Some things in life make perfect sense but only after you try them. Like Asparagus.
Or maybe inviting your father-in-law to come and play walking football with you. The idea might sound ludicrous – it was for the Cat, whose FIL played for Man Utd, – but for Barn Door Matty it made perfect sense. Last week the popular striker couldn’t hit the proverbial door if he was six paces from it; this week he was firing on all cylinders, scored four great goals and it was all in front of his wife’s dad, Ali. English Ali was given a baptism of fire in the Cage of Dreams tonight, he was upended by Granite Bob, sniffing an older victim like a slightly demented shark, within two minutes of his first game. Then he almost got his head taken off by a thunderous clearance from our oldest player and later got shoved unceremoniously into the fence – but father-in-law’s smile never left his face and he shared Matty’s never-say-die attitude. These are the small things that make us tick in the weird and wonderful world of walking football.
Tonight – for the benefit of dissenters who can neither read and write ( but at least know someone who can) was an Active Hastings session run by Gorgeous Georges.
There were four teams: The Skins of Speedy Steve, Popdark, Puffing Paul, Hassan, English Ali and Ricky DLTN took on the Blueberries of The Cat, with Chairman Phil, Ersin, Bobby Dazzler, Mad Margaret and Bexhill Chris.
The Wine Gums comprised Granite Bob, Legendary Rog, Rusty, Marco van Gasman, Ian Jean Luc, The Assassin (67) and Dave, while Big H, Magic Wond, Cliff, P (fill in your own name here) Pete, Matty and Mark pulled on the Lemon bibs.
Only 11 goals in nine games in the roundish robin – The Blueberries never did play the Skins – meant it was a finely contested and pretty even session throughout.
Blue v Yellow in the first game saw one save from the Cat and one powerful Matty strike that ricocheted off the bar like a faulty Polaris missile in an uneventful but competitive contest.
Game 2 saw the Gums and the Skins draw one apiece after a rare goal from The Motormouth who, it has to be said, celebrated modestly and not like he had just scored the winner in the Champion’s League final. Good for him. It contained the only controversial decision of the night – did Popdark stray into the box? GG with the whistle thought he did and Marco Van Gasman calmly slotted the resulting penalty. The alleged infringement would have had Stockley park in a tiswas and set Popdark off on a swearing routine that would have been bleeped out by the BBC.
In the third match, a great Matty goal separated the Skins from the Lemons but the contest was overshadowed by a fearful miss from Mark, who demonstrated a first touch where he trapped it futher than he can actually kick it.
Game 4 saw the only double strike of the night with a 2-1 win for the Blueberries over Lemons. Matty opened the scoring with a soft goal that slipped through the Cat’s fingers in a howler that drew jeers from the stands, but a superb strike from Bexhill Chris, who left Big H completely unsighted, and an equally precisely-placed shot from Scouse Phil won the game. (The Scouser performed a magical and painful triple block which got him on the shins, nuts and back – in that order – to keep his side in it.)
The fifth match between the Gums and Yellows saw another Matty goal to win it one-nil and a fine stop from Big H who frustrated the Assassin with an outstretched leg while going the wrong way. The Medhi roar was not heard all night.
Game 6 was another nil-all bout with Ricky DLTN coming into his own with a remarkable quadruple save – blocking four shots from three different Gums players in as many seconds. The big but agile keeper had another good night and made a couple of great saves down to his left and right.
In the seventh game, the Yellows won 1 – 0 again against the Skins and there was an incredibly lucky escape from a rifled shot from English Ali which hit both posts before bouncing out.
Blueberries v Lemons’ THIRD outing saw the best Matty goal of the night, with a low strike from the right fence which left The Cat wrong-footed and a super equalizer from Bobby Dazzler – the footballer formerly known as Bob the Binman – who levelled the scores.
And the last contest was a one-nil victory to the Blues with an Ersin strike past the hapless Granite Bob in the first ten seconds of the match. The Cat finally redeemed himself with four good saves to keep Medhi and co. at bay. There was plenty of good movement and a couple of weak shots from MM, some suicidal back-heels from you know who, a very solid performance from Magic Wond in defence, the usual excellence from Speedy Steve and Rusty marshalling their troops, and some nice touches from quieter players like Legendary Rog and White Cliffs.
MOM: shared this week between Matty – who put last Saturday’s nightmare behind him and Ersin who took all his goals well even if he is the grumpiest player on the pitch.