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You've gotta use what you've got*

An exciting week in the Club's history got underway with balmy conditions welcoming 22 (no make that 23) players and 4 officials (including a knee-knacked Chopper as watchful ball boy) primed for a Ruskin Monday morning

Lord Rainford and El Presidente with just 2 good knees between them plus Jeff Betty and the aforementioned Chopper were on hand to look after player welfare A swift examination of the 4 officials would suggest that to get ahead you need at least one duff knee After a bewlidering warm up and Presidential rant 4 teams were selected Initially we had 2 teams of 5 each and 2 further teams of 6 meandering off to their first fixtures

The teams were;

Red - Steve the Honeyman, Phil the Power,Tony the K, Sheila the Wheels, Colin the Late and Little John the Pender

Blue - Andy Capt., Mike Bates, Margaret, Donal (pronounced Donal or any varient on that grand Irish name) Charlie and Bally

Yellow - Dave Seagull, Les Meldrew, Mika, Steve Ford, Tom Stretch and eventually after a one match delay Sharon

Purple - Citeh Geoff, Mark NR, Tony Snakehips, Anita, Cockney Rebel and eventually after the same delay and in act of huge personal sacrifice Lord Rainford

Play got underway with El Presidente hovering like an eagle over the near picth proceedings and Jeff Betty who insisted on using his own Imperial time keeping (at least 2 minutes more than the other game) Chopper patrolled the far touchline and Lord Rainford monitored steps under the shade of his Panama on the near pitch

As the matches progressed so did the heat level to the particular constination of Charlie (but more of that later) Red v Blue was a very decent advert for Walking Football with lots of sharp passing, movement and communicaion Listening back to the background talking on the pitch the encouragement to one another was fabulous What was less appealing was the constant chatter of touch counting - fine if you're encouraging a team mate but certainly of questionable value to pressure a less gifted opposition player or influence the referee With play ebbing from end to end Bally received a defence splitting pass to advance one on one with Little John in the Red net Bally shot hoping to find the corner of the net but instead found only Little John's gluteus maximus and the effort deflected wide for a corner Little John celebrated and smacked his rear in wonderment Sometimes you've just got to use what you've got... With just 2 minutes remaining Blue applied the pressure to find a winning goal Mike Bates finally found a little space to unleash a shot that found the bottom corner 1-0 to Blue From the restart Colin chanced his luck with a speculative shot that sailed untouched into the Blue net So 1-1 with both goals scored in the dying moments

Meanwhile Purple and Yellow served up a feast for Referee Jeff Betty lots of chances but scoreless for much of the encounter Finally with 5 minutes remaining Mike Andrews grabbed a goal to put Yellow ahead Undaunted Purple struck back with Steve Honeyman and Phil on hand to turn the whole match 2-1 to Purple in a thriller Chopper didn't say

The late arrival of Sharon to take up a Yellow bib to generally even up the teams led to heated discussions for the next matches Eventually former UN Peace Keeper and Diplomat Lord Rainford volunteered to enter the fray as pemanent Keeper for the Purple

As you can see M'Lord took his keeping duties in his usual nonchalant manner removing his linen jacket but retaining his sartorial elegance throughout

Round Two saw Blue take on Yellow in a game that Yellow seemed content to dominate safe in the knowledge that they could win at any time After prolonged pressure and no goals Yellow found the net through Mika, his second of the morning He pounced on a poor clearance to steer home a well placed effort Tom Stretched the lead taking an eternity before finding the net Donal needed just one touch to extend the lead to 3-0 At the end Mike Bates scored to offer some consolation 3-1 to Blue Charlie had felt unwell part way through the game and sat out the rest of the morning He explained that he felt a lack of balance andhad problems with a vertigo-like feeling We hope he's back with us soon but only when he;s fully able to resume

Plenty of action on the other pitch with not but two hat tricks scored You wait all day for one to come along etc

The Cockney Rebel Briggs M claimed a match ball for Purple (having grabbed his third with the last kick of the day - Betty time 2 minutes behind GMT) only for Steve the Honeyman to stake his claim on the same Mitre Matchball In the end Jeff Betty demanded the ball and peace broke out

The final games came and went with this reporter absent without leave talking to Charlie under the shade of the main stand (only stand) Apologies for being unable to record the scorers Make no mistake 'You've all done very well' Young Mr Grace

We do have a special mention of the intervention of Jeff Betty who prevented World War 3 with his decision not to Red Card Tom Stretch for his DOGSO offence Denying an Opponent a Goal Scoring Opportunity We note that at the end of play in the same match Lord Rainford propelled himself to spectatularly prevent a diverted own goal effort from Mark No Relation fromscoring And not even a wrinckle appeared on his linen suit

Our next action is the much anticiapted visit to Llandudno the Club's first International foray Knotted hankies will be availble at reasonable cost from the Club Shop

Some words to help Croeso - Welcome

Diolch - Thank You

Yer Durty Basted - Oops you appear to have kicked me

A reminder too that those not travelling to Wales will still be able to enjoy their usual mid week Sutton fix with Tom Stretch and the Sorceror's Apprentice (Disco Deggs) in charge of proceedings

You've gotta use what you've got* - Billy Preston

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