Friday, 11 December 2009
Unfortunately this game turned out to be about as competitive as Eric the Eel, despite some early promise. Fry and Lockyer even had the KittEms 2-0 up in the first quarter. But once the Bankers had got used to the presence of a ghastly Christmas elf dressed up as Andy Roe tending their goal the game changed. Despite some rare tracking back from Lockyer (last seen in 2002), sweet finishes from Gilroy and Pitts (no, I can’t believe it either) were capped with some typically heartless cheating from Bankers vice captain Langman, who casually toe poked home when the ball was a clear foot and a half (maybe) over the line. Referee Hartley spent several minutes arguing with himself before awarding the goal.
The KittEms were visibly rocked by the perfidy of it all, and only my size 12s on Slater’s feet and some beautifully timed block tackles by Cragg on Bannerman prevented a full on rout. Although Lockyer managed to level the scores at 3-3 following a McNulty bowl-out the Bankers surged into a three goal lead through Barclay, Sidi and Bannerman. There ended the first game.
The second started with rekindled hope for the KittEms, with cultured touches from Slater feeding the triumvirate of McNulty, Lockyer and the industrious Fry. However, a second sign of the apocalypse in the form of a cool Pitts finish soon extinguished the flames of hope for the KittEms. After half-time the floodgates opened and Mo poured through, brandishing two elbows and a cold shoulder.
Jansz’s bold ploy of deploying herself and Stark (who had a superb all round game) to start the fourth quarter went the way of Operation Market Garden as the Bankers gleefully racked up five unanswered scores. Sidi was the catalyst, rambunctiously dispossessing all and sundry without discrimination, scoring two and setting up two more for Pitts and Langman. The cackling Barclay even found time to pirouette the outline of a pentagram on the pitch before laying on Bannerman for the coup de grace. The normally sedate Fry was reduced to vengeful fouling, eventually subbing himself off, tears glistening.
I leave you, sensitive readers, with the defining image of this massacre – Tom Church, that sweet sapling, cruelly hacked down by a blood-crazed Banker. Imagine, if you can, his look of anguish, pain and bewilderment. Oh, the humanity.
Bankers 6 (Gilroy, Pitts, Langman, Barclay, Sidi, Bannerman) v KittEms 3 (Lockyer 2, Fry)
Bankers 6 (Pitts 2, Sidi 2, Langman, Bannerman) v KittEms 0
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
The Guerinlas make a promising start, top banana Beth Lewis having a few shots on goal within the opening minutes. The Kitt’Ems respond slinking gracefully up the field with a beautiful shot from Bev ‘cougar’ Cousins, but alas it goes wide. Another near miss from Lewis and an answering lob in the other direction from the lion Lockyer, both without score. All this happens within the first couple of minutes or so; this is shaping up to be quite the battle of the species! Lewis then makes good on her opening promise with a strong strike from just outside the area. It provides the opening goal for the Guerinlas, and what a belter! Top Tiger Dean decides he’s not standing for much more of this and applies some pressure. A couple of good shots follow but somehow Mr Monkey himself Brian Guerin breaks the Kitt’Ems defense (ably provided by Queen of cats, Captain Jansz) and has another blistering shot on goal, which goes just wide. Both sides have a bit of a goal rush with first ferocious Fry (saved) for the Kitt’Ems, then Lewis for the Guerinlas, then Lockyear the lionheart missing what is possibly the Kitt’Ems best chance of the match so far. Some lovely defence from both teams and Cousins should have had her second but for some lovely keeping by the Guerinlas. Another fleet of volleys threatens with first Lewis , then the Lockyer losing his ball to some Monkey business from Crook who then links up with Lewis who goes on to power the ball home. It’s two nil to the Guerinlas & time for a change. Andy Roe comes on to replace Guerin while Sam Cragg (on loan from Hartleypool for two kippers and a plastic mouse in case you wondered) goes on to replace Kat for the Kitt’Ems. The first chance after the restart is again the Kitt’Em’s Cousins (she is really having a cracking game) but again it’s inches wide. A few answering shots from Lewis cause the Lionheart Lockyer to advance the Kitt’Ems’ cause. He powers down the pitch to pounce on his goal and from here on it the Kitt’Ems advance with two Lockey goals sandwiched by a strike from Fry to bring the 1st half to a close. Does monkey make good cat food? Is all the crowd can wonder….
1st half KittEms 3 (Lockyer x2, Fry),– Gurillas 2 (Lewis x2)
The Guerinlas start the second half like half monkey half terminator (you can almost see the wires behind their eyes, arrrgh!). Marc ‘Monkey’ Gillet taking a shot straight from the kick off. A strong shot from fellow teammate/terminator Lewis follows but hits the wrong side of the netting. The Guerinlas are pulling together to create some serious problems for the Kitt’Ems who are taking some time to settle in this second half (rumours that they have been enjoying catnip in the team changing room have continue to be hotly denied). Gillett shoots but it’s saved. There is yet another good attempt by the Kitt’Em’s Cousins but it’s foiled by Lewis who goes on to place a high shot onto the opposition goal. Her rebound is picked up by Gillett, a further rebound from Lewis and then Gillett finally scores. The Guerinlas celebrate with a mass grooming session in the middle of the pitch. When play eventually resumes Ellie Gillroy has her first shot on goal and although it’s a corker, it’s just not enough. The game then ascends to the rafters, the Guerinlas rising via a series of hoops, their ferocious feline opponents preferring to use a ladder (the crowd chuckle that they possibly didn’t need the ladder, still being quite ‘high’ from their half time antics). A couple of tennis balls are knocked down as the ball ricochets round the top half of the sports hall. There is lots of movement but nothing really solid from either team. The Kitt’Em’s Dubber finally brings the ball back down to earth but is denied by Roe’s head (categorically not up in the clouds). Another high shot from Dubber but nothing doing. A substitution from both teams as Sam is swapped for Kat for the Kitt’Ems and Andy taken off by Brian/Gillett for Ryan for the Guerinlas. After the substitution both teams have another assault on goal with first a Lewis shot, then attempt from Brian, then Lewis post and finally another wide shot for the Guerinlas. In a final drastic substitution by the Kitt’Ems Ewan is subbed off being replaced by the lion Lockyer who threatens to put another goal away for the remaining minutes. The score line remains unchanged though. End of first match. Three all.
Full time 1st match Gurillaz 3 (Gillett) – Kittems 3
After a half time break of working out with their scratching post the Kitt’Ems are raring to go in this the second match. Lockyer takes a shot straight from the whistle but this is saved by king monkey himself Brian Grrrrrrerila. New pet on the block Alec Dubber (having just got his collar, name tag and microchip) is allowed outside and takes up his the feline forward position. Making like a puma in the grass he slinks up to the ball and casually paws it in to provide the first and possibly most cheeky (or should that be cheetah?) goal of the match. The Guerinlas to their credit look as stunned as the crowd. This positive start for the Kitt’Ems is unfortunately pretty short lived as after saving a shot from the Guerinlas Tom Jeatt’s tail knocks the ball into his own goal. The crowd at this point seem to be rubbing their eyes. Salvador Dali walks onto the pitch to paint a quick surrealist masterpiece but still the whole pitch looks confused. Tom Jeatt suffers at the hands of the Guerinlas yet again a few minutes later taking a ball to the face after not quite getting far enough away from the sheer power created Ryan Kidd’s right foot. The merciless Scot picks up the rebound and after waiting on the edge of the box for long enough to see time actually stand still, enjoy a cup of PG and redo his fur, he puts the ball away. This seems to rally Guerinla spirits as Matt Crook (who like Harry Potter has the prophecy to be great but is yet to ascend to the required number of goals) sticks with tradition and is denied. Andy Roe goes on to miss by inches for the Guerinlas, but the Kitt’Ems have finished washing themselves and are ready for action! A Fry lob and Lockyer shot follow (both are, however, high). Crook shoots for the Guerinlas & then Dean for the Kitt’Em’s and the game progresses like this for some time, with both teams seeming to take it turns with their shots on goal . Dean has however seen highlights from the Olympics and knows the difference between football and relay. He takes a perfectly aimed shot and the deadlock is broken. It’s in! The last four minutes are upon us and both teams wake from the daze which they fell into waching the ball go back and forward back and forward (a bit like pacman only less interesting). Matt Crook finally makes good on his promise delivering the perfect goal. Not to be outdone King Guerin follows just minutes after with yet another goal from Matt Crook (with a move that I will be terming the Crook Hook from now on) rounding off the monkey mayhem. If this were a poetry journal the rest of this half would go as follows:
the crook hooks and puts it away,
Fry tries for a reply but will have to wait for another day.
The half ends.
Kitt’Ems 2 (Dubber, Lockyer) – Gurillaz 5 (white own goal Jeatt, Kidd, Crook x 2, Guerin)
A strong start by Church, new to the pitch for this half, , but he is denied a goal by Roe, who has been moved back into his traditional stomping ground of nets. Crook shoots for the Guerinlas but it’s just wide and top cat Church disposes of Gillett’s shot just inches from the goal. Crook has what looks to be a perfectly positioned shot on the edge of the area but fluffs it, he then retires to the edge of the pitch where he and his motivational self help tape have a serious chat. Gillroy is proving her metal in the Kitt’Ems defense as she makes like a wall & keeps ‘em out. The teams are now battling against each other as they realise it’s their last chance to score. Crook is denied by the feline dexterity of the Kitt’Em’s keeper again as a top shot from Top Cat Church is saved by Roe. Fry is brought down by Gillett near the Kitt’Em’ goal and referee Micklethwaite sagely ignores it (it is as my mum would say six of one and half a dozen of the other). Gillett pauses his punching just long enough to lock onto a lovely ball by Captain Monkey Brian and scores. Lovely teamwork her from the Guerinlas. Crook tries recreate recent history by following up with a second for the Guerinlas but it’s got too much spin and veers off course. Lewis toohas another change on the opposition goal but her shot is wide. Lockyer at this point sees the fighting that is still going on down pitch and decides violence clearly is the answer and takes Crook down. After a short dinner and acceptance speech for his Oscar winning reaction Crook returns to the attack but is wide again the match ends with referee Micklethwaite colliding with Gorillaz front runner Lewis in what is a fair representation of how things have gone in this second half.
Scores for this game Guerinlas 7-2 Kitt’Ems (Gillett, 2)
Both teams played well but it was ultimately the Guerinlas who looked to be the stronger team in this battle. if they can settle into the game a little earlier for their next match they might be swapping that mug of PG for a different kind of cup entirely.
Brian Guerin (captain)
Sam Cragg (ringer)
Kitty Jansz (captain)
Friday, 20 November 2009
Special mentions for Rachael Lammey and Ellie Gilroy who both had excellent games for the Bankers, the former scoring two goals in the opening match. To repeat the words of his captain, 'Varley spent most of the time on the floor and Lammey had him in her pocket – great second goal.'
Bankers 4-3 Hartleypool
Bankers 1-4 Hartleypool
Dan Hartley 5; Rachael Lammey 2; Ian Bannerman; Mo Sidi; Lloyd Langman; Will Lazenby; Adam Wheeler
Thursday, 19 November 2009
In a rearranged fixture, the Mince and the Midst shared two goals over 40 minutes of actionless-packed football.
I bet you're glad we didn't put you through a report now...
The Bankers finish off the third round of games against Hartleypool tomorrow. 12.30pm KO as per usual.
Friday, 30 October 2009
Scores for today's game were:
MickleSlate’s Moray Mince 1 v 6 The Pink Panthers
MickleSlate’s Moray Mince 4 v 3 The Pink Panthers
Ben Hathaway 5; Andy Humphries 3; Adam Micklethwaite 2; Sian Findlay; Robbie Cooke; Niall Slater; Ben Woolhead
This means that the PPs are still rooted to the bottom, but it won't be for long if Humphries and Hathaway maintain this kind of scoring record. The Mince return to the top, albeit for what is only a temporary period.
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
The Ogres were 1 and 1 going into this lunchtime face off, but with their lengthy roster all reporting fit for duty, they were hoping that future hall-of-fame tight end Dan Hartley III could do the business. Hartley has been muted in his appearances thus far, crossing for only four touchdowns but racking up the rushing yards to keep his team optimistic.
Likewise, the Guerinlas had also managed a single win this campaign, earned by an MVP performance from their scrambling Cornerback Bryan Gueringo. The roster looked skinny before the kickoff, but a strong stable of Wide Receivers meant that the Guerinlas would surely favour their slick passing game.
Once the smoke of the flares and fireworks had been ushered through the fire exit, things got off to a promising start for the depleted ‘Las. In favouring their right flank and dogged wide receiver Bezz Lewz, they risked telegraphing their plays, but it bore fruit when Lewz made ground and a switch to the centre found Nik AssKrunk with all the time and space on the field to romp home and milk the applause, pinging the ball off the turf and nodding exaggeratedly. They were finding a lot of room down either side and Ogres backs Victorious Roze and Allstar Meier were having to put in extra shifts to restrict the gains to single figures.
The poor conditions were becoming more obvious by now, with both teams struggling to get a foothold. The Ogres were finding AssKrunk and rookie safety Cashryn Thomas alert in the backfield, snapping onto any attempts to run the ball to halt any progress through the middle. The right flank was still bearing some fruit, but fumbles and blocked runs were causing failed fourth down conversions one after the other. Hartley III had switched to quarterback to try and get some momentum behind his team, but his long bombs were being picked off. Gueringo in particular was underlining his status as the league’s leading cornerback, shutting his receiver down on each and every play. Every time the dangerman looked to be on the verge of a breakthough, the trademark flash of gold chain and cloud of ginger dreadlocks arrived to tip the ball away.
It came as a shock to the packed Park Bowl crowd when Hartley angled a run in from the sideline to burst through for the pullback TD. The ‘Las responded with a flourish, but the tie lasted until the end of the quarter. Raking passes from one end of the field to another were gaining ground by the acre for the Las. One magnificent long bomb from pimped stand-in quarterback Marcus Gillette found strapping, cornfed tight end Andre Rowe for a gain of fourty yards, but they couldn’t convert the territory.
1st Quarter: 7-7
The second quarter was the point that the ‘Las had earmarked in their gamplan for the big push, gathering their offensive line around big center Roe for a big 15 minutes. Hartley III and rangy tackle David Varlois sat out the start in favour of some fresh legs, so there was a chance for Gueringo’s players to make their dominance count.
Sammy Cragge set about disrupting their game with a monster block on DeRyan Kidd as he surged into the backfield and Stylez W. Lazenby followed suit with an astonishing flying tackle on a surging Lewz, but it wasn’t long before the ‘Las found the next gear, locating the endzone three times without reply. Lyndsay Starkerhoffer was looking confident in making ground down the left but it was a sudden switch of tempo down the opposite flank that saw the veteran Gillette isolate his man on a downfield foray with two linemen in attendance and find the zone. As the Ogres tired, Starkerhoffer made the gap for Gillette to stride through and run home for a massive touchdown. The next to put her name on the board was enthusiastic rookie Thomas who picked herself up after a narrow chance seconds earlier to slot through a tiny gap on the right flank. Thomas, monogrammed white towel tucked into her waistband, flatfooted her marked with a series of stutter-steps before vanishing inside to receive the pass and flop over the line. It was great finishing from a player not expected to flourish in a team packed with strong wide players.
The ‘Las were getting more sacks than the elephant man and more turnovers than an apple pastry while the Ogres were fumbling like a furtive teenager. They were looking exhausted with less than half of the clock gone, and could muster nothing in reply. It was telling that the defensive skills of Cragge were to the fore throughout this quarter. In fact, they only managed to threaten the ‘Las endzone when a pass bounced off Gibbonswerth’s helmet, but it was scrambled out of bounds by Gillette before it could be chased down.
Half time: 21-7
The third quarter continued as the second had ended, and Gillette soon increased the ‘Las’ lead as he overcame the taller and stronger Varlois in the corner. Varlois had a grip on his man’s jersey, but Gillette wasn’t to be denied, and thundered across the line. Not content with this, he then followed up with a tidy run through the gap left by Meier’s missed block to register again.
Then came the turning point. The Ogres had thus far held back on introducing their monstrous middle linebacker Dave ‘The Wall’ Owing, but now was the time. Owing wasted no time at all in taking hold of the game and shaking it. Hartley III was the first to benefit from his team’s newfound dynamism, as a lengthy sequence of hard-won first downs saw them positioned 3rd and 5 with Hartley the dangerman. He made no mistake in executing a textbook cutback run that finally gave him the space on Gueringo that he needed to race home and make the score 35-14.
A series of crashing tackles had the crowd baying, just the kind of game that Owing thrives on. He was ubiquitous in dragging rogue ballcarriers to the ground and marshalling his fellow linemen LaGailius Carter and Andrethus Gibbins, denying ground on every play, not to mention a booming field goal attempt that rattled the outside of the goal from 55 yards. Determined to prove that he is a true all-rounder, Owing then contributed his own score, playing at running back for a drive and forcing his way through all manner of flying bodies to find the corner from an almost impossible position. With Hartley III now being shepherded sternly by AssKrunk, it looked as though Owing could be the new option that the Ogres needed.
Hartley himself had other ideas though. His scoring rate had been called into question before the game, and he had spent three quarters frustrated by the ‘Las’ dynamic defensive backs. Now was the time to stand up and be counted as a true pro, just like his old man Dan Hartley the First back in Superbowl XIX. Hartley III took advantage of Owing’s new dangerman status to crash through a weak backfield for what was to be the first of a remarkable scoring burst.
The ‘Las were finding nothing open for them, having switched to a running game in an effort to grind down some territory in the final moments. Kidd was being ground out of the sidelines before he could make a yard, and even when the crowd though they could cheer another TD, Varlois’ injury meant that the drive had to be taken back to first and ten. By the time that Guerin began to channel his plays back towards Lewz, it was too late, the Ogres were ready a waiting.
Lewz frustration was evident as a smashing tackle to heave Owing out of bounds saw the Ogres’ new star on his knees and wheezing. It was the ‘Las dogged determination to push every play through their reliable wide receiver that brought about both their next breakthrough and ironically, their downfall. Lewz showed her NFL pedigree when she converted the first play of a drive into pure touchdown gold with a simple catch and sprint for 42-28.
However, it was this assured finish that made the ‘Las overconfident and, fatally, one dimensional. Hartley III’s impact was massive. First he ran home his own interception and then took advantage of further crossed wires to pick off another wide pass and run home again, dazzling Guerin with a lightning juke to the right before toasting him inside and scorching home. A great piece of quarterback play brought about his final score, converting a long pass downfield with Owing whooping at his side and already choreographing an elaborate celebration routine. 42-49 it finished and the crowd knew that they’d seen a vintage display from the big man at the heart of the Ogres’ title challenge, who was busy being doused with a Gatorade barrel by his teammates.
What actually happened:
Guerinlas – 4 (Ascroft, Gillet 2, Thomas)
Hartleypool – 1 (Hartley)
Guerinlas – 3 (Gillet 2, Lewis)
Hartleypool – 6 (Hartley 5, Owen)
Monday, 19 October 2009
There was an element of “the Fast Show” about Langman’s start to the game, sprinting about in his Paul Whitehouse-style Argyle jersey. But there was nothing funny about the hat-trick he managed to score before the Panthers woke up, each shot dispatched ruthlessly, with some help along the way from Lammey.
Andy “no, the other Andy Humphries” Humphries decided he had had enough at this point, and
pulled one back after robbing Ziebart on the wing. The same man then spearheaded a counter-surge, ably assisted by Lindsey Stark. Matt “the Matt” Cannon joined in the resurgence with a sweetly taken long-range strike, that Barclay barely saw. Cannon and Humphries linked up well for the remainder of the half, challenging the Lammey/Langman axis that ran the early moments of the game. 3-2 was the score at half time, with the Panthers looking more likely to score next.
The introduction of Cooper at halftime put a cat among the pigeons though. He was showboating from the off, hitting the ceiling and then playing some sublime passes with his first few touches. Other halftime substitute Ellie Gilroy also helped the Bankers get back into the game, with some telling interceptions and a few close shots. The Panthers then equalised against the run of play through their captain Moore. A great ball saw him scamper into space down the left, before firing a composed shot past Barclay. He immediately subbed himself off for Matt Cannon, revelling in his 1 shot to 1 goal ratio for several minutes.
The scores did not stay level for long, with Cooper storming forward at every opportunity to put pressure on the Panthers defence. It seemed almost too easy for him to regain the lead for his team, slotting in from a tight angle past Bulpitt. Langman resurfaced to score from the edge of the area soon afterwards, with the ref unsure whether he had crossed the red line or not. Cooper then struck to regain the Bankers’ 3 goal lead, ignoring passing options to shoot powerfully into the bottom corner from distance, with textbook banker greed.
While the Bankers’ continued to push to accumulate goals, the team’s speculation left a lot of gaps at the back, which gave Stark numerous shooting chances. This culminated in Humphries scoring the last goal of the game, striking through Langman’s legs in acres of space. It was too little too late unfortunately, as the pink team lost 4-6.
The Panthers looked a team on the brink of exhaustion at the start of the second game, with their once uniform pink T-shirts now stained various hues of red and purple from perspiration. They did start the game well though and played as a very compact unit, clearly buoyed by “1 shot to 1 goal Moore”’s pre-game pep talk. It was unsurprising that Bulpitt looked sickened when the Bankers’ scored the opener, with Lammey exchanging a couple of 1-2s with Cooper before finishing expertly into the far corner. It was a goal of the highest quality. The Panther response was spirited, with Moore’s cheeky backheel sending Humphries through on goal, but there was no sign of an equaliser. Moments later Lammey and Cooper linked up well to send their team 2 goals up, this time it was Cooper who finished from close range.
Cannon gave his team hope with another tremendous goal from distance. He then linked up well with Humphries and Hathaway to create a chance for the latter, but it was well blocked by Pitts. The Cooper Lammey and Langman triumvirate (they sound more like lawyers then bankers) were soon controlling the midfield, with Lammey crashing a shot off the bar. Their pressure paid off moments later. Cooper played Lammey into space down the wing with a backheel, and then struck the return pass past Barclay first time. Wonderful stuff.
A bit of gamesmanship crept into the game at that point, with the team 2 goals ahead passing the ball across the defence and running down the clock. The next chance fell to Cooper, who hammered a half-volley off the side wall with his trademark exuberance. The game was slow from then until halftime.
The play in the second half continued outside the Bankers’ penalty area, when a free kick was awarded against Andy Pitts’ quite brilliant, but also quite illegal sliding tackle. A speedy Lammey interception nipped the ensuing set piece in the bud. Ben Hathaway was desperately trying to pull his team back into the game with his Rambo-style runs, playing the ball to himself off the wall, and often running into the outstretched boot of Pitts. He finally closed the gap to one goal when a moment of defensive madness by the Bankers allowed him to finish unmarked from the edge of the area.
A spell of end to end chaos, now recorded in hieroglyphics in my notepad, ended with Pitts restoring his team’s 2 goal lead, unmarked. Having enjoyed his bit of attacking, Pitts then went on a blinding run the length of the pitch, beating 3 players, and setting Cooper up for an easy finish. Langman completed the route for the Bankers, shooting past a reclining Bulpitt, who seemed to have slipped. It finished 6-2 in favour of Barclay’s team
With 6 points from 6 today, the Bankers canter to a lead at the top of the table, playing the best passages of football seen yet this season. A well-organised but under-strength Pink Panthers team played some great football themselves, but were outclassed. They remain bottom.
1st game Pink Panthers 4 - 6 The Bankers
2nd game The Bankers 5 - 2 Pink Panthers
Langman 5; Cooper 4; Humphries 2; Cannon 2; Hathaway; Pitts; Lammey; Moore
Sunday, 11 October 2009
These are dark times for T&F Friday Football. With its very existence under threat from a Tiny Toes broadside, those hackneyed words of inspiration have finally been realised in South Oxfordshire: every game really should be treated as our last. And it was with words to this effect that both teams started the league’s latest game following some serious limbering up and a couple of earnest-looking team huddles led by Kitty Jansz and Niall Slater, both going solo for the first time in the absence of their co-captains.
Most games these days seem to start in one of two ways – very slowly, or blisteringly – and it was in the latter manner that our first contest began. Closet Welshman Hugh Evans was unsurprisingly at its forefront. Having scored a hat-trick across MickleSlate’s opening games against The Bankers, Evans was clearly keen to add to his tally and his neat footwork and close-control, combined with a rasping drive that came back off the crossbar, was the highlight of the first few minutes. The yellow-clad Mickleslate’s, with a starting line-up of Evans, Alison Campbell, Kirstin Heilmann, Gregg Warren and Slater in nets, continued to enjoy much of the possession, and only an off-target effort from KittEms’ experienced utility man Tom Church punctuated the Canaries’ pressure.
This punctuation proved to be just that, though, as Warren pinballed a rebound through ringer ‘keeper Andy Roe’s pins after he could only divert an Evans shot to the lurking Ragged Trousered Philanthropist. Roe nearly made amends soon after when he chucked a quick throughball to KittEms dangerman Church, but it had just a little too much on it. With moments to spare until half-time, Jansz threw on veterans Mike McNulty and Vikki Rose, bedecked in a Man City jersey (glory?), for Church and herself, and it nearly backfired when Evans went clear on goal after strolling through a non-existent defence. With Roe down on the mats Evans should have rested a small pillow between the teams but he cracked against the post to leave the score at 1-0.
Ben Piggott, who we all got to know so well in a recent parklife, for Warren was the only change for the Mince while KittEms made another couple of changes, which involved Jansz, Bev Cousins, Evan Stevenson and Tom Jeatt. In what order I’m not entirely sure due to poor shorthand, but what my memory does tell me is that Cousins in particular was, or was about to, have a cracking game. ‘You can tell she plays hockey’, someone said, as we all nodded sagely, recollecting another bit of calmness on the ball, or precision passing. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for her teammate McNulty. If Jamie Redknapp was a T&Fer, he’d have labelled McNulty a ‘top, top player’ long ago, but the Southpaw was showing a few too many touches in his continued comeback from injury and it looked like he needed a Dan Hartley to bark him into shape. He didn’t, and it was left to fellow KittEm Alec Dubber to achieve parity for the Blues with his first T&F Friday Football goal after a free transfer from Palgrave: a cool finish across Slater’s goal.
The balance had shifted, and just seconds later Church almost grabbed a goal after he broke through a high Mickleslate’s backline, but Slater was equal, pushing his drive over his bar. The ‘keeper didn’t have to wait long until he was called into action again, but this time he had no reply. Picking up the ball and facing goal Cousins played a glorious one-two with Church before placing a measured finish past Slater to put the KittEms into the lead for the first time. The sight of Church’s ecstasy was pure joy to behold, and it seemed as if hearts and minds had been won in the crowd: a huge roar met the goal and the KittEms looked set for an historic win after previously looking so vulnerable. How cruel it seemed, then, when Roe was ignominiously nutmegged for the second time just seconds later, this time by old pro Ben Woolhead, to stop the revitalised KittEms in their tracks. Further chances followed, not least another Woolhead effort after a carbon copy Cousins/Church one-two with Campbell and a last gasp McNulty thwack, but the game ended 2-2.
Heartened by a point gained, Jansz elected to ignore precedent by continuing to field a lady, starting with herself straight off. With just two girls on duty for Mickleslate’s, Slater did no such thing, resting Campbell and Heilmann after a straight 20-minute run out for both in the first game. Just moments had passed before the balcony realised that this was going to be telling, Evans and Robbie Cooke each scoring their first of the day and moving one goal closer to nine-goal Dean Lockyear, crucially absent for the KittEms. The underrated rugger boy Cooke then slotted two more past a visibly frustrated Roe to make the hat-trick prior to Woolhead’s third of the season, which made it 5-0 to Mickleslate’s. Dizzying stuff. If it was a fight, they’d have stopped it.
Slater reacted by making changes to slow down the game, but a goal-hungry Evans incorrigibly added a few more to the tally. “Someone throw down their towel”, resident pundit Olly Cooper was heard crying. Not to be outdone, Captain Slater slammed an eighth in after some nice approach play by his thespian twin Piggott, but there was still time for a KittEms consolation: McNulty showing some class and finishing nicely to put an ever so slight dent in the scoreline. That was where the action ended, though, and for the second successive game of the season an empathic crowd trudged away awkwardly, patting the backs of the victims of another 8-goal flagellation. The KittEms were left kicked in, but it's all looking rather gay for the Mince.
Game One: The Kicking KittEms 2 - 2 MickleSlate’s Moray Mince
Game Two: The Kicking KittEms 1 - 8 MickleSlate’s Moray Mince
Cooke 3; Evans 3; Woolhead 2; Warren; Dubber; Cousins; Slater; McNulty.
Kicking KittEms: Kitty Jansz; Alec Dubber; Bev Cousins; Ewan Stevenson; Tom Church; Mike McNulty; Tom Jeatt; Vikki Rose (ringer); Andy Roe (ringer).
MickleSlate’s Moray Mince: Niall Slater; Ben Woolhead; Gregg Warren; Hugh Evans; Alison Campbell; Ben Piggott; Kirstin Heilmann; Robbie Cooke.
Thursday, 1 October 2009
So, the start of the new T&F football season is upon us, and the winds of change have shaken up not only the teams but the captains as well. parklife gives you our very own guide to the movers and shakers of this year’s league.
Kicking us off (ouch), team 1 are Mickleslate’s Moray Mince, a clever amalgamation of Niall Slater and Adam Micklethwaite who both take on captaincy for the first time. With a team sheet to strike fear into the hearts of footballing publishers everywhere, it includes proven scorer Dan Trinder, last year’s golden newbie Hugh Evans and the no-nonsense tacklers Gin Klassen and Kirstin Helmann. Ben Woolhead will no doubt be after some more goals and Ben Piggott adds his own personal brand of footballing randomness. Last but by no means least Gregg Warren, Sarahjayne Sierra and Alison Campbell complete the squad. parklife’s verdict: Definitely 1 to watch.
Team 2 is ruled by the Dan ‘strikes fear into the opposition from his strike rate’ Hartley. While last season saw the Hartley don various costumes, this team’s talent needs no dressing up. Former captain Adam Wheeler heads up the team sheet followed closely by the holy trinity of Daves: Varley, Owen and first timer Cox. A double act of Mike Gibbons and Mike Kelly should keep the opponents guessing, while Will Lazenby is after yet more silverware for his already impressive sports CV. Sam Cragg takes to the pitch for the first time but will no doubt receive full support from footballing veterans Gail Carter, Vikki Rose and Andrea Gibbons who complete the team. parklife’s verdict: Even without the dog costume, it’s a heck of a pedigree.
Team 3 sees summer league captain Nick ‘the Warlock’ Ascroft bring aboard books legend Brian Guerin. Leading a team that includes the solid defence of Mike Jones and Marc Gillet, the surprise shot of Andy Roe and the proven pace of Katie Peace and Beth Lewis up the front, this is a very strong-looking team. Ryan Kidd didn’t see much of the ball last season but parklife tips him and Matt Crook as ones to watch this season. Russell George and new league signings Kathryn Thomas and Katie Eve complete the team. parklife’s verdict: This team? It’s a kind of magic.
Richie Moore picks up his well-worn armband for another crack at the trophy, leading team 4. And what a team it is. Colin Bulpitt gets ready for another season in goal, but he shouldn’t be troubled much with defenders Mark Majurey and Ryan Cooper on their guard. There should be some vital fire-power provided by the trinity of Matt Cannon, Lindsay Stark and Sarah Robbie who unite at the front. Ben Hathaway also returns to the pitch hoping to build upon an impressive first season. Newbie Andy Humphries, Miss T & F Sport Jane Dawson and Sian Findlay complete the line up. parklife says: Moore more more! We love it.
Kitty Jansz and Emma Wilson bring some much-needed girl power to the captains’ list with their inspirationally titled team Kickin KittEms (do you see what they did there? Oh never mind). Ali Meier will be looking to keep his sheets clean once again in goal while Dean Lockyear tears it up on the attack. Verterans of track and field Barry Fry, Mike McNulty and Tom Church will be attempting to keep it tidy in mid field and swipe some goals of their own. While Ewan Stevenson, Bev Cousins and Tom Jeatt are all unknowns, being new for this season, Khanam Virjee should prove to be a particularly good signing if her training performances are anything to go by. parklife’s verdict: A lot of unknowns to the league make the KittEms this year’s wild cards - definitely not to be ruled out.
Finally last but not least Mr Red Boots himself, captain Greig Barclay, returns to the pitch with an experienced team including former teammate and partner in goals Rachael Lammey. Former opposition captain Lloyd Langman also brings his scoring abilities into the team with back-up no doubt being provided by Rod Cookson. Heading up the defence will be the holy trinity of Mo Sidi, Ian Bannerman and Anne Ziebart, while Andy Pitts tries to fill in those midfield gaps. Ellie Gilroy is the only new recruit for this team, but with players like this showing her the ropes parklife anticipates offers from Inter Milan before the end of the season. parklife’s verdict: Greig’s done it before, and this is a team with the skill to go all the way.
Monday, 28 September 2009
Led by the Crusader from Cork, Brian Guerin (this week missing his fellow captain, Nick Ascroft), the team in white were met by a blinding vision in shocking pink in the shape of Richie Moore’s Panthers. The veteran captain had experience on his side, as well as widely held belief amongst T&F footie fans that he has been Nottingham’s greatest export since Kevin Costner decided to don a doublet and espouse socialism in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
Both teams were untested in the league so far and were also without key players, which meant a couple of ringers being drafted in. Lloyd Langman stood between the sticks for the Guerinlas, apparently for the first time since his glory goalkeeping days in the Plymouth and District under-13s league. Meanwhile, new man Ed Vass was playing for a contract with the Panthers, despite being ostracised by the kit man and forced into a red (rather than pink) jersey.
With the Welsh wonder Hugh Evans taking on the refereeing mantle, the teams kicked off and went to it. Despite it being the first match for the teams, both looked like compact units from the off. The Panthers’ Ben Hathaway tested Langman with early shots and produced the best chance of the match so far with a perceptive pass to Sarah Robbie. Robbie did well under pressure to get her shot in for the Guerinlas’ keeper to gather.
But despite this early pressure, it was the Guerinlas who made the breakthrough. Mark Gillett found a wide ball just on the edge of the Pink’s box and was just able to get his shot in and just past the Pink’s keeper, Colin Bulpitt. Gillett’s vicinity to Bulpitt’s area led to a bit of ‘discussion’ about whether the goal should stand, but ref Evans wasn’t going back on his decision.
It wasn’t long before the Panthers were back in it, when a Hathaway shot produced a good reaction stop from Langman, but he couldn’t collect the rebound, meaning Ryan Cooper was able to slot home. Cue much rejoicing from the team in pink, who from a distance looked a bit like a giant, dancing bowl of Angel Delight.
With the game was rapidly turning into a tight encounter, the ferocious felines looked to be evenly matched by the simian skills of Guerin’s team. The Panthers’ goal was followed by a tough period of play, with all the outfield members of both sides really getting stuck in. Sarah Robbie vied for the ball with the Guerinlas’ Katie Peace and chances rained in from both sides. Eventually though, it was the Guerinlas who gained an important advantage just before the break, thanks to that man Mark Gillett once again. After some decent interplay between
Vass and Cooper, Gillett latched on to a loose ball and fired his shot in past a flying Bulpitt.
Following a brief halftime pep talk, the Panthers sprung into action as if attacking a herd of wild gazelle. The Guerinlas captain Brian Guerin showed the Panthers some top dribbling action, with more twists and turns than a Dillinger Escape Plan record, but the Pinks piled the pressure on the Guerinlas defence with the new midfield entente of Ed Vass and Sian Findlay. Nothing but solid defending by Ryan Kidd and stops by Lloyd ‘Shinblocker’ Langman kept the feline fighters at bay. Sub Katie Eve got stuck in and managed to link some decent passes in the midfield, but none found a way through for the Guerinlas. In fact, the Guerinlas might have realised they’d come up against Moore (!) than they bargained for when the Panthers’ boss seized his moment. Mighty Moore produced a real captain’s goal to draw the Panthers level once more, racing through challenges as he zoomed towards the G’s goal, unleashing a powerful drive past Langman and in.
With the game evened up again both teams tried to claim an advantage. Hard work in the middle of the pitch and some great stops by keepers Bulpitt and Langman kept the scoring low. The last shot of the game came from Sian Findlay, and what a shot it was! Connecting with a searching ball up toward the Guerinlas’ area, Findlay’s shot marooned a static Langman, and was within a panther’s whisker of being the winner, as it clattered back off the inside of the G’s upright. With no chances in the minute that followed before Evans drew an end to the first encounter, the teams ended a hard fought encounter with a fair share of the points.
Final Score: Pink Panthers 2 – 2 Guerinlas in the Mist
After such tight play in the first game, it looked as if the first goal could be coming from anywhere in game two (even a few of the fans up in the balcony were fancying their chances). But it was the Guerinlas who made the breakthrough, thanks to their rugged Scotsman Ryan Kidd. Kidd stabbed a claymore into the hearts of the Panthers when he coolly slotted the ball home, following a bit of sustained pressure by his team on the Pink’s box/area/semi-circle thingy.
The Panthers picked themselves up and looked ahead to try and get back into the game, but it was the chief Guerinla himself, Brian Guerin, who foiled such plans. A run down the right wing saw him connect with a looping ball for a spectacular falling volley. Argument ensued again about whether the G’s captain had entered the box, but no nonsense ref Evans was having none of it and ordered that the goal stood.
With the decisions going their way, the Guerinlas were spurred on to even more when Andy Roe, the team’s resident Jack Sparrow look-a-like, sailed towards the opposition’s goal, as if standing on the stern of a mighty galleon, and sank a devastating cannonball of a drive into the net, sinking the good ship Panther into a watery 3 goal deficit.
Roe’s heroics only pushed the team on further, and it wasn’t long before Mark Gillett danced down the left wing, skipping over challenges as one may skip from rock to rock to cross a babbling brook. But this idyllic image was soon shattered by the ferocity with which Gillett released a smashing drive at the Panthers goal. Panther’s keeper Colin Bulpitt bravely stood up to Gillett’s shot, but the ball must have decided to side with the white team, as it conspired to bounce off every part of Bulpitt’s lower body before it trickled over the line. Debate will rage as to whether the goal was Gillett’s or if it would be Bulpitt’s name on the score sheet. Unfortunately for the Panther’s keeper, I think it was most likely to be him that had the final touch.
After the break, The Panthers tried hard to weather further Guerinla attacks, but were unable to stop Beth Lewis coming extremely close with a drive that look to all in the balcony to be in, however some phantom side netting trick fooled the spectators, cutting short celebrations from the Guerinla lovers (The Glovers?). However, Lewis didn’t need to wait long to see her name on the score sheet, as determined play on the right wing led to her zipping in a shot, that saw both the ball and the keeper in the back of the net.
Lesser teams may well have given up hope at this stage, but not the proud Panthers who kept up the pressure on the Guerinlas, with some hard work all round, and hard battling from Vass and Stark in the midfield. Lindsay Stark built on her great play in the first match and was once again in the thick of things, going toe to toe with Beth Lewis on the right wing. She formed a determined front going forward with Cooper. Late call up Ed Vass made his presence equally felt with some hard work in the midfield against Gillett and Lewis. He showed some great moments of skill, the best of which saw him control a high looping ball outside the G’s box, and turning it into a dangerous lob over Langman, that come down on the wrong side of the bar.
This hard graft from Moore Pinkies paid off when the ball fell to their first game goal hero Cooper about half way out, who took a swing and sent the ball past an outstretched Langman.
With their first goal chalked up, the Panthers pressed on and obviously inspired by Cooper’s long range effort, the pink team’s hardworking defensive maestro Ben Hathaway smashed a belter in from just over the halfway line. Suddenly getting five goals didn’t look as tough an ask for the Panthers.
A recovery looked very much like it could be on the cards for the high performing Panthers, but dreams of bridging the three goal gap were cut short with Terminator-like precision by the Guerinla’s part-man, part machine, Andy “The Roebot” Roe, who stormed in with another goal after Bulpitt had tipped Kidd’s shot away. The four goal gap proved just too much for the Panthers, and the end of match saw two more Guerinla goals from Gillett and Roe, decent solo strikes both, to put the game fully beyond the Panther’s reach. This left the scorers with a total of three goals each across the two games. Crikey jings, look out goals leader board!
The result puts Guerinlas in the Midst at the top of the T&F Five-a-Side league and places the unfortunate Panthers at the foot of the table. But it’s early days yet and we could easily see the Moore’s men and women ramping up the table in no time at all. Guerin and Ascroft’s Army look formidable and it’ll take tough team to get the Guerinlas down from the top of the tree.
Final Score: Pink Panthers 2 – 8 Guerinlas in the Mist
GITM 2 : 2 PP
GITM 8 : 2 PP
Gillet 3; Roe 3; Cooper 2; Moore; Kidd; Guerin; Hathaway; Lewis
Monday, 21 September 2009
When ref Cooper’s whistle sounded, it seemed to do so only for the team in black, Utd starting off like a famished lion encountering an asthmatic three-legged gazelle. Hartley had already shot wide and smacked the bar following good skill from Gibbons when his surgically precise through-ball presented Varley with the opportunity to open the scoring. Hartley himself promptly doubled the advantage with the foot most of us thought was only for standing on.
With the KittEms’ defence too often asleep or astray, their early display was epitomised by Fry sprawling prostrate to the floor. They weren’t exactly being blessed with good fortune either, Meier doing well to keep out Hartley’s shot only for the ball to be returned with interest.
3-0, then, and at last the KittEms had a chance of their own, Kelly saving Fry’s shot. But the danger at the other end was ever-present, Cragg holding the fort while Varley ventured forward, slipping as he eyed up the target. Fry tried once again to break the KittEms’ duck, but could only watch as an opponent also with the bit between his teeth, Hartley, galloped through to complete his hat-trick.
A couple of hefty clearances out of defence from Virjee started to settle the KittEms’ nerves, and a pair of clever one-twos between Fry and Cousins impressed the crowd but brought no end result. Utd though had their own duettists, Hartley and Gibbons twice combining neatly to threaten a fifth.
A tremendous save from Meier fired up the KittEms and Fry, their likeliest scorer all half, finished off a fine run with a goal that gave them some hope - only for Varley to blast home at the other end and ensure a lop-sided 5-1 score at the break.
Utd took the opportunity to freshen up their entire outfield team after the interval, but it seemed to unsettle them and the first chance of the second period fell to Dubber, Kelly forced into some fancy footwork to keep his shot out. Owen’s marvellous block to halt a Lockyer shot was the precursor to a battle that would rage throughout the half, but the striker was soon on the scoresheet, outpacing the Utd back line to a loose ball.
Defences briefly got the upper hand - Stevenson marshalling the KittEms with calm assurance, and Owen the very definition of no nonsense, searching out and accurately finding Row Z - but there was still an attacking threat from Utd, Rose twice bedazzling her opponents with her multi-coloured socks to set Cox up for efforts on goal. The next goal, though, came from Lockyer, an easy finish after a mix-up between Cox and Owen. 5-3: could the comeback really be on?
Determined to atone for their mistake, Cox and Owen both gave Meier something to think about in the KittEms’ goal, but Lockyer was continuing to make a nuisance of himself. Kelly pulled off one save, but the fleet-of-foot Lockyer wasn’t to be denied his hat-trick long, lofting the ball cheekily over Rose before applying a cool finish into the bottom corner. And within seconds of the restart, the KittEms - against all the odds - were level, the luckless Cox’s underhit pass presenting the ball to Lockyer, of all people.
Hartley had seen enough and reintroduced himself to the fray, lining up for the first time against both opposition captains Jansz and Wilson. And the Utd skipper it was who was instrumental in the decisive goal, his shot rattling back off the post and bouncing in off a desperately unlucky Meier.
There was still time for Rose to prod inches wide with Meier well beaten, but the final score gave Utd the win by the narrowest - and most fortuitous - of margins.
So, in the first clash, Lockyer won the battle - with four goals to Hartley’s three - but Hartley won the war. Which of the two hotshots would emerge triumphant from the second match?
With Hartley starting quietly and Lockyer effectively shackled by Varley, the early goal threat was carried by other players, Fry slicing narrowly wide for the KittEms and Cox denied from close range for Utd. It was looking as though the deadlock would only be broken courtesy of a mistake - and, unfortunately for Kelly, it was his, Lockyer pouncing on and punishing a misdirected throw.
That stung Hartley into action, and he had one effort blocked before driving home past an unsighted Meier. But Utd were only level for a matter of seconds, Lockyer and Fry rampaging through from the kick-off for the former to score. This time there was no immediate response from Hartley and Utd, instead Lockyer bamboozling Owen to notch his second hat-trick of the day. Hardly surprising, I suppose - as a keen darts player, he’s used to finding a much smaller target than a 5-a-side goal.
Varley was the next to be embarrassed with some exhibition skill, Lockyer starting to pass to himself off the walls. His teammates, meanwhile, were enjoying themselves too, Dubber twice trying his luck from long range and Stevenson dragging the ball just wide after Cox had been deceived by a bouncing ball.
As half-time approached, though, the balance of play swung back in Utd’s favour, Meier making a superb stretching save to repel Cox’s strike as his goal was peppered with shots.
The teams having changed ends, only an alert Kelly prevented Owen’s looping header from finding the back of his own net, while equally adept goalkeeping from Meier saw him claw Gibbons’ shot away from the top corner.
The KittEms then resolved to kick ‘em while they were down, Fry outmuscling Owen and Lockyer finishing tidily for their fourth and fifth. Spirits in the Utd side were visibly sapped and there was so much steam billowing out of Owen’s ears that his head was like a boiling kettle.
Kelly at least was providing sterling resistance, deflecting one effort from Cousins and tipping another onto the post to prevent the gulf in the scoreline from yawning even wider. Inspired by this display of defiance, Utd rallied, with Cox, Cragg and Gibbons combining well in attack. Wilson did well to halt Gibbons' run, while Meier showed good reactions to get in the way of a firmly struck Gibbons free-kick, awarded after Fry’s scything tackle on Owen, who had gone to ground as though he’s been watching Platoon.
A rogue red bib on the floor briefly stopped play, much to Varley’s frustration - which he then proceeded to take out on the KittEms, denied once by Meier but then pulling a goal back thanks to Kelly’s visionary assist.
Cragg managed what few of her teammates had by dispossessing Lockyer, but Cousins was continuing to look sharp on the right wing, and after Cox had shot over and once again adopted his head-in-hands position, Lockyer rounded off the scoring with his fifth of the game.
Sadly, the game finished on a low note, man-of-the-match Lockyer’s devastating display brought to an end by an ankle sprain sustained in an innocent challenge. As Cooper blew for full time, Owen grimaced: ‘I could have marked him now’...
Honours even over the course of the two games, then, but if the KittEms can get Lockyer back to full fitness it’ll be the champagne and not his ankle that’ll be on ice.
Hartleypool Utd 6 - 5 The Kicking KittEms
Hartleypool Utd 2 - 6 The Kicking KittEms
Lockyer 9; Hartley 4; Varley 3; Fry 2; Meier (og) 1
Dan Hartley; Andrea Gibbons; Sam Cragg; Vikki Rose; Gail Carter; Dave Varley; Mike Kelly; David Cox; Dave Owen
The Kicking KittEms
Kitty Jansz; Emma Wilson; Ali Meier; Barry Fry; Alec Dubber; Bev Cousins; Ewan Stevenson; Khanam Virjee; Dean Lockyer
Friday, 11 September 2009
First game of the season, the one we’ve all been waiting for. If early devotion to the cause is any indicator of how a team will start, then the omens for the Bankers were bad, with three of their team showing up wearing non-regulation colour tops (navy and eggshell blue are definitely not green, but I could be talked round on the turquoise one).
Mickleslate’s also had some real advantages that I didn’t make up: they had more players, and an extra captain to manage subs from the balcony while the other one was playing. Crucial details, possibly. And it was Mickleslate’s who had the brighter start, with Campbell, Evans, and Klaessen all looking lively, and forcing a borrowed Hartley to make an early save. 5-a-side footballing colossus Dan Trinder had a quiet start though, a shot well off-target his only real contribution to the game’s opening minutes.
Midway into the first half The Bankers started to dominate. The previously incompatible Langman and Lammey suddenly took control of the midfield, and Langman was on hand to score the rebound from Lammey’s shot, albeit against the run of play. It took some good goalkeeping from Micklethwaite to stop Langman doubling his tally moments later, and a chance followed for Lammey too as The Bankers threatened to run away with the game.
Mickleslate’s were briefly level, after Klaessen showed good composure to shoot past Hartley, but it was not to last. Trinder and Evans were not gelling, and after a succession of chances for the Bankers Lammey nutmegged Micklethwaite from a central position. Ziebart set up Langman to score his second shortly before halftime, which he finished from a narrow angle with aplomb.
The halftime personnel reshuffle saw Mickleslate’s play improve, with Sierra and Warren’s neat passing keeping the ball in the opposition half. The two sides cancelled each other out for much of the second half, with some poor finishing from Barclay keeping the score at 3-1 after good build up play from Warren and Sidi. At the other end, Thomas found space to test Hartley from the edge of the box, but he was equal to the shot.
Barclay soon found his shooting boots though, and extended The Bankers lead with a powerful shot. In response, Mickleslate’s made a final push forward, with Trinder, Thomas, and Klaessen all passing well in the opposition half. Trinder got the final touch to what would be the last goal of the game, scoring from close range. Hartley was called into action a few more times before the end to deny Gregg and then Trinder, but 4-2 to The Bankers was the final score.
Evans was again quick out of the blocks in the second game, forcing a great save from Hartley. Trinder was finding Micklethwaite well with some good passing out of defence, and the co-captain could have done better with a great diagonal pass in the second minute. A new addition for the second game was renowned centreback Ben Woolhead, who looked conspicuous up front but earned his place when his tackle on Bannerman spilled the ball to Micklethwaite, who then slid the ball under Hartley to give his team the lead.
The game continued at a high tempo, with Evans, Micklethwaite, Bannerman and Langman all making committed tackles early on. The second goal was again created by some good pressure from Mickleslate’s, with Evans first robbing Langman in his own half, and then striking a great shot past the keeper. There was even better to come from Evans soon after, as he ran across the opposition half to meet a Trinder long pass first time, and strike it into the opposite top corner. 3-0.
In the following minutes, the Bankers tightened up their defence, and neither team was able to fashion any clear cut scoring chances. Great attacking play from Slater (now outfield), Lammey, and Evans failed to alter the scoreline. Langman hit back for The Bankers just before halftime, ducking inside Woolhead to make space for a powerful shot from a tight angle. 3-1.
Mickleslate’s started the second half with some fine passing movements, Slater, Trinder, and Woolhead all involved. Woolhead soon scored after some clever play by Slater on the wing. At 4-1 it looked like game over, with the men in yellow creating all the chances.
Tiredness seemed to be taking its toll on both teams as The Bankers started to enjoy some good possession. Langman, Lammey and Sidi were getting into dangerous positions, but without troubling the keeper much. The sides exchanged a few shots, with Hartley again called into action by Slater.
The outcome was put beyond all doubt by Evans with 3 minutes remaining, when he robbed Barclay before finishing well. Some good passing football from The Bankers saw them add a second consolation goal at the death, with Barclay shooting past Micklethwaite in goal.
A worthy opening day to a spectacular competition. 2 great games between 2 great teams saw the points shared equally, which seemed a fair outcome. Now, let the factual corrections and squabbling over details commence…
Final Scores: Game 1 The Bankers 4 -2 Mickleslate's; Game 2 Mickleslate's 5 -2 The Bankers
Goals: Langman 3; Evans 3; Barclay 2; Woolhead 1; Trinder 1; Lammey 1; Micklethwaite 1; Klaessen 1
Mickleslate’s Moray Mince: Niall Slater; Adam Micklethwaite; Ben Woolhead; Dan Trinder; Gregg Warren; Hugh Evans; Alison Campbell; Kathryn Thomas (loanee); Sarahjayne Sierra; Virginia Klaessen
The Bankers: Always giving you more: Greig Barclay; Ian Bannerman; Lloyd Langman; Mo Sidi; Anne Ziebart; Ellie Gilroy; Rachael Lammey; Dan Hartley (loanee)
Thursday, 10 September 2009
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