Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Fifteen years of Burridge

Saturday 26 November 2011

Michelmersh & Timsbury 0-5 Burridge AFC

Back on Tuesday 30 October 2007, the day he scored a memorable goal against Netley, this blog described one Burridge player as overweight with a dodgy back. Four years on and little has changed.

Timsbury, one of the few places left in the Southampton League that still supply the visiting team with a half-time cup of tea. One of our players is sat down on the damp grass with his black socks rolled down to his ankles, taking shallow sips from his white porcelain tea cup; “It's no good,” he says, shaking his head, while rummaging through the medial bag. His name is Kristian Hewitt. After fifteen years spent playing for Burridge he has decided to hang up his boots at the end of the season.

We were winning 2-0 with goals from both strikers: Lee Fielder and Sam Schwodler, who received a cross from the right on his chest, then turned and smashed in; but manager, Paul Dyke, wasn't satisfied yet; “There's still another 45 minutes to go,” he reminded us, keen to ward off any complacency and achieve his objective of a clean sheet, something we hadn't achieved since beating Hedge End Reserves 1-0 in pre-season on 21 August. (Although our last clean sheet in a competitive fixture came in April in a 5-0 home win over Wellow). Dyke called for further effort and diligence. He also wanted to bring on Ben Rowe, who was our one and only substitute.

Kristian raises his arm, “I'm struggling,” he says. Dyke acknowledges it. Kristian is substituted around fifteen into the second-half. He walks towards the touchline, but with Rowe now on the field of play a replacement linesman will be needed. Dyke asks if Kristian won't mind going over to the far side of the pitch to do it. He'd rather not: “I can barely walk,” he protests; but he takes the linesman's flag. On Sunday he will struggle to play with his young son. Not because he is hungover, not because he doesn't want to, but because walking is a struggle. On Monday he'll still be stiff in the shins, knees and back. This can make things tricky at work: wedged into a John Dow shortly after 6am, cutting greens at East Horton Golf Course; or worse still - chopping wood. Tuesday will be a little better and by Wednesday he'll be getting back to normal, but then on Thursday it's circuit training on the artificial pitch in Hamble. His condition made the decision to stop playing easier, although going by what he has said he may decide to do so even sooner than first anticipated. He might not put his boots back on after Christmas.

Over the last fifteen years he has scored a number of goals that stick in the memory. The collection began on a Sunday afternoon in September, 1997 – down in Horndean, away to Lynx Sports. We were  hampered by the late arrival of several players who thought Horndean, Waterlooville could be reached up the M3 towards Winchester. Meanwhile, over ten miles south-east, Lynx's goalkeeper had stepped off of his goal line. Kristian tried his luck successfully from an unreasonable distance. I remember being one of the first to congratulate him on the goal, failing to try and lift him off of the ground. Several other goals spring to mind: a far post volley against a poor Bishops Waltham side at Wicker Rec, Porchester; a 2-2 draw with Warsash Wasps, on a bone dry pitch at Osborne Road - scoring from long range via the underside of the crossbar. Then two against Netley. One at home, evading four players on his way to a tap in; but perhaps the best of them all came during the opening game of the 2007/08 season at Netley, which took place on a week night. Kristian opened the scoring in a 4-1 win with a thirty-yard blockbuster. It even drew a round of applause from the handful of old men at Station Road, who are normallypreoccupied in criticising Netley's players.

Kristian was close to getting in on the act today, cutting in from the right - but his low shot was held by the goalkeeper. He later admitted that his appetite for a goal was what kept him going. Things did go according to plan in the second-half though, with three further goals. Lee Fielder and Sam Schwodler got their second goals, with Daniel Esfandiari slotting home from just inside the penalty area. The match was notable for our unusual appearance. Although both teams had different coloured shirts – us in blue and black stripes, and Michelmersh in gold and black quarters - the referee was concerned about both teams wearing black shorts. In the end Michelmersh dug out some baggy red shorts for us. By the end of play it was almost dark, with the heavy pitch struggling to come to terms with 22 people trampling all over it. Perhaps for the last time for Kristian Hewitt.

GK: Ryan Jones, LB: Sam Hewitt, CB: Kev Willsher, CB: Ryan Hurst (c), RB: Mark Reeves, LM: Chris Pye, CM: Kristian Hewitt, (Ben Rowe) CM: Mark Sanderson, RM: Daniel Esfandiari, CF: Sam Schwodler, CF: Lee Fielder

Looking back (bringing back the blog)

I haven't posted here since 2012 – that’s five years of not blogging. The blog is/was about Burridge AFC, the football team I played f...