Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK

Hampshire FA organised this tournament as part of a national day of walking football events to raise money towards the Bobby Moore Fund, which in turn donates to Cancer Research UK.

With a convoy led by John Morgan and his print-out of Google Maps instructions setting out from WLP at 8.30 on a hot sunny Sunday morning, the first contest of the day proved to be John’s Google Maps versus Barry Ingram’s satnav in the car behind.  Sadly for John, despite leading for much of the journey, he fell behind by having to ask Barry to take point.  Right at the death John managed to equalise thanks to an assist by Stew Russell, who spotted that the venue was at a different complex to the one Barry had parked us at.

Initially we were a bit disappointed to find that we only had three matches in the 65+ group, but given the weather we were eventually quite grateful that that was all it was!

First up were our old friends Southampton DFA, and in a closely matched contest we came through to win 1-0 thanks to a great Rich Bishop finish past SDFA’s huge and very competent goalkeeper.

Our second match was against old rivals Pompey ITC, and that was settled by a further two Rich Bishop goals, although Pompey were quite upset about the second, which they felt should have been disallowed for either or both of running and too many touches.  As it happened, we agreed with them, but the ref was having none of it and the goal stood.  Clearly targeted as our danger man, Rich was later floored by a reckless slide tackle from behind that really should have resulted in a red card, but all we got was a direct free-kick instead.  In the end it finished 2-0.

Finally we played Southampton Strollers, already secure in the knowledge that we had won the mini-league due to the other teams having mostly drawn against each other.  Yet another Rich Bishop goal sent us on our way, although Rich won a prize for another shot he had in the game which cleared both the fence and a rather tall tree that was growing about 30 yards further on.  Not content with “row z”, this was “row zz”!  Making wholesale changes, including taking off star strikers Rich and Bobby De Ste Croix, the Many Shades maintained our shape, and were rewarded when John Hicks used a bit of magic to set up Stew Russell to steer the ball home inside the post and seal a 2-0 victory.

bobby (4)Taken from the pitch-side fence, Rich points out the tree his shot cleared

Congratulations all round for a very solid performance to your Many Shades of Grey squad (average age 66½ years young) made up of James McIlwaine (in goal), Barry Ingram, Pete Dolamore, John Morgan, Baz Carter, Stew Russell, Rich Bishop, Bobby De Ste Croix, and John Hicks.  All of them put in a solid shift.  We didn’t win any trophy as the mini-league champions, because it was a charity day and the whole idea was to have some fun.  Instead James McIlwaine won a flat football for the speed gun challenge with a 58mph strike, and Rich Bishop won the shot of the day award for his “row zz” effort!

bobby (2)bobby (3)

James and Rich collect their prizes 

Go Active Gold Tournament 2017

Go Active Gold Tournament – 5th July 2017

On a scorchingly hot day, with unbroken sunshine and temperatures officially at 28⁰C, the Many Shades of Grey went off on tour to the leafy countryside of rural Oxfordshire, to join in with the Go Active Gold tournament on the village playing fields at East Hagbourne Pavilion, not far from Didcot.  We had played in this event last year, and remained unbeaten, only losing out on penalties to Wycombe Wonderers last time.  The format was two leagues of nine, with the top two from each league playing semi-finals and a final for the trophy.

Well, our unbeaten tag didn’t last long, as in spite of Rich Bishop having a goal disallowed for running (what, Richie?, as if….) we went down 2-0 in a pretty even game to Brackley Senior Saints.  The next fixture was against the combined might of Wiltshire United, and after going one down the equaliser came from the rare sight of a Pete Dolamore thunderbolt.  Better was to follow as Bobby De Ste Croix dummied then chipped the keeper delightfully.  The lead didn’t last long, and shortly after Dave Richards was floored in an unfortunate collision, Wiltshire’s strength in depth soon told as they scored two more quick goals for  4-2 win.

Next up were old rivals Pompey ITC, and in a very closely contested game, only a defensive error allowed Pompey to get a run on goal and score the only goal of the game.  That’s all it takes, one defensive error; no-one ever mentions the six or seven attacking errors… Guess which end of the pitch is writing this report?

Onwards and upwards though, and next up were Emsworth & Hayling, who were late withdrawals from the tournament, so we won 3-0.  There was debate about who should be credited with the goals, Bobby wanted to claim them, but we didn’t award them in the end.  That “victory” set us off on a much-needed unbeaten run.

Next up were Kingston Bagpuize, and although we had slightly the better of the game they fought hard for a 2-2 draw.  The Many Shades’ goals were from Rich Bishop and Bobby D, but the winner got away from us when John Hicks’s brilliant turn and shot was disallowed for his putting a heel into the penalty area as he turned.  Harsh stuff, but rules is rules…

Our next game was against Fleet of Foot, and this was another one that rather got away from us, as we really should have won it, but credit to Fleet who kept plugging away and took their chances well.  James McIlwaine, resplendent in his factor 150,  finally got on the scoresheet twice (including a rare right-footer), along with another from Rich Bishop, and that was enough for a 3-3 draw.

With two more games to go, and our only win coming by default, mutterings were beginning to be heard again from the wannabe Ryan Giggses that the grey kit was unlucky, that it wasn’t doing the biz, and that we shouldn’t wear it any more. Oh, ye of little faith.

Abingdon Strollers, challenging Pompey at the top of the table, came looking to continue our winless run, but we had two major shocks in store for them.  First up was a cracking shot to the top corner from Barry Ingram, a rare creature indeed (the goal that is, not Barry).  As if that didn’t prove the kit doubters wrong, a second goal of the day from Pete Dolamore was enough to clinch a great 2-1 win against a team who made it through to the semi-finals.  We haven’t mentioned volunteer victim of the day yet, Keith McNeil in goal.  He certainly did his bit to earn this victory, and well deserved it was.

Our last game in the mini-league was against Rotherfield United, and a very clinical and impressive hat-trick from Rich Bishop maintained the momentum and sent us on our way  to a fairly comfortable 3-1 win.  In the end we finished 6th in the league with 11 points from 8 games, 15 goals for, 14 against.  Pompey and Abingdon were first and second respectively.

Next to the pitch we played our final game on, Southend, who had played in the other league in the competition, were basking in the sun watching our silky skills with great admiration.  With neither side having qualified for the playoffs, we nabbed a spare referee and played a friendly.  We quickly went 1-0 up through Rich Bishop, but then while Stew Russell was off the pitch doing up a loose shoelace, and substitute James was on for that 30 seconds, we let in an equaliser.  James was immediately subbed off again, and we went on to retake the lead through yet another Rich Bishop goal.  After Stew had missed a sitter and then hit the post he too was subbed off, and James and Mick Sidwell came on to score further goals, Mick’s being a particularly fine strike into the top corner.  As the heat took its toll, and the game became a little ragged, a penalty was awarded against the Many Shades, but stand-in goalkeeper John Hicks thrust out a sturdy right arm and parried it away for a corner.  Right at the death we disallowed a second Southend goal, which was scored following a very impressive and very deliberate through ball from the referee!  So 4-1 it was, a happy and fun end to the day.

Your Many Shades of Grey squad was: Keith McNeil (g); Stew Russell, Barry Ingram (1 goal), Pete Dolamore (2), Mick Sidwell (1), Rich Bishop (7), Dave Richards, John Hicks,  Bobby De Ste Croix (2), James McIlwaine (3).

Go Active Gold

Back (l-r) Mick Sidwell, Stew Russell, Rich Bishop, Bobby De Ste Croix, John Hicks, Pete Dolamore
Front (l-r) Dave Richards, Keith McNeil, James McIlwaine, Barry Ingram.