When will we play Walking Football?
Will it be in December?
Or will we have to suffer, the whole winter through?
When will I see you again?
A good turnout on our last pre-lockdown2 Walking Football night at Sutton meant we had a full hours’ 8 a side match. Secretary Mike’s laudable effort to scientifically pick teams with equal age differences was thwarted by one or two anarchistic rebels moving about a bit.
In the Year of (In) Decision* we finally settled on: -
Blues: Mike M, Andy, Martin B, Joe, Jeff, John H, Colin and the star of Sky Sports News, Tony (Linford)
Reds: Mike F, Ian B, Chris, Derek, Peter, Phil, Martin W and John D.
For the first time in one of these blogs we can also record the crowd attendance….err….3!
Namely Alan, Les and Tom; all three currently out injured, though soon to see their numbers swell. The lads diplomatically changed allegiances in their vocal support on regular occasions throughout proceedings. The whole evening ably refereed, once again, by Steve Pitt.
The Reds were hampered by an early groin injury to Ian which restricted their forward line to the ever-dangerous Chris and equally dangerous (in so many ways…) Derek. But Ian performed bravely in goal through the night; and he needed to because Blues took a controlling grip from early on. Initially, Andy, Martin and John H kept the Reds forwards quiet; but then Colin and Jeff started to find more space in midfield and chances quickly followed.
Eventually in a rare sortie up field Andy got on the scoresheet to add to his record 4 from Monday. Not long after a momentary lapse in wandering out of his box by Ian gave Martin the opportunity to double Blues lead from the penalty spot. Another perfect spot kick even applauded by the Referee. His decision was correct but very harsh, Ian was clearly struggling and fielded the ball merely to speed up the re-start. We are likely to suffer similar decisions in the future its to everyone’s credit that there were no complaints. Clear chances for the Blues continued to follow throughout the half, giving our Chairman Pete a hard time in defence on his return to playing after 6 months absence. It wasn’t until near the end of the first half that Colin scored with the Reds defence having gone AWOL, for a commanding 3-0 lead to the Blues. For the Reds, Another heartache*
The second half was a much more even affair and Chris soon reduced the deficit; only for Mike to immediately restore Blues 3 goal advantage. Reds continued to apply a greater measure of pressure, but this was generally soaked up by the Blues who occasionally had to launch clearances in the direction of Thatto Heath. Reds’ frustration was beginning to tell, and one or two challenges aroused disappointment from our referee who started muttering veiled threats to start waving his blue card around.
The need to press for more goals by Reds led to gaps at the back and eventually, despite Ian’s brave efforts, Colin added a 5th. Blues could now relax knowing the game was won and probably eased a bit too much, allowing Chris to score the final goal after an exquisite dummy to make the final score 5-2. Goal of the night said the spectators; and maybe they were right.
A bitter-sweet night of enjoyable football and good banter, but with all knowing it would be at least 4 weeks ‘til we meet again. But that angst was softened by Chairman Pete who produced drinks for all from the boot of his car (is this why the spectators turned up 😊), the start of the St Helens Walking Football Club Tailgate Party? All had the chance to toast the success and camaraderie within the club; and confirm a determination that it will not be long until we are back enjoying our football again. Take good care of yourself*.
Truly parting is such sweet sorrow.
(* with apologies to the Three Degrees and Messrs. Gamble and Huff)