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Walking Contradiction*

Bright and sunny conditions greeted our merry band of walking footballers at Ruskin this Monday morning Was it the opportunity to see Rugby League pin up boys Italy training at their borrowed Ruskin home? Was it the promise of cake to celebrate Anita’s Birthday post play? Or was it the chance to stretch their limbs and breath in the fine October air Two new boys made it to the starting line and in addition we had a visit from Dave Grazer Clark a welcome spectator after his recent health issues

Pitches were prepared and looking in great shape helped by the loving care shown in laying flat markers to denote the keeper’s areas Football Manager Andy (Man) Houghton encouraged all to enjoy their morning with yet more attention to the fundamentals; walk, talk, pass, communicate and encourage After a brisk warm up by Clarkie teams were then selected in a pincer movement by Les Meldrew using just blind faith and luck as his guidance

Twenty Six were declared fit to play and so we had two teams of six and two teams of seven

Those happy bands were.

Purple – John Pidgeon, Cockney Rebel, Jeff Bad Boy Betty, Mark No Relation Davies, Tom Derby, Robin Barnes (debut), and Sheila

Black – Dave Prime, Les, Chris Willo, Little John, Norman, and Eamon

Pink – Mika, Steve Goldie, Steve Honeyman, Margaret, Lord Rainford, and Tony Snakehips

Green – Tom Stretch Parr, Clarkie, Andy Man, Phil the Power, Kirsty, Andy Powell another debutant, and Dave Seagull

In the opening games Purple and Black played a cagey game with neither side creating much in the way of chances We had a steady debut from Robin who seemed quite comfortable in the Purple midfield Cockney Rebel ensured his team were always in the hunt, John Pidgeon was neat in possession but it was Tom Derby and Mark NR who posed the greatest threats to the blank score line As play continued Black took a firm hold on proceedings with Dave Prime and Chris Wilson standing firm Les and Little John spread play into the wider margins and the game’s only goal came from a break by Little John that was squared across the box to Norman who made no mistake side-footing home for the 1-0 victory The other opening match was a much more one-sided affair with a very strong Green side showing great style (and an extra player didn’t harm) to overcome the plucky Pinks On paper Green were too strong for all the teams but when was walking football ever played on paper?

Two goals by the returning Tom Stretch Parr (after the international break) plus a fine finish from Andy Man sealed a 3-0 win The victory wasn’t about fire power alone however, Kirsty, Gaz and the excellent Dave Seagull all played a huge part in the display Andy and Gaz talked their team through every game with encouragement and knowhow A word too for debutant Andy Powell (not former US Secretary of State Colin Powell no relation) who eased into the game showing a good range of passing and positional awareness Green were the day’s stand out performers

In Round Two the two teams of seven met up with 100% records on the line Black were unphased by Green’s expansive passing and stayed in the game with a couple of fine saves by Chris Willo There was a spell of pressure from Black with Dave Prime and Eamon switching play from side to side to try to find a way through The game was decided late in the piece by a good move that set up Tom Stretch close to the area His effort on goal was aided by the Black keeper’s advanced position but Tom held his nerve to secure the victory 1-0 As Green preserved their 100% record the Round’s other game featured two teams looking for their first win

There was in comparative terms a distinct lack of confidence pervading the Pink v Purple match No one wanted to lose and at time no one wanted to win enough to wrest the win either Tom Derby went very close with a good controlling touch, turn and shot but his effort shaved the post and went harmlessly wide Cockney Rebel urged his Purple team on but Pink were resolute with the two Steve’s showing their stuff The opening goal came a little out of the blue when Lord Rainford mopped up a loose ball and found Tony in midfield With little on Tony wriggled his hips to unleash an unlikely pass across the park into the spaces behind the Purple backline to find Steve Goldie His first touch set up the eventual goal with a controlling dab that left him alone with the goal at his mercy His finish was top drawer 1-0 to Pink and seeming secure with their shape and degree of control

The game was drifting away from the Purple until a wayward pass was picked off by Tom Derby who fired home 1-1 and somewhat against the tide Purple were on terms There was a good case to rule out the goal as Tom Derby had certainly not walked to intercept the ball but Referee Martin Chopper Williams was unmoved 1-1 the final outcome

Round three started promptly whilst El Presidente (Referee’s Assistant to Anita who had performed wonders with the whistle) was on ball retrieval duty Black had taken an early lead through Chris Willo who had calmly picked his spot, Pink undone by some slack defending Pink’s flimsy morale seemed at this stage to totally disappear at this juncture Wasteful passing that did more harm to Pink than their opponents became the standard Understandable perhaps but the final blow was the Black second goal Pink had surged forward but with little purpose or accuracy Black picked off another aimless pass and Dave Prime slipped a ball through the Pink ranks to Eamon who was able to fire past Lord Rainford

Significantly M’Lord was the only Pink in their half of the pitch 2-0 and total capitulation now too evident Black comfortable 2-0 winners

Green dispensed with Purple in the day’s last game in a predictably one-sided affair Jeff Betty earned a reprimand from the Referee for a stubborn show of petulance Tom stretched his goal haul with a hat trick and six for his morning’s work 4-0 the result on a bright and breezy morning

In the sumptuous surroundings of the Slipper Room (not to be confused with the Boot Room) Anita worked a double act with Sheila dishing out cake to mark her Birthday Talk was bright and carefree and the morning’s accolades were dished out A new award will be given at each session from now until Christmas The Football Manager’s Award recognising players who make a positive contribution to the session Monday’s winner selected by Andy was Dave ‘Seagull’ Trenner Quite apart from putting in his best performance at Ruskin he also survived a scurrilous appeal for running, as it was explained that whilst his arms were running his feet were most definitely NOT running

The award will be toiletries products from our long-term sponsor Harry’s

Walking Contradiction* - Green Day

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