Burridge 2-4 Hamble Club
Tuesday 4th August
kick off: 6:30pm
Rich 'Chinese Monkey' Allan is not himself tonight. He'd volunteered to play in goal for Burridge in the absence of Ryan Jones, who along with a handful of others, were due to play cricket. For those unaware, cricket is a game played in summer when it's not pissing down with rain, so there's really not a great deal of call for the sport in this country. With the cricket cancelled, Jones and co declared themselves available for Burridge, but gaffer, Pete Lyons, isn't budging. He sticks to the team he'd picked earlier and that means Chinese Monkey in goal. We put up the goal nets ready for the game, while Chinese Monkey examines the pitch markings, muttering something under his breath about the serious need for some decent emulsion.
(Pictured above: Chinese Monkey's don't usually bite. Click pic to enlarge.)
Hamble Club's mood isn't much better. Here they are, a team from the County league, whose season will take them to places like Liphook, Locks Heath and Paulsgrove, forced into lowering themselves into playing against us. They spend the game behaving much like I imagine Posh Spice would were she forced into roughing it for the night at a Novatel, complaining to the referee about anything from the length of the grass to the weight of the football.
Sam Schwodler makes his usual contribution to the game. The only thing stopping him and the Hamble Club skipper exchanging fists is two pints of Stella. Chinese Monkey does a convincing impression of a goalkeeper, but it's not enough to stop Burridge from conceding two first half goals. Ryan Jones replaces him at half time. He looks too young to be an electrician. I resist the urge to ask him how his day at school was. Before long he's let in two and Burridge are four goals down.
Mark Reeves also comes on at half time. Up 'til now he'd scored a single goal in his three years at Burridge. He brings a smile back to Burridge faces by scoring with a dipping twenty yard volley. Less moving scenes have gone onto be nominated for academy awards. He jogs nonchalantly back into position for the restart without saying a word. I reward him by giving him a pat on the bottom.
When Jay Schwodler's released down the right wing with the ball ahead of him, a collective groan can be heard from the Burridge attack. Right on que Jay slices his cross, but for once it remains in play, asking serious questions of the goalkeeper's positioning, who can be forgiven for complacency having witnessed what was presumably a shot on goal by Jay Schwodler during the first half. The sight of Jay about to cross may've alerted him to reassembling a search party to once gain retrieve the ball, but this time it sails over his head into the net. Respectability had been bought to the score line from unlikely sources.
Scorers: 1-4 Mark Reeves, 2-4 Jay Schwodler
Burridge 1-3 Blues
Wednesday 5th August 2009
kick off: 6:30pm
Paul Dyke's not playing for Burridge tonight. Instead, he's on the touchline managing Blues. They wear yellow. They also play in the Sunday league, so normally their path would never cross with Burridge. With ten minutes of the game left I catch the referee yawning. I ask him if this game's really been that bad. He says it'd been a long day, but I know he's being polite.
Lee Fielder is playing as a deep lying third centre forward. He spends the game looking confused. Wearing a furrowed brow as though he's still coming to terms with turning thirty the day before. Burridge's evening was epitomised by Blues' third goal. Bryn Schwodler was relieved of the ball by a Blues attacker who quickly chipped the ball over Sam Schwodler's head and into the net. Kristian Hewitt had spent the previous 70 minutes giving Bryn the kind of looks that if I didn't know better meant he planned to kill him, but he now chooses to lie flat on the floor. For a moment it's not clear if he's ever going to get up.
There's still time for Mike Reed to strike the crossbar and Paul Andrews to miss from close range. Before his stabed effort has stopped rolling he's quick to point out that it wasn't as clear cut a chance as it might have appeared. If there was anybody who agreed with him they're conspicuous by their total silence. Next up is Colden Common reserves on Wednesday night.
Scorer: 1-2 Bryn Schwodler
Burridge gaffer, Pete Lyons, looks pleased that Ice man, Kev Willsher, has put pen to paper for another year with the club.