OTFC Vets vs Double H, 18 February 2018
OTFC 4 Double H 1
Scorers: Harry 2, Sprunt 1, Rawlinson 1
- Dave Smith
- Simon Baile
- Jon Kent
- Pete Markham
- Carl Naylor
- Warren Arlow
- Ali Rawlinson
- Oscar Omo
- Luis Silva
- Bruce Houghton
- Dave Gardiner
- Keri Ryan
- Nigel Sprunt
- Dave Harry
The vets hustled and harangued, and in the end two from Harry helped us see off our opponents.
It looked hopeless but we ended the game happy.
And there were some honest-to-god head-scratching moments too.
Welcome to the report on our game against the team called Double H.
Needless to say, it was a game of two halves.
Played at the Met police ground as Grists was unfit, Tiffs started the game like a nervy suspect in an interview room, giving far too much away. Double H meanwhile were giving us a good dose of bad cop, breathing down our necks and feeling our collars good and proper.
There was plenty of pressure, and our opponents looked sharp coming forward. Tiffs attacks were sporadic, plays often being thwarted before they got going, though there were odd moments of one touch play too which held out hope of something better.
Amongst all this were the head-scratching happenings mentioned above.
In two mad minutes, astonished onlookers witnessed Jon Kent urging a furious opponent ‘let’s all calm down’, and Bruce reacting mildly as a Bruce look alike playing for the other side went crazy at him. Was it – as kids say – Opposite Day?
It seemed like for a moment it was when Carl misjudged a header.
What next – Nigel scoring a goal?
Let’s not go too far, just yet.
So midway through the half, just as the Tiffs seemed maybe to have got through the worst of it, they conceded. And a fluke at that.
Double H had some pressure in the left corner of the pitch, but it was contained. They get the cross in though, and whoa… it sails over our keeper’s head and drops in the far corner.
In goal Dave Smith had made a super stop to prevent a volley from the Double H dangerman in the early exchanges but couldn’t prevent this one. 0-1!
Another contribution Smith had made was a recommendation on which end to pick… suggesting we should play into the sun in the first half. We lost the toss but got our own way anyway and visibility was possibly a factor in our poor showing during the first 45.
In the second half it was very different.
The sun in their eyes now, Double were suddenly finding it harder. Meanwhile Oscar and Ali had shaken off their hangovers, and Dave Harry had returned after being subbed mid first half. All reasons for optimism.
Sure enough we got the break we needed. The ball bounced about in their area, two defenders got in each other’s way and it popped up to hit a hand. Penalty, said the ref, who overall had an excellent game.
Up stepped Nigel.
What was going through his head at that moment?
It had been a helluva week. For a start, he thought he’d lost his ‘lucky’ boots. The lads had set up a
WhatsApp group named after him, along the lines of ‘When will Nigel next score a goal?’. The bastards. Humph. When he’d found out he’d been fuming. Bet it was Ali, the little toad. Nigel had put a message on this irritatingly named app group about the missing boots and to add insult to injury all he had got was piss-taking. But during the week Nigel cooked up a plan to get the lads back on side. Buy them a tour. Pretend it was money from the sponsors but really it would be from his own pocket. That would do it. Nigel was musing all this over at his Cheam mansion when his thoughts were interrupted. ‘Nigel, for heavens sake I am talking to you!’
Nigel looked up. Mrs Sprunt had her glasses on the end of her nose, the latest copy of Homes and Gardens on her lap (it was her second favourite mag, bettered only by Horse and Hound) and a reproachful look in her eye. ‘I was just saying dear. Once the kitchen is finished we will have to do the hall.’ Hmm, thought Nigel, can I afford the tour AND the hall? Dammit, maybe he’d have to tap the sponsors up after all.
A few miles away in Claygate T that moment Ali was lying back in his favourite armchair, roaring.
‘Lou! Lou! Bring me another Tennants Super would ya. And another of them extra pepperoni pizzas!’ ‘Whatever you need my love!’ A happy voice chirruped from the kitchen. ‘And Lou – I was thinking you could iron the kit and put it on hangers, the lads would love it!’ ‘I’ll get onto that once I’ve done the kids’ tea,’ came the cheerful reply.
Back at the penalty spot. Nigel had recovered his missing boots. Markham, a so-called Head of Digital by trade, was the only team member not on WhatsApp, and he’d had them. The irony!
Nigel was nerveless with that penalty, he took it like a pro (he did used to play semi-pro you know). No-one doubted him, not even Naylor, who’d been heard to groan moments before. Hard, driven into the right corner, no fuss- 1-1, well done Nige.
Very shortly after it was a case of 1-0 down, 2-1 up. Dave Harry found himself with the chance to chip their keeper and he did so most impudently.
Tiffs were bossing it now and our dominance was quickly rewarded again when Ali’s stomach came in handy. He charged down a goalie clearance on the edge of the area, the rebound off his well used belly heading goalwards but not quite reaching. He looked round but no-one was in pursuit. A tap in and it was 3-1.
The goal glut hadn’t finished. Just inside their half Nigel ducked in to head Dave Harry into space. Mr Harry obliged, and hit an emphatic finish for 4-1. It was hard on Double H but they were like a boxer on the ropes at this stage.
Nigel missed an easy one in the last ten minutes, and then Dave Harry missed a similar opportunity.
Still, the game was up. There was just time for a beer, and a discussion about the vets on tour. What times.