While they were Trooping the Colour for Her Majesty the Queen in Winsdor this morning they were tripping the light fantastic in Alexandra Park.
The Hastings United WF session was early enough in the day not to be badly affected by the heatwave but it didn’t mean there were no red hot skills on show in the Cage of Dreams. Some 18 players turned out – with not a birthday honour between them – and split into three teams chosen by today’s captains Magic Wond, Puffing Paul and Matty.
It was pretty even picking and made for 90 minutes of fiercely competitive football watched by a record post-Covid crowd of at least six. (One of whom has decided to come along and play next week. )
There were highlights in the 11 mini matches: and here special mention must go to Ricky DLTN, the talented keeper who played outfield today due to a shoulder injury. This week he was in hospital overnight at the brain unit at St George’s in London where surgeons failed to locate any significant grey matter, but turned out for two sessions (the other in Bexhill) to give some idea of the commitment shown by United’s men. He scored two great goals in 45 seconds in the morning’s most intriguing match where the Lemons went two down against the Wine Gums and drew level thanks to Rick’s poaching abilities. Now. Whether Rick’s third goal of the game counted and the match was either squared or won by a lovely strike from Rusty is a matter for VAR. Thankfully the footage is available with a link on the chat page for you to make your own minds up.
Once again Matty’s lens was the curse for the Cat – the only proper keeper playing today – who rolled the ball out only to have it stuffed straight back at him and into the wire net. Twice. The Cat later atoned with a superb stop to deny Rusty and in other matches pulled off a brilliant double save from Popdark and Holy Paul.
Otherwise, it was something of a goal-fest with many players cashing in on the non-attendance of the other recognized keepers.
Matty scored a hatful; Medhi, Chairman Phil, Magic Wond, Holy Paul and Puffing Paul all converted well and Ian Jean Luc scored a cracker. But the pick of the bunch was taken by Oh My Cod. He turned on a tiny fishbone and leathered one into the far left corner of The Cat’s goal, the ball striking its target with such ferocity that even a big paw could not keep it out despite a hefty contact.
There were some good battles in midfield, with Popdark and the Assassin (67) both playing very well and just riding the line between using frustration to lose their rag or to inspire them. Popi’s deft touches when his dander is up are a delight to see and Medhi’s cojones in never shirking a challenge is legendary.
The Motormouth did well as a stand-in keeper, keeping a screamer from Paul Hutton out with his bus driver’s pulling-out arm. As an outfielder he didn’t achieve much except bickering with Popdark.
Newbie Ken also made a couple of important stops and played much better than on his debut last week. Granite Bob was his usual unsurpressable self. Mad Margaret and Hugh Canoe both found space but not the net.
The cage is very sandy at the moment and nobody seems to know why so we have to make sure we keep the speed down to a bare minimum to avoid accidents. No referee this week so thanks to all the lads who took the whistle and kept the games going: Tony, Phil, Paul, Hassan, Hugh and Medhi.
MoM: Her Majesty the Queen. 95 years old. Gawd bless you Ma’am. (and Ricky).