Saturday, 17 August 2019

Holliday in the Sun..(memories of an English Summer)

Greetings, compadres. It is now some weeks since our last game of the season at Coram Fields and I have not posted any match reports or blogs to mark the curtain falling on 2018/19; a season with its highs, lows, flouncing, moaning, late arrivals, guest appearances (Sam! Ross!) and fond farewells (Stu!), as well as Frank Sinatra / Status Quo-style ‘goodbyes’, i.e. not goodbyes at all (Andy! Tony!).
As I look out at a Dreadnought-grey sky and with the second Ashes test at Lord’s not taking place owing to weather more akin to March or November than high August, I’ve decided it is high time to at least capture the final stramash of the season. 

Here are my contemporaneous notes:

Blues 5 - Yellows 2

Blues: Alan, me, Joe, Steve, Tom, Ben, Pete, Ross and bloke called Richard Felton
Yellows: Bristol Paul, Parminder, Patrick Chen, Charlie, Mick, Harry, Stan, Ian Gooner
Blue Goals: Alan x 3 (one stuffy cross-cum-shot that crept in the near post with thingymajig from Morgan Stanley in goal; one sublime lob over Ian and one near post effort after Ian parried in his initial shot); Harry drilled in following good work on the left; A N other.
Yellow goals: trademark bullet header from Pete from an outswinging corner from Tom; another rifled effort following a decent passage of play. 

Make of that what you will. Alan’s terrific hat-trick was the take-away, stand-out memory of the game, with the lobbed goal still instantly memorable even now. I think I was in goal when Pete swooped down from the clouds to nod the ball in, as similarly, I can still recall that.
From there it was off to the pub for all the usual nonsense. Ross, a rare visitor to these shores in the Summer months when he migrates from the chilly Norwegian peninsular he now calls home, was disappointed to finish without a goal to mark his return home.

I’ve been thinking about the match reports over the past couple of days and I don’t see any reason that they should cease over the Summer, as they only have the most tenuous link to the actual game anyway. So here’s one for you – feel free to re-read in the depths of February when you’re looking for something to occupy yourself with.

Blues: Len Shackleton, Ernest Shackleton, Tony, Captain Oates, Alan, Danny, Simon Gas, Simon Ink
Yellows: Doc Holliday, me, Thomas Cromwell, Ian Gooner, Mick, Limahl, Yev, Steve

Play got underway with the Yellows a player short owing to Yev being late. The Blues sought to take full advantage and swiftly took the lead after the mercurial Len Shackleton dibbled his way through the Yellows’ defence and squared for his heroic namesake to nod home from three yards, despite being hobbled with acute frostbite.

The Yellows equalised after Ian Gooner harried Danny into conceding a corner; I pinged in a delicious centre that saw Steve fizz home, but only after clearing out Captain Oates. Tony promptly lost his temper and demanded that the goal be disallowed and a free kick awarded to the Blue team. But play was suspended after Captain Oates declared he was too injured to continue and asked for the key to the changing rooms. He promised to bring it back, but said that this may take some time.
Meanwhile, Alan stabbed home to make it 2-1 to the Blues after Thomas Cromwell was caught napping in defence, before Danny make it 3-1 after some good work from Simon Ink on the left. 

The Blues could have wrapped things up there and then as a clearly angry Cromwell scythed down Len Shackleton. Literally. However, Tony was guilty of a rare failure from the penalty spot courtesy of a fine save from Limahl, who leapt photogenically to this left and pushed the ball around the post, before the Yellows got one back. Yev had arrived just after Captain Oates had left and swapped passes with Doc Holliday, who may have taken some performance enhancing laudanum, before calmly slamming the ball into the bottom corner. Given Holliday’s glassy-eyed appearance, Tony was once again aggrieved that justice had not been done and challenged Doc to meet him at sundown the next day.

Final score: Blues 3 – Yellows 2

Simon Gas is still looking for his key and Tony hasn’t been since. Neither has Captain Oates.

See you next month.

Monday, 3 June 2019

Match report

Last Friday’s game saw us with just seven players aside, including the roving Merv, leading Simon Gas to recruit two ringers from one of the other games that concluded at seven ‘o’ clock. This resulted in the following two teams:

Yellow: Ian Baggies, Bert (welcome back!), Merv, Simon Ink, Tony, Joe and Alan

Blues: me, Simon Gas, Kanat, Bristol Paul, Mick, Ramone and Johnny

The two extras were a chap called Dean, who has ploughed a furrow with us before, and a young fella whose name I didn’t catch. When Merv withdrew with a hamstring injury after 15 minutes or so he was replaced with a young lad who was all of around five foot and at this point the teams were arguably unbalanced, although it is always a suspicion of mine that some of the young ringers that join us on occasions like this are playing somewhat within themselves.

Onto the goals, then. Mick capped what was unquestionably a man of the match performance with four goals, (albeit one of them was possibly an own goal from Ian Baggies, who also had the misfortune to put through his own net to start the scoring). The pick of Mick’s super-plus hat-trick was a tight angle finish from wide on the right that caught out both the keeper and the last defender and a lovely lofted pass into the top right hand corer that was reminiscent of an Andrea Pirlo or Andres Iniesta. Ole! 

But the Blues didn’t have it all their own way and the Yellows managed three goals (?) with both Tony and Joe making their mark, the former pouncing on some loose work in midfield to drive unerringly into the bottom corner. Ultimately, the calibre of the Blues’ random selection (Dean) was, in tandem with Ramone’s ceaseless running and ball-recycling, too much for the Yellows who gamely endeavoured to try and make a game of it. Simon Gas switched with the diminutive winger for the final 15 minutes or so, but it made no difference whatsoever. 

Final score: Blues 6 Yellows 3

No pub for me this week as I had a child’s birthday party to prepare for; I’m off for a couple of weeks, so see you all on 21st June.  

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Hay fever

In keeping with this blog's occasional literary thread, I am reliably informed that last Friday's game was marred, once again, by an attack of Hay Fever. As David suggests, with recent hacking and sniffling, we could have enough potential Judith Bliss's for a casting call.

Judging by Andy's late night message there was clearly some controversy to proceedings, but I'd like to show readers a happier note to get us over the middle of the week.
Congratulations to Aston Villa, who rejoin the Premier League after a three year hiatus. As you can see, it was a real red letter day for some; two young lads here (Patrick and Stanley) were joined in a local pub by both their Dad and their Nan, who had lost her glasses in all the commotion. Note the pink rinse - high jinks indeed. Let's hope they got her home in time for Emmerdale.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Stick that in your blog

Last Friday’s game was a nine aside affair (for some of the time, at least), with the following two teams:

Blues: Tony, me, Joe, Charlie, Yev (eventually), Bristol Paul, Johannes, Simon Gas, Kanat

Yellows: Danny, Geoff, Steve, Mick, Mario, Parminder, Alan, Merv, Pete

Seeing as the Yellows had a man advantage for the lion’s share of proceedings – Yev was about twenty-five minutes late, while Tony departed with around twenty-five minutes remaining (more of which anon) – the Blues did well to be as competitive as they were. 

The game all turned with a finely taken goal from someone Simon refers to as ‘Merv football talent’: high praise indeed. The aforementioned ringer stormed down the left in swashbuckling style before spotting Tony violently hawking pollen spores into the back of the net and smashed the ball with the outside of his foot whereupon it pinged into the bottom far corner. A great finish, but I think it’s fair to say that Tony found the whole thing somewhat unsporting, presumably as he thought that the Yellows should have stopped playing, and promptly left the field in a cloud of tree pollen and four letter epithets for his opponents. 

Thereafter the Blues were once more a man deficient, as they had been for the time it took Yev to arrive and get changed in the goals. For the record, I took Tony’s place in nets, sporting one orange glove on my left hand like a very shabby Michael Jackson impersonator. 

As for the other goals, Steve capped a characteristically robust performance with a decent finish that culminated a fine Yellows move down the left. The Blues were on the scoresheet twice, much to Mick’s chagrin (he spent the majority of the game being extremely voluble to his teammates) – I believe that Johannes, the stand out player on the pitch, got one of them.

Final score: Yellows 3 – Blues 2

Clearly, this is the first blog for some time. I am not going to apologise out of deference to you and your intelligence, dear reader, but I have thought of a way of ensuring more regular reports: in short, a reporter’s notebook to scribble down the goal scorers and result, as well as any notable incidents. Armed with the salient points from each match, I should have more ammunition to fuel my whimsy when time allows to get down a summary of the action. 

So watch this space.

Generally, there have been some decent games of late, with the game on the 10th May finishing six apiece (Mick’s suggested title being ‘Six of one, half a dozen of another’). I think it’s fair to say that Tony hasn’t been alone in suffering from the effects of the moulting plane trees in Coram Fields; I was sure that we’d need to administer the Last Rites to Ian Baggies the other week, as he seemed in danger of suffering a prolapsed lung such was the force of his coughing. 

We have acquired a couple of new players to help bolster the numbers: a chap called Carlo, who Mario met in the gym, and a young man called Ramone (that’s his first name, not Joey or Dee-Dee).

Lastly, it behoves me to report a rare sighting of the lesser spotted Spizz in April. Simon Gas and I were leaving the Skinners at the relatively early time of 9.30 pm on an unusually quiet evening in the pub where just a handful of us had repaired for some post-football refreshment. As we pottered down toward the Euston Road a wraith-like figure emerged out of the misty gloom clad in a black PVC and wielding a clutch of flyers. Yes, the great man is back in action on June 22nd at Camden’s Dublin Castle – I’ve upload the flyer as proof. And with punk icon Jordan, no less.

See you down the front.