Wednesday 12th August
Venue:Over the road from the Black Horse
Kick off 6:30pm
For some reason Colden Common doesn't want the world to know about its tigers. It seems content on the tourism generated from the geraniums at Sandyfields Nursey. They're far more interested in telling me that they're twinned with some place in Normandy, France, called St Vigor Le-Grand, rather than direct me straight to the animals at Marwell Zoo. When I arrive at Colden Common's recreation ground the other players are sat in the away changing room, waiting for Kristian Hewitt to turn up with the kit. Like most changing rooms, it's not big enough for thirteen people to get dressed in without getting a good idea what whoever next to you has had for dinner.
Kristian Hewitt arrives at six and drops the kitbag in the middle of the concrete floor. He finishes cutting the greens at East Horton Golf club at three in the afternoon, whereas I'd spent the afternoon driving around the M25 wearing a tie and wishing I'd had a gun. Nobody bothers to ask him why he hasn't got here earlier. They're all too busy rooting through the bag for kit. Rich Allan is once again unable to find a pair of shorts large enough to circumnavigate his waist. Kev Willsher spends the time waiting to fish out some kit by drowning his thighs in ralgex. By the time I get to a pick up a shirt there are just a few left. To my surprise, number ten is one of them.
Kick off's delayed when Sam Schwodler sees dog shit on the pitch. It's fresh and warm enough to suggest it's come fresh out of the microwave rather than a dog's bottom. This is a shame because Colden Common's pitch is well looked after. So much so that they asked us not to warm up in the goalmouth before the game. The mind boggled at just what damage they anticipated us doing by spending ten minutes taking pot shots at Ryan Jones. Perhaps they were worried we'd take a dump on it. As far as I'm aware that temptation was resisted.
Once the referee's aware of what's hidden in the grass, he calls out to Colden Common to deal with it. It's left to their manager to use a shovel to sling it out of harms way. Greg Baker walked towards me with a smirk on his face: 'They're going have a busy night if they're shovelling all the shit off this pitch tonight.' Later on he goes fairly ape at the referee for what he'd deemed an incorrect decision on the halfway line. He's been shouting at referees for years. His outburst today is like a middle-class John McEnroe unleashing his inner seven year old after being told he can't have any more Haribo.
Bryn Schwolder was so comfortable at left back he may've dropped off when Colden Common took quite some time taking a short corner kick that put them a goal up. Kev Willsher headed us level from a corner. What followed was open football played in good spirits by both teams. Colden Common may have thought they'd won the game when they scored on the back post from another corner with less than ten minutes to go.
Justin Newman had more reason than most to be relieved when Greg Baker latched onto a Paul Andrews through ball to make it 2-2 five minutes later. By the time we've showered and gone over the road to the Black Horse for a pint, men are shaking their heads at England's Rio Ferdinand on the giant TV screen for a fairly enormous fuck up against Holland, and everybody has seemed to have forgotten how Justin headed the ball over the crossbar from two yards.
Thew Burridge XI versus Colden Common Reserves
RM:Sam Schwodler (sub:Mark Sanderson)
CF:Ben Rowe (Sub:Paul Andrews)
Click here to read Burridge's preview for the 2009/10 season on the Times.
Remaining pre-season games:
Thur 20th v Aero vets k/o 6:30pm at Aerostructures, Hamble
Sat 22nd v Bishopstoke k/o 2:30pm at Eastleigh Rugby Club
Mon 24th v Northend k/o 6:30pm at Concorde Club
First league game:
Sat 29th v Warsash Wasps k/o 2:30pm at Meadowside