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Making the most of it*

This year (until now at least) our Monday morning sessions at Ruskin have been generally untroubled by the extremes Of the British weather This Monday’s games were blessed by December mild conditions, chilly but dry without any troublesome wind chill The assembled numbers reflected on the decent forecast and clearly decided to make the most of it, with 32 players plus a trio of referees on hand to keep order Andy Man(anger) addressed the Group extolling the virtue of the defensive dark arts


Last Wednesday’s Blog, the epic two-parter, contained some useful pointers from Lord Rainford’s Butler As our regular Blogaristas are allegedly defenders (be serious) there was much nodding of heads Andy then led a vigorous warm up to prepare for the games ahead El Presidente dished out the bibs having made some tough choices for the sides thanks to the Club’s legendary algorithm Moneyball

The sides selected were;



Green - Citeh Geoff, Tony Kenny, Dave Seagull, Robin, Tom Derby, Mika, Paul and Daz Samo



Pink - Chris Willo, Tom Stretch, Phil the Power, Dave Thatto, Jane, Eileen, Liz and a Triallist (verdict unavailable)



Purple - Steve Honeyman, Charlie, Gonzalo, Andy Man(anger), Donal, Jill, Enoch and Goldie



Black - Lord Rainford, Eamon, Anita, John Pidgeon, Les Meldrew, Jeff Betty, Mark (no relation) and Amazon Prime


We were again blessed with a surfeit of Referees with El Presidente taking care of one pitch and the double act of Grazer and Snakehips in charge of the far pitch


The first round of games threw up the intriguing clash between Green and Black under the care of El Pres’ Two fairly strong sides and so it proved as they battled to take control of the game Mark (unrelated to Coach Davies of the Parish) found the net after smart work from Jeff Betty, Les and Eamon But an error by the Black keeper advancing outside the area led to a penalty which was firmly tucked away by Daz 1-1 a fairly even game with a lack of goals despite the talents on display Daz had another effort strike a post whilst a usual suspect was convicted for the day’s first useless back heel (see last Wednesday’s Blog) There was an encouraging shout “who is marking?” Another encouraging word to the player who shouted “good shape!” We had two players almost colliding to clear a ball, infinitely better than no one trying Defenders then making the most of their chances to shine

The other game was enterprising but so well matched (plaudits to the selection Moneyball) that neither side found the net Pink not to be stereo-typed included 3 ladies in their team, loads of guile and ambition but no scoring edge Purple perhaps shades chances but had to settle for a 0-0 draw A game that Ref Snakehips applauded for the sportsmanship and energy on display


In round two Black tested their mettle against Pink In the early exchanges Tom stretched Amazon Prime to parry a good shot away for a corner Our Triallist improved his contract chances with a couple of good interceptions, Willo and Jill looked to set up Liz to test the Black rearguard But a little against the walk of play (run surely?) Eamon seized a long clearance to tuck away the opening goal 1-0 to Black Pink took a firmer grip on possession and lay siege to the Black area Phil linked to craft an opening that Liz fired over “I’m a defender really” An excuse we’ve all uttered at some point, As the siege continued Tom Stretch swivelled to shoot but was narrowly wide before another poor Black clearance was picked off by the rampaging Pink midfielders to give Tom the chance he finally took to grab a deserved equaliser 1-1 and a cracking game played with an absolute sporting manner


Meanwhile the goal drought on the far pitch continued until Gonzalo fired home to secure the narrowest of wins for Purple 1-0 in their contest with Green. There was a magical moment of sportsmanship here too when Daz clattered into Gonzalo with a slightly late challenge. The two combatants (in another time we’d have enjoyed that contest) just shrugged it off and played on


In the final round up Purple took early advantage of Lord Rainford’s misfiring internal gyroscope (he wondered into the keeper’s area Dear) with Gonzalo firing past the keeper’s despairing dive to put Purple a goal to the good. Suggestions that the quick switch of keeper by Black infringed the unspoken code of conduct were brushed aside by the threat of a Super Injunction, so let’s leave that discussion and make the most of…


Anita had a storming game in goal thereafter for Black, with a string of good saves, Donal picked off a wayward clearance but was just wide Purple on top and looking to put the result beyond doubt Enoch and Charlie proved strong in the Purple defence. Lord Rainford produced a decent speculative effort from some distance for Black but it was Purple with their high pressure tactic that kept Black hemmed in their own half unable to break the stranglehold. Steve Honeyman looked sure to settle the match when he closed in on the Black goal but his shot was agonisingly inches off target 1-0 a narrow victory for Purple despite a good battling rearguard action from Black


The far pitch matches had produced just one goal all morning and so it continued Pink and Green showed lots of energy and commitment but no goals to show for their efforts Citeh Geoff seized on a weak clearance and fired a rasping drive into the net but his effort was quickly ruled out by a posse of Referees (even El Pres’ joined in from the adjacent pitch) Geoff’s sprint to bypass the intended recipient was deemed to be running Perhaps the clearest example all morning, so obvious that even he accepted the decision without comment. And so it ended 0-0 The far pitch goal drought only breached once all session when Gonzalo had earned Purple that only victory on that particular pitch in the earlier game against Green


Moneyball the much criticised algorithm ruled triumphantly after 3 games with just 6 goals. No team scored more than one goal in a game. No cards awarded and excellent sporting endeavour on show all round


Making the most of it we certainly did


So all eyes on our final Monday morning session next week As an added inducement there will be a Cake And Quiz session in the sumptuous surroundings of the Slipper Lounge straight after the games


There’ll be Prizes and Eating plus Holiday Greetings and Gay Happy Meetings but no Marshmallows for Roasting or Carolling out in the Snow Andy Williams eat your heart out!


Making The Most of It* - Dodgy (once popular Brit Pop combo who were ‘Out for the Summer’ but not quite ‘Good Enough’ to stay around


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