6th July, Watchfield Sports Pavilion, Oxfordshire
Guest reporter : Stewart Russell
The Many Shades travelled to the picturesque village of Watchfield near Swindon for this Tournament. The squad was Martyn Bishop, Richard Bishop, Baz Carter, Pete Dolamore, Dave Hall, Dave Richards, Stew Russell, Ian Warren, and Clive Wilkin, with Dave Hall’s father-in-law Ken along to support us (again).
We played on grass pitches this time, but as a village green it wasn’t the most even and most closely mown surface, something that took a bit of getting used to after the lush evenness of astro that we normally play on.
First up were Abingdon B, and thanks to a clinical Dave Richards finish we beat them 1-0, a victory that was more comprehensive than the score suggests, as Clive in goal hardly touched the ball. Next up were Birmingham, who offered a much more stern challenge, and indeed although their keeper played well, Clive was the busier keeper, keeping things to a 0-0 draw.
Our next game was against Brackley SS (quite what the “SS” meant we didn’t find out!), who we beat 3-1 thanks to a pair from Dave Richards (including a penalty) and one from Dave Hall. We ended our group matches with another 0-0 draw, this time against Andover A, which was enough to guarantee that we topped the group with 8 points.
After lunch in the village hall, we were matched up against Wycombe Wanderers, resplendent in tequila sunrise kit, in the quarter final stage. It turned out that Wycombe were quite a physical side, and with Dave Richards having to go off with an injury and last season’s top scorer Stew Russell seeming to be targeted by a series of “assertive” fouls, we struggled to put their defence under much pressure. After falling behind things looked grim, but an inspired substitution brought Dave Hall into the attack and he slipped the equaliser inside the post.
So to the dreaded penalty shoot-out! Rich Bishop, Stew Russell and Martyn Bishop all tucked theirs away, while Clive in goal just about managed to get a hand on a couple of the Wycombe shots. Although they were both on target, sadly our next two were both saved, with their keeper guessing right (or left, actually), and we ended up losing 3-4 on penalties. Are we England in disguise? Which of our players will soon be appearing in pizza adverts on a screen near you?