The last time I wrote a match report, my wife’s cream Mini Cooper managed to break down on route to the game, so it was a distinct pleasure to be chauffeured to this match in the Ambassador’s private limo. In the month that past since then I had also become a father and so I was particularly looking forward to 90 minutes of rest on the pitch. I duly emerged from the cocoon of luxury feeling refreshed and rearing to go.
For a moment though, I thought I had arrived at Heaven on Earth. I was playing footy with my friends on a crisp sunny day on a perfect village green with a picturesque pub nearby and a smattering of eager onlookers to appreciate our efforts. Perhaps it was the sleep deprivation, or the intoxicating fresh air, but William Blake’s poem the ‘Auguries of Innocence’ sprung to mind:
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand,
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
To hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour…”.
You see a month might be just a drop in the vast ocean of time the Ramblers have been around but it was the longest period of time my daughter had ever known. That is until she sat through 90 minutes of watching Whitegate play football.
Defying the laws of physics and common sense, Whitegate were using a Benjamin Button formation; all the young ones were up front and the further down the line you went the further back in time you travelled.
Perhaps it was Chow’s appetite (if you excuse the pun) but he made their Defence look like they had more Chins than a Chinese phone book. I’m not saying they were fat but the speed with which they moved made you think that their belt size used to be the equator; every time they rotated 360 degrees around the ball it was their birthday.
Harrison harassed their back line like he was Harvey Weinstein and they kept coughing up the ball like it was their lunch money. Chow soon capitalised with easy two goals in quick succession. 2-0.
Cue the substitutions. I was the first to leave the pitch. I wish I could say it was due to selflessness on my part but having not played for a while, nor slept for weeks, in reality I feared I may soon follow my daughter’s example and start vomiting and soiling myself at any time… with no shame. Ahh to be young again!
Our back three ‘dad lads’ of Birrell, Soffe and Brown (well not that he knows of) were accustomed to handling newbies and were largely untroubled by the Whitegate babes in attack throughout the match. Well except for that one time where they left them alone with Damo for ten seconds while they made a cuppa… upon their return the expected happened. 2-1.
Damo cleaned himself up well (there’s nothing a bit of Napisan can’t get fix) and was solid for the whole match. However a tense 15 minutes followed while we tried to lull their attack back to sleep. Cometh the hour cometh the men. In what was perhaps the best moment of individual skill in the game Sudderick chested a long ball down, swivelled on the turn, ghosted their defender with a drag and a step over and was lining up to shoot (most likely) when he was viciously brought down just outside the corner of the box. It was a sublime, superb, spectacular piece of skill. I just wish my alliteration could have done it justice.
Cooke (not that one – his ugly brother who plays CM and lives in London) stepped up to take the tricky free kick. He waxed his chest, oiled his legs, topped up his tan, fixed his quaff and fired a long range rocket into the top bins. Sexy. 3-1.
We comfortably saw off the end of the game but both Fairhurst and I picked up our usual knee injuries before full time. A salutary reminder that Heaven on Earth is not a place you can find but somewhere you have to make your own every day.
MoM – number of serious contenders amongst the very welcome return of Birrell, Sudderick and Dowsett but Harrison steals it for me. The only outfielder who wasn’t subbed during the game and for good reason. He worked his socks off until the end and earnt it all day long.
Of course, Chow’s two goal tally is just the minimum expected these days and a sign of the highest standards in which his holiness is held. “For I am surrounded by angels but I call them my friends“. 😇
|February 23, 2019||2:30 pm||Northern Cup||2018-19|