Match Report

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.

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.

And now for a word from our sponsors….

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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.

 

Cup 1/4 Finals-De Beers vs Old Mutual

11/07/2016

Hello Ladies

So this week we played in the quarter finals of the cup. Most managers would be proud of that achievement but given that there are only 8 teams in our division, and as a result everyone qualified for the quarter finals, I couldn’t take much credit. We were drawn against Old Mutual at home, one of the stronger teams in the division, and given our league game was marginal I wasn’t sure how things would pan out. Admittedly, I was apprehensive about the game given that Almiro was in Paris and he had scored 4 of the 5 goals in our 5-4 win over Old Mutual in our league game. Remove Almiro from the equation and we have a 4-1 defeat.  I have always said, ‘one man a team does not make’, all I had to do now was to believe it myself. Incidentally, I was accosted by some life members on the very same subject on Thursday evening, whilst enjoying a glass of wine or six with my female offspring in a local esteemed tavern. In my defence, I responded that I had given it lots of thought but off-record, I had no specific plan other than to field the best side available and hope like hell it would work out… in other words, I was following the same strategy I have all season long :-O

In an unexpected turn of events, Popeye (aka Richard Gurtel) granted himself shore leave for Saturday afternoon, leaving his boat moored at sea. His  Saturday guest appearance was intended to be at centre back but quite frankly he wondered around the field as if he was still on his boat tossed by the tides and waves adrift at sea. At one time, I ran back to cover centre back as he had a run up the left wing. For those close followers of the team, the pattern of Richard’s strategy when playing centre back is simple: beat the other guy to the ball…. kick it as hard as possible, if it is in the field of play, that’s win, if it goes to a player, a double win, if it’s one of our players, maximum points, …. simple and effective. So with Penguin out nursing an ankle injury, Popeye played centre back with Satchmo. Dave Lovell was sent out to guard the right back position and Johan at his usual haunt at left back. A note on that position… when we played Old Mutual away, they had a particularly fast lad… an over 60 who they continually play by kicking over the top and watching with glee as he outpaces all of us to the ball. They scored 4 out of 4 of their goals like that. I was delighted then when Johan said he was available because whilst they took pride in their speedster, they hadn’t had the misfortune of meeting Johan, probably the fastest over 45  in the Western Cape, maybe the Southern Hemisphere. Rumour has it he runs to practice by matching his speed against the Springboks just other side the fence. He was the plan… until they didn’t bring speedster along. Instead they pitched up with their semi-retirement side who, with a push, could field a side for the over 60’s league. I say this with no disrespect given the fact that they still practice and play regularly and indeed were competitive. In comparison, our side’s average age for Saturday was 50.6, only making the 50 with grateful contributions from Ronald Koeman, and Popeye.

So the first half started at a pedestrian pace with each side giving the other the ball without competition. At one stage, I even apologised to the referee for the pace of the game, albeit only to ensure he hadn’t lost interest or fallen asleep. He smiled and waved and I continued to encourage the lads to get stuck in. Incidentally, Byron was guest referee for the day and probably had the best game on the park. After the match, I asked him what he thought of our game…. he replied and said “It looks very interesting, what do you call it?” We struck early in the first half with a well directed shot at goal from Ronald Koeman. In my haste to chase up, I didn’t see the assist or in fact how on earth he even got in front of the goals, but his shot was on target and beat the goal keeper’s flailing hands as it was parried into the back of the net. I didn’t care who assisted or how he did it, we were one up in the cup.  As a player-manager, and in my case, catering manager, report writer, shirt washer and occasionally the side’s financier, it’s difficult to remember when things happen. Sometimes I recall if the goal came in the first or second half, but most of the time, I cannot recall around what time it happens and who was responsible, causing me to misreport the events. One thing is for sure and that is I remember us winning or losing, which for me 75% of the way into the season is sufficient.

Dereck anything-but-Tame, was in the form of his life and wasn’t about to be shown up by Ronald Koeman. To be honest, I cannot recall if Dereck’s goal came before his miss or the other way round. All I know is the he did in fact score the second goal slotting it into the net in a similar fashion to Ronald. What is more memorable is the miss unfortunately, which was more improbable than him scoring. A cross from the left (Neil if I recall correctly) and all Dereck anything-but-Tame had to do was get in the way and it would ricochet into the it back of the net. Instead he swung his foot, using a backswing that almost touched his shoulder blade and from 1 metre out scooped the ball over the bar and outside the park. I asked him what he was being paid to miss, it was so mis-timed…. Unfortunately I cannot, in words, display his reaction. Nevertheless we were two up by half time and I felt a little easier.

Misguided into a false sense of security, I made wholesale changes with Spongebob replacing Koeman, Spike letting Stuart make a comeback appearance and Dave using his usual limp to organise himself an early beer so that Wayne, pirate of the Afrikaburn go to represent us out to right back. Neil had asked earlier to be subbed but seem to have recovered from his 20m run and decided to stay on provided he didn’t have to run too much. So unlike the over 45’s I thought…But Old Mutual weren’t about to lie down and go away. They came back fighting and pressed high, winning a handball outside the right hand side of the box. It was deja vu moment for me but dismissing it thinking I have Popeye and Satchmo with height, I let it go. Krusty was giving his usual directions outside the box and everyone was ignoring him as usual. But sure enough, the ball came across to the back post, landing squarely on a big forehead belonging to a green clad abdomen and bulleted into the back of the net. At 2-1, things got a bit tighter and we defended as much as we were pressed. A break-through came whilst Old Mutual were pressing highly and suddenly, it was the Old Mutual centre forward with a one-on-one with Kurt. In the confines of my mind, I could already imagine writing a report about how we gave away a 2-0 lead to go out of the cup… I was dreading what I thought was to come. Into the big box came the big striker and boof went his shot at goal and it was on target too. At this juncture, I certainly don’t want to take anything away from Kurt’s swoop down to collect the ball, comparable to a 50 kilogram bag of wheat falling from a truck, and with the same grace too. Admittedly, he was nimble for a significant fella, but I have to thank the ground staff for the thick grass now growing in the box which could slow a greased cannonball from a speed of 150km/hour to zero in 5 meters. But what a save and a huge relief could be heard from the crowds gathered at the sideline. With the score still at 2-1, another goal would’ve really put us under pressure.

Kurt has a habit of kicking the ball from hand upfield with a close to 90⁰ elevation. I have often winced at how close to the floodlights he has kicked and if I could at all be held liable for his actions given that I am his manager and responsible for playing him in goals. However, this has nothing to do with the fact that Krusty wasn’t about to let Dereck’s miss be the only memorable one for the day. So imagine a similar situation as Dereck’s first half miss where Krusty is in the small box and receives the ball across the goals. In his defence, he was facing the wrong way but at least had some control over the ball. With a twirl and a swing, he would’ve made the score 3-1 only he managed, somehow, to also put it over the bar and I began to suspect that there was an outbreak of a scoop virus. Suddenly Spongebob, back after a two-week layoff from a knee injury, managed to tear, strain or pull something in his right leg and sent Ronald Koeman on again whilst Stuart, having played full out for a whole 5 minutes, subbed himself back off for Spike so he could catch his breath. Spike must get a mention here as he is enjoying great form and looks like a rejuvenated youth running around the field tackling like Eben Etzebeth at a North-South derby, only effectively and cleanly. One-such tackle saw Spike take possession of the ball and lift it over the Old Mutual defensive line into an open space providing Dereck an opportunity to run onto it and at goal. With incredible calmness and composure, Dereck nothing-but-Tame collected the ball onto his chest, brought it down to his feet and slotted it into the far corner of the net beyond the goalie’s outstretched hands. Remarkable play from the lad often ripped apart for missing from 3 feet and letting his performance do the talking. So 3-1 up and we were a little safer.

Seeing Stuart on the side of the field was an envious sight and not wanting him to get too complacent, I subbed myself for the last 5 minutes sent him on to do the holding midfield role. Bizarre thing is, we played a 25 minute first part, had a water break, played another 5 minutes then had half time. After half time, we played a 50 minute second three quarters with no water break. At one point, I thought the ref was hoping to be in charge of extra time and a penalty shootout simply for his amusement. I suspect at some point he realised that no-one would’ve made the extended play and was ready to blow full time. In the final minute, Ronald Koeman picked up the ball in the midfield, played off Krusty, received the return pass and was set for goals. With the speed and agility not seen for years from the lad, he was on track for goals with one thought in mind… to survive the afternoon heat… and maybe score a second. Given the opening goal, I was convinced it was going to be 4-1 until Koeman shot at goals, or at something he saw other than the goal… maybe a bird or reconnaissance plane or something because the ball disappeared into the clouds and had to be fetched in Macassar. Even the referee had had enough by then and called for time. In the post-match interview, Koeman admitted to being a little out of practise.

And so it ended at 3-1 and we’re in the semi-finals of the cup. It was great to see Mr Thomson, the club’s president and some of the life members Johnny, Greg and Chris coming down to support. A few Snoek, compliments of Kurt proving he can catch something was enjoyed by all and down-downs for Satchmo as man of the match and Mackie from Old Mutual. Well-deserved from the big lad too as he would’ve made a fortune had he been a prize bull, because he covered the whole field and everyone on it. Nothing got past him making us midfielders brave enough to venture upfield in an attempt to score. It was good to see the lads from Old Mutual stay and have a few with us, probably thanks to Johnny and Greg who have close ties with the club and hopefully the relationship between the two clubs will continue to remain. They wished us luck for the next round and promised to bring a more competitive side for the return leg of the league.

I was immensely proud of the display the lads put on. Every one played their hearts out and gave 100% for 100% of the game, just as I had asked…surprising perhaps, but encouraging most definitely so.

We now have 3 League games left, 2 of which are at home against YMO and Old Mutual. In the middle of the two is the Edgemead game and of course one, or two cup games, depending on how well we play.

So it’s the second last home game this Saturday against YMO at 14h00. So pull up your panties ladies and get ready for the home straight of the season.

Match 12-De Beers vs YMO St. Lukes

16/07/2016

Hello Ladies

I deservedly got stick in the change room during the post-game debrief yesterday after my antics on the field. I have to concede that I wasn’t the prime example of how to contain emotion and adrenaline in a scrappy game of which I was probably the epicentre of the chaos. My post-match apologies to the ladies watching and to the ladies in the change room didn’t seem to have an effect on anyone and I was mocked like the town jester in shackles in the town square. Given that each and every one of the lads are such good sports when they are often the object of my dark sense of humour, it goes without saying that when the lads gave it back to me with equivalent scorn, I had to smile and wave…but let’s get to the report

As has become the norm, YMO, our opposition for the day, were loitering in the car park half an hour before kick-off with a full team, a few substitutes and some aficionados to boot, whilst I was frantically recounting all 5 of my squad hoping in so doing, I would get to the right number. I stood wondering if I would ever have all 11 (even without substitutes) on the field,  all warmed up and chomping at the bit 15 minutes before kick-off ….the thought seemed like a fantasy from a distant country which televises its fixtures internationally and I suddenly understood why our games are never televised. I digress. In the same carpark, their distinguished goalkeeper coolly informed me that they had beaten Chelsea. In the cup.  4-1. At Chelsea L.A. On Astroturf ! If I wasn’t rattled yet, I was then, given we had lost 3-1 to Chelsea on same turf a few weeks back. I set out pensively looking for more of our players.

The YMO are a nice bunch of lads…. usually, but sadly the familiar lads were set to pasture on the side-line whilst the thugs took to the field. In particular was a large right wing with a frame that looked like it was hung out on a clothes hanger to be shaped and a head as square as Frankenstein’s, only as he was brought up on the Cape Flats, was bald and dark-skinned. There were no visible marks of major implants into his skull either that I could see. Throw in a large pair of Schwarzenegger-like dark glasses and you have your man, for the record hereinafter to be referred to as Arnie (Schwarzenneger). On the opposite side of their attack was a lad they called “John”; but we called some other name which I cannot repeat on a family match report. He was shorter, more skilful but obviously used to playing rugby league or some other physical game, certainly not soccer. Ironically, he kept on telling me we couldn’t play soccer to which I continually responded by referred him to the scoreboard for another opinion.

It was probably not 15 minutes into the game when our trio up front of Ronald Koeman, Krusty and Mighty mouse were causing a hindrance to their backline. Incidentally, Warren was told to play lone striker to which he promptly responded by spending the afternoon on the wing – Managerial lesson 101 – don’t play a lad out of his position. Unsurprisingly a ball crossed across to Mighty Mouse saw him speed into the box, short pins moving at an imperceptible pace, culminating in him slotting the ball across the butler-like goalie into the far corner of the net. One-Nil and I was wondering who they had fielded in their 4-1 win over Chelsea. A few minutes later, I found myself out on the left with a perfect through-ball from Krusty and into the box with a one-on-one with the goalie. I took it past the tall gent wondering if I should submit my apology for doing so, to his right and tapped it into the goals… only it wasn’t hard enough and it stopped ON THE LINE… The goalie got back and mis-kicked the ball causing it to roll further on the line and was only cleared when their centre back came and cleared the ball into touch. I was gutted.

It was about that time when things went pear-shaped. Arnie got stuck into me, hacking me from the back which I initially brushed aside as a late tackle. However, he then he got stuck into Capt Jack (aka Wayne, Pirate of Afrikaburn) by jumping onto his foot. Now for those who know Capt. Jack, he is the most polite, quiet and courteous fellow this side of the Kalahari. Up to that point, Capt Jack had been slightly disengaged and enjoying a friendly game out. However, Mr Hyde came of the Dr Jekyll and Capt Jack became a ferocious left back,  attacking the ball and player alike and defending like a Trojan. Long grey locks flying in the wind, he refused to smile at anything and gave better than he got.  Meantime, the YMO centre forward Dick John,  collected the ball just outside the big box  and managed to get a shot at goals which Kurt stopped but dropped in front of him. The big lad bravely went down and fell onto the ball at precisely the same moment Arnie chased up and decided to put his laces into the ball, and possibly Kurt’s ribs at the same time. It was unbelievable that in an Over 45 game, someone would swing his foot through the ball when the goalie is on it, but he did. For me, it was the third time and one time too many. Anything but calm, I stuck three fingers in poor Shepherd’s face (referee for the day) unbashfully recommending a card, of any colour, even black if it was available, else the lad to go off and get coitus. Courageously Shepherd wouldn’t budge, gave a free kick and Kurt, to my surprise, eventually rose, as from the dead, and took it. I suspect it was this incident that tipped me over the edge because after that I didn’t see the game in the same light as before. In my mind, we were playing Game of Thrones and I wasn’t going to lose.

Second half came and the same aggression continued. We were awarded a free-kick some 10 metres outside the big box with Ronald Koeman lining himself up behind the ball. I went into the wall and had some argy-bargy with some grumpy fellow who had a lazy eye. I personally thought it was a little unfair because I never knew if he was looking at me or a player beside me and was tempted to ask him to look my way on both accounts if he was going to play “who-has-the-biggest-chest”.  Ronald however, took a short run up and in Bale*-like fashion, drove the ball into the top corner past the butler’s outstretched palms (*Replace with Ronaldo if you are Portuguese). Two-Nil and I felt a little better.  Meanwhile, on the other side, YMO broke through on goals and shot at goals with venom. Kurt, narrowing the angle and covering his near post lunged with a grunt to his left landing both hands on the ball and pushing it behind for a corner. A short while later another free-kick to us and another YMO lady had a problem with me, asking me why I play like I do when I am an old man. In my mind it was like Zuma calling Gengus Khan a cheat, philanderer and generally immoral, so I suggested he have intercourse with himself. In retrospect, it was possibly not the forum to discuss those issues in front of the ladies  and I accept my inaccurate assessment of the circumstances. Nevertheless, he decided to show me his chest hairs and I responded accordingly by showing him mine. At this point, a most peculiar thing happened. Krusty told me to settle down. Completely out of character and remarkably mature of the lad, so much so that it stunned me into reality and I took a step back. At that time, I insisted we put more pressure on YMO and Mighty Mouse took it to heart. He rushed the keeper on a back pass and blocked a clearance with the ball going back towards the YMO goal. It went into the goal but (apparently) didn’t cross the line and rolled out the other side. Those sitting on the sidelines were convinced it had crossed the line but with our goal line technology being on the blink for the day, we had to accept that it wasn’t in.

Our two goal lead was short-lived and YMO came back and attacked. Dick John broke through the back line and into the box. Kurt came lurching out to meet him colliding with him in the big box but blocking the course of the ball. The ball ricocheted off Kurt and fell at the feet of some fortunate YMO midfielder who thought it was Christmas (or Eid as the case may be) in July and promptly shot at goals deflecting off Satchmo’s outstretched foot and ended up in the net. Capt Jack gave way to Dave for the last 20 and we clamped down the hatches… parked the bus… (read Chelsea). I swopped with Stevie retreating to right back to keep Dick John under control and Stevie lurked into the midfield with intent to do grievous bodily hard to anyone who got in the way. I’m not sure how it happened but he got entangled with a YMO lad and the two of them ended up on a pile on the ground. By this time Shepherd had changed from a soccer referee to an EFC umpire separating the two from slapping some handbags at each other. Stevie’s wrist was cut open but he didn’t have time to worry about it and pursued his man through the middle of the pitch. After a clearance, Ronald Koeman passed the ball to me and in protection mode, I shielded the ball only for Dick John to come through the back of me forcing me to stop my fall with my face. I reacted with anything but calm and suggested he was tantamount to a male sexual organ. It was all going south. Another clearance saw Ronald collect the ball, slot it through a channel for Stevie to run onto it towards goals. Stevie broke into the space, ran into the box and returned the pass to Ronald who, using the outside of his foot curled the ball round the butler into the back of the net. The whole of the YMO team screamed in protest like EFF supporters in Parliament shouting foul and offside and unfair or pay back the money, I really couldn’t care less at that stage. It was a great goal and a great assist from the one-time rugby lock.

Last 10 minutes saw the bus double up with anything went, from out the box kicking, to heading to clearing to the sidelines. The resurgent Spike ( who incidentally wanted to talk to me in the change rooms after the game), was defending like a pack of dogs on his own. Fiesty, running the field flat, the holding midfield role suited the lad and Stuart, who enjoyed a tremendous return to the field, played his socks off for the day. In fact, it is unfair to even name players lest one be left out, as there was not one player on that field who didn’t give their all. A team game played by a team, as a team.

Although Ronald got the man-of-the-match, all the ladies deserved the award. Great resolve, great courage and determination won on the day. I personally apologised on the field to the ladies in attendance and in the change room to the other ladies for my less-than-acceptable language and behaviour. Dereck would’ve been extremely disappointed at my display I know.

The lads from YMO stayed and devoured the Snoek like Packman consume discs in the final round of the game. Those who were left in awe of the astonishing feasting, were kicked out anyway in lieu of a teeny-bopper party and retreated to the Kelder for an after party. Satchmo was delighted as he kept on insisting his wife may busy even though it didn’t seem like it and we heard about your favourite locksmith who gave Kurt his house keys and hoped to find his car to take him home… which same car was at home.  Lizé is finally out of crutches driving again which means that Krusty can focus on soccer again and score goals and Clive insisted everything happens in 10 seconds. Crazy day, crazy evening…

Second last league game is against Edgemead away at Edgemead on Friday night at 19h00.

Match 11-De Beers vs Durbanville

28/06/2016

Morning Ladies

It has to be said that I was nervous about this game, not only because Durbanville are our main competition for winning the league, but also because they are unbeaten and, until yesterday, had only conceded one goal. The entire season. An own goal at that. No-one else had scored against them. It was also perturbing that I was lurking outside the change rooms in my jeans at 13h45 waiting for the other 6 players and Durbanville had already changed, walked to the field and were warming up already. Difference in commitment some passer by remarked. My response was “it doesn’t matter what you do before the game, its what you do during the game that counts…”. Regardless of whatever anyone said, I was sticking to that….

To be honest, the game is a bit of a blur for me. For the first 10 minutes of the first half, I thought that the wrong team had pitched up, because we had it that easy. We put them under pressure and Almiro collected the ball in the midfield dribbled through half of Durbanville and slotted it past the goalie into the net. We walked back for them to restart and I was secretly adding up how many goals I would be satisfied with. Too soon I guess, because that’s when everything went pear-shaped. Clearly Durbanville weren’t accustomed to conceding a goal, never mind being behind and it showed in their response. What started out as a friendly banter between old rivals became out-and-out aggression and attack, and not necessarily at the goals. I felt like I was part of a team EFC or mixed martial arts competition. I couldn’t hear myself think for the screaming and shouting that was going on. Durbanville also attacked poor Mike the referee at every decision he took, and he had a good game it has to be said, it was most bizarre. Mike showed a lot of character indeed, in the face of adversity reffing as fairly as possible whilst being castigated, criticised and cursed at by Durbanville. Almiro on the other hand, showed his years of experience by taking out at least two players that I saw, never mind what I missed. In the meantime, I had to defend myself in midfield with onslaughts from left and right, front and back, including a body check by the 300kg centre back. But fight back we did and bravely so. It was an even competition it has to be said because we had our chances but didn’t take them. Our best chance came from a one-on-one with their keeper but we  missed and they had the same opportunity in the second half and didn’t score either. With their onslaught on goal, Kurt saved the day by sticking a leg out at the last minute deflecting the shot for a corner, but did so in style with a graceful pirouette and landing on his buttocks as a result. It was a thunderous shot and to spin Kurt like a top indicated the strength of the shot. Kurt had a great game and was well-placed for all their shots, even getting a compliment from our local Godfather (aka Almiro). Mighty Mouse had the slip on their left back and beat him every time with pace but when the crosses came through, there weren’t enough bodies in the box to make a difference and the ball inevitably came out again.

Their tactics were simple…every ball out of their backline was aimed at their front man who looked like he was Goliath reincarnate. Even our strong tall centre back Ruben had little effect when jumping for the ball as  Goliath continued to flick the ball on or header towards goals. However, having said that, our backline was as solid as a rock with Davey and Ruben in the centre letting very little through and between Johan and Spike out on the sides, Durbanville had very little opportunity to get a shot at goals. In fact Spike having another cracker met their aggression with some of his own, earning himself a yellow in the process, but back down wasn’t an option for the lad and played hard throughout the game. Richard and Dereck had little opportunity up front probably because they were outnumbered 5 to 2 when they did get the ball with Almiro, Warren, Neil and myself struggling to cover the distance between defending and attacking quickly enough.

Midway through the second half, Durbanville were awarded a foul just outside the big box to the Keeper’s left. We formed a wall and my thought was “if they cross it to Goliath…” It didn’t take a rocket scientist to work out their tactics, particularly as I had it worked out already. Being extra medium in height, I knew that I didn’t stand a chance in defending the cross so I took the easy option of standing in the wall leaving the big lads at the back to fight it out. The cross landed squarely on Goliath’s forehead and bulleted into the back of the net. I learnt afterwards that Goliath has scored hat tricks this season, just from his head. They continued to put on the pressure after that but we defended well and had a couple of breaks which wasn’t supported enough from the midfield. The game ended 1-1 and was probably a fair result in the end given the play, but I felt like it was a loss. We had gone up early and a second goal would’ve sealed it I feel, but it wasn’t to be. Durbanville certainly wanted it more than us and fought hard for the full 70 minutes. We had patches of good play but probably didn’t deserve the win as we didn’t want it badly enough. They’re a side that practices regularly, the whole team I am told, and does drills for different scenarios. I suspect they probably feed Goliath some growth hormones at the same time because in our age group there are few so big and agile as the man. Even so, without him in the team, there aren’t really any threatening players who can score. Ah, hindsight is 20/20 vision indeed.

We play next week away to West End. A good bunch of lads and I look forward to the game. The week after that we play our cup game at home to Old Mutual and I suspect they will be visiting with a vengeance. We will be tight on numbers over the next few weekends with some players out due to injuries and travelling. We only had 11 players on Saturday so I am concerned about our next game already. I’m hoping for Gavin, Stevie, Stuart and Stephane to be back in action soon but I may have to recruit additional players to help out the numbers.

For the record, here are the numbers…we have 21 registered players of which 2 (Abel and Justin) play mainly over 40’s. We have 5 serious injuries aside from those who play with their injuries viz. Dezroy, Stuart, Gavin, Clive and Stephane. Stevie was under the instruction of his wife not to play yesterday and one player doesn’t play on Saturdays – Richard Gurtel. Do the numbers… 21-2-5-1-1=12 and Wayne picked up the dreaded lurgy at the last minute leaving us with 11. Almiro is away from today and Dereck is away for two weeks in July… we’re going to struggle. I have some potential recruits but we need the whole team back and fit as soon as possible.

Match 10-West End vs De Beers

04/07/2016

Morning Ladies

The lads at West End are always glad to have us over for the afternoon, for a few (or many) dops, a braai and then if we throw in a game of football in between, it just makes it a little better. It is always so humbling to travel to a community that isn’t wealthy but to be treated like we are in Premier Class. Salt of the earth lads who care less about the result as much as how much we enjoy ourselves.

During the week, I had a little wobbly thinking we didn’t have enough players counted by using all 10 fingers to count the confirmed players and coming to a round total of 10 (surprisingly). With this number, I published the team and immediately put in a request for a loan player from the “older” of the over 40’s, who I knew was playing at the same time. I also invited Dorian who practices with us regularly and had been considering joining. He initially declined citing a broken thumb but appreciated the invitation. Fritz, the over 40 ruler, has a squad of close to 50 and generously redeployed Justin for our game in Athlone. Justin always brings Grandoog along for the walk and who in his own right, is becoming familiar with the territory LA (Lower Athlone) treating it like a second home, mixing with the locals, discussing the finer nuances of our play and most importantly, finding out where the local pubs are. Amongst all the hype, I completely omitted Wayne from the line-up somehow, until Wayne asked where Wayne was playing. In retrospect, I probably got to 10 fingers and got stuck but regardless, was pleased when we could then travel to LA with 12. Dorian also  called and said he can play 1st half if I am still short. Caught between wanting a new recruit, bending the rubber rules of over 45 soccer, and with some experience of having lads call me at 13h00 advising me they are working/sick/kidnapped, I invited him to come along.

We played downhill and with the wind at our back in the first half but couldn’t get the ball into the goals. One of the reasons resulted in the ref’s arm eventually tiring from calling offside. And, when we did get it right, we didn’t get a real shot on goals. Fortunately, we were solid at the back with the usual back 4 of Penguin, Satchmo (aka Ruben), Dave and Justin ensuring that anything near the goals was immediately neutralised and extinguished.  In the middle of the park, Dorian was holding with Spike in the first half and Ronald Koeman, Krusty and myself in the middle with Dereck-anything-but-Tame up front. Fortunately, the West End goalie had about as much potency in his kicks as my grandmother on a day of vodka down-downs, and several of our midfielders/forwards picked up the ball on the edge of the goals but couldn’t put it away. Reminded many of us of our youth. Most of the game was played in the middle of the park with the occasional through-pass (generally offside) but it was still goalless at half-time.. Frustrated, we decided to play shorter balls to the forwards and run through with return passes, thereby hopefully beating the offside trap. At the same time, we had to ensure we continued to defend bravely with the wind behind the opposition. By that time Braaimaster Stevie was on the field replacing Dorian and Justin took a rest for Wayne. Wayne confirmed that had recovered from his dreaded lurgy which kept him out of last week’s clash and that he had specifically gotten home early to ensure he made it to the ground. Suitably impressed, I was expected good things from Wayne and he didn’t let the side down.

Early in the second half, Clive played a through ball to Krusty who outpaced the opposition and slotted the ball underneath the dive of the goalie to slot De Beers into a 1-0 lead. The second goal followed shortly after that with a dribble in the midfield that saw the ball ricochet off my legs beyond the defender and Krusty was through on goals again scoring the second in similar fashion. We struggled a bit from then on, for reasons only known to the likes of Pep, José or Jürgen , we had to defend as West End broke through our defences several times, getting a few shots on goals and winning some nerve-racking corners. One of the corners was sent to the back half of the small box and with no-one meeting the corner in the air and clearing, the ball bounced into the small box. Unless there was low-speed cameras to capture what followed, most of it would’ve been missed. There was a flurry of feet swinging, hands flailing, shouting, shuffling, pushing pulling, and probably some pinching and biting too, but it ultimately resulted in the ball rolling softly and slowly into the back of the net whilst everyone watched on helplessly. With the score now at 2-1, West End had a resurgence and started to put pressure on us. Their 3 foot 4 inch right wing broke away with a ball passed in behind Wayne, and ran towards goals with his eyes blazing with glory lust. Kurt lumbered out to meet him making himself larger than life (no comments here from the peanut gallery), but the lad cracked a shot away whilst still about 15 meters out, hitting Kurt’s legs and going behind for a corner. Great closing down by the big number 1 and reports of the short attacker having a look of fear in his eyes when he looked up to see Kurt bearing down on him, were later denied by their manager. Shortly thereafter and a ball rolled across the big box and a cracker shot at the goals was on target to equal the score. A heave, hurl, grunt (and some other less-known noises) later, Kurt leaped into the air, reaching up and pushing the ball over the bar, followed by a half twist and pike dive to his right landing in a heap on the ground. Pats on his back all round and with that save, and the lad knew he was in with a shot at man-of-the-match. About 5 minutes from time, still under pressure, we broke and quickly passed the ball up front but too quick as their keeper managed to collect it. What followed was unanimously voted as the moment of the match. The West End goalie (see kicking prowess above) who, at that stage was way out on the right had side of his goals, used his usual tap to clear the ball. Sadly, it went all of 10 meters, across the goals and landed squarely at Dereck’s feet. With a yawning, open goals, Dereck, just outside the big box, couldn’t resist it and kicked the ball forward. Not at the goals. At the corner flag. In the air. And then went to retrieve it. Indeed, such was his kick that it went high in the air, to the right of the goals, in fact, more like towards the corner flag. It was also slowed in the wind and was retrieved by Dereck himself who passed back to Stevie to cross it into the box. Some say he was trying a Eden Hazard pass to himself, others say he got stage fright but it was nevertheless a strange strategy, effective but strange, as most would’ve gone straight for goals.

And that’s how it ended. 2-1 to De Beers and another 3 points  under the belt. Afterwards, we were treated to a beer, some Snoek and salads and a hearty cheer for the men of the match-Kurt and Lange. Notable performance put in by Spike in the holding midfield with the same solid performance at the back from the tight four. Afterwards the ref asked me where Dorian was. I said he had an injured thumb. He told me I was talking sh*t, and he had gone to play for his other club. I was astounded but the ref assured me that they didn’t mind, as he was over 45 and for them, playing De Beers was what it was all about with the result being a matter for the records.

I can personally state without equivocation, that I would play at West End on any day of the week, with one change-room, cum bar cum dining room for all, than at any other club in our league. Solid lads who love the game and enjoy our friendship and will always treat us well. The contrast between the brawl that was Durbanville and the jokes and fun on Saturday, are worlds apart but West End get my vote!

It’s the cup this Saturday lads against Old Mutual at home. Please bring your “A” game as it is the ¼ finals of the cup.

Match 9-Chelsea vs De Beers

20/06/2016

Hello Ladies

Friday night saw our rampant run of triumphs come to a disappointing death. The squad plagued by injuries and holiday makers, went down to 11 men on the day when the 12th man relented to a virus which saw him prefer the inside of a doctor’s waiting room than the Astroturf of the Chelsea side in L.A. (Lower Athlone). Chelsea were reluctant to postpone having had a few postponements already in the bag and were concerned that their fixtures would run into January 2017. We reluctantly conceded, simply because I’d missed the 10-day notice for postponement and having being advised by the club’s ex-captain that CTTFA doesn’t consider a long weekend as a cause for postponement. So Friday night we  traveled with our motley crew to the Cape Flats to take on the blue-shirted men of Chelsea.

Playing on the flat, even Astroturf, takes some getting used to; even bounce, ball rolling as well as the absence of the usual bounce we’ve come to expect playing on our home pitch. But moreover is the speed of the surface which ultimately proved to play a significant role in the difference between the two teams. Flat passes rolled off the field away from chasing players similar to chasing a Formula 1 car down Kloof road. And, those passes that were airborne, skidded off the surface like a Waboba ball off the water  making most of the team look like left-footed netball players on an ice-hockey rink playing with a tennis racquet. The only think that skidded faster than the ball off the pitch was a ball off Gavin’s shiny dome when he leaped all of 6 inches to flick a ball to Dereck up front.

Be that as it may, it was early in the first half when Stephane, our short Frenchman and youngest player in the side, chased a ball controlled by a notable speedster, succeeding to avert the attack only to be pushed off the ball, stand sideways and twist his ankle onto his calf. Our gallant Captain came over to comfort him and said, “Get up, we’re only 11 men”. Being European and all, Stephane remarked that Richard had less empathy than Hitler. Stephane, aka Penguin, took a little water in and hobbled back onto the field under duress to continue playing, only to suffer the same fate a few minutes later and twist same ankle bouncing onto the pitch, arms flapping in character. This time it was over for him and he spent the rest of the night on the sideline shouting “Viva la Debeers” in true cultural fashion. Down to 10 men, the team rallied together and covered as many bases as possible but the inevitable happened around 10 minutes from half-time. Chelsea came down the center of the park and into the box. Gavin trundled over intercepting and cleared the ball straight to a Chelsea player on the left side of the box who took aim and cleared all the heads with his shot into the opposite top corner over Clive’s outstretched hands. It wasn’t fair that they used height to score, particularly as Clive isn’t the tallest lad on the pitch and could well end up suffering from a complex as a result. Having said that, Clive had an outstanding game in goals. Shortly before that, he was diving horizontally like an Eagle in full flight swooping down on a prey, talons outstretched, grasping the ball securely to his chest. A few moments later, Clive was rushing a striker, going down at his feet collecting the ball and the players bootlaces simultaneously. Clive stayed down having collected it on the troublesome knee… had it been anywhere else, even his face, he would’ve been fine but not on the knee. He stood up eventually and limped back into the goals to continue. Justin, making a guest appearance for the night along with the club’s most gracious supporter Grandoog,  who was incidentally sitting miserably on the sideline without a drop of alcohol to quench his thirst, had a sterling game at left back thundering up and down the left wing. Sometime in the second half he found himself outside the bog box and took a low shot at the keeper’s near post which was collected, though fumbled, by the Chelsea no.1. Half-time came and we were only 1 down. The lads were working hard indeed and the sweat was visible on everyone’s brow, but we were optimistic we could pull one back.

Second half saw a fresh sets of legs from Chelsea and the onslaught continued. It was the like the battle of Blood River with wave after wave of blue warriors coming at us on the left flank, right flank and through the middle. A through ball from the middle to their speedy right wing saw their second goal of the night. Clive had no chance of stopping it and it was clear that the fatigue was starting to show. However, the lads from De Beers never gave up and at times, some excellent one-touch passing saw us attacking down the left and right wings. Neil was always available out on the left cutting in and shooting at the keeper, ensuring he was awake and ready. Remarkably, Neil also took a nasty bump off the ball landing on his head. Fortunately, the Astro was fine being rubber and Neill rubbed his head, without saying a word and continued to press. A pass down the right flank to Mighty Midget saw him rush into the big box alongside the Chelsea’s bouncer, a six and a half foot, 140 kilograms of meat center back. Fortunately with Mighty Midget’s pace, he got ahead but was taken out badly almost making his spectacles instantly into contact lenses and the ref blew for a penalty. In an unforeseen act of reckless generosity, Captain Richard gave Spongebob aka Gavin, the ball and invited him to have a dip. Cool as a cucumber, Spongebob slotted the ball on the floor to the keeper’s left whilst the keeper went searching for a non-existent ball on the right. 2-1 and we were in with a shot.

Stevie was playing like an absolute trooper on the right hand rear-guard, supporting Dave who had become the centre backs on his own, shouting out commands to all and sundry, clearing the ball, dribbling up through the middle and shepherding any attack into the by-line. It was a fine display from the lad despite his health and pain. I helped out playing center back but drifted into midfield every so often to help spur on attacks. At one point, I passed the ball to Krusty (see The Simpsons – aka Richard) who was ruthlessly scythed from the rear by a flying tackle, studs showing bringing the mummified man to a crumbling heap on the field. The lad and I exchanged a couple of suggestions as to what to do, none of which may be repeated on a family match report but fortunately blew over quickly without any handbags landing. {Sidenote: As I stood there, in L.A. (Lower Athlone – on the Cape Flats), the only thought I had was if the lad was carrying a knife or not but I guess that’s what you get from taking advice from Almiro). Krusty was helped off the field and the balance of  9 played on regardless.

The rest of the game followed the same pattern of breakaways with us chasing followed by a counter attack. However, getting into their box was difficult even with Krusty coming back onto the field. We played on doggedly but the midfield struggled with one man short, and to be honest, we were always chasing the game. One particular break saw a shot at Ronald Koeman’s (aka Clive) near post. Koeman did a triple salto with a half twist and pushed the ball past the post. It must be said that the lad can do marvellous things with that torso for a 54 year young man. Everyone gave 100% for 100% of the game. At one point, I called the line at the back pushing everyone out only to see Dereck lagging behind. He seemed somewhat stunned to be pushed out, probably wondering how he had fallen so deep to help out the backline. Either that or how he could be offsides. That proved how much everyone gave on the night. But inevitably the 10 vs 11 and the fast pitch to which we were unaccustomed got the better of us. We weren’t able to pull a second one back and 5 minutes from time they broke again and scored. I am not certain what those lads eat in L.A. but I personally want some of it.

Afterwards, we were treated to a couple of beers, Snoek and good hospitality. Puzzlingly, they decided to nominate our man of the match and Mighty Mouse had a shot of whiskey with wine as a mixer. Warren, the sporting young lad he is, downed it in about the same pace as he covers 20 metres leaving their candidate struggling for breath. Real trooper is our Mighty Mouse. They’re actually a decent bunch indeed and after much laughter and socialising, we left. They were sure glad to treat us because they wanted to reciprocate the way we treated them when they came to De Beers. It is always good to be complimented on our hospitality though we would’ve preferred the points.

Well, for the record, I was an extremely proud manager. The lads worked hard and given the fact that we were 10 men, showed true courage and spirit. Here are the names of the lads who stood up to the challenge : Ronald Koeman (Clive), Stevie, Dave, Penguin (Stephane), Justin, Mighty Mouse (Warren), Krusty the clown (Richard), Spongebob (Gavin), Neil and Dereck. Well done lads.

We play Drubanville, nope, that’s not a typo at home at 14h00. I plan to play on our D field so the game will be tighter and hopefully, we can take some revenge!

Match 8-Queens Park vs De Beers

06/06/2016

Morning Ladies

Friday night saw the spirit of De Beers personified in the away game against Queens Park. Here was the state of play in the beginning of the week: –

Total registered players = 20

Injuries

Stuart – Iron deficiency, calf strain, Achilles injury – Surgery Scheduled 08/09/2016

Dezroy – Snapped Achilles – Surgery completed but still in rehab

Clive – Splintering Cartlidge

Richard Gurtel – Strained Quad

Stephane – strained hamstring

Spike – strained hamstring

Richard Goncalves – Strained calf muscle, gammy knees

Neil Lawrence – Groin strain

Dave Lovell – Piriformis syndrome

Yours truly – Groin strain

For the more numerically astute, it won’t be difficult to work out that we were short of numbers before we even began. I was reluctant to try postpone the game because the CTTFA are dead set against it and it just means prolonging the season for the club’s veterans. I confirmed the game and sought players to travel through to Cape Town. With three of our regular “fit” players out due to work and family commitments, we were tight on numbers. However, we were still able to field 11 players  and traveled with the following squad to the Cape: Kurt (goals), Ruben, Stephane, Dave and Wayne (making his season debut) at the back. Gavin, Spike, Steve and Neil in the midfield and Dereck up front with a welcome return from Richard Goncalves playing up front but deeper than usual. Clive came along for support and technical advice. It can be noted that 5 of these lads were playing with injuries and there was perhaps never a better time to name the team Amakrokakroka!

The first half saw us playing with the wind but not able to get close to scoring. The field was quite small and several attempted through-balls to Dereck as the main striker didn’t quite come off due to the wind taking the ball away. That plus the fact that the ref seemed to pick up an offside everytime we collected the ball inside their half. Other than that, the only time we heard the ref’s whistle was starting and finishing a half. He had clearly picked up on Jason’s “Play-on” philosophy which states, “…unless the ambulance is required, it is deemed to be a fair tackle..”. At one time in the second half, Dereck was on track for a one-on-one with the keeper when he got savagely attacked from the back causing a nasty, deep gash on his calf. On closer inspection after the game, the medical team (myself and Dereck) decided that stitches weren’t an option simply because there wasn’t any skin to draw over the wound. At the time Dereck indicated that he wanted to be subbed. But as I was far enough away, I smiled and waved, gave him the thumbs up and ignored him. Gutted, he played on leaving a blood trail on the pitch. Stephane obviously took strain as he ran around the field with his hand on the back of his leg shouting “sacré bleu!” in a vain attempt to relieve the pain of the hamstring. Neil kept on going down on his haunches to relieve the groin strain and Dave looked like it was uncomfortable for him to stand, never mind run after the ball. Richard took a tumble on the brink of half time and never got up. Even the ref came to help with the cramp but get up he did and despite my protests, carried on. Spike ran around the field like a rejuvenated youth but with a permanent grimace on his face indicating the discomfort he was experiencing. As sick as what it sounds, it was a lovely site to see. Grown men gritting their jaws and chasing the ball with determination around on a very cold night in the city bowl against the biting wind. Real troopers they were!

The breakthrough came in the second half when Dereck picked up on a through ball and took a shot at the keeper. The keeper, who was having a good game, dived to his right getting behind the ball but fumbled the ball where Richard following up, collected it and put it into the back of the net. Playing against the wind, Neil suggested we tighten up in the midfield and defend which worked well. We held our own and Ruben, Dave, Stephane and Wayne intercepted passes, tackled and shepherded all and any attacks to the byline or cleared it to the midfield. Kurt had only one scare on the night which he saw off after a clash with their Captain (Bashir) in the 6 yard box resulting in a corner. Wayne, who probably walked to the ground from his Cape Town home, looked alive and incredibly mobile for someone coming back from Afrikaburn and played as if he was on trials for La Liga. Curly hair flowing in the wind, he looked like a flower power child but played like a Trojan, cutting off every right flank attack. Gavin played a more advanced role assisting Richard, and Spike a more defensive role in the midfield confronting their midfield when they advanced too far into our half. I actually wish I had had any input into the tactics because they worked out perfectly, only I didn’t. Stevie and Neil kept running up and down the flanks with Neil looking particularly menacing with his crosses and cutting into the center. Stevie kept tearing back to help defend only to have to turn around to collect Richard’s passes out to him on the wing. Afterwards he admitted that the tackle from behind on a defender was nothing more than him running out of steam and falling over. The second goal came late in extra time, probably at least 10 minutes into injury time. Richard collected the ball and after making space for himself, produced a magnificent long-range, low strike aimed at the bottom right hand corner of the goals. It swerved just as it got to the goals and into the corner to beat the goalie and landed up in the back of the net. Everyone was silent because it was such a long-shot and no-one expected it or was even sure if it was inside or outside the net…until someone cheered and the ref blew for the goal. Straight after that, the ref conceded the game was over and called full-time.

Afterwards, we went to change only to discover that the change room was being used as an overnight hotel to an otherwise-homeless couple, already setting their bed up (or down as the case may be) for the night. They had a 5 liter wine bottle which was already half finished and at that point, looked as if they were only starting to settle down for a nightcap. We withdrew to the home team’s change-rooms only to find it transformed into an open-plan kitchen where we were treated to some of the best halaal chicken rotti’s we’ve ever tasted. That and coffee/cooldrink made us feel like welcome guests. Rumours of past days of animosity started by Wayne and Kurt were dismissed as urban legends and we enjoyed an incredible atmosphere with mates in football. Fortunately for Dave, our planner extraordinaire, Wayne, brought some beers to quench the thirst. In respect, these were enjoyed outside in the night breeze (read as icy-wind) whilst some stayed inside socialising with the very hospitable crowd from Queens Park. We left with agreements of friendlies, family gatherings and another round of rotties with the women whilst their men played an away game. For the record, I wasn’t involved in that round of negotiations.

Before the game, I told the lads that we had a lot of injuries so we should just enjoy the game. I said we normally conceded the points so any result would be welcome. I suggested that perhaps we should play deep and score on the break-away. Truth be told, I was hoping for a draw, given the injuries. Well, I am not sure if that sunk in at all but for the Amakrokakroka to come away with a hard-earned 2-0 victory made me proud. Well-done lads on another sterling performance!

Fortunately, we have a two-week break before the next game away to Chelsea B who are 3rd on the log. Should be a tough game indeed!

Have a good rest lads.

Match 7-De Beers vs Queens Park

30/05/2016

Morning Ladies

What an amazing game on Friday night indeed. In previous years, I was told that due to the nature of the Queens Park, we didn’t play them in away games and chose rather give them the points. It had something to with their change rooms or lack thereof, the fact that they never fed us, didn’t “drink” with us, were dirty players and always had a bias ref. The picture conjured in my mind was one of 11 teetotalling gangstas stripping in the open, out to win the fight if they didn’t win the game, only to celebrate afterwards with a Coke© (That would be a Coca cola and not the other type). If that wasn’t enough to make me apprehensive, the fact that we only had 11 players in total did, and it included Clive who had been out for a number of weeks due to injury. Fortunately, he agreed to come down not because I invited him, but because I actually begged him. The fact that he was out of breath walking up the stairs to the bar before the game didn’t alley my fears either. Queens Park arrived with 16 players, some of which were recognised from the over 35’s and over 40’s, exacerbating my elevated anxiety. I threatened to check cards and their captain laughed nervously so I suspected not everything was above board. And finally, when we agreed to the standard rolling subs, knowing I only had 11 players, I really started getting stressed.

We also had the dubious good fortune of having the Club Chairman reffing our game, accompanied by his good wife, Mrs Chairman. We had to be on our best behaviour as a result and visions of Almiro, Richard and Neil in past games made me say a silent prayer. Jason advised me before-hand that he liked to let the game flow, but never in the confines of my mind did I ever imagine it would be to the degree he let it flow. I suspect the only foul he would’ve blown for on the night would’ve been a Chuck Norris roundhouse to the jaw or stud marks on the back of a player’s shirt. In fact, there were actually several incidents during the match when even the fouling player lifted his hands apologetically after going through the back of another player and everyone stopped playing to take the foul.  Everyone except of course for the ref who didn’t consider the incident the least bit offensive. Play on, he would wave. It can however be noted that his style changed as the game progressed. It went like this:-

Player fouls another player.

Everyone stops playing.

Transgressor backs away from the ball.

Ball stops and victim glances at ref.

Referee concedes and blows whistle.

Play continues….

I digress…

We started the game well, passing and moving forward. Within the first 20 minutes we managed to get in the danger area and the permanently on-form Clive scored the first after the ball bounced loose in the box. Clive’s second was similar following up on a shot parried by the keeper in the small box which went straight past the keeper who seemed to be glued to the spot. Dereck, on the other hand, looked like he was cause,  standing on the goalies toes at the time, looked completely unphased as they all appealed for offside.

Half time came and we were 2-0 in the lead, with the knowledge that a goal conceded would bring them back into game. Iron-tight defence Ruben and Richard Gurtel playing at centre back did a sterling job keeping the defence solid, although I am not sure where Richard Gurtel was playing at times, as he was further forward than me playing in the right midfield. Richard Gurtel, born in 58 and currently 58, did well given that he hasn’t played for a few years and ran for the entire 70 minutes, not always in the right direction but ran nonetheless. Dave at right back, had an outstanding game as well, covering me when I got lost and backing Ruben up when Richard Gurtel went on one of his walkabouts. The talismanic Johan played at left back ran up and down the left wing crossing balls across the goals at 298km/h. His performance has caused some to enquire as to what exactly he eats. Frightening pace and thunderous crosses have been the service to which the forwards have become accustomed, so he is doing something right. At one point, he cut in towards the goals and released a shot/cross which everyone missed and which missed everyone, fortunately. I suspect that no-one actually wanted to get on the end of it lest it broke a leg or left them with concussion. Anyway, play on…

Neil, back at left mid/wing, had some cracker runs up the left firing in two great shots at goal and scoring from one of them. The rejuvenated Neil scored a second later on following up on a shot parried by the keeper, latched onto by Clive and shot in again, defended again and finally fired home by Neil, lifting the back of the net into the night air. The 5th of the 5 -0  victory came from Almiro carrying the ball up the middle of the park, dribbling through a few players (which could’ve been De Beers or opposition I can’t recall), and then shooting from around 15 yards (12,3 metres for the younger folk on the new metric system) outside the big box. The left foot scorcher was placed neatly in the back of the Queens Park far corner net whilst everyone watched in amazement. Different level indeed and the WAGS in attendance certainly couldn’t say that particular play was like watching the Premier League in slow motion. Kurt kept a clean sheet, covering his front post well from the few shots they had on goal and even Dereck, although wasn’t lucky enough to get on the score sheet, worked like a Trojan up front creating spaces and chasing the ball every time it went up field. Last but not least was Gavin who, after  drinking some dodgy-looking caffeine-laced stuff from a bright red and blue can before the game, ran for 70 minutes like a Maître d’  in a busy hotel providing assistance to all and sundry. It was tantamount to a squirrel on Red Bull, up down, no up, left right, left again and back up the middle. Good stuff indeed. Anyway, play on…

So ultimately, my fears were completely unfounded and unnecessary. We played solid soccer for the full game and every single player, without exception, gave >100% for 100% of the game. Even Clive, who was hacked down in the penalty area (“play on”) only had the mutters for a brief spell but returned to play once he could walk again. Tremendous effort by all and I realised how fortunate I am to be a part of such a great side!

The post-match events were quite bizarre to say the least. Given my paradigm that Queens Park wouldn’t stay and socialise, I only catered for two large Snoek from Alsinio, our local fish supplier a-la-supreme. In fact, I couldn’t have been more wrong about our visitors. The lads from Queens Park were a friendly bunch indeed and weren’t a bunch of thugs from the bowl as I was led to believe. Bar one person who had to get up for shift work at 4 the next morning, everyone stayed for a bite or 17. We obviously couldn’t have our man-of-the-match down-down simply because they abstain and a Coke (Coca Cola) vs Castle doesn’t seem right somehow. Anyway, laying on too much too soon wouldn’t be good for the newby’s to De Beer’s bar shenanigans. However, they were invited to partake and partake they did. The events that unfolded reminded me of a  scene in the movie 10 commandments when the locusts who attacked the crops, leaving nothing but a few bare stalks in the ground and…. never mind.

Let’s just say that they thoroughly enjoyed the Snoek! They were very grateful indeed and many personally said thank you.

They also mentioned that they were going to make us a curry for next week, a hot one… to be eaten before the game

Don’t forget to pay your subs lads!