Two of the league’s flair sides lined up today in the Stade du Parque Clube: renowned showboaters such as Fry, McNulty, Lockyer, Barclay, Lammey and Church were sprinkled through the teams like plump sultanas in a bowl of muesli, lending an air of expectation to the surprisingly sparse crowd in the Curva Balçón. Greig Barclay’s merciless Bankers were pinging their braces in anticipation of a title charge, while the cuddly KittEms were hoping to stave off regulation, as Chris Waddle might say, with a vital win.
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