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With God On Our Side*

Updated: Apr 4

As often seems to be the case our Monday morning call to the Faithful was answered in fine fashion SHWFC is not immune from bad weather or rain of course, but Monday's start to the week was wet, windy and decidedly miserable until about 10:15 when the rain relented and we had a prolonged spell of dry calm chaos in the form of our weekly meander A near record crowd assembled, despite a number of notable absentees As is often the case the temptation to wander about befell some of the Group making calculation of our riches all the more difficult to arrive at 36 entered their affirmative vote on the WhatsApp Group So allowing for the usual Luddites that meant we could expect 39 or more to select from At the final reckoning 41 players declared ready to play with a number of Referees, Spectators and Counting House Officials also watching on

After bib distribution and a short sharp punishing warm up routine, the following teams were selected;

Black 7- Brian, Geoff, Dav, Gonzalo, Jenko, El Presidente and Grazer

Pink 7 - Tony Bennett, Little John, Eamon, Lord Rainford, Wickie, Kirsty and Amazon Prime

Orange 7 - Tony Glover ( impressing on debut) , Tom Stretch, Harry the Hatchet, Anita (back after almost 6 months) Roger, Michelle Monday and Grav

Purple 6 - Andy Man(anger), Steve J, McSpeed, Phil Moss, Triallist and Spiro

Sky 7 - Daz, Mika, Kenny, Cockney Rebel, Eileen, Barry Wizz and Snakehips

Green 7 - Haggis, Tomo, Aldo, Willo, Citeh Geoff, Sheila and Jim

Games were in the new longer format affording everyone greater chance to play with just three rotations rather than the 5 short game previously used The Referees gathered in Holy Conclave prior to the off, decided that the latest update of WFA LOTG would be invoked where appropriate The new regulations mostly centre around keepers taking proper goal kick outs and technical adjustments around re-starting free kicks. This was met with some bewilderment as play was occasionally broken up for explanations, whilst some of our older members wondered if this new ploy might lead to a lack of more fundamental applications (like jogging, trotting or the like) Messrs Betty, Lomax and a press-ganged Phil the Power solidered on regardless in typical Referee fashion

Nevertheless play did get underway and proceed largely without incident for the session

In the first series of games Purple made light of their numerical disadvantage to over come Green with Phil Moss poaching the winner in a tight game Herr Middleton had a gentle opening encounter with Sky and Orange close throughout The 1-0 winner for Sky was secured when Kenny found the net Gonzalo was on target as Black put Pink to the sword The surprise was that despite dominating throughout Black could only hit the target once with Eamon producing a string of saves to keep the Black at bay

In Round Two Sky and Purple played out a scoreless draw Plenty of enterprise but no goals to show Pink fared better when they faced Green, the returning Little John claiming the decisive goal. Black and Orange produced a stirring end to end performance with goals from Michelle and Grav enough to shade the game Mark Dav did grab a Black goal but the 2-1 result evidence of a tight match

In the final round of games Purple took full advantage of Black generosity McSpeed 2 and Andy Man (who ruled the midfield) over-shadowing Black who never settled their defensive shape with just 6 players Dav did grab a goal in consolation but Purple were good value for their victory Elsewhere Sky pinched the honours in the Pastel Derby Pink undone by a Cockney Rebel special 1-0 The day's final match was similarly tight with Green securing a win with Aldo finding the corner of the net to seal a 1-0 win

Cake featured heavily in the sumptuous surroundings of the Slipper Salon A very nice cupcake combo caught the judges eye whilst Chocolate Banana cake raised eyebrows but tasted divine No Monday morning session next week as it will be Easter Bank Holiday Monday, chocolate overload could prove to be a strong mitigating circumstance

If we dodged the weather bullet on Monday morning at Ruskin, Wednesday posed a totally different predicament Sutton Leisure Centre shares its facilities with Sutton Academy High School and from time to time; Parents Nights, Open Nights and Performances/Events swamps the Car Park with excess vehicles Parking suddenly presents real problems This week in addition we had a deluge prior to our session, which tested the resolve of some of our members

The last Winter session before the Innards join the Outward Bounders saw 26 players battle through weather & traffic to endure the nights Walking Football ration

The Innards, a crack bunch of toned individuals were put through an exhausting warm up then fully bibbed and given final instructions by Referee for the night El Presidente

Those teams were;

Blue - Lad David, Dad Simon, Citeh Geoff, Simon K(any) and Enoch Powell

Green - Joe the Ghost, Chris 4G, Ian Murphy , Wickie and Steve the Honeyman

Green started brightly moving the ball around with assured patience and accuracy Blue couldn't match their opponents mobility with Citeh Geoff being repeatedly called on to rescue defensive overloads Enoch produced a number of saves, whilst Simon K had to track from defence to attack In truth Dad and Lad struggled with the intensity of the Green passing and movement Ian and Joe had found early goals before a late score from Joe again compounding Blue's problem

At the first break Executive action switched Wickie and Simon Dad to try to affect the sides inbalance From 3-0 down Blue gradually clawed their way back into the contest A period of sustained pressure allowed Blue to break the stranglehold David Lad then left the pitch with a back niggle that ended his night Phil Tompkins joined the action at this point as a very able substitute Green stretched their lead to 4-0 when Ian allowed the ball to run across his body before firing home Blue managed to pull goals back through Phil and then Wickie 4-2 to Blue with Green wilting at last A spell of great attacking almost paid off for Blue but Chris 4G pulled off smart saves to keep his side ahead A penalty converted by Phil when Simon Dad had strayed into the area raised the stakes 4-3 could Green hold on? The debut hat trick scored with under 30 seconds remains meant the game ended 4-4 the comeback complete Phil Tompkins enjoyed his first outing 3 goals and totally knackered Its a funny old game!

The mean streets of the AstroTurf steppes took no prisoners with rain, wind, mud, blood and beer (maybe no beer) to contend with

The sides selected were

Yellow - Deano, Cockney Rebel, Jason, Grav, Tom Stretch, Kenny, Andy Man and Haggis

Blue - Richard, Steve C, The Ox, Chris 10P, Keith, Little John, Neil Stretch and Phil the Power

The game was a feisty affair with Yellow pipped by Blue Play was fast and played generally in an excellent spirit Yellow with goals by Jason and Grav couldn't hold out as Blue thanks to a Steve Carine brace and rare goal by Neil Stretch secured a 3-2 win We had a spot of handbags which was only partially resolved (more words after the match) and an unfortunate injury suffered by the Cockney Rebel In an accidental clash his ankle came off second best with a nasty gash from a boot blade

We learned today that blades are forbidden footwear on all council maintained pitches There's a potential for damage to expensive AstroTurf pitches not to mention Player's ankles So if you're wearing blades expect to be reprimanded from here on

As for the handbags it seems the NO PHYSICAL CONTACT message is not being heeded

Yet again we must insist this is not acceptable - clean up your game

Next week we revert to all Wednesday games being played outside and of course Ruskin will be closed on Easter Monday

Sign up now for Tournoi 2024 on Club Noticeboard WhatsApp Group

We've learned that a couple of our members are struggling with health issues away from Walking Football

We wish speedy recovery to our players Enjoy the break

With God On Our Side* - Bob Dylan (with later versions by Joan Baez and the Neville Brothers)

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