The Many Shades travelled to Bristol on a warm Sunday 23rd April to take part in a six-a-side festival in memory of Dave O’Brien, one of their players who passed away from cancer. The venue was Goals Bristol North, scene of our FA Cup semi-final last year.
L-R : Pete, John the Hat, Barry I, CJ, Stewart, Rich, Baz C & Jeff
We opened up with a match against Wiltshire Blue, and fell a goal behind early on. However a solid Rich Bishop shot brought us level, and we reached half-time at 1-1. The second half saw the Blues continue to press, and they got their reward for good play with two further goals to run out 3-1 winners.
Next up were Wiltshire Yellow, and we played our part in what could be claimed to be the match of the day. The Yellows stormed into a 2-0 lead, but were pegged back by another Rich Bishop goal. Then just before half-time, a John Hicks cross took a deflection and fell kindly for Stew Russell to place into the net for an equaliser. Things got even better in the second half as our turn-around seemed complete when an uncharacteristic bit of skill and vision from Russell set up the unmarked Rich Bishop to give us the lead. The Yellows weren’t done though, and came back strongly to grab an equaliser shortly before the end, and it finished 3-3. This was the only game the Yellows failed to win on the day, as they took the top of the leader board by the throat, so it was a great effort by the Many Shades.
Barry makes his move into space
We had a break then, and watched the Yellows demolish our next opponents Weston 10-1. But there’s nothing so dangerous as a wounded animal, and a re-shaped Weston came out determined to regain some self-respect. For all of Jeff Pickering’s countless efforts that went either inches wide or were saved, the first half looked destined to end scoreless until Weston grabbed one against the run of play just before half-time. Bringing Bishop and Russell on as subs for the second half, the Many Shades dominated the game without breaking down a stubborn defence, and an unfortunate penalty conceded when Barry Ingram accidentally put a foot inside the penalty area gave Weston an unlikely 2-0 win.
Rich shoots from distance
Our next match was against Bristol Dave, and in a fairly even contest we had slightly the better of the game, with another Rich Bishop goal settling a 1-0 win for us, although we were unlucky not to improve on that when Baz Carter hit the post with a good effort. This was followed by a rather more physical game against Clevedon, who beat us 5-0. The main story of this match was the referee’s interpretation of tackling from behind, as both Pete Dolamore and Jeff Pickering were left floored by separate challenges that although (possibly) fair in a 5-a-side context should certainly have been penalised in a walking football context. We explained this to the referee very politely, but still lost.
Pete, using a smartphone camera for the first time, captures Baz having a well earned drink between matches.
Finally, and by now “thank God”, it was Bristol O’Brien, and a very weary Many Shades squad went down to a 2-0 defeat as two rocket shots from our old Bristol City adversary Keith Gwilym beat the excellent Colin Jeffery in goal.
Pete, now fully versed with the iPhone camera, experiments with a selfie.
Your completely knackered squad who had exceeded Lee Bradbury’s normal call for the “full 95 minutes” by covering 120 minutes of play, was Colin Jeffery in goal, protected sporadically by a combination of Barry Ingram, Pete Dolamore, Rich Bishop, Stew Russell, Jeff Pickering, Baz Carter, and John Hicks. We finished 5th out of 7.
And so to mystery of Baz’s missing sock. A prolonged search of the changing room and of his kitbag made Baz a late attendee at the post-tournament buffet. It was evident that some lowlife had stolen Baz’s best M&S left sock.
A police artist’s impression of Baz’s missing sock
But then, whilst bending down to show his naked ankle to Jeff as proof of the felony, the missing sock fell out from up his trouser leg.
The case of Baz’s missing sock had been solved and we could all sleep soundly, safe in the knowledge that the phantom sock nicker of old Bristol town was just a figment of our quite warped imaginations.