evenly balanced and playing their own brands of effective Walking Football were.

Orange – Disco Deggs, Eamon, Gary Radford, Andy Man, Mike Ox, Tom Derby, Harry Haggis, and Sharon

Colours – Chris Willo, Gaz Clarkie, Daz Sammo, Neil, Mark Harrison, Dave Bates, Martin Mc and Little John

The game produced some excellent passing and movement sequences Orange initially on top with a creative edge Their defence was equally effective with Gary Radford and Andy Man reading their opponents passes and stepping in to keep the scores level Colours had their own defensive strengths Clarkie displaying a cool head whenever required to break up attacks and launch counter attacks In midfield Daz Sammo and Mike Ox held their own battle to dominate with honours generally even despite the enormous energies expended by both Andy Man produced the evening’s first notable strike moving on to a ball that had fizzed around his team mates before offering the half chance that went just wide Deggs was off target next following another good team move At the other end Martin Mc found the area beyond the Far End fence to pick up the ‘£2 Llandudno fine’ Sharon urged her team mates to squeeze the Orange (until the pips squeak?) So, lots of excellent inter passing, markedly improved communication and an enjoyable but goal less first half

The second stanza produced a further period of bright but goal less football Lots to admire except a goal to divide the sides Sharon had a busy time during her spell in the nets with three good saves Deggs frustration boiled over with growls of disgust at his profligacy The breakthrough came from unlikely source with Clarkie finding the net from wide on the right The goal sparked a period of dominance for the Colours, Mark Harrison produced a fine turn and shot to stretch the lead to 2-0 Both goals left newly installed Orange keeper Deggs beaten with no chance and blameless His growing frustration all too evident when Martin Mc claimed the Colours third goal in a four minute spell to end the contest at 3-0

It was a cruel turn of events for just 4 minutes earlier Orange were the more likely winners

There was a deserved consolation for Orange’s Gary Radford 3-1 Orange on top again but unable to add to their tally Colours ended playing on the counterattack looking to stretch the Orange but time ran out with Colours victorious 3-1 An excellent game with the result in doubt throughout

SPARK* – Fitz and the Tantrums (Californian Indy Rock, Neo Soul band)

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