Month: August 2016

Semi-Final – Queens Park vs De Beers

15/08/2016

Afternoon Ladies.

My stress levels leading up to the semi-final were not healthy. Aside from barking at the family and nearly kicking the dog throughout the week, I didn’t sleep well wondering if everyone would pitch up, if the Godfather would remember the kit, and if Queens Park would bring along 15 x 45 year-olds who had just graduated from over 40’s.  It turned out that although Queens Park did bring a different side, the rest of my fears were completely unfounded. My instruction to the team was to meet at 15h01 at Bothasig and at 15h01, the whole team was there plus WAGS and supporters in tow. In fact, Krusty admitted he drove around the block once to ensure he wasn’t there at 15h00. Like me,  Godfather (with kit freshly washed and intact) arrived early to watch the Durbaville vs YMO game. It wasn’t pretty and I began to wonder how Durbanville did so well in the league. They really are a bunch of thugs who complain about everything, intimidating opposition into conceding and brutally defending any advantage they have. I guess the threat of rain and the strong side wind also played its part making ball control a little more challenging. However, we left the side of the field at 15h16, halfway through the battle to change and prepare for our game. Although we had to wait for a change room due to the number of games happening , we were on our way out when YMO came in to change having beaten Durbanville 1-0, ironically  thanks to a goal by the infamous John Dick.

John Ross, head referee at CTTFA,  presided over our game. Well, presided is perhaps a little soft, with “judged”, “ruled” or “dictated” being the more appropriate term, because no nonsense was tolerated on the field at all. It was refreshing knowing that the game was being controlled well and any foul play would be dealt with accordingly. With the revamped Queens Park side, we initially found the going tough with both sides experiencing little joy on attack. With Bob the builder at right back enjoying a post-injury return with fine form, the Godfather and Satchmo in the centre eliminating attacks like well-trained army snipers and Freddie Mercury on the left covering any attacks down the right, it was up to the midfield of Mighty mouse, Dr Hunt, Ronald and myself to close Queens Park down and create chances for the forward to score. Fred Flintstone had one save to make the entire game, soliciting a compliment from the referee in the process, but complained for the rest of the game that the Godfather never gave him a pass-back, just so that he could have at least some time with the ball.

The first goal came from a throw-in to Ronald Koeman who collected it in the area, almost on the touch line. A little skill from the senior player and he slung a low cross into the middle of the small box where the keeper attempted to dive on it. What followed was a scramble similar to this…

With Krusty doing the splits and the ball rolling on the line, it was left to Dereck nothing-but-Tame to push the ball over the line and a few Queens Park lads with it. One-nil and a slight anticipation rose in the side. We continued to push, fighting the wind as hard as we fought the opposition, and it was Mighty mouse who won a throw-in down the right side, taking responsibility for it as well. Despite throwing against the wind, Mighty Mouse managed to lob the ball in the box leading to a wild scramble for the ball, with legs flying and bodies being hurled at the ball. It was like a group of children trying to catch a mosquito with their boots without success. A swing-and-a-miss and another swing-and-a-miss, and a further swing-and-a-miss , all close but no cigar. In steps the mummified legs of crusty and with one swing of his right leg at the bouncing ball, he connected it and a defender’s boot simultaneously,  with the ball ending up in the back of the net and the defender clutching his foot. It looked something like this…

At 2-0, Queens Park started to show some cracks with their Captain shouting at his team, using delightful language that would’ve made our two Portuguese speaking lads blush with embarrassment. The result was a strong reprimand from John Ross the referee and a slight boost in our confidence. Score remained 2-0 till half time where we decided to leave things as they were and continue to press for another goal. The 3rd goal came from a free-kick just outside the left-hand side of the Queens Park big box following a foul on the Godfather. The Godfather, who incidentally was notably well-behaved in his language, pitch behaviour and position, had the ball up the left wing cutting in towards goals. The hack from the back, as it were, saw The Godfather make a realistic and concerted dive into the box but failed to convince the ref that it was a penalty but won a free-kick for his efforts. The Queens Park defence played a high line to keep the forwards and midfield on the penalty spot, but the Godfather lofted the free-kick over the top and onto the goalie. With arms pumping, Ronald Koeman intercepted the kick and flicked the ball over the keeper and into the top of the net. Great goal from the two ex-pros,  almost like the drills we do at practice :-/

Goal number 4 came from Krusty up to his old tricks again, collecting the ball on the half way line and dribbling through the Queens Park midfield, out onto the left hand side of the park, through their backline and back into the centre for another round trip through the midfield again, before slotting the ball past the keeper. Krusty admitted that he had to score to quieten his detractors. The Queens Park lads started to look crestfallen and they changed their side to give their subs a run, as did we about the same time too. Spongebob, Spike and the Counsellor all came on for a run midway through the second half boosting some tired legs and maintaining the pressure. After a run down the left, (can’t recall who it was), the ball was passed to Ronald Koeman standing just outside the big box. Ronald turned the ball onto his right foot and as calmly as the Pope on Valium, slotted the ball into the top right hand corner of the goals. In the words of The Godfather “different class”! With less than 7 minutes to go, I started to relax for the first time in the game and in all honesty, two weeks, much to the disgust of Krusty and the now off-field,  Dr Hunt. I got screamed at to mark players and wake up because I was out of position and not marking the right person. At one point, the large burly Queens Park player captain attacked me from the back pushing me into touch, literally and I just turned to smile and wave. We were in the final and it was just a matter of time because there was no way back for Queens Park. John Ross called time and the lads from Queens Park shook our hands wishing us luck for the final.

It was a superb display from a team who are starting to play with their own style, understanding their role in the side and taking their responsibility for their position. A team who is supporting one another, trusting each other and becoming familiar with each other’s style of play. What a privilege to have been part of this side this year with some very talented players and real hard workers, all playing their part!

A final trip to Edgemead this year to the Final on 1 October lads to play against YMO in the cup. I don’t want to take that game as a foregone conclusion because we all know cup games aren’t the same as league games. Everyone steps up a level and fights for the trophy, and I expect we will have to do no less than to step up our game to meet the challenge.

Please keep fit between now and the final. We’ll have some friendlies and practices as well to ensure we don’t lose the form we have become accustomed to.

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Match 14- De Beers vs Old Mutual

01/08/2016

Afternoon Ladies

Dave, you can go directly to paragraph 6 to the red section, no need to read the in-between bits… you’re not mentioned.

My excitement at playing the last home game of the season was palpable in my home this week, as freedom from looking after the ladies and their meals and beers beckoned to me from just beyond the weekend. In the confines of my mind, I was planning to have a team photo taken before our last league game of the season to keep as a memory or with my comics, whichever seems more appropriate. However, seeing as we started with 9 players at 14h09, it wasn’t really possible now was it ladies? Our local Dutch manager Ronald Koeman sounded like he was on the throne when I called him at 14h01 advising him we were kicking off and were 2 short with no subs. The alarm in his voice was comforting, though I suspect he might’ve forgotten there was a game today, or if he did remember, that it was Saturday. Our other lad m.i.a. (missing in action) Satchmo, decided it was a good time to go into the furniture removal business at 13h07 on a Saturday afternoon before a 14h00 kick off. He did however, inform me that he was going to be a tad late. I questioned him to how late was late and he responded with “quarter to…”. In retrospect, I should’ve asked quarter to what, what day, month and year…. But back to the match report.

Nine player or not, our heartless referee Mike proceeded with kick-off regardless of the status of our team, quoting rule 31.1(b)ii of the referee’s code of conduct which says “…..regardless of how many players Bruce has managed to get onto the field, you shall still kick off on time…” or something like that. Fortunately, Dave, the senior (read 60+) player from Old Mutual stopped the game quoting the unwritten code of the Over 45’s and said “No man, this is over 45’s, give them some players”… and promptly provided two green-short white-shirted players to help us out. Jolly sporting of the man indeed and my faith was restored in soccer, over 45’s and mankind in general. Fortunately for Ronald and Satchmo, no goals were scored when they arrived shortly afterwards prompting the substitution of the two Old Mutual players. Ronald was particularly disconcerted when he looked at the team, looked at his pants and asked why we all had white shorts on when he was wearing blue shorts.

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So we started in a 4-4-2 formation with Dave in the backline returning from a hamstring problem, Satchmo and the Godfather in the center back positions and Freddie Mercury at left back. In the middle was Mighty mouse on the wide right, Ronald (on his grand entrance) and myself in the middle and Dr. Owen Hunt out on the left (see pic below)

Dr Hunt

Up front was Krusty sporting a new aerodynamic haircut and Dereck not-so-Tame back from a family visit to Wales. On that note, did you hear about Dereck’s attempt to pick up two women in Heathrow? The two lasses were quite hefty but being the good sort he is, he heard their accents and meandered over to them…

“Are you two ladies from England…?” to which they responded

“Wales!”. Surprised at their honesty, Dereck responded…

“Are you two wales from England..?” I digress.

I have to admit that the interplay between the players on the field showed how far we have come since the beginning of the season. Great passing, good possession and much running into space to collect passes. It was a great first 20 minutes… after that it got a little more difficult. On one such interplay, four or five passes were strung together through the midfield ending up with a return pass to Krusty and Krusty laying it off across the front of the goals for Ronald to side foot it into the net. In Krusty’s words…”typical Clive goal…!”. And it was, good movement off the ball and creating spaces for passing and into the box to shoot. Old Mutual responded with some attacking up both the wings but between the Godfather and Satchmo, they were well covered. Bob-the-builder (aka Dave) also had a welcome return to right back intercepting and tackling any threat down the left wing.  The lad looked disgusted when he was subbed in the second half to preserve him for the cup.  Old Mutual did however manage to break through and their center forward placed a neat shot to the left of Kurt. Kurt, cheeks puffed out (facial cheeks that is), heaved himself to the left and got down managing to get a hand to the ball pushing it round the post for a corner. A tremendous effort from the big lad. Not long after, we were on the attack again up the left wing. A throw-in landed at my feet and I swung at the ball towards the goals. A wind pushed against the ball and it floated into the far post landing on No-so-Tame’s forehead as he faced the goal. The ball bounced off the keeper and back down at Dereck’s feet where a knee-jerk reaction from the lad, literally a knee-jerk reaction, kicked the ball past the keeper into the back of the net. 2-0 and half time came up.

The second half consisted of the midfield working like pack mules running up and down to fetch the ball when intercepted by the backs and threaded through to the middle of the park. Penguin came on replacing

Bob-the-builder and did his fair share of squealing and working whilst the Godfather decided right back was more suitable to his style of play moving Penguin into the middle of the park, much to my disapproval and disgust. In the meantime Fred Flintstone, wind at his heels, started a game of “dryfentjies” with Old Mutual’s goalkeeper knowing he would win hands down with his pins that could probably kick-start a Boeing 747. Playing in midfield, Ronald’s and my neck got sore as we watched the ball pass through the clouds, bounce once and be collected by Old Mutual’s keeper only to be thrown out for them to start their attack from the back again. The only one time Kurt fluffed his kick, he sent it hurtling a few meters above our heads but it ended up bouncing nicely for Dr. Hunt to collect and start an attack. Kurt’s cursing was muffled by the sighs of relief in the midfield. Mighty mouse , my and Dr Hunt’s faces were almost as red as Ronald’s from running the middle of the field down to a well-trodden path and 10 minutes from the end, we were almost walking, completely exhausted. The only thing that kept us going was the Godfather’s ridiculing of asking where the midfield is. As hard as we worked, Old Mutual still got through and had an opportunity to score when they got inside the right hand side  of the big box. Kurt pounced onto the ball at the feet of the attacker maintaining his clean sheet and earning him man-of-the-match in the process.

We came close to scoring several times only for the ball to be saved on the line or somehow kicked past the goals, yours truly responsible for one such miss. Another time Mighty mouse had one of his “bolt-speed” runs down the wing, beyond the backline, and almost onto the touchline before he slotted the ball across into the center and into Dereck’s path to slot home for number 3. Only he missed it, by a hair and promised to do more yoga before the semis to ensure he could stretch that extra 10 centimeters.  Another cross that came from Mighty Mouse was set to land a meter to Krusty’s right inside the big box. Leaning over onto his good  better knee, stretching out at a 45 degree angle, Krusty managed to get his right foot onto the ball in a half volley, half bicycle kick and it blasted off towards the goals only stopped by a dazed-looking defender wondering incredulously how Krusty managed to not only get to the ball but also to connect it and steer it towards goals. Krusty was so crestfallen that his volley was blocked, he asked the ref for a free-kick because the defender was “in the way”. In another play, Old Mutual’s man of the match Helga, collected the ball and ran down the right towards goals picking up a through pass which helped him to go past Freddie Mercury. But Freddie, never knowing what give-up is, tracked back, passed the 6ft midfielder, turned around and tackled him. It literally sounded like the ball was squashed between the two lads, resulting in the ball shooting directly up in the air and, with the wind, away from goals. The large Helga went down in a heap and Freddie, completely oblivious to the consequences of his tackle, chased after the ball… strong stuff from the part-time goalkeeper coach. Ronald Koeman played his usual role in the midfield co-ordinating the ball and midfield in his quiet unassuming way, like a conductor in a 300 strong orchestra. Krusty played the target man up front receiving and passing shots off and Dereck nothing-but-Tame worked hard finding spaces and running through on goals.

All-in-all every player did their bit working hard to ensure we got maximum points. Everyone had a great game it must be said so man of the match was the most difficult choice. Some teammates nominated Dr. Hunt, The Godfather, Mighty Mouse and in fact, a few more so Fred Flintstone can count himself lucky to have been nominated amongst some good performances.  Satchmo wasn’t permitted to get nominated because he gave Helga a bloody nose. He gets a special prize for the most effective strategy for the day.

It must also be said that the lads from Old Mutual should get a Bells for the sporting way in which they not only played but also provided us with two midfielders for the first 5-10 minutes of the game. Jolly good sort and on any other day, we could’ve shared the points. Great to see the life members down again but as they only come when Old Mutual plays, I’m getting nervous as to who they are actually coming to watch J. Just kidding.

We have practice on 9 August followed by a tjop en ‘n dop in Gavin’s back garden. We play Queens Park on the 13th of August  in the semi’s with the venue still to be nominated. Clear your diaries lad, Clive get a watch and Ruben sell your bakkie, we need to be on our best if we want a crack at the final!!!

Match 13-Edgemead vs De Beers

25/07/2016

Hello Ladies

In the second last game of the season, scrambling a team together for a game is tantamount to recruiting for the Klu Klux Klan in the Ghettos of New Jersey… somewhat difficult. The long season (for these aged lads) was taking it’s toll and those who walk freely out of the change rooms have either taken some strong medication or like to pretend they’re tough. From Penguin walking like a Spatchcock chicken to Krusty walking stiff-legged waiting for the movement in the joints  to start… either that or he was imitating his good wife Lizé who has started to walk with some fluidity again after her ligament surgery. It must be entertaining to follow those two walking in the mall; people will be tempted to take them by the arm and help them to the nearest bench. I digress.

Speaking about walking out the change rooms, it is quite something to be inside a change room pre-game. Although the subject might be taboo, it should provide enough material for a bookshelf of comics to feed on for a month. In the one corner is Spongebob who smears himself with some luminous blue lotion from the bottom of his feet to his upper torso, and a hairy one at that. Kurt is convinced he doesn’t get wet in the shower. The lad is certainly generous with the blue gel as he smears it on, up and down, side to side, offering it to one and all like it was a new miracle cure made by Acme Inc., in fact he looks like a dealer on a marketing drive. Ronald Koeman on the other hand, arrived with Fred Flintstone (aka Kurt) and never quite made it to the change room. For a number of minutes there was a belief in the dressing room that he had defected and joined Edgemead having met up with old school mates. He eventually made it to the change room and looked completely un-phased by the fact that everyone was dragging themselves out the change rooms whilst he was walking in. Next is Penguin, still (and many miles down) on the road to recovery from his twisted ankle (and sense of humour). Despite advice from our team medic for a conventional ankle guard, he insisted on strapping on some cotton wool around his ankle and tightened it with duct tape, around 5 metres of it, which equates to 5 cm thick of taping. The other 15 minutes of his preparation consisted of him trying to fit a size 8 boot on what was now a size 13 foot… muttering “Ayez pitié de moi” which roughly translated means “have mercy on me”. Fred Flintstone’s routine consists of the layering on of clothing to ensure he stays warm in the Friday night cool and on occasion wet air, so much so that he could probably hike to the South Pole if he swopped his soccer boots for a pair of fur liners. In fact, Mighty Mouse offered to take his jacket for him when the ref blew for the start of the game and Fred fought him off bravely keeping it on walking towards the goals looking like the Michelin man. So much content, so little time….

The referee, a past class mate of both Ronald Koeman and Mighty mouse, took the toss by himself, told us which side we were playing and awarded us the kick-off. Krusty was gutted because it was the only time of the game the referee normally took an interest in his opinion, and it was usurped from him before he even got his knees working. The game started at a pedestrian pace but it warmed up a bit soon enough and  we went on attack. Mighty mouse showed tremendous speed on the right wing making the Edgemead left back appear as if he was finishing the Comrades. Speeding past the senior citizen, Mighty Mouse sped into the box and shot at goal and watched in bewilderment as it sped in front of the goals and out before the corner flag. For the short bespectacled speedster, this became his modus operandi for the next 15 minutes during which he repeated the exercise with drill-like execution. After the third time, I put in a formal request to the referee to move the goals 5 metres to the left to help the lad. The referee declined and said I had to submit it in triplicate three weeks before the date. Even the goalie stopped worrying when Mighty mouse ran into the box and automatically started walking towards the corner flag to retrieve the ball whenever Mighty Mouse got the ball.

Edgemead played some good passing football in the middle of the park, making our midfield work hard to get a touch of the ball. However, they struggled to get their attack moving through Popeye and Satchmo who both had solid performances in the backline seeing off almost any attack over the half way line. Satchmo has become accustomed to taking the lead in the backline chasing the slower ones to the half way line to play the offside trap like a farmer coaxing chickens out of the coop. Halfway through the first half, we changed the 4-1-3-2 formation to a 4-4-2 because the field was small and Edgemead was dominating in the midfield. Spongebob, in a welcome return after a short layoff, was working like a steam engine pumping his short hairy arms puffing and panting, so much so, that the steam was coming off his head during half time. About 20 minutes into the game, we won a free kick just inside Edgemead’s half and Penguin limped up to take it. We formed a line on the bog box and Penguin attempted to drive the ball into the box but didn’t quite make it. It hit me squarely in the chest and while stumbling to catch my breath and my balance, I touched the ball into the screaming Spongebob’s path who rounded a player and connected the ball with the outside of his right foot curving the ball in towards the goals. The ball landed just in front of the keeper’s dive and underneath him into the back of the goals. Spongebob was delighted and provided is with a Colgate smile that pushed his ears together at the back of his steaming, gleaming head. Great goal by the stocky midfielder.

Soon after, we were under attack down the left wing with what, on closer scrutiny, looked like one of the more senior player’s grandchildren, well one of the two of them that were on the park that night. Not looking a day older than 30, he sped down the left flank to be met with Satchmo in full flight intercepting him and winning the tackle. In the process, Edgemead were a corner and took it short, passing to a nearby midfielder. On the pass back, the youngster now turning onto his right foot, sent the ball into the centre towards the far past of the goals high in the air and with a curve on it. I cringed but was relieved to see Fred Flintstone move backwards and heaved himself into the air pushing the ball beyond the goals, keeping a sure goal out. I remembered last year’s game where they had scored with a similar shot from somewhere just inside our half and it was clear that Fred had gained from the experience. The half ended at 1-0 and the half-time team talk consisted of panting and puffing and encouraging gestures whilst Krusty, never to be silenced, reminded everyone to have composure.

Second half came and the unpretty soccer continued with some through balls to the front lads and to Mighty mouse on the right wing and Johan on the left wing. One such cross fell into the small box and Krusty went to collect it but was confronted with Ronald Koeman who was also calling for it. Krusty backed off and so did Ronald and then they both went for it again. The rest of the team watched in slow motion as neither could decide who was going to take it when eventually an Edgemead player took responsiblity to decide for them and cleared the ball. Krusty and Ronald exchanged some words not intended for a family blog, shook hands and continued to play. Another attack saw a cross down the left to Ronald who had the run on the equally speed-challenged Edgemead backs. Ronald headed towards the box, laid it off onto Krusty who back-passed it into Ronald’s path for a clear shot on goals.  Now imagine Liam Neeson with glasses and you have the Edgemead keeper, tall lad with wavy hair and could probably hit his head on the cross bar if he had to jump under it. The lad also had a kick like a mule, managing to clear the half way line with a three step chip for a goal kick, something 99 percent of the team hadn’t done in 20 years… His drop kick out of hand was a standard flyhalf’s kick and when it went into touch almost on our 22, I was convinced they’d recruited the bloke out of the local rugby vets. I digress. Onto Ronald’s shot at goal. The keeper moved swiftly to the left, stretching hands out and deflected the thunderous effort by Ronald for a corner. It was a good save for a tremendous shot. At 1-0 however, we were still vulnerable and a break away down the left saw Capt Jack at right back with 2 players to mark. Edgemead passed a through ball into the box and the forward released a shot on line for the far corner. Fred Flintstone dived down to his left, jacket and all, and landed on the ball saving the sure goal and keeping his clean sheet. And so the game went on with breaks on by both sides and Spongebob and myself running ourselves “stukkend” from one end to the other. Johan, sporting his usual smoothed back hair and moustache could easily be mistaken on a dark night for Freddie Mercury, except if he sang, and then he would be found out. So Freddie Mercury was attacking down the left side pumping balls into the centre and Mighty Mouse on the right providing plenty of action in the centre. The 6,6 foot goalie managed to intercept most of the crosses frustrating the 5 ft tall Ronald and 6 ft Krusty. One cross from Mighty mouse came in low and, with an added advantage of a low centre of gravity, Ronald dived towards the ball and glanced the ball across his head and towards the back of the goals beating the goalie but not quite in the net. Krusty was somewhat flat-footed and couldn’t adjust himself in time to slot it into the back of the net and the ball passed safely into touch. Close call and Edgemead were under pressure. A through ball to the left wing saw Freddie Mercury screaming down the wing towards the goals. Edgemead’s centre back came across to intercept and just managed to get a tackle in but gave away a corner in the process. Mighty mouse, not known for his heading ability, took the corner and it’s trajectory was near to the front post just on the edge of the small box, too short for Liam Neeson. Krusty, anticipating that their forward-placed back would miss the header, bent slightly over and hit the ball in the centre of his head but with a half turn, bulleting the ball up into the top corner of the goal. 2-0 and 5 minutes left to play.

The rest of the game followed the same pattern with breaks on both sides but with solid defence and there were no more real threats on goal. The referee, who either took tranquilisers or had just come back from a month’s break in the Bahamas, never batted an eyelid to anything that happened in the game. Ever. And smiled and waved at every appeal from both sides. Admittedly, he was a potential candidate for the referee of the season. The game ended with handshakes all round and a beer reward in the change room afterwards. I had to fetch an offspring from the airport and left shortly after the game but stories of Ronald and Fred Flintstone getting waylaid in a pub somewhere in the Southern Suburbs buying shots all round soon emerged on the Saturday morning. It culminated in dropping poor Freddie Mercury off somewhere in Macassar at 1 in the morning and I have begun to understand why the lad is only allowed out once in a fortnight.

Great game by all who made it. Team line up was: Fred in goals, Capt Jack at right back, with Popeye and Satchmo in the middle and Penguin at left back. Midfield was Freddie Mercury, Spongebob, Mighty mouse and myself with Ronald Koeman and Krusty up front…. 11 starting and 11 finishing. Not pretty but good fun with a good bunch of lads from Edgemead still in the game for the fun. Three more points with one game to go….

Ladies, we play Old Mutual at home on Saturday in the season’s last league game. Don’t forget we have our semi-finals on 13 August at a neutral ground against Queens Park.