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Wide Open Spaces*

Our Blog for Monday has been lovingly created by Lord Rainford, huge thanks to John for his erudite words (The Editor) A chilly but dry early March day saw 18 SHWFC members descend on Ruskin for their Monday football fix, aided and abetted by Alex 'Greasy Thumbs' Jackson collecting the cash, Jeff Betty our manifestation of Pierluigi Collina and Roy Evans to lead us through his short, but focused and greatly appreciated warm up.

In a change to our usual arrangements we warmed up before setting out the pitch which seemed to focus efforts. With all 18 players involved, we embraced the suggestion from Colin 'the late' Williams that we use the slightly bigger goals and in the most radical change of all, we played across almost half of the full sized pitch, rather than using a quarter lengthways. It is good to see an idea discussed at the post-match Slipper Lounge keenly taken up a week later Just imagine what we could achieve if more were involved with the Boot Room inquests each Wednesday!

A speedy team selection was done impressively, to leave us with;

Purple: Dave 'Wiggy' Wiggins, Sheila, Andy Capt., Citeh Geoff, Chopper Williams, Cockney Rebel, Les, Lord Rainford and Donal.

Yellow: Tom Stretch, Grazer, Steve the Honeyman, Joe the Ghost, Mika, Anita, Dave Seagull, Tony Snakehips and Alan Molly Maldon

The wide expanses of the bigger pitch seemed to encourage everyone to raise their game. Marshalled by Wiggy (a strong performance on his return from injury) in a sweeper role the Purples kept a good shape not allowing the Honeyman, Molly, Tom Stretch or Tony much of a sight at goal. Yellow's Chopper and Sheila formed a good partnership down the right and it was from one such move down that flank that Purple went ahead. Andy Capt., dummied a low pass in, giving Lord Rainford (for it was he) the chance to insert himself on the scoresheet with a shot low into the right hand corner of the goal. (is this true? - Editor apparently so!)

The bigger goals didn't lead to many other chances (as might have been expected) and it was only thanks to Les going walkabout during his stint in goal that Yellows were gifted a penalty and the chance to equalise. Joe took full advantage of the new penalty rules (that plus a rather helpful decision on how close the penalty spot should be to the goal!). 1-1 at half time.

The 2nd period continued much the same way - the extra space giving more chance for some good football, the Purple defence staying disciplined. Anchored by that discipline and following a great move involving most of the team, Citeh Geoff (in a truly nose bleedingly advance position) had the chance to ghost behind the Yellow defence to put Purples 2-1 up.

And that's the way it stayed, apart from a powerful Molly shot which whistled just over the bar Yellows couldn't better a succession of Purple keepers. Molly made a big contribution on his return from injury and last week's representative trials At the death some neat possession-play from Andy Capt., orchestrating his team mates meant Purple closed out the game without too much of the usual 'last-few-minutes-hanging-on-to-a-narrow lead panic stations!'

First pumps and 'Well played' all round We finished up with Roy's Warm Down which will now become a fixture of all sessions.

The general consensus over Coffee in the Slipper Lounge afterwards was that the changes in pitch arrangements worked well and that it was one of the most enjoyable sessions we'd had. It seemed to give everyone more of a chance to get into the game and more time on the ball before being closed down. Even Herr Betty seemed pleased with how we all (mostly) behaved ourselves…….although he was probably frustrated that he didn't have a chance to wave his shiny new red, yellow and blue cards around


Congratulations to Club Captain Andy Capt., Houghton who following successful trials will be part of the North West England Team to take part in Regional matches this year His first appearance is at Sheffield in 3 weeks time More details when we hear more

A great achievement for Andy personally and recognition for the Club too

Wide Open Spaces* - The (Dixie) Chicks

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