It was a late September morning, the streets were still, except for a frantic young ginger lad rushing his passenger from location to location trying desperately to kit out his team, eventually we set off for the second game of the season, a nice little 40 minute jaunt to Bolton, home of the Indians (the Bolton Indians). As a passenger I was a littlesceptical of the chauffeurs GPS gadget, as I had heard it had failed before, something about leading the car load to the wrong city. But alas today it seemed the gods were on our side and we made it with little drama. When we arrived at the beach, sorry Astroturf it appeared that another match had just commenced and so we had to wait for this to finish, at this point our hopes were high.
Finally our game started just over an hour later than scheduled, we began the opening exchanges in good form, spending most of the 15 minutes in their half, however they had one element we were lacking… … Youth, as the two 16 year olds ran at me and the man they call Simon, we felt a slight feeling of panic, with good reason as these boys were moving faster than sound, and as I suspect more than half my team had had a beverage or two the night before we were of no match in these counter attacks, as the ball came in they cool as a cucumberly slotted it past the fearless/oblivious Rainbow, this ploy seemed to be repeated with limited success through the game.
Pardon me if this is not fully accurate however I have had a drink since the game and my memory is somewhat of a blur, however I think their second goal came from a short corner. The ball came out and after a first blocked shot they had another shot, which surprising to everyone in the D was fairly week, as Rainbow will vouch for with, a despairing dive. The bright orange hockey ball managed to squeeze through the fittingly ball sized gap between his legs and roll at a snail’s pace across the line – a very lucky goal for the opposition.
This next period of the game saw the Blackpool elite bounce back strong, with inspired passing all across the field, aha we were on top again, a glorious movement involving Simon from the back up to Paul Atherton play a ball through to Chris Hocking who ran at the goal like a man possessed, the then shaped his body for the flick over the charging goalkeeper, and went for it from what I could see it was a stroke of genius, as rather than flick it he used the old technique of scuffing the flick and watching the ball trickle down the leg side of the goal keeper – GENIUS, it was a grand decoy.
The half time team talk was as you’d expect – very positive with shouts of we can do this they’re she*t, over in our team talk we were equally positive discussing our slight flaws in a very civilised fashion, we embraced each other and wished each other good luck for the battle ahead.
As the second half started there were positive signs, with good passing down the right between Slats, Johnny D and Rob Bould, however we could not escape one thing – that my friends was fatigue, many of us aren’t the fittest at the best of times, but without any substitutes, the cracks were starting to show, we also had a couple of injuries, who stayed on the pitch for moral support and if the ball came within 5 ft of them, it was theirs. As for the third goal lets put it down to age but I can’t remember, lets just say we were unlucky.
One thing I do remember is their 4th goal, this came from a long corner and as I recall no one did anything wrong, The End…
… Somehow I doubt it that Rainbow will let be get away with this, as what actually happened was Rainbow shouted to me “Chris get this man on my front post”, to which I responded with yeah yeah whatever, needless to say this well worked goal came from a ball pinged in and casually glanced by this player into the goal, oops. This may have partly been my fault.
All in all the team put up a sterling performance and without any substitutes we would have been very fortunate to win there at Bolton Beach.
The players scores are listed below; Nick Rainbow 9&1/2, Chris Crossland 3, Simon Allen 9&1/2, Matt Bancroft 9&1/2, Rob Bould 9&1/2, James Slater 9&1/2, Alex Rowe 9&1/2, Paul Atherton 9&1/2, Johnny Donnelly 9&1/2, Chris Hocking 9&1/2, Martin Hayes 9&1/2
Don’t worry lads we’ll have them next time!!!!!
Chris Crossland (Stand in Skipper)