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Walk don't run* - Its getting mighty crowded* - Celebration*

OK it's three instead of the usual one music reference but as will become clear later it's my party and I'll cry if I want to

Monday morning a bright day calm and dry perfect weather for a stroll in the park or thunder on the Ruskin AstroTurf as SHWFC members prefer There was a further proof if any was needed of the growing popularity of our sport with 25 players reporting to play El Presidente and Coach Davies conducted a vigorous warm up (too vigorous for some perhaps) Then Coach consulted with his tea leaves and elected instead to employ MoneyBall the Club's algorithm to make his selections for the morning's games

Two pitches and 4 teams of 6 (one team with an extra for good measure) and away we went

Those teams were;

Reds - Gonzalo, Cockney Rebel, Glen the Chaser, Grazer (returning after a series of medical incidents) Andy and Mika

Blues - Steve the Honeyman, Dave Seagull, Thatto Dave, debutant Alan Maldon, Tom Stretch, Mark and Dave (Bradley) Wiggins (another new boy)

Yellow - Nigel, John Eden (guest appearance) Donal, Colin, Goldie, and Citeh Geoff

Alternative Yellow (lemon at a stretch) - Phil, Grav', Tony, Anita, Package and Les

The first series of games featured Reds v Yellow (real deal) and quickly settled into a shoot out with Reds probably on top but without the scores their play deserved Play was end to end with Gonzalo leading the Reds line ably assisted by Andy, the Chaser and Cockney Rebel At this stage Grazer struggled to match the pace of the game but no surprise after months of inactivity Mika was a little wasted in the nets, his energy around the park not utilised Yellows were assured in their formation with Colin his usual dynamic self, John Eden calm and Goldie, Donal and Nigel competitive whilst Citeh Geoff mopped up in defence Goals by Nigel and Goldie eased Yellows into the ascendancy with Gonzalo striking a stunner for Reds only score 2-1 to Yellows in the game of the morning

Meanwhile on pitch one the Blues and alternative Yellows (lemons?) served up a flurry of goals and some moments to challenge our referees Refereeing Walking Football is much harder than one might imagine People are always competitive, some very keen to exert any advantage they can achieve (polite way of saying cheat) Splitting duties between the two pitches made it doubly difficult So there's a reliance on players to behave fairly and with sportsmanship and police themselves Occasionally these boundaries are pushed stretched and blurred - back to the action

Blues held the upper hand throughout but with their opponents fielding 2 debutants to the sport and unaware of their teammates strengths and weaknesses this was inevitable The 3-0 win with goals by Steve the Honeyman and Colin reflected the difficulties that Lemons battled

Dave (Bradley) Wiggins was granted a compassionate free transfer (to be nearer to his home) to bolster the Lemons for the 2nd set of games. His game management enabled Lemons to be better organised and competitive against Reds As a consequence Lemons produced a decent spell of possession and some excellent passing Phil was free to test Reds keeper, Grav and Tony probed for openings, while Anita and the Package chipped in too Les steadied the rearguard and it took a mighty effort from Gonzalo to shade the match 1-0 to Reds in a tough game

On pitch one, the Official Yellow were undone by Blues who cruised to another win with Colin and Steve (a hive of energy - geddit?) on target

Blues v Reds in the final series of games went the way of a very strong Blue outfit though Reds contributed to a good contest Gonzalo led the line with Mika and Andy pressing a beleagured Blue defence On the counter attack Blues were deadly Steve and Alan stretching Reds defence ably assisted by tTom and Thatto Dave We had goals by Gonzalo and Steve Honeyman to poise the game at 1-1 Further goals by Steve sealed a well deserved win and his hat trick Gonzalo rained efforts on the Blue goal but wasn't able o find the net

3-1 the final result on a morning when Blues exerted a firm hold on proceedings

The all-Yellow match went the way of the Official Yellows with a thumping 4-nil win The Lemons had reverted to a multi-coloured approach but were no match to their jaundiced opponents Goals by Donal (his best showing since his return from injury and illness) and a hattrick by Colin swayed the match which was in truth much closer than the scoreline suggested

A great morning's play with some individual highlights Hattricks by Steve the Honeyman, Colin the Late Williams and Gonzalo Higuan However there was plenty of 'discussion' regarding running mostly off the ball All in all a fairly standard Monday

Music references today

Walk don't run* - The Ventures possibly the most 60s sounding beat popular combo ever to make instrumental records

Its getting mighty crowded* - Betty Everett a great floor filling stomper for Northern Soul Aficionados

Celebration* - Kool & the Gang - to mark El Presdente's Official Birthday 21Gun Salute optional

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