Saturday 21st August: 10 goals in 10-a-side game: Kristian Hewitt scores two crackers on an hour's sleep
After a few hour's sleep, Burridge midfielder, Kristian Hewitt, skipped breakfast and made the two hour drive from Tuscany to Pisa Airport. Fulfilling his duties as Bryn Schwodler's best man had brought and end to his three days in Italy. The queues at the airport were long and they moved slowly, but they did not delay his Ryanair flight home to Bournemouth and by midday he was at home packing his Nikes into his kit-bag and driving east down the M27 to Whiteley for Burridge's friendly with Wildern Old Boys. He had to flick on his windscreen wipers. Summer was over.
(Click all pics to enlarge) 1-0 - Kristian Hewitt opens the scoring.
Wildern could only muster eight men. Finding this out ten minutes before kick-off did not impress Paul Dyke, who'd arranged the game five weeks earlier. With time against us, we had no choice but to improvise, agreeing to play ten, rather than eleven-a-side. Burridge's Ryan Jones, who was scheduled to play the second half in goal for Burridge, played the first as centre forward for the opposition, along with Mark Reeves, who filled in for Wildern at right-back. I told them they had a rare opportunity to gain an insight into what it's like to play against their own team. I'm not sure if they agreed.
(Top) Joe Hill watches his strike, that (bottom) finds the corner of the net
After fifteen minutes it was two-nil. After twenty minutes Wildern were down to nine men. One of their players lay beside their goal like a felled stag, with one hand covering his eyes, the other waving in the air for help. Instead, he got a wet sponge from a bucket of shallow water rubbed into his hamstring. He played no further part in the game. Wildern needed another one of our players, so Dan Allen, who was running the line, stepped in at left back for them.
Wildern were losing 3-0 by time they scored their first. It was a penalty and had as much to do with Burridge as it did their own depleted ranks, when Ryan Jones' choreography was sufficient in convincing the referee into believing that Ryan Hurst had fouled him in the penalty area. Jones then came within a whisker of scoring himself when his shot was cleared off the line by Sam Schwodler. The stage was then set for Mark Reeves to humiliate me by the corner flag. His chosen method was the nutmeg and as he tapped the ball delicately between my legs, I could hear his voice on the breeze as he ran past me towards goal. I could just about make out the word, I think he said nuts.
Sammy Hewitt tries his luck from distance.
At half-time the referee sat in the centre-circle on one of our Mitre match-balls. This was the same referee who'd complained to me two weeks ago that he'd not been put on the list to officiate in county and Wessex reserve league games, where he'd get a good builder's cup of tea at half-time. “Excuse me,” shouted Dyke, from the sidelines. “Do you mind not sitting on that.” The referee remained silent, as if coming to terms with some terrible event. “Fine. I'll just take the cost of the ball out of your match fee.” Finally, the referee stood up and gave Dyke a hard stare.
Ryan Jones makes a new friend. All pics by Roz Hutton
His mood deteriorated further in the second half. He gave Ryan Hurst a ticking off for what he deemed shaking his head in an aggressive manner. Perhaps referees and players are never destined to really get on with one another. I listened to the referee's agitated voice for the rest of the game and thought about what his motivation for becoming a referee in the first place had been. Whatever it was, I don't think it had planned on being here, on a damp August afternoon, refereeing a friendly between one and a half teams. Jones, having now replaced Channell in goal for Burridge, was beaten twice, which was incidental as we now had seven. By now, Ben Rowe and Ben Hutton were playing up-front for Wildern. Ben Rowe scored, but in doing so for Wildern, further confused the narrow boundaries that can separate the friendly fixture and the farcical.
Burridge's goals were scored by:
Kristian Hewitt 2
Daniel Esfandiari 2
Sam Hewitt 2
Jo Hill 1
Burridge squad: Stuart Channell, Ryan Jones, Ben Hutton, Ryan Hurst, Mark Sanderson, Mark Reeves, Dan Allen, Sam Schwodler, Kristian Hewitt, Daniel Esfandiari, Sam Hewitt, Ben Rowe, Joe Hill
On this day two years ago: Burridge beat Aero Vets 4-1 with Paul Andrews in goal
Next game: v Veracity Vipers this evening (Tues 24 Aug), Whiteley.