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Starting Over*

It was a morning of firsts at Ruskin on Monday Once again we were indebted to the weather Gods who ensured that the heavy rain kept off ancient heads until well after the session finished Another record attendance stretched resources as 41 plied their wares along the touchline hoping to attract the eye of a passing selector Gonzalo and the Cockney Rebel shared their cunning plan and solved the selection process with remarkable efficiency and speed That operation meant that the long-hoped for dream of allowing 5 rounds of games and a true round robin tournament could slip effortlessly into place A very welcome first to Monday mornings indeed

The teams cunningly selected were;

Black - Grazer, Harry, Citeh Geoff, Kenny, Mika, Eamon and Anita

Sky - Charlie, Andy Man(anger), Sheila, Goldie, Julie, Robin and Wickie

Orange - Walter, Liz, Les, Lord Rainford, Gonzalo, Grav and camera shy Phil the Power

Purple - Tony K, Tom Stretch, Chopper, Jill, Steve Honeyman, Jane and Amazon Prime

Pink - Enoch, Barry, Phil Moss, Donal, Kirsty, Willo and Tom Derby

Green - Joe the Ghost, Cockney Rebel, Tony Snakehips, Chris K, Little John and Mark NR (6 in total)

So 5 Rounds of 10 minute marathons 50 minutes non-stop action Making tired just writing this Blog

Round One featured an extremely tense game on Pitch A (nearest the stand) with neither Pink or Black able to find a breakthrough goal 0-0 described by Referee Betty as ‘very close’ Purple got off to a winning start with a handy 2-0 victory over their Green opponents Goals by Tom Stretch and Steve Honeyman proved the difference as Green numerical disadvantage hindered the Green tide on Pitch C (the one furthest from the Clubhouse) Elsewhere Orange moved the ball around with purpose and pace searching for an opening Sky held firm but lacked an out ball to lift the relentless pressure on their goal After a couple of attempts off target Gonzalo finally found the net after 4 minutes following some good approach work from Les and Jill on the left Sky found it difficult to mount any sort of pressure at the opposite end, despite one particular spectacular turn by Charlie, and were undone with less than a minute remaining when Walter and Phil prised open the Green right flank to set up Gonzalo to fire home Orange’s second goal 2-0

In Round Two Sky seemed destined for a long day in the office as Green made little of their one-man less to keep Sky penned in to their defensive third for long periods A fine goal by Tony Snakehips, to whom we offer our condolences on the passing of his brother last week, eventually broke the deadlock There was a moment of humour too, with Chris Kelsall earning a “Llandudno Fine” for dispatching a shot out of the arena on to an adjoining bowling green Details below - Les accepts payment in any denomination Chris did have the decisive say with a low shot into the corner with just 30 seconds left 2-0 the result Eamon struck early to secure a win for his Black team over Purple His only goal was through a gaggle of defenders and attackers The goal target must have been almost impossible to see but 1-0 and a winning goal with rather less than 30 seconds played On Pitch C Pink and Orange were scoreless after an epic struggle in the other Postcode

Round Three saw Sky fail to register a goal (becoming a habit now?) whilst Donal and Chris Willo hit the net for Pink to inflict the latest 2-0 defeat for Sky There was a very even game on Pitch B under El Presidente’s gurning gaze Black almost shredded the Green back line with the game’s best chance but the tame final shot was a let off for Green A poor back pass (happens much too often) heralded a period on top for Green but Kenny was just wide with a decent chance before Anita hit the woodwork for Black in the dying minutes 0-0 the final result The Round’s remaining match was almost a shock as Purple grabbed a surprise lead over Orange, Grav went on to equalise and then followed the pass of the game from Lord Rainford, who had a very secure morning at the heart of Orange hitting a defence splitting pass delivered with his unique Sussex Sweep (outside of the boot) style to Phil on the right wing who crossed to Gonzalo to seal the game 2-1 Orange.

Purple and Pink started at a terrific pace as both tried to take the advantage But after 3 minutes that pace dropped considerably as energy preservation suddenly became a factor Barry Holland a transfer window recruit from Penketh had a fine game in defence But an untidy period of both teams crowding around the ball in the midfield meant play became scrappy and indecisive Tom Stretch produced 3 remarkable saves in sharp succession to keep a Purple in the hunt Sadly time ran out as neither team could create an all important goal 0-0

Orange proved much to strong for Green with Gonzalo hitting a hat trick before withdrawing to check a Cheltenham form guide Green a player light did rally with Chris K grabbing a consolation 3-1 the final result Sky suffered their mandatory 2-0 defeat with Black the latest triumphant opponent No scorers were noted and apologies for any of the publicity shy Black players Andy Man defeated Sky supremo offered a word to our our reporter but as this is a Family Blog we will gloss over the exact quotation provided

And so into the final furlong, Round Five new ground for us all By now the older players were visibility wilting like a Tottenham season Purple inflicted the all-too familiar 2-0 defeat on Sky with Jane and Amazon Prime rubbing the last of the morning’s salt into the wounds More words from Andy Man but again as I’m writing this before the watershed …… Orange were held by a very spirited rearguard display Grazer hit the deck (hardly news) stopping a pile driver square in the chest (no one claimed credit for the effort) Undaunted he rose moments later to resume his defensive duties Phil, Grav and Walter were wide Gonzalo retired to his stint in goal thoroughly frustrated but still Black wouldn’t crack 0-0 the unexpected result but great effort by all

Barry marked his Ruskin baptism with the only goal in Pink’s win over Green

Before we overlook the effort extended in 50 minutes continuous play It was excellent effort all round

Orange with 8 points took the morning’s honours

Pink, Purple, Green and Black all earned 7 points

And special mention must go to Sky who never gave up despite their underwhelming experience on the first of our Five a Day

Another of our periodic peaks at our latest recruits now and we look at the pre-Walking Football antics of Phil Doyle who was snapped up from non-league inaction in the recent January window

Phil started as a school kid playing predominantly as a defensive midfielder He peaked with Simon Vicars, Earlstown’s version of Nasty Leeds (not really but ex-Crosfields editor has the final word) Playing in Warrington & District Premier Division between 78-89 Vicars were always tough opponents especially at home This could be because their pitch was next to Vicars factory where fog and mist was a frequent leveller He lists Duncan McKenzie as his most illustrious opponent, as do a number of our players One statistic he’s keen to forget is that he appeared in 5 Cup Finals but never on a winning side Thanks to Phil for supplying his deepest darkest secrets Don’t worry no one ever reads this deeply into the Blog

Let’s do it all again

Starting Over* - Chris Stapleton

Happy St Patrick’s Day to y’all ☘️

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15 mar 2023

Thank you , for the kind thoughts & sympathy on the passing of my BROTHER <CHRIS> He was demonstrating with friends of Palestine in chester when he became ill. The reason i wore the Free Palestine top when i played. Thank YOU all so much.

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