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Yes I’m Ready*

Monday morning's Ruskin session pushed the SHWFC collective luck to the absolute limit Once again the Weather Gods smiled down on the gathering, 36 players plus officials spectators and camp followers Heavy rain greeted members on arrival but thankfully relented for our session before returning to unleash a deluge as we watched on from the comfort of the Slipper Room Remarkable good fortune or does the sun truly smile on the righteous?

After a spot of house keeping Andy Man(anger) put the hordes through a series of warm up manoeuvres to ease elderly frames through to team selection The teams were so efficiently processed and gently tweaked into the final line ups (see below) that Officials queried 'what has been missed? Nothing - Yes I'm ready

Sky - Phil the Moss, Donal, Julie, El Presidente, Brian and Phil the Power

Orange - Haggis, Amazon Prime, Jill Tomo, Andy Man, Michelle Monday and Chris 10P

Green - camera shy Paul F, Spiro, Barry Wizz, Steve Honeyman, Little John and Enoch

Purple - Thatto Dave, Mika, Grav, Les Meldrew, Liz and Sheila

Black - Tom Stretch, Mike McSpeed, Wor Eileen, Roger Moore, Paul J and Les Hewitt

Pink - Harry the Hatchet, Lord Rainford, Eamon, Mark NR, Phil M (Film?) and Tony Snakehips

Refereeing presented some challenges due to overall lack of competent officials (no change there) but Messrs Rebel (Cockney) and Betty (Jeff) did take on the thankless task with one game each round left to the sportsmanship and honesty of those participating (or whoever shouted loudest and looked convincing)

Cockney Rebel reported that he had officiated over some excellent games with great passing and movement These aspects have highlighted by with some enthusiasm recently by all Referees Watching on its great to see players wanting the ball and then mostly passing to team mates and moving off to receive the ball back The quality of play evident on our Burnley visit was a pleasure to watch

Mr Rebel's first match was a scoreless affair until Orange's Amazon Prime accelerated (illegally) on to a ball to fire home past the hapless Sky keeper Despite polite protests the goal stood El Presidente muttered something about a stiff letter to the Authorities and Sky Sports have promised to devote six days in depth analysis of the 'goal' It was the only goal and probably the only way a goal might have been achieved

Sky were back in action for their second round game with Green, who were well marshalled throughout by resolute Sky defensive work Brian Prendergast who had a very impressive session fired home the only goal to give Sky a narrow victory

Green faced Black in the next action a see-saw game which was eventually won by Green with goals by the Honeyman and Barry Wizz keeping Black in the shadows despite a Paul Jennings goal

Eamon hit the only goal for Pink in their narrow 1-0 win over Purple this despite playing with just 5 players for much of the session after Phil M (Film?) had damaged a quad muscle in the earlier action

Orange pipped Black thanks to strikes from Chris10P and Michelle Monday, another who had a good series of performances

Other notable incidents were lost in the mists of reportage Blogaristas are most prone to failure to adequately multi-task Playing whilst making notes is tricky, making notes about incidents in other games whilst playing is impossible An advert for a possible YTS Cub Reporter is being looked at by the Executive but despite the promise of occasional death by cake applications have been thin on the ground

The Slipper Room session was sans cake, a predicament noted by watching fat blokes with gloomy faces and rumbling stomachs

Our midweek bout of "will it be dry or I don't care I'm indoors anyway" went ahead to a round of spontaneous applause at the Sutton SoccerDome The earlier threat of continued rain had dissipated and outdoor conditions were dry clear and certainly chilly, more of that later

The AstroTurf warriors were 16 in number with Cockney Rebel the man with the whistle El Presidente prowled the arena making his usual observations and interventions (working in tandem with Mr Rebel) Geoff Prout's blossoming career as auxiliary ball boy continued to impress The teams were assembled into two sets of eight for simplicity and expediency Play eventually started very promptly, maximising the time available for the match

The teams were;

Blue - Deano, Barry Wizz, Thatto Dave, Andy Man, Dave Martland, Haggis, Chris 10P and Jason

Red - Simon, Mulla, Deggs, Tom Stretch, Little John, Nigel, Michelle Wednesday and Jim

The game that followed was a good contest with Blue slightly neater in possession Red had fewer spells of pressure but battled throughout Deggs wasted the earliest chance when his spot kick was well saved by Thatto Dave The penalty was the result of careless defending with a stray foot wandering into the keeper's area

Red were then locked in a struggle to clear their lines with Blue operating a high line to pressure the Red defenders Chris 10P claimed his first goal with a shot into the corner from 25 yards 1-0 to Blue

Michelle Wednesday had a very productive night causing the Blue back line numerous problems before slipping a cute pass in to Deggs For once he resisted that temptation to shoot and instead found Simon with a neat setup to provide a good chance that Simon crashed home 1-1

Almost immediately Blue retook the lead when Little John lost his bearings and also strayed into the keeper's area Thatto Dave tucked the resultant penalty into the corner to hand Blue a 2-1 Half Time lead

The second half started well for Red with several shots testing the Blue keeper Deggs found the net to level up from six yards out 2-2 and a compelling contest now to find a winner Chris 10P was a tad fortunate with a rebound that gave him the chance to demonstrate some great quick feet but thereafter his shot into the net underlined another excellent session for our Ball Boy's offspring 3-2 and with that the game?

Red put together a good spell of threatening pressure but were undone when Chris 10P claimed his hat trick to seal a 4-2 victory for Blue There were chances still with Red mounting a serious challenge in the dying minutes But Mr Rebel judged that enough was enough and ended an entertaining hour's play with a blast on his borrowed whistle

His handling of the challenging situation especially 'that's not Walking' was exemplary

There was a couple of interventions necessary to remind Dave Martland not to deliberately walk across the ball whilst an opponent was about to restart play Ungentlemanly conduct in anyone's eyes and we don't expect to see that again

Hands shakes all round and general agreement that it was a tight but very enjoyable game in extremely chilly conditions

The indoor session featured the unwelcome return of the back heel As El Presidente has previously signalled this is one of the most wasteful 'tricks' perpetrated by players Despite best efforts it usually signals the ball being picked off by the opposition

The teams were

Blue - Gonzalo, Citeh Geoff, Grav, Joe the Ghost and Les

Yellow - Steve Honeyman, Chris 4G, Phil the Power, Lee Thomo and Enoch

Lord Rainford reported

SHWFC don't keep records of how many times there are back heels during a session, but I can confidently assert that the session indoors at Sutton on Wednesday will probably hold the record.

To misquote a famous old playground song about how to deal with... err......nasal congestion:-

"Everybody's doing it, doing it, doing it.

Backheeling the ball and losing it, losing it, losing it"..

Blue were quickly out of the starting blocks on quarter one with Grav, Joe and Gonzalo scoring, with Steve Honeyman getting 1 back, so Blue 3-1 up at the first water swig.

Any immediate alterations to teams because of one sidedness were put on hold however as the second quarter saw Blue 3 goals (Gonzalo 2 and Grav) countered with 2 from Phil the Power (his shooting living up to his nickname) and Steve Honeyman getting his 2nd, leaving us 6-4 to Blue at half time.

Sadly however that superhuman effort by Yellow took its toll in the 3rd quarter as two goals from Grav and Joe went unanswered, leaving Blue 8-4 up with only 15 minutes to play.

So, Lee selflessly agreed to swap with Gonzalo to give Yellow a chance to come back into the game. A chance they had a real go at, with Gonzalo scoring 3 times and Enoch adding a 4th. But Joe's third of the night meant Blue still just edged it, with a very close 9-8 win.

It was a great match played in great spirit and very little running or tackling from behind to trouble referee Lord Rainford

And thankfully, no debatable penalty decisions either.

Now, those of you who have stayed awake and been counting will note that there were 4 hat tricks. 3 for the Blue - Gonzalo , Grav and Joe, and then 1 for Yellow, Gonzalo scoring another 3 in the last 15 minutes.

Whether anyone at SHWFC has ever scored two hat tricks for different teams in the same hour is something, again, that our records don't show. But well done Gonzalo, although the Committee may be thinking of introducing some handicapping to stop this becoming too regular an occurrence. Blindfold? Leg Irons? Only able to walk backwards? I see an agenda item coming on 😄

We look forward to another set of close games for the new week Determined to not let the weather have quite the impact it has played recently As if!

Yes I Am Ready* - Barbara Mason 1965 hit Soul Music Hall of Fame entrant in 2016

Yes I'm Ready - Barbara Mason

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