Matt Bate

Sep 052017
 

The Year in Review.

What a year. The coulda, the shoulda the woulda.

It began in the heat of summer. Trump was campaigning on a ticket of racism, xenophobia and making the US ‘great’ again. Across the pond a new dictator stood in front of the latest crop of wannabes, has-beens and never-were’s declaring the protocols of his own agenda. There would be no welcoming speech only a declaration of a no dick-head policy, any DH’s present should leave now. Bresolin had spoken, we had a new leader with a clear vision to make the Whites great again.

Pre-Season began as every pre-season begins – full of hope and optimism. Wide eyed newbies mixed with the old guard, as the senior coaches peeled their eyes looking for the new Scott Penfold. Unfortunately, all we turned up was a disenchanted Rostrevor old boy. Bres did recruit a hot new keeper however, so things weren’t all bad. But with Bres in charge of the firsts, club legend Crab in support and Alan steering the entire ship, we would be honing a well-disciplined team rather than relying on random French backpackers to save us.

In the lower ranks, newly appointed coaches Matt B and George had to pick 30 odd spots from 5 thousand hopefuls. As the trial games began the black book began to fill with names that would get the chop. Hearts were broken and tears were shed. Someone’s Mum even wrote a letter complaining about how her ever-loving son was treated. It’s a tough gig coaching the 3-4th div of collegiate football, but that’s why we get paid 1 free snag each on a Saturday.

The season proper began with overwhelming success in the cup rounds. B’s beat Cardijn 12-0, D’s flogged Rossies 4-1, C’s got over Blackwood 9-zip and the A’s spanked North City 9-0. O glorious whites!  But our optimism would be short lived as we entered the league season v Pembroke with the forces of Darkness assembling against us. He-who-shalt-not-be-named gave our newly formed D team a wallop, George’s C were thumped 6-0, B’s narrowly pipped at the post 3-2 and the A’s were outrageously robbed of victory by a shady linesman to take home a point 4-4. On the up side, Alex was red carded, beginning his season by gifting us all some lolz. Going to the South Parklands and getting rogered might be fun for Kirsten Staff, but for the rest of us, it leaves a bitter after taste. But as Yazz wisely told us in song – the only way is up.

To cut to the chase, our A and B teams went on a streak of victories the like of which hasn’t been seen since Saf and Wez were ravers. Seemingly unstoppable the A’s found their mojo and Bresolin was already polishing the league trophy muttering I TOLD YOU SO I TOLD YOU SO. Former Rossie stooge Pedron, had quickly become a blanco-brother, and his dyno skill in the middle was allowed to blossom thanks to the robo-like running of Aidan Hall (RIP). With super flash wingers Matty Chan and Dongas skinning all before them, the Italian lawnmower snarling at anyone who came near him, Bres-academy wunderkind Ed Mitch the rocksteady full-back, and unlikely rags-to-riches story Ollinho Smith scoring some of the best goals seen since the days before Superman’s transfer to Sydney FC – we looked unbeatable.

Under the sage guidance of Crabsticks our ressies too were equally successful. Held together with a phalanx of mid careerists at the peak of their powers, a striker who seemed to score at will and club manager Alan who seemed to be everywhere – feeding balls from the midfield while turning snags and selling beers to minors on the sideline. In goal Dan Aiken – who, like the caretaker in The Shining – just seems to have always been there (speaking of Dan Aiken I’ve unearthed some footage of me from season 2010 calling for a short ball from him – view here). There were some hiccups along the way (bogey team Immanuel causing mild mannered James to suggest to the referee that he might be a f**kwit & the Sacred Heart 5-2 loss)…but this seemed to be the B’s season.

In the CUP rounds we pummled He-who-cannot-be-named’s D team 6-0 (thanks in large to a Pirlo-like appearance by a humble veteran playmaker, who put on an inspired passing masterclass) followed by victory against old foes Windsor (after the B’s had tactically softened them up, letting them win the round prior). An Indian summer meant the sun shone as we enjoyed a montage of snags, decent esky beers and glorious victory. It all felt a bit like the part in Goodfellas where he’s snorting mountains of coke, shagging his mole on the side and making loads of cash. Then something would go wrong and the bodies would start appearing

Meanwhile in the lower divs – things had not really got into 2nd gear. On paper the C and D teams were strong. We had a contingent of exciting new players from Oman, remnants of the Bres academy, some geriatric survivors of the Robo-Cop years as well as a few new heads who had avoided the summer’s hack ‘n’ slash. Standouts were brother Moatasem (centreback), Jules (prior to his bad Bali haircut) and keeper Martins. The D team showed a lot of spirit – and as cheap as it sounds we deserved more than we got – with narrow losses, avoidable draws and a plague of injuries taking out vets Saf and big Rob. Over cheap Schnitzels and pints at the PA we told ourselves that the C and D teams were a 2-year plan. There is enough talent in both teams to evolve us into a major force.

One of the highlights of the year was the ingenious idea to create an E team. Each week we destroyed the dreams of old and young, having to choose 16 names from around 30 players. Heartbreak, tears and whinging every Friday was my lot (and that was just from Wez). Alan, our can-do snag wrangler made a decision, enacted it and made it so in one afternoon. The E team was born. But who would manage this new entity? This was a carefully considered, highly tactical decision that might affect the club for years to come – given this I looked around the group after training and asked the closest person if they wanted the job. Ryan Harrowfield, desperate to get a game in any team and smelling the oily rag of power before him, said yes. He was anointed on the spot. Thus a new chapter of Uni White history began. No longer would the bottom of the barrel go hungry on a Saturday arvo – Ryan would get a game by choosing himself as striker week in week out.

The incident at Rostrevor was the turning point of the season. Aidan Hall was the little girl with his finger in the dyke (no that’s not a PornHub video) – and upon pulling it out he unleashed a torrent of misery over this club. Bres’s perfectly balanced team was thrown out of whack, and the less said about this sad day the better – needless to say it began a winter of discontent for our A team that it wouldn’t recover from. But what brilliance we showed, when it was good it was some of the best we’ve ever seen in at the Stade Du Blanc.

All hope for silverware lay in the B team’s charge to the finish line – and they were in with a real sniff at the crotch of the League title. Could this be our year? After giving Mercedes a right royal flogging, they knocked over Comets before destroying the blues 17-0. Special mention must go out to Lewis Whittenbury for taking home 3 points and Ellery for bringing shame to the Glamour by taking 0. The B’s had a severe case of Crabs – inspired by the old boy’s locker room banter and sage council it came down to the wire with a win needed against Rostrevor, and Mercs to lose. Alas fortune did not favour the brave (nor was it helped by Joe’s ‘clearance’) – and the bronze it was. But what a great season – one of the best on record statistically. As Crab said – the team did enough – just not enough in a freak year. Forza B’s!

So, like every season we had the good, the bad and the ugly. Unlike every year however, we had a sense that this club was re born, that it was heading in the right direction. Every week we had good beers and ice in the esky, the marquee was set up, we had our new signage marking our turf, seats were laid out, the BBQ was burning snags, the locker room was open and most importantly harmony reigned. Off the field this was the best year I’ve been at this club and I’m prouder than ever to wear the white. Much of this is due to the hard work and dedication of Alan – who has been the galvanising force the Whites have so badly needed for so many years. Big props to the Gaffer Steve Bresolin for bringing a single mindedness to the A team and the club in general; to Crab for his brilliant first year managing the B’s. Thanks to Alan’s husband George, my wife Kirsten Staff and our bastard son Ryan for managing the C/D/E’s, and to all the boys who took ownership by organising quiz nights, helping put out goals, washing strips, giving lifts and sharing their KFC chips.

We go again – in Season 2018.

R.I.P Chris ‘Sunday Soccer’ Haralam March 1, 1953 – February 15th 2017.

That’s it!

May 232016
 

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother;

The post-Hawyes wasteland that is the Uni C’s team has felt like the rear end of a high paying sub at the hands of his whip wielding Dom Mistress in the last few weeks. It’s raw, battered and glowing red from shame. Spanked at Rostrevor, nipple clamped by Windsor garden and rogered with a blunt instrument by Mt Barker we were in need of a kiss on the cheek and a reach-around by the goddess of football. This Saturday O my brothers she rained her golden shower of pity upon us.

Lets face it, we’re a rag tag, mish-mash, sticky-taped together outfit, made up of Hawyse’s slops (me) and a few B’s rejects (Kieron) and some newly recruited yoof. Kieron is now our gaffer – and after testing out his experimental (mental being the takeaway word) formation last week against Rostrevor he has decided on a more conservative approach for this week’s fixture v Woodside. ‘I’d rather win 1-0 and not concede any stupid goals’ is his inspiring mantra. The team is well up for it. Matt Mostak is amped, talking pre game football clichés like he’s just smoked some good shard, while Jon George, Ollie and Tsirbas ignore warm up to talk in code about their shady dealings the night prior. Even Patrick, normally a void of existential despair is optimistic. In the following 90 minutes we would take Kieron’s highly detailed, well thought out and inspired directions and ignore them completely.

Facing us are the ugliest mountain men I’ve seen since I last stepped foot in Mount Barker. Woodside’s Scottish midfielder literally has no teeth and is talking in some guttural Trainspotting gibberish to his orc followers. We start well pushing forward quickly Michael breaking up the right wing, where he is brought down for what will be the 50th time by left back yokel ‘Billy’. Soon after, he is again swiped from behind by the hapless idiot child and it’s a penna. Alex steps up (I think it was Alex but he’s hard to recognise when he’s out of hi viz) to take it. The big tiling merchant ambled towards the spot as a lucky gust of wind takes a miasma of alcohol oozing from his pores into the goalkeeper’s eyes temporarily blinding him and allowing the ball to dribble over the line. 1-0. Things are looking good as we control the ball, playing some decent football. Michael is weaving rings around the Woodsiders, Ollie is find space on the right and Jon George is passed out still drunk on the side-line. Billy is gifting us a lot of free kicks outside the box that are being expertly curled in by me but failing to be converted by Alex. I lump a long shitty ball (I know, i know you fucking smart ass) as far as I can in the general direction of Harry, he dribbles, falls over, gets up, falls over again, re adjusts his samurai pony-tail thing then slots it. 2-0. But our celebrations are short lived as we brain fade on a corner allowing one of the mountain men to head home. 2-1. Half time.

Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day.

Mostak’s cliché ridden half time speech has reignited our passion and we retake the field filled with the will to get out of his earshot. My drug addled mind is fading here and some details may be fuzzy  – needless to say Harry probably dribbled their entire team and scored another one, Billy probably gave away another free kick and the Mountain men pulled another one back just to spite Kieron. My aging frame could take it no more and I was subbed but not before witnessing the big man Patrick poach a nice goal from a penalty box scramble – 4-2. We lost some grip on the game (coinciding with my absence – just sayin) as the Woodies (with the aid of their chromosomally challenged supporters) rallied against us. I got a bit bored and after giving their whiny right winger a bit of lip checked my phone and watched a bit of the AFL next door, but I did manage to catch our best goal of the day being scored by their geriatric centre back who caught hold of a wayward cross from somebody and nodding it into the old onion bag. Jon George woke up and was slowly subbed on. He’s not been the same since returning from the Nam, he’s got the thousand yard stare common to men who have spent time in the bush. The bush Jon spent time in however cost him a penicillin shot and hasn’t retuned his calls – nevertheless he’s back and hungry for goals. Unfortunately none are forthcoming this week for the former star of the Oxford First XI. I think someone else scored, then Harry probably got another one to chalk up his hat trick, then they scored another one. But these are merely boring details as the final whistle blows and the reality that we’ve broken our season’s cherry with a stunning 6-3 victory sinks in. Re-inspired, the young uns are smiling pimply smiles as we elderly take them by the hands leading them back onto the field to take part in the most ancient of rituals – the forming of a circle, and the heralding of victory by singing the greatest worst song ever written. That’s It.

And gentlemen in Adelaide now a-bed    
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Apr 122015
 

In the year of our Lord 11th April 2015, a spanky-fresh squad of Uni C’s, freshly forged on the anvil of pre-season, gathered to do battle in the first CSL Cup round. Their opponents – a motely bunch of Sacred Heart reserves who thought they’d come to ruin our day. But the Glamour C’s are a much-changed squad – Hot Fuzz having raided the Kindergarten’s of Adelaide for a new breed of pimply-yoof. Mixed in with the geriatric remnants of a thousand seasons past and a smattering of mid-careerists, this season’s Thirds are a dynamic blend of age and experience that spans the Jurassic to Linkin Park time periods. With Richie Harris now a grain of sand through our hourglass, it was time to create new legends, to find new superheroes that could take lead the way into a brighter future.

If we have anything to thank Sacred Heart for it was that they answered the long anticipated mystery of who ate all those pies. As a 40 something I have been fighting the onset of the inevitable paunch, but standing next to these boys in blue made me look like Bieber’s Calvin Klein shoot. Also dashed was any worry that we were going to suffer some kind of stomping at the hands of a 1B side. From the kick-off we were first to every ball, playing a nice short game and using our whippet-wingers to storm the flanks. Left back Ian and wingers Liam and Damo were skinning their opponents and with excellent support from Ian and Chris we got balls and bodies in the box. In truth we should have been 4 nil up after 20 minutes. If there’s one thing we need to re-work on its our finishing. Shots put wide, limp kicks dribbling to the keeper and a failure to play a simple ball to an on running team mate saw us miss the simplest of opportunities. But I’m being harsh – our build up play was exceptional. The fatties had bit into our pie and burnt their lips on the scalding hot Uni meat sauce within. (ok that was weird).

The SHOC’s lived up to their name and had very few opportunities outside of their long balls from the greying 4 and a couple of soft free kicks outside our box. When Damo was hacked just outside our 18 yards (despite Juan’s very polite protestations to the referee and one of the full backs that this infringement did in fact take place in the box) we had chance 9145758598069836836 of the half to go ahead. I lined up to take the free kick but Juan uttered a satanic growl and looked at me like he wanted to eat my liver. I scurried off to let him reap his revenge. With the power of Beelzebub on his side the angry-Argie curled in the perfect cross to find Ian’s oncoming nog. 1-0.

At half time we knew we had them on the ropes. If we could only snatch the opportunities we had created this could have been a whitewash. But these games are dangerous and the ebb of a match can change quickly as the second half would attest. An inspirational speech from coach Hawyes ends with a rhetorical call to arms ‘How much do you want it’? ‘Quite a bit…maybe 7.5-8 out of ten if we were to put it in numerical form’ the now rabid team responded in unison.

We started with an immediate chance on goal but for the next part of the game things evened up as we let control slip and spent more time camped in our own half. It felt like one of those games where you dominate the entire game but miss endless goals then they snatch one back then it goes to extra time and they pinch another one from a shitty free kick you give away and you lose even though it should have been 11-0 to you. But I’m a pessimist (I’m also an atheist, foot-fetishist and anarchist…but that’s enough about me). In fact the SHOC’s had a few decent opportunities but our defence held firm – German newbie Hubi stood firm alongside Bockie to stop the on-slaught. In a piece of managerial excellence that will be talked about for generations – Hawyes substituted two of the oldest, cramped up old boys who were begging to be let off the pitch (Juan and myself) for young-uns Ed and Rob, to reinvigorate proceedings. This insightful tactical change had an immediate effect.

Up front Ian was causing trouble for the SHOC’s – not only by trying to score but by likening their fattest member to everybody’s favourite part of the female anatomy. After receiving a swift elbow in the head Ian was replaced by an energetic Fairuz (who has been in great form of late). Despite being momentarily caught up in a 34-34 nail-biter taking place on the adjacent netball court between Unley and Glenelg under 8 girls – I glanced back to see our long-awaited game clincher.

Flash forward – the Austral Saturday night.

As he leans on a lamppost vomiting a heady cocktail of beer, Bacardi Breezer, a round of Cowboy Cocksuckers and the remnants of a hastily prepared bowl of two-minute noodles – a young DAMO steadies his swirling mind with the knowledge that his lofted ball between the full and centre back to a marauding Chris was the moment that clinched the game for us. A grin appears on the green-faced youth, flaking off the drying sick encrusting his mouth.

Flashback – SHOC’s field Saturday Afternoon.

Chris pops the ball over the head of the hapless keeper and the ball rolls into the back of the old onion bag. 2-0. The fate of the fatties is sealed in Uni White glory. Gathering in the centre of their pitch we initiate the new boys in to the ritual singing of the Lennon-McCartney penned tune ‘THAT’S IT”.

It will be a day none of us forget until at least Tuesday next week.

 

 

p.s watch 1.27-1.40 for the free kick we need to perfect.

May 142014
 

Hot off a resounding victory VS Grads Reds the week before and having survived a mid-week change in management, the Uni Whites C’s (the new beating heart of the Glamour) took to the putting-green-cum-swamp of Sacred Heart’s home ground to do Sat arvo battle.

Despite rumor that cops only eat donuts and beat up hippies, the new C’s brains trust of Matt Haywes and Jacko (herein referred to as HOT FUZZ) had cleverly put together their golden line up. I say golden because so many of its members are in their twilight years. For this is a team of polarities – made up of extreme youth and extreme ‘experience’, where pimply kids play alongside the chalky-boned aged. But it worked and something clicked (other than Richard Harris’ knees).

The long absent Crab Gayen had polished his Copa Mundials, and dragging his Jon George induced hangover took up position in d-midfield next to fellow pensioner and this match reports humble storyteller. Up front Huddo and Harris. Max and Shaun our young chickens on the wings were ready to sprint. Keeping goal the Jurassic Tim-Bo. The back four line-up of Juan, George, Bocky and Cam was further indication of Hot Fuzz’s youth-academy VS colostomy-bag experiment. The walking heart attack in black blew his whistle and the first half began.

The Whites took charge early and making a couple of rampaging runs saw some decent crosses put into the box. Gayen’s eyes lit up as the memories of a  thousand football seasons flooded his cerebral cortex – this was a man possessed. A 40ft Alonso-esque through ball found sprinter-Shaun, who in trademark style streaked towards the goalmouth with dastardly intent. 1-Zip.

The ball bobbled and slopped in the swampy center circle as the Heart tried in vain to pump long bombs to their hapless striker. Bocky and George rose to meet every ball, winning the aerial challenges and out sprinting any threat. The opposition had a couple of chances, which they fumbled like a virgin at a bra-strap. We were guilty of some overplaying in the back but mostly did well taking short balls from gatekeeper Lev and working it out of defence.

Cam Hopgood who has seen excellent form in the last few weeks, dashed up the line from right back and played one of two goal-setting passes. The ball zipped towards Superman, who defying age and gravity beat the defender. 2-0. The second half came not a minute to soon as our old boys needed a lie down and the young-uns wanted one of Mel Bock’s lollies. Hot Fuzz we’re as pleased as a couple of narcs who had stumbled across a bikie meth lab. But ‘2-0 is a dangerous place to wallow’ they warned. No changes made as we re-took the field to finish off Sacred’s Heartless.

This was easier said than done. Things got scrappy and we failed to bring the ball under control in the muddy conditions. A couple of changes saw Shaun come into the middle to replace Crab, and Dan G entered the fray on the wing. Within moments he had received a tasty through ball and lashed forwards with eyes only for goal. He slotted it nicely past the keeper for the White’s third. Finally justification for the thousands he’s spent on Arsenal–inspired haircuts.

Enter more yoof as Stu Smith came on for me to sure up the middle, and skillful newcomer Ian replacing Huddo making some excellent running upfront. The rest is a bit hazy as I ate an old mars bar I found in my bag and watched a bit of a scintillating under-8 netball match going on behind us (you can see my match report on this later). As I glanced back towards the whites I saw a moment of joga-bonito madness as Cam dinked a delightful ball to our big South African defender, who brought it down on his chest, pivoted and hit home a glorious fourth. After a 20 meter dash up field looking like a cartoon baby hippo who had learned to walk upright, the ref blew and third position was claimed by the forces of good.

The H-Fuzz have a win under their utility belts and underdog status in next weeks grudge Cup-tie with our country cousins – Mount Barker B’s. Can their collective tactical genius steer us to victory? Can we scrape a win against the B team of the Club whose C’s had humiliated us two weeks prior? Is there a God or do we live in a cold meaningless universe? These and other questions will be answered at training on Tuesday night.

MB

* Note – any resemblance to persons living or dead (or in fact any skerrick of truth) is purely coincidental.

Apr 062014
 

we came. they didn’t. we conquered 19-0.

May 192013
 

On the savannahs of Adelaide High the Whites gathered to take the field against the Afro-might of UniSa. The Glamour was riding high after a couple of ego-boosting victories, the team beginning to gel after the experimental phase of the embryonic season.

The day began with a serious emergency when our new best player – Titus Yap -revealed he had a scuff on his new white boots. He had been up all night trying to scrub it off using everything from toothpaste to bleach – but to no avail. After some counseling he was convinced he should play. With this emergency averted we took the field.

With Superman flying to the South of France for the winter a huge cultural gap was left in both the arts and the Uni Whites. Ok so it wasn’t that big a gap…but there was gap and it was filled pretty quickly by the dual centre-back powerhouses Paul ‘Polski-Ogorki-K’ and Harry ‘Michael Caine’ Smith. The Golden-Triangle (George ‘Super-2’ Tan, Titus ‘Pretty-Boots’ Yap & Alan ‘Train’ Evans) cemented the central midfield, with myself and ‘Long-Lost’-Lewis coming in at left and right back. On the wings the mercurial Korean Jidan and whippet whitey Chris Neale. At the South and North poles the hat-trick kid Amir and Keeper-Callum. Walking the sideline were the twin Yodas Frank and Crab who imparted this pre-match wisdom – ‘play as one and yours’ will glamour be’.

The first 15 minutes saw the Whites stroking the ball around the square kilometer of the UniSa field. Bossing the game we stuck to the pre-match plan of using both sides of the park, switching play with some great exchanges between our back four and the mid-field. Amir and Titus took turns storming towards the Afro-Asian lines and creating a few shooting chances. Amir’s tactic of running like a baby Rhino into their defenders while keeping the ball at his feet through the blood and broken teeth almost worked a few times. But the 3–foot-nothing-40-something UniSa centre back Souk was doing a decent job halting our progress. The diminutive dwarf was confidently intercepting our attacks and distributing the ball to his midfield.  We quickly went from Boss to Bitch when to their credit UniSa caught us with our shorts around our ankles and weenies in hand, with a series of incisive short passes and a through ball to a runner who split our defence and put one past Callum. With flashbacks to a horror game against this team last year we went 1-0 down.

But the Glamour knew we had it in us to pull this back and shortly before half-time Jidan knocked a nice chipped ball to Chris Neale who pranced down the right wing cutting in and bearing down upon the orange-clad keeper smacking the ball past him into the bottom left of the old onion bag. 1-1 at half time.

The Force felt like it was back with us as the twin Yodas gathered us together under the increasingly hot sun for the half time pow-wow. I don’t speak great Yoda but it went something like this: ‘Playing good team football, we were, although guilty of over playing the final balls in our attacking third of the pitch, were we.  Proud they were of us not dropping our heads to pull it back to 1-1.  Our game to win, was it’.

The second half began with the Whites taking the momentum into the play. Our second goal came in the first 8 minutes of the half, with a strange bit of play that saw Amir hit a shot at the keeper who seemed to save then fumble the ball back into the invading Turk’s path for a simple tap in. Praise Ataturk! 2-1. The chronology of the next part of the game is hazy (I’m old and smoked too much of Wez Reid’s good stuff in the 90’s) but at some point Longy came on for someone, Justin Kanga appeared for Chris , another Turk appeared in the form of Jay, and Jidan moved from the wing to d-mid (although the D-bit was lost in translation).

In an almost exact replica of the 2nd goal Alan Evans found himself shooting at the keeper only to have him generously hand the ball back into Alan’s path for a simple shimmy-around and slot in. Choo-Choo went the A-train! 3-1. The final 20 minutes saw the African 11 change tactics, playing their preferred  1-3-7    formation.  Harry ‘Michael Cain’ Smith channeled the heroism of his screen namesake (see this clip for a sense of what things looked like from his point of view) as he held off both the marauding hordes and the pain of his hangover to clean up every wave of the Afro-assault. But we knew we had it in the bag.

As the final whistle blew we breathed a collective sigh of relief. The 3 points were ours. I’m not sure if it was the lactic acid burning in my veins or flashbacks of the smiley-face acid I dropped at the Ultraworld 6 Rave in 1994, but I swear I saw a vision of Superman Harris walking the Cannes Croisette and pumping his fist in the air like a hipster Judd Nelson in a Breakfast Club freeze-frame.

The final word must go to twin-Yodas with this parting message to the elated 11 (well 14 but that isn’t as onomatopeic as 11)…“Take this momentum into next week and beat those Rossie bastards, we must.  Yeesssssss”.

Apr 092013
 

A hot afternoon with the stench of cheap chip fat and KFC battery chicken corpses deep-frying across the road ushered in the first game of the Cup campaign. Absent –  a match official. Great start to the season CSL.

Generously, the spotty young Pembrokians offered up a trained ref – saving us from a fate worse than being officiated by George Tan (that horror would befall the opposition A team at 3pm). Kick off better late than never. Under the guidance of assistant coach / captain / CEO / Number 10 / Superman-Yoda guy we took the pitch.

We started as we always do – like a myopic flock of under 7’s playing kick-and-rush. Thankfully a couple of Alonso-esque long balls put wingers Titus and Meershat through but the finishing was not to yield an early goal. A deep corner from Meershat at the 20 minute mark saw feisty new-comer Emir rush the ball knocking it past the keeper toward the line where Dicky Harris managed a wonder-strike tap in from 10 cm.  1-0.

The second half of the 45 saw the young-uns gain some momentum, pushing the ball around and making us run about in the heat. Bastards. Our touch left us as we panicked on the ball, failed to find space and generally became a shambolic mess. Our tactical response was to cast bitchy blame at each other like the cast of Desperate Scousewives. With the collected age of our back four (and a defensive midfielder and no’10) pushing our experience into the Cambrian-age you could hear the bones calcifying as the clock ticked un-mercilessly slowly towards half-time. But despite their momentary inspiration the Yellow scourge did not threaten pretty-boy-A Team ring-in keeper Dan Aiken’s goal.

There was room for improvement for the B’s. A second half speaking to from assistant-to-the-assistant-coach George Tan saw the team gain some insight into how the modern game was played. Apparently it’s all about possession and scoring more goals than the opposition. With this in mind we re-took the field rehydrated and confident in our new-found tactical wisdom.

Possession was indeed the name of the game as we eased the ball around the Pembroke paddock, people moving into space after passing the ball and pastures opening up before us like the half-time promised-land. It really is that easy. Then Meershat, galloping across the steppes of the left-wing blasted another scorcher. Blessed are the Turkestanians – they breed em’ good on the tundra! 2-0.

George Tan, Harry ‘Michael-Cain’ Smith and Justin Kanga substituted for some of our blessed aged, and like the heroes of Bondi Rescue they breathed momentary new life into the drowning-Indian-tourist that was the game’s latter stages.

The rest of the game was boring and hot and un-worthy of mention.

B’s man of the match – Amir: A tough scrapper, skillful on the ball. Mid field will be a tough place to win a spot this year – impress at training and on match days or go find a green-grocer with specials on oranges.