Kickabout for the Kids – Take 2

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You will recall that due to emergency work required on the Westleigh Park pitch, the “Kickabout For The Kids” charity walking football day originally planned for September had to be cancelled.
Thankfully, HWFC allowed the event to be re-scheduled and this Sunday afternoon saw three teams from the Many Shades of Grey, Portsmouth ITC and Havant Taxi Drivers take the field for this very worthy cause.

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The Many Shades take the field on a glorious but nippy Autumn afternoon

The Many Shades came with a large squad allowing numerous and frequent substitutions throughout the afternoon. As always, Portsmouth ITC brought along an experienced team. However, the Taxi Drivers were new to this format and were competing in a walking football tournament for the first time.
So, it was decided that each team would play each other twice and with Edge and Lee Roberts officiating and with a wide selection of coloured cards at the ready, we were off.

Actually, quite a few were off – literally. For, I think, the first time in a Many Shades match, the blue card was brandished. This sent the offending player, usually for a running infringement, to the sin bin for five or so minutes. This culminated in the Many Shades being down to five players in their final match.

The red card also made an appearance. Not surprisingly, it was Rich who saw red after advising the officials once too often.

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After initially refusing to go, the officials recruited Betty to drag Rich to the stand.

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“You talkin’ to me!”
CJ puts pressure on the Taxi Drivers’ midfield.

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“TAXI!!!”

Not surprisingly, Portsmouth ITC ran out winners. The Many Shades came an admirable second with a win (with a couple of fine goals from Richard Bishop) and a draw against the Taxi Drivers to whom all credit must go for fine first-time-out performance. They just need to “do the knowledge” on walking football before their next tournament.

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A strong Many Shades’ bench

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Martyn making use of the state-of-the-art facilities in the Away changing room

So, a good time was had by all but, most importantly, the afternoon raised over £150 for local children’s charities. Many thanks to all that took part to make it such a successful afternoon.

To re-live all the excitement, click here
Many thanks to Steve for the footage which should be considered to have an 18 rating.

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Many Shades’ European Glory

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The Many Shades of Grey played their first European fixtures this week, travelling to Cléguérec in central Brittany to take on the mostly ex-pats Brittany team and our old friends from Bristol City in a “Grand Tournoi International de Football en Marchant”, under the auspices of the Association Bretagne de Football en Marchant. A player each from Pompey ITC and Mountbatten WFT joined us and played for Bristol City. This was Brittany’s first “competitive” event, previously only having played in-house training matches.
We played in a large indoor sports hall on the edge of the village that boasted a pitch about one-third the size of a full football pitch but had handball-sized goals and for the first time we were using a futsal ball. On the roof were solar panels capable of generating over 50kw. Our hosts had organised food and drink to keep us comfortable and very nice it was too.
We were drawn at random to play Brittany on the first game, and it has to be said that the Many Shades gave them an early lesson in possession, keeping the ball from them for long periods in the first half of the inaugural match, without finding the penetration to seriously trouble their keeper. Eventually a goalkeeping error allowed Rich Bishop to open the scoring, and the Many Shades were looking good for the win. Unfortunately we had forgotten to bring a goalkeeper along, so took turns between the sticks, and sure enough our first volunteer keeper also made a goalkeeping error to gift Brittany an equaliser.

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Our next match was against Bristol City, and we quickly went one down thanks to what we felt was a somewhat dubious decision by the ref to allow a rather rapid piece of walking to go unpunished. We worked hard and gained our reward when a Rich Bishop corner was diverted into the net. As the game progressed play was very even, both teams having plenty of opportunity to take the lead, none more so than Paul Sealey who hit the woodwork twice as we looked for the win. Sadly for us it was City who finally found what turned out to be the winner, and we ended up 2-1 losers.
The round robin matches continued after a short break, and we found ourselves up against Brittany again. This time we were able to effectively wrap the game up by half-time as a long-range Rich Bishop shot nestled just inside the left-hand post, followed by an almost identical effort from Paul Sealey, and then yet another from Rich Bishop. The game was played out in positive fashion, with both sides pressing for further goals, but we ended as 3-0 winners.

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Our final game was against Bristol City, and once again we went a goal behind to them in a first half that we felt we had dominated. We knew that if we wanted to win this Festival, we had to win this game, as the earlier result between City and Brittany had been a 1-0 win for the hosts, so a win for City would have put them right back in the mix, with another game against Brittany still to come. Fortunately for us, Rich Bishop’s run of goalscoring form continued, and he drove home an equaliser shortly after half-time. With time running out we continued to press, keeping our shape and work-rate up to ensure nothing was “left out there”. With just a couple of minutes to go, a Stew Russell corner was deflected home in a similar way to Rich’s goal in the previous game against City. The Robins threw everything at us for those last couple of minutes, but we held out for a 2-1 win.
In the last game between Bristol City and Brittany, we knew that Brittany needed to beat City by four clear goals to overtake us on goal difference, and it took until deep into the game for them to register their first, and only, goal of the match, meaning that they completed a 1-0 win.
The final table showed the Many Shades of Grey top with 7 points and plus 3 goal difference, closely followed by Brittany also on 7 points but with a goal difference of minus 1, and Bristol City completing the Festival with 3 points and a goal difference of minus 2 .
The Mayor of Cléguérec, himself a former professional footballer, had come along to watch some of the action, and presented the trophies. The main trophy will stay in Brittany while the Many Shades were able to bring home a suitably impressive substitute trophy as well as each player being given a traditional Breton cider cup as a memento.

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Stewart lifts the Many Shades’ first European trophy from the Mayor of Cléguérec

 

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Martyn collects his well earned cider cup

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Goal-hero Rich shares a joke with Monsieur Le Mayor

 

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Stewart presents Many Shades’ pennants to the opposition.
Many thanks to turnstile Bob for his handiwork.

The Many Shades would like to thank everyone at Brittany Walking Football Association for preparing such a well-organised and thoroughly enjoyable event. They were able to provide a single referee for the whole tournament, which meant that we had consistent decision-making, resulting in no-one feeling the need to dispute any decisions.
That evening everyone went to a local gîtes complex where a truly delicious evening meal had been prepared, and then we all got our heads down in readiness for the next day’s matches.

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Needless to say your Many Shades stars, in spite of their glorious victory that day, were the models of restraint in their celebrations…
Day two was a very different experience, in that the serious competition had been completed, and now we were there to simply enjoy ourselves. Unfortunately both Rich Bishop and Brittany’s captain Phil Volz had to sit out Tuesday’s matches following a coming together during our match when Phil had kicked the bottom of Rich’s foot as they both went for the ball. The Many Shades volunteered Cathy Mitchell in Rich’s place.
Everyone drew a ticket out of the hat and were placed in either Team A, B, or C, which turned out to be wearing red, white or blue shirts in that order. Another round robin of games in the same pattern as Monday’s followed, with the pace significantly slower this time, and no great pressure to win, lose or draw. With each team fielding a lady player in a striking role, the hope was that one of the ladies would get on the scoresheet, and challenges on them were generously gentlemanly, and they were found with passes at every opportunity. The nearest any of them came to scoring was when Jill Patt playing for the whites struck the post. Our Cathy, playing for the blues, and resplendent in her number 69 shirt, was involved in the collision of the day, when she and a rather large goalkeeper had a coming together and she ended up landing on him in an extremely elegant swallow dive manoeuvre!
As an aside, the Reds won, the Whites were runners-up, and the Blues just missed out on the play-offs.
So it was that we all headed for home, everyone having thoroughly enjoyed their time in Brittany. Many thanks to the Many Shades Ultras, Roma, Jenny, Suzette and Cathy for coming along to support the team of Martyn Bishop, Rich Bishop, Pete Dolamore, Barrie Gray, John Morgan, Stew Russell, Paul Sealey, and Ian Warren. It was particularly gratifying to see Roma’s tear-stained eyes as Tuesday’s incessant laughter overcame her!

 

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Le Magnifique Huit!
(l-r) Pete Dolamore, Ian Warren, Barrie Gray, John Morgan, The Mayor of Cléguérec, Rich Bishop, Stewart Russell, Paul Sealey, Martyn Bishop.

Many Thanks again to Stew for the report. More photos of the trip can be found here.

Macmillan the winner as Many Shades edged out

On 30th September the Many Shades of Grey travelled up to visit our old friends at Maidenhead United for their Macmillan Cancer Fundraising day, which also celebrated the host’s Walking Football team’s second anniversary. The Magpies were formed just a fortnight after the Many Shades!

With 11 teams participating, we were split into two groups, and charged £30 per team to play – so that was £330 straight into the Macmillan coffers right away! Then it was off to the cakes and coffee section, where plenty more pounds were added (in more places than one!) by way of donations.

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The Magnificent(-ish) Seven
(l-r) Jeff, Barry, Ian, CJ, Rich, Stew & Pete

The Many Shades started brightly against our old friends Pompey ITC Black, but just couldn’t get the ball into the net, and finished slightly frustrated at 0-0. We then had an absolute calamitous disaster misery shocker when we gifted Wiltshire Wanderers three goals in short order, and despite the Many Shades putting them under sustained pressure they saw the game out for a 3-0 victory.

We were better than this, we knew it. And so with renewed concentration and our traditional “let’s start playing properly once we’ve had a bad start” approach, we absolutely dominated Bracknell Town II, but their inspired goalkeeper kept the score respectable, and it was thanks to two clinical Rich Bishop strikes that we finished comfortable 2-0 winners.

The final game in our group saw us up against runaway group leaders Milton Keynes Mad Walkers (really), who had won all of their group games up to this point. We played probably our best match of the year to draw 0-0 with them, a real ding-dong effort where our improved teamwork and tactical awareness meant that we were the better side, but those little half-chances just slipped agonisingly out of reach.

Back to the cakes and coffee section while we waited for other matches to be completed. Then we found out that our progress depended on Pompey’s game against Wiltshire. If they drew, we were through to the semi-finals. After 11 minutes and 58 seconds of the 12 minute match, it was 0-0. Then Wiltshire scored.

At least the consolation of going out at that stage was that we earned another victory – we beat the Friday afternoon traffic on the way back!

Your Many Shades squad was Colin “spectator for most of the third game” Jeffery in goal: Ian Warren, Pete Dolamore and Barrie Gray sharing defensive duties; Jeff Pickering and Rich Bishop patrolling the midfield; and Stew Russell playing target man up front.

 

Thanks to Chief reporter for the day, Stew.