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Start Me Up*

A monumental week for SHWFC members was heralded by a Monday morning's Ruskin Sports Village session A very pleasant morning if a little chilly, but it is always encouraging to have to factor in a bright sun shining into the faces of defenders and keepers Could we be on the cusp of Spring? Monday was going to be followed by Tuesday & then Wednesday, in a stunningly logical progression but unlike any other week Tuesday was scheduled to be our BHF Heart Event Three hours of Walking Football involving two invited Clubs and Pilkington Masters The usual Wednesday evening Sutton SoccerDome session would follow a day later with its usual midweek challenges It was going to be a test of endurance stamina and patience But more of that later

There was a lusty number of participants despite the continuing injury toll that has troubled players since the year got underway Thirty Seven lined up as near to the white touchline as we are ever likely to get There was those who conspire to hold last minute discussions with other members (whether they want to chat or not) Those who leave changing into kit until the pea is rattling inside the Referee's whistle Others still need to take on water, despite not having ventured near to the pitch yet Any chance of a prompt warm up, selection, bib fitting and lining up ready to play are open to the vagaries of human nature It's what makes us all different

The eventual team selections were;

Pink - Little John, Mike McSpeed, Spiro, Roger, El Presidente and Jill Thomo

Orange - Mark NR, Tom Stretch, Eileen, Gonzalo, Donal and Phil the Cat

Sky - Mika, Wickie, Ian Lefty Bridge, Lord Rainford, Geoff P and Thatto Dave

Purple - Grav, Steve Jones, Phil Moss, Eamon and Michelle Monday

Black - Snakehips civvies, Chopper, Enoch, Amazon Prime, Les Meldrew and Haggis

Green (7) - Grazer, Robin, Aldo, Citeh Geoff, Andy Man, Gaz and Phil the Power

The first set of games got swiftly underway with Pink romping to a fine 3-0 win over Black Goals by Spiro (celebrated by traditional smashing of dinner plates), Jill and McSpeed secured the victory Orange braved the outbreak of sunshine to overcome Sky thanks to goals by Gonzalo and Mark NR The trusty left foot of Ian Lefty Bridge hit a customary Exocet but it was consolation only 2-1 to the Tangerine Dream The game between Green, with their numerical advantage and Purple was a much tighter affair settled by a goal plundered by the marauding menace that is our Football Manager, Andy Man 1-0 to Green

In Round 2 Orange cut loose to punish some pathetic defending as Pink were put to the sword in a 5-1 humbling Gifting overloads to forwards with the potency of Mark NR, Tom Stretch and Gonzalo is a sure fire recipe for disaster Little John did grab a consolation but Orange had crushed their opposition by then Hard words required at the end

Black and Purple couldn't find a goal to illuminate their dull 0-0 encounter In the remaining tie, Phil the Power served up a special to propel Green to another 1-0 win, Sky kept out by weight of numbers and defensive organisation (Gaz and Citeh Geoff to the fore then)

On to Round 3 and Sky emerged with a narrow 1-0 win in their third outing Pink beaten by a great strike by Thatto Dave Green continued in winning ways with goals by Andy Man and Aldo overcoming Black who were still without a goal Orange swept Purple aside with a Gonzalo hat trick Purple struggling with no goals to show after 3 games We later learned that Eamon was under the weather following a reception for Green Room writers where he regaled all who would listen with his fabled Tales from the Clubman of the Year

Orange had their wings clipped in their Fourth Round match with Green Ref Betty described the game as very very close, two very evenly matched teams What he omitted was that Green had a man advantage but the morning's showcase game ended all square 0-0 Pink rebounded after two defeats to regain form with a good value 2-1 win over Purple Mike McSpeed hit both goals for the blushing Pink with Barry Wizz claiming Purple's first goal of the day Goalshy Black continued to not trouble the scorers with Sky evidently coming out in sympathy 0-0 the final score

The morning's last action saw Orange, thanks to Gonzalo, deflate Black's last chance to score with his solitary goal enough to shade a 1-0 win We had an alleged brace from Lord Rainford (his use of beaters was later questioned) His Estate Staff provided inch perfect passing to enable the enobled one had the time and space required to allow his legendary Sussex Sweep to find the net Those unfamiliar with this finish must picture a ball pitching outside the off stump before being swept onto leg stump Enough of the Baseball analogies!

Green stood firm with their novel seven-man formation in the face of a Pink team and El Presidente enquiring of Ref Betty whether bending FFP and PSR was a fair challenge?

After consulting WFA Laws of the Game and his tea leaves he waved protests aside and play got underway

In the end a goal by Gaz was cancelled out by a Spiro strike and we had another delay as broken crockery was removed Whether the crockery could have been swept away quicker will remain a mystery? Ref Betty advised the Pink-faced cheek that with one player less they could claim a one goal handicap advantage So as the game ended 1-1 El Presidente arranged for an open topped parade to celebrate the Pink moral 2-1 victory As Jeff explained "it's your Blog" And the Referee is always right

Cake celebrations spilled over until early evening in the sumptuous surroundings of the Slipper Salon Attention switched to the following day's Event

As the Blog for the event didn't feature a team line of our players for brevity and modesty Hapily we can correct that now

Tuesday's Saints Red - Phil the Moss, Barry Wizz, Michelle Monday, Andy Man, Phil the Power, Mike McSpeed, Snakehips and Paul F

Saints Blues were - Brian P, Thatto Dave, Little John, Citeh Geoff, Eamon, Enoch, Haggis, Joe the Ghost and Deano

Pilkington Masters included - Phil the Cat, Lee Jenko, Lord Rainford, Tom Stretch, Wickie, Les Meldrew, Kirsty and Steve Jones

So as this Mega Blog now takes on new dimensions with not one, not two but three reports for the price of er none... The last portion as described by Lord Rainford's butler and sent by express sedan chair from the Rainford Estate to El Presidente Palazzo in leafy Cheshire and shared now for your reading delight

Wednesday night might have descended into the aftershow party with too many players struggling to keep up with the frenzied programme of the week's Walking Football In the Green Room O'Hooligan has rambled about fatigue and lethargy as well as being totally knackered, his vocabulary reaching new levels

But the show must go on as our Treasuer Les Meldrew needs those cash injections to ensure that our Executive Committee banquets are the lavish 24 course sessions only bettered by FIFA So with a healthy sprinkling of players, who couldn't make the Heart Event or who have yet to sample a Monday morning at Ruskin due to work commitments , plus those who needed to get out of the house as it was Wednesday after all, members assembled to enjoy the evenings excitement

As usual in the Autumn-Winter period, the session was split with 10 (quickest fingers on the buzzer) playing indoors whilst the Rump of the Group battled the outdoor AstroTurf elements

The Innards (looking faintly familiar) were;

Phil the Power, Les Meldrew, Les Hewitt, Grav (or Grave following an unfortunate typo) and Citeh Geoff

Kenny, Steve C, Michelle Wednesday, Joe the Ghost and Enoch

The Outward Bounders were;

Green - Haggis (only 3 days?) Jason, Keith, Chris 10P, Eamon (tired and emotional) Tom Stretch (see Eamon), Chris 4G, Dav and Andy Man (by now walking on empty)

Blue - Deggs, Mike Ox, Eileen, Roy Fielding (back after prolonged injury), Gaz, Subbuteo's Dave M, Mulla, Deano (back on familiar surface after his first outing on Ruskin's 3G) and Little John (taking it one step at a time)

As is sometimes the case when there arent enough numbers to split into two outdoor games and it’s chucking it down. Walking Football can take on a Ramones-esque level of speed which Referee Lord Rainford struggled to keep under his iron grip That lead to far more physical contact than is ideal. You try to keep the game flowing and playing advantage wherever possible; but one referee amidst 18 players on a small pitch will never see every infringement. Most players, thankfully, appreciate this; although there were one or two whinges and an expectation that just because you have a whistle you instantly acquire superhuman levels of vision and judgement.


Anyway; enough griping. It was a very even game although Green took a 2-0 lead into half time courtesy of goals from Jason and then Haggis, who kept his cool after beating a couple of defenders and calmly slotted home. The half time lead was soon wiped away as Blue stormed back (a bit too literally at times) with excellent finishes by Roy, Deggs and then Subbuteo's Dave M, taking them into the lead for the first time. Chris 10P, with a rocket shot from distance into the top corner of the Blues’ goal, which just crept under the referee’s over-head-height radar, evened the scores up at 3-3.


And that was the way it stayed. Chances at both ends, Eileen stalwartly defending her goal and one or two chances at both ends that could, but didnt win the game.


A breathless night; which despite the speed and conditions was mostly played in good spirit. But let’s put the brakes on next week, shall we, comrades 😊?

Start Me Up* - veteran popular beat combo The Rolling Stones

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Great week in Walking Football Let’s do it all again next week

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