Precipitation fell from leaden clouds, forests heaved and bowed under sodden skies, not a bird song to be heard, nor gods creatures seen underfoot. The wind blew strongly from the west in to the faces of 13 good and true men, all stood up to be counted, none buckled nor shirked responsibility and battle was duly won. Living memory? All good things and all bad things, every deed and reaction caught in the memory for ever more, to be brought out in quiet times and relived as though yesterday in comforting reflection.
Wales reminds this reporter of a Victorian reform house, bleak, uncompromising and full of pain. Hawden High school has witnessed many unsuccessful attempts by the travelling Blackpool team to bring home the points over recent years. On Saturday the jinx was broken and even though it was the first game of the season, Blackpool has seen the light on the other side. Normally Blackpool travel to away games with a scratch team, get beaten and look to return the favour when the opposition comes to Stanley Park. A good squad, with lots of positional variations means Blackpool are a much stronger outfit this term.
The game started as they always do with 15 minutes of cat and mouse with a bit of chess thrown in for good measure. Then Northop started to put good passages of possession together and threaten Blackpool’s defences. Counter attacking has always come naturally to all Blackpool teams and the sucker punch was delivered by the captain just before half time. After the restart Northop were again stunned by a great passing move down the right finished with aplomb by Whitley. The games score line of two nil with twenty minutes to play slightly flattered Blackpool but they stuck admirably to their task. A scrappy short corner meant Northop scored with the last quarter still remaining. Previously this would be where I tell you how Blackpool capitulated, let Northop level and then score in the dying minutes to steal the points – not this time. They stuck to the free flowing tight passing and moving hockey that has become their theme tune.
The final whistle blew and the 13 men stood proud and strong, 3 points to the good. Ambitions for the year, promotion and winning the Lancashire Trophy still in tact. One game down twenty seven left to play and still undefeated. The returning heroes entered the suburbs of the mighty metropolis through the Latin quarter. The samba beat unmistakable, the smells of spice and rum sealing the victory into the memory of all 13 warriors, to be brought out again in a quiet moment when the rain falls hard and the wind blows from the west.
Squad – Blakemore M, Woodman, Gettings, Wright, Morrow L, Boniface, Morrow K, Pasqualino, Ashfield, Whitley, Morgan, Walker, Blakemore A.
© Kieron Morrow 10/10/05