Match day squad
Craig Walker (capn)
Back in days of yore, even before Ted Wightwick was a boy, the area of Kingswood was a place where the rich and powerful hunted for game.
It was an uneven contest, the landed gentry on horseback, preying on the unsuspecting wildlife, taking deadly aim with bow and arrow, or later with rifle.
Saturday’s match, on the very meadows where victims tried to outrun their pursuers, was a modern day take on these earlier past times.
In the end it was the final whistle which put Temple Bar out of their misery, but there was plenty of pain inflicted in the meantime, and for the victors it was jolly sport.
At kick off the game had been in doubt – the snow-covered pitch raising a big white question mark over the wisdom of proceeding.
But the lads were keen to play, and Tiffs skipper Craig Walker was particularly enthusiastic about using his new orange football.
So we moved the goals into place, cleared the lines on the pitch, and prepared ourselves.
Upon starting it was clear Tiffs were going to have the lions share of possession, the boys passing it around quite competently despite the inclement conditions.
And before long the chances came, one being missed on the goal line before we broke the deadlock, and then the goal scoring began in earnest.
Nigel Sprunt was responsible for two of these, one shot deflected off a defender into the right corner, and another a drive from the edge of the area which the goalie clawed at but could not stop.
In between, Luis, who was having a lively game on the left (and even won a header) bagged his first goal for the team at close range.
Opposition forays were few and far between and if ever the ball did get behind the centre backs, there was always Carl, our goalie sweeper.
Several times he called ‘Carl’s ball’ one suspects deliberately to put himself in a 50-50 with the centre forward. Each time he crunched the fella.
We changed ends at 3-0 and for a short time Temple made a game of it, denying Tiffs as much time and space.
But then the floodgates opened, the contest ended and the medieval style slaughter began.
Leading the way, Sprunt, the aristocratic attacker foraging through the bracken to fire in his third (a blaster from a yard) and fourth (a beautiful shot, right to left from 15 yards still rising as it hit the net).
Ably assisting him, Portuguese pace merchant Luis bagged another two, one a fine effort in the style of Gianluca Vialli, bursting through and shooting before the goalie had set himself.
That man of property, Ali Rawlinson, bagged a brace, his second a fine arcing free kick from long range.
And master marksman Steve Moodley drilled a shot through the despairing keeper late on.
Was a goal better than Capn Walker’s, though? The ball reached him wide on the right after a corner and he had a moment to control it and amble forwards. When 99% of players would have crossed, he (he claims) opted to chip the keeper with almost no angle to work with. But in it floated, a wonder. He scores them all the time in training.
That was it – the vets team’s record win in modern times.
There was only one thing to do, and that was retire to the Kingswood Arms for a pint. And for Cap’n Walker, to take his beloved ball home and put it in a safe place till next week.