A few spots of rain means we've been light on matches - just as well the intense training schedule is being adhered to and benefitting the team...in my absence the team had one match, rolling BNU 5-1 - I'm lucky to even get the text each week.
Our latest foray is off to Onepoto - Titahi Bay is a bit damp but there's no wind, the pitch would be described as heavy by book-makers. Those same chaps note our previous result against Tawa, a 1-9 pasting - and put us at $37 for the draw.
Tawa have two in the back of the net within 15 minutes...but despite the bookies revised price of $155 for the draw the Reds to a man tend to think we're in this - Tawa acros the park don't seem as daunting. Both flanks are being well used by the Golds (today's Reds) while Tawa are a little more direct to their Sky Tower forward line.
We're getting into the game - some good toil across the park - and we earn a few corners thanks to the forward endeavour of Lil', GT, Dave and Jason. In a throwback to the halcyon days of Tom Dodd corners up comes Ken to the edge of the box - he times his run beautifully, ducking his head and shutting his eyes at just the right moment to shin the ball home from 2 yards. Half time comes, we trail by 1-2 - nervous bookie?
The second half sees us murder them - Ed still has his barn door aversion - but makes up for it assisting Lil' to tie the scores up. We're pouring forward, unfortunately now minus Dave who takes one from a sniper early on - but Brian, Karl and Jason are dominating - and the Custard Curtain are battling hard against their illustrious, free scoring opponents.
Goals are exchanged - we lead 4-3 into the final 10, Lil' has a hat trick and Mark has Ed's Barnphobia it seems & then right on fulltime they get a penalty, can't argue with it & for the most part it's been a game played in very good spirit and 4-4 is a very common score ( 3 out of 4 Masters 2 games ended such).
That bookies gone to ground....bugger....I'm keen to see what odds can we get playing the other BNU next weekafter our earlier 1-5 loss.
3-2 vs Miramar
It's been a while, we're at Trafalgar - it's like coming home for some, our park bench (changing room) is still there. I recall I love the smell of napalm in the morning, in the afternoon there's a swampy pong coming from the middle of the pitch - mmmmmm, nope not the same effect.
A sight for sore eyes - Brian is getting kitted up, & Richie in his new role with the Diplomatic Corp brings along another mate with yet another accent....we have now had refugees from Australia, Canada & USA on the team card. I'm still waiting for one from somewhere that actually plays a decent game of football - got any Spanish or Argentine mates Richie? - we'd even settle for a Swedish masseuse.
Our opponents are the good lads from Miramar - who are sprinting for the nearest exit to Div 3, I think there's merit in their plan especially after some of our recent results. Karl & Lil' are here again, great to see and the selector (Ken) makes it just in time to see our first goal - it's a cracker from Brian that I'm sure I had some part in after about 10 minutes or so.
Brian and myself immediately sub ourselves off, we can do some quiet reflection on our stunning start - and catch a few weak rays, and make use of a good bench of Reds for a change. Get on there Max! - don't worry about the eyeliner, it's only a light passing shower and I thought you used one of those waterproof brands.
I actually don't recall the order of scoring - but before the half we have bagged three, Richie with a blistering left footer from an angle - Mark with his usual deadly finishing completing a bright first half for the team in red. On the left Trevor has an ally in the very handy Jason, while at the back Jake is a tower of strength with Simon by his side. Lil' looks as slick as ever & Karl keeps winning tackles. Matt from 'Merica has a handy cameo in spanking new boots.
The second half is more Reds dominance, the 3-2 advantage should have been extended several times over with Ed missing from 2 inches, 2 yards, 22 yards & the barn door stays closed. He's not alone tho' - - there's other shots and nods and crosses that won't go in, Lil' and others guilty of not nailing the door shut on the win - just as well Miramar are well sorted at the other end by Gianni and the new look Wall of Death with Terry in fine form as the Gatekeeper.
So the Reds consolidate mid table - and we pack up after a fruitful day at a place we used to call home, & where despite the slight pong it's fair to say the wind can be less a factor on the game. Though the council seem to have forgotten to actually mark the pitch - pay my rates...naff' that.
Next up - a trip to the cricket block at Benburn, any chance you might make it on time Ken?
Time for an update - we get a win!
Ok it's Easter and the Vindaloos pull out of our match - we sneak the 3pts and 2-0 win - CF misprint the results and erroneously record us as a 7-1 win over Tawa, (later rectified both on the pitch & the website).
Next up - well we play Tawa, we scramble the numbers - we get to 11 at kick off and that is the highlight of the day. Up at TMP the lawn needs mowing & the sun is too bloody hot. We actually equalise their opening goal...but after that it's not pretty. To be fair their 3-1 lead at half time consists of the worlds worst penalty decision, last time I checked FIFA said you had to be in the box to concede a penalty (not 5 yards outside) and you actually had to handle the ball...their second is a youtube blooper for poor Terry as their RB chips him from 87 yards and their third is a sneaky piece of a toe poke. No complaints though - they're sharper than us across the park and proceed to bang in another half a dozen - Jake (great 2nd half ref) calls time a few minutes early.
On a Monday night we tackle BNU Black - they're slick, so is the damn pitch and we're down by 3 at the half. Second half though sees Bones steel the midfield and across the park we sharpen our play. Garth foolishly volunteers to man mark the ginga' - brave call and to be fair a job well done as he stops running amok - we're good for a few chances, Gianni gets pinged for playing the man in the ruck and both Con & Jake work tirelessly in the heart of defence - Terry saves a few. Peter gets a beaut' from a direct free kick and we go close on a few other occassions - but BNU are good for another 2 to run out 5-1. Very good ref' spots a chance to call it early - and I can't argue with that.
Third game of the winter...and winter's arrived good and proper. Nothing compares to playing in sleeting rain in Happy Valley - destroying the pitch for the coming months.
We tackle BNU's Reds - seem a decent bunch of blokes even if they have pinched our moniker. We start with 8 - Club Captain Joe has his navman play up on him and is on his own at a park in SSE Rongotai....says he won't be long. Joe duly arrives and Bob is taken out by sniper fire from the hills - he's down in a heap and it's game over for the left hand end of the WOD.
BNU help themselves to 2 or 3 goals - swamping us & not letting us have a turn with their bright and shiny new ball. Con & Murray arrive - fresh from their endeavours with the 3rds - can't have done much in that game'cos they're full of pace and verve at ours. Well Murray is...he scores a cracker, none of us assisted him at all - just as well, we would only have got in the way.
Second half almost gets interesting, they get one but we get the next...well, Murray did, though this time it's at the end of a brillant team move involving 42 passes and every player (dreams are free).
I suggested they let us score again to make it exciting for the paying fan on the sideline - they didn't see the funny side of that and instead with time up award themselves a penalty, final score 2-5.
Great toiling games from Jake in defence, with Trev and Simon as a 3 man WOD - Dave, me, Joe and Max ran around like headless chooks for a very very long 90 minutes while Murray was superb and Con was looking dashing as always, Terry was excellent in goal and grateful that on such a chilling day he was so busy the hypothermia could never take hold. Bob - harden up!
Here we all are...yet again we prepare to put the body on the line for a season of football. Over the summer it seems some have lost their boots - or is that their cajones, Norm' now doing what the missus says and moving on from the WOD (Wall of Death) - Dick, moving to Auckalofa' for some lame reason.
9am on match day and we have 9 players - but come kick off there's 16 handsome devils in red keen for a game, Don from Saskatchewan along to help out - and a visiting Aussie' pornstar (love that 'tache!) make up the team. We are out at Miramar to tackle a bunch of good guys we haven't seen in a couple of years - they took a couple more years than we did to realise Masters 1 is best left to the 35+ somethings - not the 45+ somethings.
The match is a pleasant afternoon out - Joe looks fit - so does Brian, the rest of us look in need of a lie down. We score first, they score next and that's it, 1-1 a good way to start the season.
The following week we welcomed back Ralph - managing the Canton creche means home games only please - still no sign of manager Ken, probably prison visits to see Tracey I suspect - but Bob is back, warts and injuries and all. Richie makes it two games in a row - but Ed goes sunbathing at Kelburn Park instead.
The chaps from the Fossils are vanquished 3-1, wasn't there so I can't tell you too much about it except that Joe scored a ripper after 27 seconds - but unfortunately didn't see it as he had turned away to embrace the adulation of his screaming fan.
So two weeks into the season we're not bottom of the table - and can't even see that far down the ladder!
Last game of the winter....
Our numbers are tight...well actually they've been tight all year...so what's new.
Willie tells Ed, since you've a sore back how abouts the Wall of Death? Here, look at this map, this is where it plays. Ed lines up with newbie Jez', some guy from the south of France trying to sell him a rusty old Renault called LeDelle and Bob who with over 125 caps for the WOD is scarily the most experienced fullback on the park. Where are all those tall blokes that usually hang around down this end of the park.
The Fossils score early, Ed takes the blame, he'd lost his marker but apparently as centre back that's not the done thing as Norm' would say....if he was ever here. Sorry Terry, we will try better. We all change names at the back to avoid further confusion.
In the middle of the park Brian and Dick are great to watch as they get on top of things, out right is Dave who we're glad to see once again and out left is Morris/GT/Skoda/Trabant....up front it's Dickie and Mark and we start to play some football against a good bunch of blokes. We equalise before the half and for the life of me I can't remeber who scored. Wasn't me, my season tally is zip,nada,zero, I've scored as often as Pakistan have allowed a cricket match to be decided by the best 11 on the park.
Half time and there's Ralph's 3 minute condensed version on playing CB for Ed to take on board from the WGDC (World's greatest defensive coach). It must've been good 'cos within a minute or so Ed's at fault for the Fossils retaking the lead. Hello Jake? Hello Ken? Hello Norm?
Hello Con? ....scrub that last one we're not that desperate.
We're playing all the football, Barty is a welcome addition to the team - hello Wayne, can you stay a while we'd love to have more than 11 each week next year? Trev' slots in at LB and is his solid self except for that time when the kick got stuck in the small lake and he was left stranded 10 yards from it. Even Joe is off the bench, a sight for sore eyes with his keen running and support.
Anyways it doesn't happen overnight but it does happen, we get an equaliser courtesy of Trabant who scores with a cracking left footer and the Fossils are shaking in their boots...though that could just be the palsey playing up. At the back there's some wonderful team work now, the new WOD has things sussed and LeDelle and Ed charge forward to lend a hand to our attacking play. We sneak a winner not far from the end, story of our season really - a bloody good finish after a shonky start.
We spy the new kit man on an adjacent sideline - sans the team kit bag - fat lot of good it'll do in your garage Richie. He's proven to be as good in that bag role as the last bloke called Ken I think he said his name was, Deidre has him cleaning the scrabble pieces and he wasn't able to play this week.
Ralph's over there too with some complaint, unable to play from pulling a hammy doing the vacuuming, though there's no photographic evidence to suggest he even knows what one is let alone knows how to use it.
Anyway's Reds it's of course been a pleasure, thank Moses for the new faces this winter whom without we wouldn't have got through the season and I just like to think of it as the Reds clan growing, which is a good thing.
Apparently we're off to
Rarotonga Rongotai in a couple of weeks for a merry weekend of games so that we can use all the local Physio's ACC stationery up on the Monday with claims for a rub and massage of sore bits. Let's hope for a happy ending then shall we.
"Totally forgettable afternoon...the most forgettable since ....ummmm I have no idea when..."
It's an away match at Hutt Park #3 - that's good, as we host the Dreamer's who come with a full squad, boots, toys and dummies packed in their gear.
It's a familiar story with the Dreamer's, a few too many fancy footballers and we're made to work hard all afternoon, chasing our tails but again well marshalled by Brian, Jake & Ralph and keep our shape. They take the lead after 30 minutes as we scratch around for opportunities.
I've decided I really can't be buggered writing a great tome on the avo' events, there's some good blokes in the Dreamer's but they have their fair share of toy tossers and dummy spitters as well as enough tools to fill a garden shed - they score a couple more and beat us by 3. Hard to imagine why you'd throw a tantrum when you're spanking a team.....ah well, we all toiled hard and the roast beef rolls washed down by a brown ale were the highlight of my afternoon.
"Reds greatest victory since the last time we took to the field....."
Local rivals the Longballs are our final opponent of the regular season - we're at Fraser which is in ok nick and this week we bought a netball to warm up with (thanks Brian) but Bob is still shirtless 'cos Ken left the gearbag in the garage. Bob's bib is a fetching fading pink which shows off his midriff and piercings.
Brian of course marshalls the midfield, while Mark is the first player in Reds history to change a managers mind after the line up has been announced. Our best manager of 2010 Willie accepts the change and maintains his mantle as the best manager of 2010. Con partners up with Jake at the back and we subdue the Loungeballs for the first 30 minutes, even if they do have most of the play. Their yellow beachball only a marginally better choice than Brian's netball to play with.
The Lungeballs finally score, we could blame a defensive slip & lack of marking but then it's not often the opponents left back opens the scoring, how was Uri to know the guy would venture past halfway....what fullback does that sort of thing!
We are of course made of stern stuff and Ed watches from his midfield deckchair as we switch play across the back - nice play Trev', play a couple of Barca' like triangles down the right before teeing up the shot for the advancing Brian to smash home an equaliser. Ed accepts the Emmy for choreography and admits no part in the build-up.
The second half is more of the same, the Looseballs have more of the play and we catch our breath every time one of their shots hits Taita Drive and bounces 100 yards down the road. We lose Terry to injury and Willie dusts off the gloves for the last 25 between the sticks. Ed partners Ken up front and Max looks quite handsome out wide toiling after Mark heads off. Ken steps over a ball like Rivelinho, helping to set up Brian for a superb goal that makes the Lostballs wonder what the heck they have to do to win the game.
To everyone's amazement the crowd on the sideline grows by one - if we count the local bloke with multiple personalities I think we are playing in front of a record 5,001 - when Dick appears in his kit.
Finished his chores he thought he'd pop down for a look, just enough time to squander a sitter, clear the bar with a header and finally in a brillant cameo tuck away a gimme set up by Ed to inflate the score to 3-1 just before the final whistle.
We climb above the Littleballs on the table and depart home to celebrate a fabulous second half of the season and importantly share Richie's spoils when he wins the jackpot draw!
"Reds greatest victory since ....... their last greatest victory"
Cellar dewellers the Reds hosted the might of BNU at TeWhiti on a wet afternoon, the pitch is heavy going under foot. Our new secret tactic is to not bring enough gear for all players and ball - what ball? - we warm up with a light chinwag on the sideline andwatching the intriguing folk over on the rugby league fields......(we get changed on the sideline, we pee in bushes).
Right from the word go we're good value, BNU have some lovely footballers in their midst but the Reds are playing out of their skins. Dick is back for yet another game in his squeaky clean boots and Wod is in the back four partnering Jake. Trevor, Uri and Bob round out the defenssive efforts and Max does his thing out wide supporting Ed and Mark up front. We're nippier up front and Mark takes a brill goal on the run to open our account. BNU pass the ball around quite nicely but cajoled along by Brian we hold them out and help them squander a few chances, Terry is on his game in goal.....G we're good!
Half time and the rolling subs are keeping legs fresh, Ken and Richie in the fray and thanks to Brian we're 2 up for a while. The game opens up and the pitch just gets more churned up....and BNU sneak one back which almost stops the bitching amongst the girlfriends on the pitch. Ed relishes his return up front and proceeds to pepper the surrounding hills and stream with "shots", his team mates appreciate the rest they get every time the BNU goalie has to fetch the ball from the next postal code.
Dick caps off a fine game with our 3rd and Gianni's watch ssssllllloooowly ticks away the last 15 minutes...there's time for BNU to get one back but after that there's no time left and we have upset the pacesetters from the top of the table. They're a good bunch though and return to the greatest clubrooms in town to warm chilled bones and sink a few cold ones.
The problem with not writing each week is that as a senior person the grey matter fades and so it is with the editor.
I do remeber we extended our unbeaten run to yet another week after a terrific team effort against the Fossils. There was abuse for Norm' - as he cleared a curling corner off the line - it was unfortunately while we were on attack and a mishit from Ed was goalbound till the great scone intervened.
At the other end though there was great work from Terry and the Wall of Death. While some Wallers (should that be Wallys?) are busy teaching the world to sing such Maori classics as "pokerekereana" and "ten guitars" the hardy few wth smaller wallets were dying for the cause.
Bob even used his right foot at one stage.
Our terrific rearguard action meant we held the Fossils to 1-2 for 94 minutes desite their 112.5% of possession. The TV heat map showed we'd covered some 56.2 km on average each as we scrambled, and it would have been more but Morris (artist formerly known as GT) graced us with his presence yet again.
Highlight of the 1st half had been Ken (give me one coaching tip a week please) scoring from 6 inches out - Ken grateful we'd spoken s-l-o-w-l-y so he could understand. Late late late in the second half, just like Winston Reid, Morris broke Fossil hearts with a superb finish and we were happy with another point, 2-2.
The nex week we took on the Dreamers, sans a few of their crew who were in Sood Afrikka learning "ten guitars" as well. The outcome though was 0-3, but we made them earn their goals and the three points on a day when I feared someone would do an Oats and declare they were just going out into the blizzard for a smoke.
Actually come to think of it where did Trevor go, has anyone checked the crevasses.
Terry almost drowned twice, the deep end was a 'mare to defend but surely the talking point was the raising of the dead - Wod and Dick on for cameo's, though they were cwap and didn't impact at all.
Things were so desperate that Ralph had Ed for company at the back - while new boy in short pants Luke picked a beautiful afternoon to debut his football career.
Ken had his customary lesson, just one tip thanks - while Richie tried to play the game in his smoking jacket. Bob, Uri and Max put their bodies on the line down the flanks while Brian was so good in the middle the Dreamers though he was really one of theirs. The ed' is off for two weeks and will of course rush to see how the team fares in his absence.
The mighty reds extended their unbeaten run to 3 weekends (if we include the cancellation) and incredibly it’s now 180 minutes without a goal getting past Terry and the Wall of Death (who’s numbers have swelled to incorporate the midfield and the occasional striker).
Last weekend while the Premier pussies stayed nice and dry indoors with a blanket and some of mum’s home made soup the men of the Reds headed out in the pouring rain and blustery southerly to tackle the world famous in Karori, Wharfies Turtles.
In the battle of the wooden spoon the navy of the Turtles had no answer to the armada of the Reds fleet. Brian lead a strong midfield performance and with his water wings on Mark formed a lethal partnership up front with welcome guest, Laingie. Ian gave us a lead we never looked like surrendering and we rounded out the game 4 goals to the good and for the first time found ourselves one place off the bottom of the league.
Importantly no one drowned.
Next up was a trip to the lower slopes of Everest to tackle the Vindaloo’s of Nth Wgtn – for the first time in living memory there wasn’t a howling gale and incredibly there was 11 Reds on the pitch come kick off.
The Vindaloo’s usually stick 5 or 6 past us – but not today, the Wall of Death is minus some pansies with sniffles and paper cuts but Con, Jake, Uri and Trevor line up shoulder to shoulder & will all play unshaven with cuts and brusies left unattended, the scars of 90 minutes battling on proud display. In front of them we have Roger (not the Wabbit but a solid left half), Ken, Andy & Ed harassing the flash dribblers and ball players in claret.
Willie succumbs to sniper fire and despite his pre War long shorts (Boer War that is) protection takes a hit to the hammy.
Richie in a throwback to a decade past, and for the first time since last century plays 90 minutes – and a dab, skilled 90 minutes it is with some deft touches and lay offs on either wing.
Joe is back from the infirmary, and is our david versus the goliath’s at the back of the Vindaloo team. We threaten the odd break away but in reality we defend staunchly as Jake recruits numbers for the illustrious Wall.
GT’s appearance after half time was a tonic for tired limbs and it’s a grand feeling when after 90 minutes we have secured a 0-0 draw.
The first time in a long time the Reds have come down off the alps with any sort of result.
There's a Billy Connelly joke about Partick Thistle FC, when he was a lad Billy thought they were called "Partick Thistle Nil"....'cos when the results were read out on the radio every Sat' avo' ..... welcome to Stop Out Reds Nil.
A tough start to the season....results not important to repeat, but perhaps some colour on our progress this season integrating a few new faces amongst some wrinkly old ones.
Delboy... you do a Gordon Brown, fall on your sword and become the first ever Reds selector to last about as long as a Chilled Heineken on a hot summers day! ... and now you've turned into the Financial Controller of Hanover FInance! Being the wealthiest team in the club we normally do pay our subs on time!Still we've got to be good at something cos we sure as hell can't play football at the moment!
There were some standouts last week. Bob got injured in the warm up and miraculously battled through the first 20 minutes of the game even though he played to the exact standard he normally does when fit. Think about it!!
And Ken didnt get injured for once- lost 5 kilos gained 5 yards of pace and is pushing for a wing berth this week and a full 90!. Nah I think that's pushing it
Brian fell off his bike - the trainer wheels hit a pothole and he scratched his metatarsul, his sternum and his humerus. And no it wasnt that funny when he went up front!
Mark "the german" Hunwick had a headache and couldn't play yet he's in the club rooms for the aftermatch! I ask you - and he wants to be a Proud Red... Where's the passion we once strived for to slide on those form fitting Red strip and die for your brothers! They don't make XXLs like they used to.
Max had to play on the left side in the first half so he could talk to all his Canary Yellow Deliverance mates whilst the game was in progress. I think he was offering suggestions on how they could re-style their mullets! Gary by the way - we're in Red and if Ralph plays it to you the rules of the game state that you can pass it back to him without it having to be touched by another player!
And then at half time Trev's giving us 50 reasons why he shouldnt come on! Man -Have you been watching how we're playing? Trev grudgingly gets a group hug from the lads, we tell him hes a wonderful human being and he trudges off into the right back possession for a 2nd half full of enjoyment. Dellboy sneakily plans to accost him in the clubrooms after the match to ask him for his subs!!
And The Dutchman Richie is off to Rotovegas for Mothers Day complaining that the housing market is flat... the new Ferrari that he bought off Serepisios isn't red and how he really loves playing for us - even though he NEVER plays!
And Norm is starting to get angry after all these losses... And when Norm gets angry look out. PS No short goal kicks to Kev. It's possum in the headlight stuff!
Now GT played well. That's one out of 13!!! (even though in his 2nd year he stills doesn't have a nickname-) Under Reds regulations that is illegal and Mr Tennent may find himself banned from the team with a disciplinary hearing in place! Or did someone nickname him Morrie?
And Ralph spends more time watching the 3rds scoring goals than supporting his own front runners who aren't scoring any goals - in fact not even close really! But we all learnt as young lads to back your teammates in good times and bad and Ralph is a fine of example of that as he continues to shout wonderful words of encouragemnt all day at his fellow Reds!
Ed played up front as well didn't he? Well he wasn't at my end. Your job is to score the goals - or at least take shots at that white rectangular thing at the end of the pitch! Ed, I think you must be missing not having Sumo up top with you.
And Sumo now you're not running PDP for the littlies this year there's no good reason - apart from divorce lawyers are expensive - not to have a game or seven for the mighty Reds.
Willie those 3/4 pants are magnificient and I think we should all be attired in those beauties!
And Uri how do you head the ball when youre wearing bi-focals? Pure artistry.
And Jake I've heard Gianni's a very good referee so maybe he'd like to share a half with you.
That's if he turns up to support his fellow Reds and not play favourites with his brothers homo team in orange. Gianni's hoping they'll offer him a playing contract when he returns from his varicose vein enforced lay off.
Jake, I've bought an extra pair of shinpads so I'll wear some on the front of my shins and some on the back for my calfs- as well as ankled guards, a suit of armour and cricketers helmet. I'll be fine mate. I heard an assessor is coming from Capital Football to watch the new freedom style of advantage referreing as they think they can fast-track you to the World Cup and create a world first the whistle-less referee!
Lurch it might be time to take your rightful place back as unofficial Official Reds referee.
And perhaps Dick, Wod and Sumo could come down to watch the game and share a beer with us.
Tell your loved ones you're going to Bunnings to look at paint charts and then sneak down to Hutt Park. If you want a laugh it's great entertainment. And then you can share stories of when you played footy - many years ago - back in the day!
And Con. I'd stay in the 3rd team until you've improved enough to force your way back into the squad. You can see from the inspired performances of last week that its a very tough team to break into for this weekend.
And that was the week that was...3 points this week eh?
Reds 1 Wgtn Utd....more than that
It was billed as "Game of the Century" - it was gonna' be the perfect finish to the year.....it was gonna' empty Gianni's wallet....it was going to be a triumphant swansong for his selectorial career .....gonna' gonna' gone.....and the selector & manager gets the chop after, no contract renewal - no testimonial match - no weeping supporters invading the pitch.....gonna' gonna' gone.
The blokes in orange played some of that total foooootball stuff - and I know they had a few dutchmen in their lineup by coincidence too.......we did too but our van Cruyff is a lovely bloke who's footballing heyday isn't a date in August '09 The blokes in orange didn't seem to feel the heat of a scorching Hutt Valley afternoon - they didn't seem to suffer any jarring aches and pains from the firm ground. They scooted around the ground, ball at feet on a piece of string and Ralph's gimps found it all a bit breathless to keep up with.....and they'd scored four by the half...and we'd had Ed scare a few nesting ducks in the adjoining nature reserve.
Now the good guys in Red managed to draw the second half 1-1, no mean achievement at all - though it didn't budge or make an impression on McGianni's wallet one iota. Our goal was a brill' piece of Drogba inspired finishing from DelBoy - and there was a few other chances to break windows in the clubrooms that fell our way.
Ah well, we toiled....we tried but when the weather's getting this warm again I think it's telling us it's time to draw the curtain on another season, it's too warm for Masters footballers ... it's too warm to wear black gimp masks....and let's face it despite all that free coaching our playing level has peaked and our pace is waning.
There's small matters about the White Cane and next year's selector to be sorted over the coming weeks - as well as the annual "who's turn is it this year" sharing of playing trophies....and Ralph will be holding coaching sessions on the first Wednesday of each month, with written and practical tests before next season kicks off !
To my fellow Reds...it has been a pleasure as always - love you like a brother' and Merry Christmas to you.
NW Vindaloos 2 v Reds 3
Now that tour buses are banned from the footpaths - parking at the Nepal Football Club is at a premium and players park at Base Camp 1 and negotiate the 600m climb as part of their warm up. All this just to get to play on a hard as teak Alex Moore pitch but at least there’s no wind blowing this time.
We get to a starting 11 – the selector agrees with our cobbled together formation – and delivers a stirring prematch speech that mentions Buck’s testicles, Meads broken arm and mmmm Uri has a little niggle in his hammy. No Ralph today – so the gimps at the back are free to express themselves, free of the shackles of the usual subservient behaviour that emasculates their usual Saturday activity. Not surprisingly we play like dog’s tucker – help Ralph help – I’m lost and dizzy squeaks Bob.
A few of the boys mistakenly think watching A_League football will teach them how to play – DUH - wrong - Phoenix style defending should be on the Comedy Channel not Sky Sport 1 – and so we cough up a soft opening goal to one of their guys who’s been generously given a quarter of the pitch to himself to play in.
Richie and Ed are to blame for the next goal – they should have closed down their leftback/cum striker who lets rip with a shot from 80 yards, that soars goal bound over everybody and bounces over young Willie’s head into the goal to give the Vindaloos a two goal cushion that thanks to our pong ping football and wayward shooting is intact at half time.
We decide after another stirring speech that mentions Monty & Rommel, Hannibal in the Alps and Scott in the Antarctic to try some of that passing stuff again – maybe even on the deck and to our own players. The good news is Gianni’s chat worked, we’re having 2 or 3 attacks to each of the Vindaloo’s now and even a couple of corners come our way. A well orchestrated attack sees Richie set up a simple nod home for Dick that even he couldn’t miss – and we are playing all the football now. There’s a comedy act in their goal box as the keeper and defender show less understanding of the rules than even Bob and we have an indirect free kick. Dick taps it back to Ed who unleashes from 6 yards an exorcet that dam near bursts the net, the testicles and spleens of two NW defenders splattered along the way (just be glad it was so close there wasn’t the distance for Ed to sky it over the bar).
After that it’s a rip snorter of open football from end to end as the Vindaloos respond and the Reds go looking for a winner. The Mexican wave of two supporters in their deckchairs makes quite a colourful spectacle on the sidelines. The defence is under the stewardship of Con who shows Ralph like qualities in his bark and his bite, with Willie in good nick behind him. Bones is a terrier feeding off and supporting Dick in his toil and we grab what will be the winner when Del “I usually can’t hit a barn door from 5” Boy delivers an immaculate cross onto Dick’s scone. There’s a few more chances at either end – including a Del Boy sequel that Joe can’t quite steer home – a few blood curdling calls to arms from Ken and even Ed sighted back in defence to secure a fabulous result……that takes us past Gianni’s bro’s team on the table just in time for the Game of the Century to see out the season.
There’s a rumour one of our players was out Sunday watching a team pass the ball around amongst themselves, make overlapping runs and create scoring opportunities with support play across the pitch. Maybe Del’ can lead the next team talk and share what he learnt from an afternoon with the Women’s team – and we all know who coaches them…don’t we. Gimps – polish those zippers – we want you looking your best next week.
Reds 0 v Nth Wellington 0
Down from the high veldt come the men from NW Whiskeys…to tackle the Reds who with an eastern European pornstar out on the wide left with Bob had been mercilessly put to the sword by 5 or 6 in round one up at the Tibet Polo grounds.
The round two version of the Reds is made of sterner stuff of course, Richie is a sight for sore eyes on the lines and Gianni suggests we try some of that passing stuff again – assuming we’ll even get a turn with the ball of course.
Wod’s back in Red which is heart warming and GT pulls a white cane nomination – allowed out of the house on the proviso he didn’t take his boots and play – when the wife gives your pants back let’s hope your Man Card is in the pocket.
Max does a Con and takes umbrage at last weeks mention of his super duper sized toilet bag – who cares if you also got the team gear and balls in there – I’m sure I could smell Brut when you opened it.
We rip into the game – and discover that we’re not likely to get a pasting, they have Wimbledon’s route one football strategist at centre back and he’s belting everything that comes his way into the next orbit. The first 45 minutes sees Jase save a few at one end – sans the fan club this week - and their keeper chases a few of Ed’s mishits into the Golf Course – so there’s no goals to separate the teams at the half.
Ralph has the defence gimps in his control – there’s no doubting where they should be or what they should be doing – at half time we must remember to open their zips and pour some water down their throats.
Stirring, loin gurdling, testicle engorging speech from selector at half time… “anyone wanna break?” – “pip pip toot toot, keep it up chaps” and with every follicle standing to attention we head back to battle the second 45.
Which is a repeat of the first half except we now have to chase Ed’s mishits into the Waiwhetu Bayou – Delboy has run himself into the ground, Wod, Joe and Bones melt from their non stop toil on a warm afternoon. The gimps at the back bow and scrape to Ralph’s instructions and with a little help from Jase’ we keep a successive clean sheet – shame Ed has allowed their keeper the same luxury and in an amazing turn around of form we have held the glamour boys from higher up the table to a 0-0 draw – or should that be they got a point out of a good scrape in the Valley. Wod you would’ve got player of the day if I’d done the team talk. Gimps – you can take the masks off now.
Reds 1 Eastbourne 0
The perfect masters pitch, Bishop Park – short of length and width, the opposite of the average masters player who has length in the tooth and plenty of width .... A perfect match then.
Usual panic at the start – Eastbourne players arrive from their morning brunch and latte’s with the Heritage Self Importance Committee – and we get there just before kick off having had to negotiate the immigration controls & strip- search at Point Howard.
Today’s highlights are of the white cane variety ‘cos really who gives much of a rat’s about the detail of a masters game of football.
(1) Ed blindly begs for assistance, offering his second child and the
family pet in exchange for some shinpads – only to discover 5 minutes later they are already taped to his leg.
(2) Max brings the biggest gear bag seen since Mr Asia trafficked through
Auckland Airport – and yet in all the paraphernalia he has no tape……who packed that bag? Jan?
(3) Jase in goal – with the defence looking for him to come fetch a fly
ball…”no sweat bro’ got it under control” as he tore himself away from the clutches of his groupies/fan club gathered by the goal.
(4) At halftime Gianni with a tactical nous superpassed only by Henry et
al, – “cut out that fancy passing stuff” Anymore of that and we’ll call you Sven the Selector.
(5) At the clubrooms afterwards as Gianni does the team speech he’s
blindsided by the “pick me pick me pick me” squeal and waving hand of Ralph when he hesitates picking player of the day.
Of course parts of this report are bordering on absolute rubbish, slander or defamation & if I didn’t mention you then that means you got through the weekend without making an obvious pratt of yourself.
And if you must know we thrashed them 1-0, Dick scored the goal with his head off an Ed corner – now there’s something different – not!
Tough couple of weeks for the Reds – table topping Wests one week, cellar dwellers Island Bay the next as they prep for Gianni’s most recent edition of Game of the Century…..(which won’t probably happen ‘cos we’ll get cancelled ‘cos it’s our turn).A record crowd of 12 watch on with ant-ic-i-pa----------------tion as the Reds take on Wests, (small fact that’s larger than the number of Reds who would play the following week). The hosen one (I might’ve left a C off that spelling) – or maybe it’s a thing he has for leather shorts – has to scramble a starting 11 minus Dick & Ed & GT on away day duty. Ken takes time out from boosting the performance of the NZ housing market to take a spot in the line up – and thanks Ken, yep we’re all free for that house warming you’ve kindly invited us all to. Of course we don’t mind you putting on all the booze and food – bloody decent of you old chap – here, pick your own starting position why don’t you.
The Reds also welcome back Bob – there’s a few manly hugs, a dry rub and a lick of the ear and Bob’s back to his usuals at the left back – and that’s about as much love as he’s gonna get for this winter. Max lathers himself in the latest body lotion from Jan’s side of the bathroom cabinet – he’s looking for maximal grease lightening speed as he plays himself up front in the absence of the supersonic but absent GT, Sally & Ed…..it almost works as the dolphin blubber based lotion has the Wests defenders set to puke.
Max’s play is commented on as penetrating – that explains the pained look on Mick Waite’s face during the game.
There’s goals in the match – all for Wests, there’s a delightful volley from Con that soars over the Motor Camp on it’s eastern flight path to the Chathams – and a man of the match performance by Uri, forced to stay on the pitch for the whole game ‘cos the dunnies are too far to get to. You can undo the knot for him Richie after you stop rubbing your own – man that’s gotta hurt……and on comes Murph (put the beer down first) for his Reds debut, Ralph’s gone as well – and the Reds retire to the clubrooms accompanied by their cheering fans, 3 wives – Cap8 players and the Lederhosen One on crutches.
The following week we’re playing at the Island Bay mudpools – and there’s the bare 11 (eventually) on the park. We play up the hill in the first half and welcome back Peter “If you’re playing in town I’m free” Jonsey for his first ’09 appearance – he’s good for a few 10 minute spells he says – glad to hear it mate, try 9 of them spells back to back would ya’ please.
Max “This mud is great for the complexion” and Ed “Not up my short’s it ain’t” don the gumboots and slip into the centre of midfield – Joe “I’m over here in the trench” and Willie “Dunkirk was a cakewalk compared to this” take up posies as the spritely flank half’s as the first half entertains the gathered crowd of 4….Norm “Lie down, we should talk about this” gathers his wall of death around him, and they look up to him like expectant kiddies at a sweet shop, Uri “Glad there’s bushes on the eastern side”, Delboy “Can we bottle this and sell it to the natives” and Bob “The planet Neptune has a dark side that consists of some of the very same raw elements” at his beck and call. Upfront its Stop Out legend Richie “One Ball Swinging all Alone” – and Jase “I’m 35 and a half” is in goal. The lederhosen one suns an ankle on the sideline.
We turn around at half time 0-0, quite pleased with ourselves – any team relying on Ed to run the centre of midfield has got to be happy to not be down by 5. Island Bay must’ve started before we were really ready as it’s
0-1 within 20 seconds of the restart – but it’s Jonesy to the rescue as he cues a rip snorter into the goal from outwide that the goalkeeper loses in the combined glare of Willie’s dome, Ed’s baldspot and Richie’s forehead.
We even take the lead – some smart play that Bob thinks started in the back left corner – just agree with him says Dr Norm….and it’s Willie who slides home from in front after being teed up by Jonesy & Joe & …….Bob if you say so. Unfortunately, Island Bay equalise – but not before Jase’ has saved our bacon a few times – and Richie has back heeled a few passes – and Delboy has thrown his body into the battle a few times – and Uri has sneaked off for a moment – and ….enough, it’s time for a cold beer, the company of Red brothers in arms and the warmth of the IB club house.
Our second match of the century in one season awaits – two centuries in one season? No wonder I feel old and beaten up.
Reds 2, Team in Sickly canary yellow 1
The mist hung low in the valley, trapped between the bosom of her verdant hills - and as the two teams converge on Hutt Park they pass mothers standing in doorways clutching their bairn to their aprons lest they get caught in the intensity of the human tide passing by. The setting is lush and an eerie silence settles in anticipation of the battle, broken only by the furtive cry of "ooii, anyone got some tape?" The Reds and the Longballs face off across the pitch, there's no need for choreographed haka's and preening war dances, the act of pulling on the red jersey (made of 43% cotton blend polymer, 6% Kevlar & 51% blood, sweat and tears) is all that is required to focus the team. Some say it feels like earthquake weather, the shaman agrees, the ground trembles beneath the running of 44 boots - and then Moby saunters up to the sideline and Mother Nature knows she's in for a heavy pounding this fine day.
The opening exchanges unfurl at a furious pace, the landscaped pond at the southern end of the ground proves a problem for most - those players with gills feel quite at home. Ken, welcome back - do you know everyone? - is at right back and his bloodcurdling calls to the battle are met with several calls of - "he looks familiar, what did you say his name was?" - Harsh commentary but he and Joe are in the heat of the battle right from the word go. Joe is fizzing to be fit and firing in the Reds shirt once more. Out on the pitch the Longballs take the lead, their lemon yellow shirts are caked in the blood and grime of the fight - our red is such a more sensible colour, hiding the stains of battle and a lot less trouble for the missus to wash midweek. They've got a couple of lads can play - and they've got a couple of lads who are still playing last week's games their tackles are so late. GT cops a stomp on the foot that curtails his participation - the Longballs desperate to contain his attacking ability. There's a scuffle down in the pond - Wod avoids the ref's wrath - but their miscreant is put in his place by Lurch, Lurch doesn't wanna' catch whatever this guy's got and invokes the cone of silence around himself as well as a three yard No Fly Zone for the mosquito like pestering.
At the other end Gianni gets a welcome from behind - hadn't felt one like that since shower time at Rimutaka - but the resulting free kick can't quite be turned in. Though it's the Reds that now have the better of play - a series of corners and free kicks-and reward eventually comes when one of their netballers holds the ball too long. Ed slots away the penalty and we're level into the break.
Quick tally of those still standing - decide against calling up Mrs Ed (whos'
war paint would scare the bejezus out of them) and we put fresh cotton wool in the ears of our younger supporters. Dick joins the fray - good to have him in the heart of the battle with Wod and Bones, and the three of them have Max and Delboy running errands for them down the flanks. Delboy unlucky to now be playing into the advancing tide which makes for tough going at the deep end. Their miscreant continues to celebrate National Tourettes Week - by himself, Ralph politely enquires if he could do with a lie down - maybe a $150 p.hour session on Norm's couch should be arranged. The fans put in more cotton wool. At the back for the second half Superman flies in for his 14th game of the day - Con slips in beside Ralph, and the two ensure that the Longballs are reduced to firing 30 & 40 yard blanks at Willies goal.
There's half chances for the Reds, Ed with a header after sterling work from Delboy - Gianni with a salsa inspired volley after sweeping play down the pitch - but we're getting no change from the Lord of the Rings extras who make up their back four of orc like creatures that rise from the swamp to cut down our attacking play. With about 20 to go we have a free kick at the edge of the box, & fittingly it's man of the match Ralph who steps up to drill the ball through the bow-legs of the wall and into the corner of the goal. 2-1, the steam is coming out of all orifices as the Longballs throw everything at us - but they run out of time, Gianni is scythed down and when your left foot is pointing due East but your legs running longitudinally north-south then something's not right. A cruel end for Gianni, where was the Ronaldo double step over with a 1 ½ twist when he needed it? The ambulance comes - there are no hot nurses on board so we tearfully wave him good bye and head to the clubrooms to celebrate a win that balances the ledger for the season. Local TV showed "Gangs of New York" that night - the opening battle scene redolent of Hutt Park (minus the NY snow)....
It's been a hearty contest - well officiated by Lurch in testing conditions - and the good guys have 3 points to savour over a beer and raffle ticket. Three for $5 you know - what do you mean Richie bought the winner already?
Rebels 2 Reds 5
Derby day at Hutt Park - the reds in a fetching karitane vomit yellow against the Rebels who are keen to get away from the bottom of the table. Weather is cracking, Tom is sighted before kick off and in the team meeting Gianni surprises no-one by playing himself up front with GT...it's rumoured Gianni told Ed this weeks game is up the coast...9following on from last weeks attempt to play him in goal !)
Early on the ball is being played on the carpet - scintillating passing football as the Reds dominate possession and several opportunities are on offer. Jake features in some strong runs with Del P Boy up the flank. Ralph tees up the first goal - an oggie from a corner, though this only serves to fire up the Rebels who attack strongly for the rest of the half, though their reward is lacking as they pepper Willie's goal. Willie having a strong game is equal to it all.
The second half is a goal fest - Dick bangs in a couple, one with the customary scone while the other is an excellent volley. The game seems under control, Wod and Dick in control until the Rebels hit a runaway which is well deserved & threatens to spark a revival. But it wasn't to be, there's a couple more Reds goals - scored by some fella upfront, the editor was unsighted at the time but was told that one was a header from a pinpoint cross from GT (couldn't miss!) while the other was a follow up that was going in anyway. Same player is seen to try a couple of brazilian rumba moves with the ball as well as a bicycle kick from 40 yards...
Ralph again has a strong game, getting forward as the defence held tight with Con subbing for a strong Norm - but the highlight of the latter stages is a blistering drive from outside the box for the Rebels second goal that parts Willie's fringe.
Reds 2 E'bourne 1
Gianni's sure we were going to have enough - but come kick off there's a little spin the bottle being played for the keeper's jersey & there's the gifting of the whistle to E'bourne and a frantic look across the park for any more players wandering over from the car park. Dick is here on time at 240pm - Richie as well - Max emerges late from the shed with suitable skin toner and hydrator for those blustery winter breezes that are so harsh on the epidermis.
First half goes by in a blur, E'bourne have some good chances - and again look a team with a solid defence and busy midfield - but they squander their chances & Jase' in goal is a natural. At the other end we can't quite put them away either - their keeper is also on his game - so instead we amuse ourselves watching Gianni running through his whole bag of tricks & turns (but the punters are not impressed), if he was Copperfield he'd have sawn the girl in half by now. It's 0-0 at the half - I'd gone off to scout the first team's european football and saw a guy with Carlos Puyol's hairdo and two blokes that look like Drogba's little (very little) brothers - but return with as much to add as Norm Capello's 2nd edition (sweet f.a). So instead we cart off the injured, maimed and crippled while Delboy slurps more overpriced lolly water & shakes off half time knee surgery.
The game continues on, it's competitive across the park & played in good spirit - and it's the lads in Orange who put away a runaway. The matches' turning point comes soon after as Norm plays an inch perfect pass of the whistle to Richie, and promptly pops up at the next corner to put his scone on one. His halcyon season continues with his second goal of '09. Soon after it's the bustling and busy GT who is tripped in the box and Ed scuffs the penalty into the corner of the net. We've come from behind - to win a tight one. The Wall of death once again well marshalled by Ralph with Bones Jnr and Uri solid in their work. Delboy has put in a man of the match performance covering the tricky role & home of Bob at left back. Dick's off home to play left handed - Jake promises to show him how it's done - but we're off to the clubrooms to celebrate sadly the only win of the weekend by a senior men's team.
Wgtn Utd 2 Reds 2
Gianni licks his chops at the prospect of the Versace family derby being staged at Newtown #1....Capital Football decide otherwise and we're off to the lush pastures of Waihora, south-west Pauatahanui....very south-west. Good surface and even some shelter for the 4 spectators (Versace family) under the pines from the biting zephyr.
There's a few boys can play some in the WU team - including part time Red, Davidiniho - wondered where he'd got to - but they lack some finishing to compliment their fancy pants play and the fence and tree belt 50 yards behind Willie's goal take a pounding. We gift them a goal - wrapped with a bow - and trail 0-1 but it's an even contest across the park that we're getting our teeth into. Delboy has a picture of Jake tucked down his pants and assumes the role of team rotweiller much to the chagrin of some WU players (Bob get the thesaurus out). The ref's got it under wraps though and there's no escalation of handbags. Ed forces a fumble from their 'keeper and GT is on hand to slam the ball home, 1-1, deservedly. From the sidelines there's a bit of humour as GT plays a little basketball...and Willie slips out of goal to right back, when he finds Uri out of puff and out of position.
Half time talk and Norm Capello spots they have slow backs on the flank (it's masters - every team has those!), the keeper spills 'em (yep granted) and they're tiring (and we're fresh as a daisy!). We're good for the admission price at the start of the second half - chances coming as we rip down their flanks exposing their lack of pace, Gianni & Bones are busy as ever, Wod & Walph winning the defensive battles - and Ed dishing up chances on a platter like a waiter at the Savoy. Richie gets his scone on one that the 'keeper never saw....probably 'cos it wasn't on target....before Dick tucks one in the net, 2-1......& there's more than a few corners that Dick keeps slipping over at and not getting to, and other chances that go begging. Unfortunately they cost us when we cough up an equaliser and despite plenty of speed, guile and endeavour in the last 15 we can't sneak a winner & the Versace family silver is left on the sideboard to be decided on in round two. Gianni gets to keep his wallet in his pocket - the team performance bonus on hold. Ruddy enjoyable game of football - let's drink to many more of these. Just for you Uri - rule #7 from the Mates Manual, toilet breaks on road trips are supposedly decided by the strongest bladder...useless information I stumbled across on the world wide web.
Reds 4 Island Bay 0
Gianni has weaved his magic once again - the little black book bristling with footballers names & numbers just like Delboys retired version that was bristling with Miss King Country & Miss Kaiangaroa Forest entrants some years back - ... ah but that's a story for another time. Island Bay start the day above us on the ladder & look in the early exchanges to have a couple of handy players but they didn't bank on running into Bones & Dick who are a bald(ing) two man version of the Wall of Death in the middle of the park. Out wide Joe is back in Red and getting around keenly - could be showing off his skills to our crowd of 1? - me thinks so. GT has too much guile for the IB defence and tees up a sitter for Ed to give us an early lead. Despite having the 200kmph zephyr at our back it looks like we may only take the solitary goal to the half until it all goes very wrong for IB. GT beats Dick to a corner and scores our second - and then Gianni roving upfront slides home our third just before we break for halftime. The crowd has swelled to include Moby, mini Moby, mini Ralph & a few others that have been blown across the 1st team pitch and came to rest against Moby's bulk - just as well otherwise they'd be in Cook Strait.
The second half sees IB throw everything at us - but we do have the real Wall of Death in action today, Ralph & Wod marshalling a rock solid effort that includes a man of the match performance from Bob, as well as great work by Uri & Con. We rope ourselves together and make a few ascents up the flanks of the pitch - Ken tireless, Max tyreless (but at least he keeps his shirt on this week) - and a pin point lofted pass from Dick sees GT bury IB once and for all with our well taken 4th. Bob storms forward and looks like he'll do a "Ryan Nelsen" and finally get on the scoresheet after 111 games - unfortunately it's not to be and Bob's first ever shot is lost in the caravan park. There's been the odd chance for IB but Willie keeps busy for the most part chasing windswept balls across the car park and stopping them before they reach the toxic shores of the Waiwhetu stream. Another win as the ledger for the season rights itself - just in time for next week's match at Newtown - the last time Dick played there he had hair and Moby was 85kg.
A white cane nomination for Con - the first person in 10 years to actually question the voracity of anything the editor writes in these team reports, what on earth made him think the reports were factual about what may or may not have happened in a Reds match....
Reds 3 NW Vindaloos 2
It would really help if I didn't keep taking these knocks to the head - but I do recall we had the benefit of Gianni's little black book, there's subs this week and hells bells some of them look younger than my old dad & as an added bonus look like they've seen a football before.
GT is sharp upfront - no not that GT of the Turner mould but G Tennant, much loved junior's coach and impressive playing upfront (Sally who?) Dick is back - more tape on his feet than Tutankhamens mummy but if it holds him together in a vertical position who are we to judge. We score a couple and lead at the break - Wod is marhsalling a steady defence and Norm plays in a retro kit of long shorts that haven't been seen since Jimmy McCreadie had long hair.
The opposition are a decent bunch of players who refuse to play dead though and in the second half the Reds have Willie (same tailor as Norm) to thank for their win. There's numerous saves that preserve our lead from our man of the match.
Max gets yet another whitecane nomination for preening on the sideline - put those abs away & Ed (well I was hardly going to write up the whole match and not mention him) - chips home our third for just our second win of the season. Good to have Jake back on the field, Delboy & Con jet in for guest appearances and Uri & Bob enjoy a good avo in the Red shirt & Dick scored with his scone - perfect, what more could we ask for?
Reds 0 NW Whiskeys a lot more than that.....a senior moment means I can't really recall what happened, but for the 9 of us that showed - plus the Hungarian pornstar - and their player who jumped between the sticks for us it was a tough afternoon up at Macchu Pichu tackling a very organised NW team who had 17 subs. OK they got 6.
Reds 1 BNU 5 (0-3)
Gianni exasperated - the role of selector easy when there's only 11 at the park - thanks for the text Jan, shame Max couldn't make it. How come Max jnr hitched from the lake to his game for the 2nds & Max stayed put?
BNU bring a cast of thousands - and a man with a clipboard, now that's a white cane nomination if there ever was one. BNU's "Where's Wally" shirts should have been worn by our Curtain of Custard - would've been more appropriate. The Wall of Death a fading memory - and despite even exchanges across the park we trail by 0-3 at the half. If there was a puff of wind it might be worth 4 goals - but it's a brill' avo in the valley - not a breath. Bob tells us there's a whole lot of chiefs and no indians at the back - we note his elastic must've snapped, he's doing Gianni impersonations sans the step over and the ball ! Poor old Jake smashes his own bones just so he can get outa goal and out from behind the dripping curtain. At the other end the ball just won't go in - as 1/2 chances go missing and Dave gets shanghaied by their subs (white cane nomination) and we're down to 7+the curtain+bob = 7.4 players.
BNU bring on 10 sets of fresh legs for the 2nd half and our "beautiful play" (Mrs Norm) is rewarded with a well taken nod by Norm from an Ed free-kick. Unfortunately there's no heroic rally - though not for lack of trying - as the Curtain has some fresh rips in it. Our largesse at the back means BNU must surely be registered as a non-profit charity? Their players try to console us with a theory that no nets on the goals has impacted our finishing ability - very nice guys - how come you bagged 5? Bones & Wod add their usual bite to our central play - & Sally chases the game hard - though with little reward - it has to be said though that the guys marking him are old enough to have served the beer at his christening.
BNU partake of a few back at the clubrooms after a well contested game - more even than the scoreline suggests, but we battled for our chances - they had theirs delivered by room service.
Player of the Day, Lurch - impeccable, unflappable as the man with the whistle.
LH Longballs 4 Reds 0
I missed (so did most Reds) the 0-4 against the Longballs - roll on round 2.
Reds 6 Rebels 2 (4-0)
The addiction is back for another year, hello my name is Ed and I’m a social footballer…
New selector, the chosen one, Jose has a hat and a piece of paper - and importantly we have 12 in Red at 230pm….so we kick off at 245pm after an intense blackboard session. Ken wobbles out of the car park and looks expectantly across the “new” Hutt Park…….oops wrong adjective, he’s not expecting he’s just built that way. Norm dashes to the pitch with tennis balls still in his pockets as summer sport wrapped up at 215pm. There’s still no sign of team manager Max, probably an Avon party with some end of summer specials too good to resist. Ken takes the whistle, and decides 20 minutes with that will constitute preseason training.
The Rebels are struggling this early in the season and Jose has the luxury of a full team card. We have a gentle zephyr behind our backs and put this to good advantage, Gianni slotting the first goal of the season (that was on his piece of paper too) after sterling work by Sally. There’s little to fault or ridicule in our play over the next 20 minutes – there’s a few hopeful hits from 30 yards out but for a time we play the ball around on the carpet with some width. Ed bags one on a break and taps home another after great work at a corner by Con and Joe. Con is the supplier again from wide on the right for Ed to nod home his third. We have a 4 goal lead at the half and the game is effectively over. It’s great to have Alf back doing what he does best, adding some deft touches wide on the right – and Bob’s back too, doing what he does best, causing absolute bleedin’ confusion when we’re rolling subs.
Second half and the intensity drops a notch, Con plays Mark in for a beautifully taken goal – shame that Mark is actually a Rebel’s player, and that’s one of two goals they grab with the wind behind them. There’s no worry of a comeback though as Joe gets on a stepladder to nod one home, and Ralph smashes one at Ed’s nose that ricochets into the net. Uri tap dances down the left flank, Jake dances like a white man down the right and Gary (what sort of name is that) is a welcome addition to the team effort. Willie savours a great day out – a juniors win in the morning – a seniors win in the avo’.
Next weekend, a local derby – Lower Hutt at Fraser check yr inbox and texts to see if the Chosen One has you on his clipboard.
Our opponents are Seatoun, a team we’ve never beaten in all our years of Masters football. Seatoun leave a huge carbon footprint getting to Richard Prouse, it’s a 3 day trek from their villas on the Riviera of Wellington Heads for their players. We spread out as best we can on the 10th grade pitch but no matter how many fingers and toes we use we can only get to 10 players, fortunately they’ve brought a ref to control the match. Ken is our 11th, unfortunately he only makes it to the car park and misses the last of the burro’s; it’s already left taking players to our pitch on the other side of the Grand Canyon. Ken gets a call from a tearful Deidre, one of the kids is in (a) jail, (b) someone else’s marital bed or (c) an ambulance – so he turns and heads off on the 612km return journey to Ngaio. It’s good to have the help of Anthony & Davidinihio, where are all those other Reds hiding.
Two minutes into the game Wod pulls a hammy, but decides to battle on – in the heart of our new look, very cocky 3 at the back system. It’s good to have Dick back after his international duty in Slovenia, and despite his protests he’s in the centre mid spot with lieutenants Gianni and Max. The match is very even, the pitch is very uneven; it resembles the rolling fairways of St. Andrews with a couple of duck ponds as water hazards in patches. Of course the real water hazard is the roaring torrent that is normally just a trickling brook beside the field, but is taking on the power of the Waikato at Huka Falls after recent weeks of rain. We lose 1, then 2 and eventually all 6 balls we have between us to the river inside the first 30 minutes. At this stage the match is locked up at 2-2, an early Seatoun goal pegged back by Dick before their keeper gifts Sally an easy finish though our lead was short lived. Out at the Orongaronga Lodge we catch up with a couple of the balls just before they embark on the 600 mile odyssey to the Chathams, and when we get back to the pitch its agreed when these balls are gone we call it a day and will phone in a 19-19 draw. We enlist a couple of rare Nth Island Brown spotted beavers to build a couple of small dams across the river. The rest of the half is played out at 2-2; though we are grateful to a superb finger tip save by Willie – a clever tip onto the bar, at the point where it bows in the middle, which he then swivels to regather with aplomb.
The second half sees us down to 9 men, Davidinihio pulls his hammy and doesn’t have a spare. We switch to a bit of “Total Football”, playing 2 at the back with a circle of 6 players rotating as the play dictates in front – the beauty of our system would’ve brought tears to Cruyff, Neeskans et al. if they were there to watch. It’s a funny old game is football, and despite their numerical superiority Seatoun struggle to mount any attack, Peter & Anthony repel every move by the men in blue who all seem to expect a winner to come without doing any of the work. The Reds are far too busy chasing and hustling to stop to consider such things. Wod finally succumbs to injury and pulls on the green jersey – an unsettling sight at the best of time – but at least we have Willie ready to rip into a defensive role for the last qtr of the game.
We actually have a few chances, stealing shots when some of their guys are off trying their luck with the salmon running fast (very fast) but the decisive play comes from St. Patrick (he’s good with crosses) to tee one up for Dick to nod home with about 10 to go. The next 25 minutes are then spent battling to hold our lead and their players fetching Ed’s attempts to clear the decks of all things that resemble a ball as he heads, kicks and knees all the balls into the river as the clock counts down. The ref finally calls a halt to proceedings about 6pm and the Reds troop back to the sleeping burro’s for the trek back home.
Seatoun congratulate us on our win in one the stranger games we’ve all played in, and once again the Reds show their true colours when our backs were against the wall. The match is certainly the highlight of this season and will live on in Reds folklore when we’re kicking back in our rockers on the porch of the rest home talking “remember when …”
Reds 3, Seatoun 2.
Another warm afternoon, really not conducive to Masters football at all. The Hutt Hospital Outpatients XI – otherwise known as the Reds shuffle along behind Cap’n Max for our game at Benburn to tackle the artful Turtles. Some deckhands have either been washed overboard or mutinied as we’re without Dick, Richie, Moby, Sally, Norm & Ralph. Others arrive with a doctors note; feels like it’s going to be a long afternoon. Cap’n Max has his blue boots that match his eyeliner.
It’s a fairly even start to the game, Ken & Peter are the new central defensive pairing and they’re managing well with Wod & Gianni taking some control of the midfield in front of them. Bob and Roni are battling gamely, but it’s a tough afternoon to be carrying an injury – Turtles sneak one against the run of play and have the lead. The game is being played with a bit of gusto and unfortunately one of their guys comes off 2nd best as the Reds go in search of an equaliser, we hope he mends well – not nice to see fella’s of our vintage having to be helped off the pitch on one of Florence Nightingales’ original stretchers. Delboy beats the offside trap and Ed has what we think is a deserved equaliser for some good Reds play spread across the pitch. Trouble is brewing though, the ref ditches the whistle for a spot on their right wing and he’s immediately proving to be a bit of a handful – and a key part in the Turtles taking a 2-1 lead into the break.
The second half is more of the same, we’re a good part of the play but actual chances are limited despite some great work in the middle by Davidinihio and Davidonna – Jake could’ve scored the goal of the century – but he didn’t and we couldn’t find a way past their forest of a defence. The Turtles played to their strengths, the quick chap up front is a one man plague for our tiring battlers and they pinch not 1, not 2 but 3 second half goals as we throw everything into attack. We’re beaten 5-1, and limp and crawl off the pitch – keen for a refreshing ale, hoping to give the good lads from the Turtles a better run for their money on the scoreboard when we play them in a couple of weeks time.
Player of Day; David
Here I was thinking Masters Football was a light run in the park, a kick of the ball or two and we’d score a few and the opposition might score a few. Boy, was I wrong –we hosted league leaders Porirua on Saturday – and it appears that they’ve all been reading Rinus Michels books on “Total Football” cover to cover. So instead of a game of social football I got to go for a 90 minute run, zig zagging across the pitch and if in an average game every player touches the ball for around 2 minutes – I want to know when I’m getting my 2 minutes worth!
They’re a good bunch of lads out at Porirua, they play a good game and unlike previous seasons when they could have 95% of possession but not score – they’ve sorted out that small matter of shooting and putting the ball in the net. They lead by 3 at half time, with the breeze behind them we were finding it tough. We thought the breeze was good for 3 goals – but we were wrong, they could only manage 2 into the wind! We had a few attempts on goal both half but our attacking play was for only brief forays – they’d have the ball for 5 minutes, we’d have it for 5 passes maximum – then they’d have it for another 5 minutes.
In the end a tough day on the pitch, but afterwards the beer still tasted the same, the chips & pies are indulgent, the winning raffle ticket isn’t mine and the jackpot draw probably doesn’t have my # in the pot. Next week the Turtles, hope none of their guys read anything dutch.
Player of the Day; Delboy
A late transfer sees the Reds off to Trafalgar to battle near top-of-the-table Island Bay. Unlike last week, the Reds have 11 players to start the game. Fortunately for us, the Stop Out first team have a bye and Alexander the Great makes his debut for the Reds. A notable absence from the squad is Mr Ed who decides to take 3 hours of the week away from Stop Out FC and take Mrs Ed shopping. An even more notable, but familiar, absence is Captain Max, who is charged once again with dereliction of duty in the face of enemy fire. Has anyone told Max the Captain is supposed to be the last one to abandon a sinking ship?
On to the game and what an event-filled match it was. The Bay started the game with a flourish that caught the Reds napping and an Island Bay mis-kick in front of the goal sees the Reds 1-0 down after 10 minutes. Fifteen minutes later, Bob (Winston is my hero) battles valiantly to stop an Asian invasion into the six yard-box. Wodewick the wefewee, determined to show his weffing skills are on par with his goal-keeping prowess of the previous week, awards the Bay a penalty and its 2-0 to the Bay going into half-time. Mr Ed at this time, in a not too distant retailing conglomerate is thinking - hold on - in less than 45 minutes we've spent more than 2 seasons subs....playing football woulda been cheaper on the wallet!
The second half gets under way and the Bay score another goal from open play. It's Island Bay 3 Reds 0 and things are looking grim. As we know, however, the valiant Reds never say die. Ralph and Norm marshall the defense and the Reds find their way into the Bay half of the field at last. A corner is won, Sally takes it beautifully and the ball sails over the keeper's head and straight into the goal. Island Bay 3 - Reds 1. Woddy the wef, though, is not to be outdone. Determined to show that the Reds can't win a point without him, he awards the Bay their second penalty of the day. Having said that, perhaps Bob shouldn't have tried to play basketball wth the ball inside our penalty area. Island Bay step up again to take the kick, Willie makes a sterling attempt to save the day but the ball rockets into the back of the old onion bag and it's Island Bay 4 Reds 1.
Time is running out now for the Reds but they rally once again. Richie and Chuck are giving it all up front while Delboy is unflappable in the midfield. A cross from Gianni is brought down by Sally, who passes it on to
Dick who coolly steps up and slots the ball home. Dick is lost for words, scoring yet another goal this season with his feet rather than his head. It's Island Bay 4 - Reds 2 and the Reds are back in the game.
Woddy is getting desperate by this stage. Peter innocently pole-axes a Bay player and the wef is on the spot once again. Woddy enters the Guinness Book of Records by awarding an opposing team three penalties in a single game. Matt from the Bay steps up to take his third penalty of the day. Willie, however, has by now had plenty of practice and has figured out that Matt can only hit the ball to his left. Willie dives to his right and pulls off a stupendous safe. Justice is restored.
Bob, not content with giving away two penalties, tries to put Del-Boy in hospital by blasting the ball into his groin. Or maybe that was the other way around? Smoke can be seen rising from Jackson St as Mrs Ed melts the mastercard in a frantic burst of activity at the tills!
The Reds press back into Bay territory. The Reds are looking dangerous when Alexander the Great shows why he's a centre-back rather than a striker as he skies a shot at goal high over the crossbar.After the match and its back to the club room for a shower and a Tui (girl) or two. Bob impresses his team-mates when the blond Tui girl, the best looking of the flock, walks straight up to him and says "hi John"....or maybe it was "hi Grandad" He does get around, does our Bob. The girl politely decline the offer of coming to Taupo -not to worry think someone mentioned Claudia was still keen!
Woddy decides for some reason not to come back to the clubrooms. Ed does though, his team mates gather round to console the poor fella who looks all pale, the blood drained from his face, the cash gone from his wallet - poor lad looks like he's been in a beating.
Player of the day: Willie
There’s snow on the ground at Machu Picchu and a brisk northerly of 212kmph rips the length of the field, the changing rooms are full of the smell of deepheat which people are smearing over every exposed piece of skin – Ed’s woolly hat could’ve changed hands for the cost of a tank of gas as the follically challenged looked for some insulation.
By kick off there’s 9 of us, Wod has the chunder green keepers top on and we have a 4-3-1 format look to our play. We start with the wind behind us and the first 20 minutes is spent trying to gauge the 545kmph wind gusts and hustle the NW players. Ed has a couple of sighters, the first hit a fence some 10 streets away…the second makes it to Somes Island on just its’ second bounce. Delboy is full of endeavour out wide, making smart runs as Dick and Gianni toil in the midfield – outnumbered but not outplayed despite the 7 players in the NW midfield. At the back, Ken, Pete, Norm and Bob are the new look wall of death and they need to be ‘cos the breeze makes all keepers lifes hell.
We take the lead when Ken misses the pass Ed was playing through to him, it conveniently curls in the breeze inside the far post. Our second comes from some polished work outwide, again Ken is involved, Ed crosses and Dick back heels the ball with the aplomb of a Laws or Ronaldo past the floundering defence. 2-0 to the 9 players. Unfortunately it can’t last, a sniff of offside play with their players almost on the next pitch, but what the heck by the half it’s 2-2 and we just can’t wait to play into that wind, now clocked at 764kmph.
Sally strolls into the match, wow 10 players – this should be easy! NW start the second half strong but like ourselves in the first half resort to potshots from 75 yards that sail over the bar, over the bank, over the fence, down the road, past the dairy, over the railway lines and across the water to Eastbourne. Employing a series of ropes to tie ourselves together, and a complicated number of crampons and basecamps we manage to string together some play into the 892kmph zephyr, inching towards their goal. Gianni is on the end of one of our moves, a loverly left foot finish as our seasons goldenballs restores our lead, 3-2.
NW are spurred into action though and we congratulate a number of them for some very sporting play, helping the ref with a number of contentious calls; call it karma then as they get a deserved equaliser when their right wing unleashes an exocet missile from outside the box – the tailwind whips the ball into the back of the net. The last 10 minutes crawl by and we finish the game with our 14th matchball – some school over in Eastbourne will be extremely grateful for the donation of 13 balls to their sports kits.
Result; NW 3 Some of the SO Reds 3.
A case of writers block? It seems so – though the odd cancellation and losses to Seatoun & Miramar didn’t really deserve to recorded in print. Seatoun were simply too good for us, even the ref played better than we did – and then at Miramar we let a bright start slip, and then coughed up their winner to them with some poor nautical tactics in the last few minutes. So last week we needed as a team to have a better day at the office, our opponents are the Fossils and our office is Sladden Park.
Max is a late withdrawal, Wod is still not right, Jake, Richie, Ralph and Lurch are also missing from the pre match talk. We start very slowly, but a smart switch sees Ken take over from Sally in the midfield – and upfront the bald and the balding partnership gets to work trying to rustle up some opportunities. The Fossils are 1-0 up though before we get settled, and Ronnie slips off injured meaning we are just the bare 11 now. There’s a few sniffs at their goal as the first half wears on, but no score – Gianni spends the first 45 minutes sweating out a very tasty ’92 pinot.
The Fossils do us a big favour and make their best player ref the 2nd half, how very generous of them…a move as smart as making Dan Carter run the touchline at Lancaster Park. Ed thanks them for this by making the most of space down the right – with Ken and Peter feeding the ball through – and slots our equaliser within 10 minutes of the restart. There are numerous corners, Dick and Norm rising to meet them – but the bar gets in the way of us scoring. So Dick resorts to using his right foot and plays a lovely one two with himself outside the box before slotting the ball home for a 2-1 lead. The Fossils realise the error of their reffing choice but by now it’s too late – Delboy has our third with a lovely shot on the turn and we can afford to fluff a few chances, and Moby can play some “look no hands” football in goal - as the game meanders along to its conclusion. Gianni sweats the rest of the case of pinot out over the second half, and a special mention of Willie who toils for the whole game, running the equivalent of a half marathon over the course of the 90 minutes - a fabulous effort given he was downwind of Gianni for most of it.
Player of the Day; Bob who paid attention to all of Moby and Sallys directives at left back. Shouldn't have got it though as he forgot the after match beers and I still haven't had my rubdown from Claudia.
Just like the Seeeth Afrikaaan super 14 teams the Reds have spent the last 2 weeks on the road...and found results hard to come by.
First up were the reigning premiers the Island Bay Originals at an immaculate Wakefield Park. Without Max, once more plundering the shores of Lake Too-poe (according to the One newsreaders), we somehow managed to organise ourselves into a starting 11.
Last year we spent a frustrating 90 minutes (felt like 3 days) chasing these guys around the park asking for our ball back, so we were pretty determined not to repeat that debacle. Up step Wod and Dick to take the midfield battle to the IB lads and create for us enough opportunity and possession to compete on an even keel (another nautical term slipped in almost unnoticed). The defence are well shipshape, despite Ralphs absence and it seems his protégées are finally listening and putting into action his free coaching advice. IB don’t have their shooting boots on, though to be fair the area of the pitch where the rodeo horses have been corralled is a bit rough and a good first touch is as rare as a massage by Claudia.
Toiling away up front (euphemism for playing rubbish but at least he’s trying) Ed gets their keeper in a tangle for not the first time and a loose ball bounces kindly for Dick to pinch one for us. 1-0 at the break, betfair.com is facing technical ruin as it’s inundated with punters keen to get on the Reds.
The second half rips along, Moby slips his svelte form between the sticks and Willie E Coyote is unleashed on the IB defenders. Willie is sensational with several strong runs but unfortunately there’s no addition to the score. Attacks down the left flank stutter when they reach the Somme, the mud cakes the ball and adds 10kg to its weight. We have a couple of new faces in the team this year, Chris and Chris are once again having fine games at the back as IB press forward but are constantly foiled.
That is until Norm Arne Riise slides ignominiously into the game. An OG it seems the only way IB were ever going to score…..that is until the next goal they score, ouch 1-2 and only a minute or 3 left on the clock. IB congratulates us on a fine game, a tight game but ultimately they’re now above us on the table and we expect it will stay that way till August.
Player of Day; Peter who passed to guys in red shirts for the first time.
Our second game on the road is a jolly adventure out to Whitby to take on highly fancied Porirua City. These boys can play and we’re struck by a bout of scurvy with Ralph, Wod and Norm missing at sea and it’s fair to say we play a bit all at sea for much of the first half.
Porirua finally let us have a turn with the ball after about 10 minutes when one of their shots goes for a throw in. Dick thanks Porirua for providing him with a tour guide for the game, his own chaperone to follow him around for the whole match. Dick selects a nice Chablis from the chiller as he’s sure his chaperone is going to take him out for a dinner tonight they’ve grown that close during the match. Playing down hill and with a chilly breeze up our shorts we actually do start to threaten their goal and it’s just reward for our 5% of possession when Gianni is first to react to an Ed “eyes shut” thunderbolt and bundle the ball over the line. 1-1 at the break and we’re all looking forward to the uphill slog into the wind.
We kick off the second half and promptly relinquish possession for the next 30 minutes to Porirua. They continue to miss chances and opportunities as Jake and Lurch battle hard in front of an inform Willie in goal, but we’re caught out by a well directed corner kick to trail again, 1-2. Just when the crowd was heading out the turnstiles we put together a fine move, started when Sally did something, then Max toe hacked a pass to Dick who fell over but the ball scoots along the front of the goal to the poacher, and Gianni bags his second of the day – both from less than 4 inches out. 2-2 and the 3.5% of possession we have is it seems all we really need in a game.
Unfortunately we can’t hold them out, with time almost up Porirua steal a well deserved third and winning goal, and we congratulate them on a fine game over a Kilkenny at the Crows Nest. Chris learns a few Bobism’s in preparation for the trip to Too-Poe.
Player of the Day: Gianni, on fire in front of goal this season.
Masters Red vs Nth Wgtn, Masters Div.1
The weather was more conducive for football than the beach for a change and we welcomed NW to Trafalgar. Pre match saw the signing of a peace treaty as both teams looked to put behind them some unsavoury matches in recent years.
Max in his second game in charge had a piece of tissue on which he'd written "Right Half: Max - 7...err./..8....mmm 14...errr no.....mmmm no make that 10 others somewhere else", and we kicked off playing into the brisk southerly. We were good value and after opening up early chances Wod played a sublime cross field ball that fooled the NW defence but found Ed's scone as he stumbled forward head long in the area, 1-0. Sally snuck his svelte form into the starting line up this week and he's on the end of a Gianni cross with a cracking shot to make it 2-0 after about 20 minutes of attacking play. Dick pulls Wod off and so has to be to blame for NW immediately grabbing one back, so we head to the oranges up 2-1. Chances to advance our score just wouldn't fall for Richie & Pete, Joe retires after 45 minutes happy to have booked a seat on the Taupo trip. Joe looks right flash in his sponsored kit, must be on quite a retainer as a bona fide senior player - me, I'm only hoping that Bob has topped up the team chilly bin for the after match.
We continue to control the game though we take for ruddy ages to find the back of the net - the fence behind the goal having taking a right peppering though! Ed dishes up another corner for Dick & he makes the game safe with about 15 to go. A great effort with the whistle from Lurch is appreciated by all & we congratulate NW on a good contest. It's been a good afternoon out and this was our toughest match of the season so far. Norm & Jake have earnt their beers with fine games in defence - as has new old face, Chris. Willie is impressed someone older than him still has some hair - Chris, you obviously haven't coached the teenagers that Willie has in recent years!
Max hears we're playing the highly rated Island Bay next week and cries off, claiming he's Taupo bound for another weekend on the high seas! He promises to email the staring 11 to us and we promise to spam his email and ignore it for the drivel it will no doubt be. Bob has done his job, there's a choice of flavours in the chiller to suit all pallets.
Top of the table after 3 rounds, we're not used to these heady heights - we may need oxygen, possibly sooner than later if we spend next weekend chasing IB around Wakefield.
Question of the day though is; how many first class return flights from Germany could Claudia make for $130k?
Masters Red vs Fossils, Masters Div.1
It was too hot and the pitch was far too big, and when are they going to make Masters football 30 minutes each way! Fortunately Cap'n Max has the services of a small navy and we have a few extra faces at the warm up, must have been a press gang out on the streets of Wellington the night before.
First mate Norm is consulted but it's fair to say Max has had 7 months, 16 days and 4 hours to get to grips with the job of putting 11 players on the park and he makes a pigs ear of it, we almost start the match with 14 on the field but we save the embarrassment of that faux pas for much later in the game. The first half is rubbish, they take the lead, Willie performs admirably between the sticks once more otherwise it could've been a few more. Fresh from Davey Jones' locker Richie is in his boots for the first time in 18 months and almost scores with his first touch. But the boys own annual story ends with him flat on his bum and the ball bouncing wide of the goal. We go into the half down by a goal and Gianni's mate Christiano impresses though I'm sure that he doesn't wear bifocals when I see him on the TV playing at Old T.
Second half we run riot, well we would've if Dick had brought his radar! Ed serves up more candy than Willie Wonka ever produced on a plate for Dick. The Fossils realise he's off his game and even stand back, taking turns to fetch the ball from the next pitch. Dick does eventually get 1 (from the first 47 attempts) to tie the game up. Our 712th corner of the half falls to Gianni who gets on the sheet for the second week running and we're in the lead at last. Ken, Lurch, Ralph & Chris keep the rear protected and Wod & Pete the cabin boy are opening up the flanks. Late in the match with the sun going down behind Mt Makara Ed dishes up yet another cross and Chuck shows Dick how it's done with a fine piece of cranial finishing.
3-1 the final score and the Reds go top of the table.
Good bunch of blokes at the Fossils and we really like the look of their clubrooms, a bar with a deck facing the evening sun!
When's Taupo? and when's it my turn with Claudia? Bob, Don't forget the beers.