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Three Steps To Heaven*

An extraordinarily busy week in the life of a SHWFC player Oh the fun we had

Good things always come in threes!

Monday morning was grey and overcast with the threat of Storm Babet promising disruption later in the week A record number of members made the trip to Ruskin though in the end just 31 players troubled the selectors In the post match analysis the Executive discussed those missing that might have normally taken the field "I'm going to need Securicor to help handle all the subs" Les Meldrew suggested

37 attending on a dull morning means he was probably correct

The teams eventually chosen by blind faith and reckless abandon were;

Sky - Phil the Power, Wickie, Enoch, Les, Andy Man and Eamon

Yellow - Paul J, Amazon, Tom D, Chris K, Willo and Phil the Moss

Black - Thatto Dave, Andy Zac, Mark NR, Charlie, Les Hewitt, Eileen and Sheila

Pink - Gonzalo, Roger, Tony Snakehips, Anita, Chopper and Grav

Orange - Paul F, Michelle Monday, Kirsty, Donal, Jeff Stanton (debutant) Mike McSpeed

Purple - Chris 10P, Lord Rainford, Kenny, Tom S, Tony Kenny and Barry Wizz

El Presidente surrendered his planned Monday meander with the odd number of players and adorned his refereeing jackboots instead of shin pads Cockney Rebel distracted obviously by the big Friday night plan, took charge of his quota of games We had the welcome arrival of Ref Jeff Betty too though his recovery from knee surgery remains a work in progress

A short digest of the morning's action, included a Gonzalo 20 second opener in the Pink v Black match Chris 10P marked his first Monday appearance with a reply Goals then by Mark NR (a hat trick) with Les Hewitt adding extra punishment in a 5-1 win for the slow starting Black In fairness Pink were the authors of their own downfall with a series of gaffes too damning to detail Black also had the extra player and at times it was simply too much

In the following match Sheila caused some embarrassment to senior players hitting Black's winner thanks to a double nutmeg in the act of scoring The irony was despite the additional body Black had been outplayed comprehensively until the goal

Pink demonstrated they'd learned little, gifting chances galore to Sky Eamon eventually took full advantage to score but with Grav and Gonzalo performing heroics Pink levelled when Gonzalo fired across the keeper to find the net 1-1 the end result

Orange played some tidy but ineffective football losing to Yellow 1-0 Chris Kelsall seizing a loose pass to finish smartly

Pink did salvage a decent draw in their match with Yellow, despite some staggering pieces of wasteful effort An excellent link up with Grav and Gonzalo set up the opening goal Gonzalo clearly favouring a particular spot in the bottom corner of the net 1-0 Yellow steadied and stormed back when Tom D set up Paul Jennings to side foot the equaliser 1-1 Credit to both teams for their endeavour

Phil the Power and Les were on target as Sky squashed home against Orange 2-0

Green recorded a similar 2-0 victory over Sky thanks to goals by Amazon Prime and Paul Jennings (remember this combination)

Neither Green nor Black could find the net in Game 3 - a controversial moment when Chris K did find the net only for Mr Rebel to rule out the strike on the advice of VAR (Amazon Prime caught off the ball moving too swiftly)

Pink picked off a win over Purple A Gonzalo brace overcoming Purple for whom Sheila claimed another goal 2-1 the outcome

Black exacted a 3-0 win to crush Orange Chris 10P, Andy Zac and Dave claiming the goals

There was an excellent Chocolate cake destroyed with great vigour in the Slipper Room session, other confectionery was available too all to mark Anita's recent Birthday Congratulations to our Vice Chair

The morning was used to prepare our squad for a Tuesday morning visit to Premier League Burnley FCs Leisure Box for a mini Round Robin event

The Squad under the iron-like grip of El Presidente was;

Andy Man Houghton, Dave Amazon Prime, Phil the Power Middleton, Les Meldrew Brack, Eamon O'Hooligan O'Donnell, Chris Willo Wilson, Tom Derbyshire, Andy Enoch Powell, Paul Jennings and John Wickie Whittaker

Games were played inside on a superb pitch against two Burnley teams Burnley All Blacks and Burnley Clarets The format was a slightly unusual 7 a side but Old Saints adapted from the very start dominating the All Blacks with an excellent serving of passing, supporting and defending The All Blacks keeper unquestionably rode his luck at times as OS peppered his goal Somehow after 15 minutes the score remained nil - nil

Burnley Clarets next up for the Harry's clad Orange OS This time the domination was complete with Amazon Prime finding the net at last after going close countless time before Paul Jennings added a second to seal the win, tucking a penalty into the corner of the net 2-0 and OS great value for the victory Eamon had little to do in the Old Saints net, dealing with long distance shots and the occasional back pass

The whole Squad played their part in the morning's action with excellent teamwork, passing and skill too much for their opponents The benefit of our 3 touch sessions was very evident throughout We finished with 2 seven minute games with The Clarets and finally the All Blacks to round off a most enjoyable visit Clarets were beaten again with Dave Amazon Prime on target In the dying minutes the All Black held out thanks again to fine goal keeping and some wayward Saints finishing

We hope to arrange a return fixture perhaps at Ruskin but a journey to Burnley in an expanded series of games is another possibility Great experience for all in the excellent setting of the Leisure Box with good people and great hospitality too

Wednesday night's Sutton SoccerDome session was set against the potential arrival of Storm Babet, a strong wind and rain a distinct possibility at all times during our venture outside

The outdoor AstroTurf session went ahead with a further demonstration of the weather Gods smiling benignly upon the SHWFC faithful A single 8 a side game the final compromise decision on a night where flexibility would ultimately prove to be the best outcome Elsewhere the slipper-footed indoor fancy dans served up 14 goals with Red shading Blue 9-5

Goals by Gonzalo (6) and Joe 3 steered them home to the delight of team mates; Enoch, Kirsty, Wickie and Les Hewitt

Blue, with Kenny hitting a hat trick and Grav plus Phil the Power also netting, included Andy Man, Les Meldrew and Phil the Power The a

Referee Mr Rebel complained that despite best efforts of the organisers the game was pretty even, though six a side tested the boundaries of crowding Several of the brethren were warned for excessive pace about the pitch with some ear-marked for a 'quiet word' for tackles from behind The Boot Room discussion later centred on whether 5 a side was the better solution than the crowded 6s

Walking Football does not allow any ambiguity No Running and No Tackles from behind or from the blind side

The teams outside were;

White - Barry Wizz, Simon, Martin Mc, Tom D, Mike Ox (welcome return after prolonged absence), Eileen, Darron and Deano

Blue - Dave M, Tom S, Michelle Wednesday, Roger, Jason (on debut), Eamon, Willo and Chris 10P

In keeping with this Blog's theme we had not one, not two but Three esteemed referees to cope with the outdoor session El Presidente the intended tyrant, stepping aside to allow WFA Tournament Ref Jeff Betty the reins before he wisely gave up his premature return in favour of the Sussex Arbiter Lord Rainford The resulting confusion meant that as we looked at each other for prompt action in reality we missed the decisiveness required for firm control Too much running, too many unpunished fouls and generally too much scrappy play

Darron Walley snapped two gifts in the opening minutes to fire White into the lead Sensible defensive options were ignored as the Blue gave away possession in dangerous positions 2-0 Blue under the cosh from the outset Eamon did hit the target to bring a mark of equilibrium, Blue (so Eamon's colour) had scrambled their first moments before But Barry wizzed in to put White back in front 3-2 As the game headed for half time Eamon plundered his second to make the game all square 3-3 at the break

Half time and the wind now playing havoc with the Voice Memo recording Thankfully the rain held off for much of the game, well at least for the time being

The winning goal was scored within 2 minutes of the restart with Tom Derbyshire steering a winner despite having a full 20 plus minutes remaining On his debut outing Jason displayed some neat touches and seemed to fit in very quickly to the vagaries of the game

There were chances galore Paul 'Roger' Moore swiped a shot arrogantly away for a corner in one memorable incident "The name is Moore, Roger Moore" he didn't say

Deano crashed a shot inches too high but still no further goals

In the end a firm blast of the Sussex Constabulary's Toot whistle brought the game to its conclusion As we left the arena the rain started with real venom and would last for much of the next 12 hours

Three sessions, three reasons to be cheerful, three cheers!

You've all done very well Young Mr Grace did declare

Three Steps To Heaven* - Eddie Cochran (ancient rocker)

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