Saturday 22nd August
Eastleigh Rugby Club
(Click pic to enlarge: Burridge in red hope to find ball soon)
Paul Andrews fumbled with the nozzle of one of the club's plastic bottles before taking a swig. 'That was disgusting,' he said, obviously not a fan of the Kia-Ora I'd bought from the 99p shop on Shirley High Street. Kristian Hewitt goes as far to say it's absolute crap. Not the Kio-Ora, but Burridge's first half performance. Burridge were losing 2-1 when Justin Newman made the long walk back to the changing rooms to refill the drinks bottles. When he returned 10 minutes later it was half time. It was also 5-1 to Bishopstoke. Burridge's swag bag lied flat on the long dry grass with the rest of the Burridge team. It contained valuable items that people don't fancy leaving to the chance of the changing room's security. In it are the usual collection of car keys, wallets, and mobile phones, but this week it's supplemented by an exotic brand of Spanish cigarettes that belong to Marc Judd.
When Mark Reeves had arrived earlier there wasn't much of Burridge's changed red kit left. Rather than take to the field in his pants and vest, he borrowed a pair of yellow Arsenal socks, enormous royal blue shorts and a red shirt. He looked like a patchwork quilt. Or the boy at school who's weed his pants. To think I'd been to the trouble of going into March Sports earlier for some Dubbin to clean my football boots with that morning. I'm normally welcomed at the cash register like a long lost son, as customers for sports gear tend to prefer the retail outlets in the city centre. Last time I visited I spent the best part of half an hour listening to the shop owner fully explaining the merits of a Mitre Multiplex to me. 'This ball's 'eavier than them new ones, see?' He said, squeezing the ball's leather panels. 'Guarantee you at least ten extra points a season, cos no bugger wants to head it.' So up I went asking for a tin of dubbin. 'Sold out, mate,' he said barely taking his eyes off whatever catalogue it was he was reading, 'come back next week.' He must have used all his usual sales patter on the other customer he'd had that day.
During the second half Kristian Hewitt successfully auditions for the vacant part of Bernd Schuster by scoring the best goal of the game. Allowing Greg Baker's long range through ball to run ahead of him, Hewitt uses the instep of his right foot to casually chip over the advancing goalkeeper's outstretched clutches. It deserved a bigger audience than the Burridge crowd, which was made up entirely of his pregnant wife who sat cross legged on the grass with the Burridge substitutes. He did not mark the goal with any celebration. There's something about running around with your shirt pulled over your head when you're getting thrashed that makes you look like a right bell end. There was still time for Jonesy to save a penalty, and for Bishopstoke to score on the rebound.
Scorers: Greg Baker and Kristian Hewitt