Monday, 22 April 2013

My ball, my game and my rules

As we kicked off for the final time this season at 8.00 pm thoughts inevitably began to turn toward the Summer: barbeques, lovely cricket, cold beer outside the pub and for Arsenal fans, a tense wait to see which key players will move to Manchester. For Simon Gas however, a Ferguson-like captain of advance planning, thoughts did not move further ahead than picking the teams for last Friday’s match.

Interestingly, having missed a week owing to a dearth of players, Simon had picked not one but two sets of teams to play thirty minutes each. Alan, on being told of this news, momentarily looked as if someone had told him that the Earth was made of Toblerone, but put aside his shock to point out that Simon had picked virtually the same four teams, with just him and Steve A swapping positions.  This idea was duly abandoned. 

With the playing staff decimated with injury – Geoff was absent owing to a horological condition which meant that he’d arrived in a different time zone, Wing Commander Will was out with a fractured moustache and Joe missed the game due to a rare bout of Porphyria – the teams lined us thusly:

Bibs: Ian West Brom, Alan, Paul, Mick, Steve 

Colours: Ian Arsenal, Simon Gas, Ross, Danny, me

For the first time since I have been playing at Coram Fields the game finished with just one goal in it; the odd goal in seventeen, as it happened. At half-time the Bibs were ahead by two goals and looked set to go on and win comfortably, with Alan getting in amongst them (annoyingly, one was scored by nutmegging me as I rushed out of goal in an attempt to close down angles). At this stage in proceedings the Colours lacked a bit of shape and kept giving away possession while struggling to make enough chances. Just before the break the Colours pulled two back, one from Ross via a through ball from myself and another which was the other way around. 

In the second half the Colours managed to play the ball around with greater awareness of one another and with Ross and Danny’s legs on board they gradually came back into things, with Danny getting a breakaway goal and myself scoring one past Paul. 

In the end, despite an excellent save from Paul to deny me a hat-trick, Simon Gas got the winner with a drilled right footed finish almost on full-time. This was his second goal of the match, his opening effort coming in the first half when he took aim from some around 15 yards out, saw the ball rise up in the air, (upon which he emitted a weary groan) only for the ball to fall like a leaf into the top corner. Over head, yet under the bar, a new rule was formed. By Simon. Who organises the game. And that’s just how it is.

And so to The Skinners where we got a large enough table for all of us who made it there. Ian Arsenal left a little earlier than usual owing to the fact he’d enjoyed some light refreshment in the afternoon, while discussion included some unashamed nostalgia for The Big Match complete with Brian Moore’s combover and snow-bound pitches and a discussion as to who the best players have been in The Premiership era not to play for your team. Cantona and Bergkamp both featured prominently. 

Until Friday at 7.00 pm (NB: not 8.00 pm)....

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