Another tour, another fixture of great excitement. Charterhouse away is of the ilk that causes mouths to water upon first glimpse of the yellow book. The setting, the pitch, the occasion. The carpeted lawn lying adjacent to the historical school building, had soaked up much water yet was in nothing but perfect condition for a good game of togger.
The tourists lined up as follows: a back four of Bradshaw, Doherty, Duffy, Williamson. A midfield three consisting of Dan Wise playing the Dan Wise Role (he named it himself), along with Ben Handley and Ben Phillips. A front 3 of Shields, Holt and an ancient yet youthful brief in the guise of Mark Chester. Horse milker Kinsey was on the bench. (Yes, there is one name missing from the line-up, as he made a polite request to be left out of this particular match report. But I will say he’s a Mike Handley lookalike, with a little more hair and slightly slimmer.)
A start of great tempo and intensity, Charterhouse were shifting the ball around in true schoolboy fashion. Getting the ball into the feet of the home side’s midfield three, along with pushing the fullbacks high and wide in the hope of creating a chasm within the touring side – which proved rather difficult due to the disciplined and responsive yellow and blue. The Ramblers too moved the ball very well with Handley turning the cogs in the middle of the park. Few chances arose in the first half as both teams cancelled each other out, although Ramblers seemed to be causing more trouble – especially on corners with the Rolls Royce of Duffy and bald head of Jason Statham gaining high altitude up the pitch.
A mid-first half change saw Phillips’s legs rested to give the Charterhouse lads a chance, and his replacement … old wrinkle Bill; veteran of the game. He was, apparently, unplayable back in his prime – although there was no such thing as a camera back then, so we’ll have to take his word for it. Since said prime, he has developed arthritis in various areas, one being his wrist from pleasing his horse. Another area being his back from pleasing cousin Ben.
Kinsey now on, and deadlock still apparent. A break out of nowhere saw the right winger of the home side whip a ball in that shouldn’t trouble the likes of any capable keeper – of any standard. But somehow, the Mike Handley imposter caught the crossed ball and in one swooping motion, managed to carefully dispatch it to the feet of the Charterhouse centre forward who had nothing but an open goal. 1-0.
Soon after came the half-time whistle. An encouraging half-time team talk led by guest speaker Jason Statham with a helpful suggestion from ‘static caravan’ Holt (“Just pass it to me”), saw the away side start the second half in tremendous fashion. One change – Chester off, Phillips on. High pressing with urgency from the experienced Ramblers – exactly what was required to restrict any form of Charterhouse triangle being played. Plenty of running once again from the midfield trio, and some fantastic overlapping and pressure provided from the two fullbacks of Bradshaw and Williamson. No opposing winger was getting past the chunk of Williamson and neither were they going to beat the pace of leather gloved Bradshaw.
More and more chances arose for the Ramblers and it was only a matter of time before they made it level. Tension was increasing, Williamson was puffing, and Holt was shouting – at Jonjoe Shields. I believe the words “GIVE IT TO ME” was heard echoing around the capital later that night. A few questionable officiating decisions resulted in Cuco Williamson rudely calling the referee a disgrace, to which the referee responded “You’re the fattest left back I’ve ever seen”.
Another surging run from Bradshaw created yet another opportunity, with the ball finding the feet of Kinsey inside the box … who found the feet of the screaming Holt … who found the feet of a prancing Shields. One touch past the defender, shifting the ball onto his weaker foot, Shields found the back of the net! 1-1.
With momentum building at an increasing rate, Ramblers were looking for a winner. It looked destined to be when Phillips received the ball in an area of space down the middle. As he advanced further, it appeared there was only one man going to stop him. Phillips lining up to pull the trigger, Kinsey was having none of it. As static as a Louis Holt or a Jordan Mornington, Kinsey chose to step out the way at the last opportunity. By this time, Phillips’s head was so mangled by Kinsey’s mind-games that he decided to pass instead. Will Kinsey once again caught day dreaming about his horse’s length.
Another notable chance was Ben Handley’s fantastic run that created an opportunity for a shot on his left foot, but much to his father’s horror, he shifted his titanic body to accommodate a right footed attempt instead. Due to the time consumed in this shift of body weight, the Charterhouse defenders were gifted the time to throw everything in front of the shot – including hands. Stonewall penalty not given. Full time 1-1.
A fantastic match and a great show by both sides on what was a very special annual occasion. The evening’s performance was also of the same standard and something to be proud of. Well toured.
OH HANDLEY HANDLEY…..
- Unnamed Player = Bagpuss
|January 20, 2018||2:00 pm||1st XI Fixtures||2017-18|
|Racquets Ct Hill, Godalming GU7, UK|