No game for a third straight week for Burridge AFC
It was gone two on Saturday afternoon and a single degree shy of freezing outside, good enough reason to turn down my brother's offer of driving down the M27 to watch last season's Burridge top scorer, Bryn Schwodler, play for Hedge End. One look outside showed few people had left home without a woolly hat of some kind. I have a fur deerstalker for such occasions, but saw no reason in using it today when there was a Lion bar in the kitchen cupboard and a warm place on the sofa with my name on it.
Burridge captain, Kev Willsher, took my brother up on his offer. Being glued to the Ashes series has bitten a large chunk out of his sleep, resulting in him arriving at the office for a day's graphic designing on little more than four hour's shut eye. I called him to see how Bryn was doing. It was half-time and Kev was sat in the car. Burridge centre forward, Sam Schwodler, was parked alongside in his burgundy Fiesta, inappropriately dressed for the weather in a thin jacket. Apparently Bryn looked lively and had a few goalscoring chances.
Bryn left Burridge in the close season to try his hand playing at a higher level. The bitter weather had made some spectators think twice about coming to the Rodway; but being both a Hampshire League game, and a local derby with Botley, there were still more people watching then we tend to get on any given Saturday afternoon. I remember ten years ago and more, going on holiday with Bryn to places like Magaluf and Faliraki, when we'd be goofing around by the pool, and how it was virtually impossible to push Bryn into the water. Gifted with a low centre of gravity he was always able to pivot off of the ball of either foot and scamper away to safety. Kev reserved his most damning criticism for a Botley centre back for wearing a snood around his neck. Hedge-end went three up in the ten minutes before half-time. Sam Schwodler had disappeared to the pub by the time Hedge End had scored a fourth. My brother and Kev followed shortly. Coming home and warming their arses on the radiator.
This unofficial annual break recharges our batteries, as well as giving players the chance to get totally ratted on a Friday evening without fear of the consequences. Although today it was just a break in the schedule rather than bad weather that stopped us from playing. A quick glance at the Southampton league tables shows we are where we always seem to be – smack bang in the middle. Netley are top, having played the same amount of games as us and double the points. Michelmersh Reserves have turned their back on a history of being hopeless. Last season they lost 23 of their 24 league games. So far in 2010/11 they've won more games than we have. Not that the past should count for anything, but once you do something, even for a short period of time, the public start expecting it of you forever.
I had missed Thursday night's training session. Dykey ran the guys into ground while I ate steak and drank whiskey with my dad to celebrate his sixtieth birthday. I subsequently learnt that during the end of session game, Jonesy had launched into a four letter word fuelled rant at team mates for not tracking back to help defend his goal. The twenty year old now has the final characteristic of the greatest goalkeepers, cantankerism. Burridge manager, Paul Dyke, never one to waste an opportunity, had spent the afternoon checking out Netley against Hare and Hounds, and Allbrook versus Sholing. In the cut and thrust of the Southampton League there is no rest for the manager.
Click here so see the current Southampton League tables.