A couple of presentations

Prior to this weekend’s Hawks match v. Poole Town, members of the Many Shades were involved in a couple of presentations.
[N.B. There is a small chance that one of the following may be fake news]


In recognition of the Hawks “Football in the Community” initiative, Shaun Gale accepts a cheque from the National League Trust ably supported by (l-r) Tony, Pete, Andy, John the Hat, Barry and Baz.



Pete Dolamore receives the Hawks Player of the Month Award in recognition of his awesome defensive performances in recent tournaments and the fact that he managed a full five minutes of play without being cautioned for running.



Many Shades edge Maidenhead classic

Once again the Many Shades played Maidenhead ahead of the Hawks’ first team game, this time on FA Cup Saturday.  As ever against the Magpies, it was a closely-fought tense affair with little between the sides.

With the Many Shades just having the bare squad of 7, and the Magpies able to field a full squad of 12, we knew it was going to be tough, especially as it was a 7-a-side game over 2x 15 minute and 2x 10 minute periods.  The Magpies were able to use their substitutes well.  They included one younger player who looked as if he was just short of recovery for a first-team place, young and very talented, but with a heavily strapped knee.

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The substitute-free zone of Many Shades was made up by :
 (l-r) Jeff Pickering, Barry Ingram, Pete Dolamore, James McIlwaine, 
John Kennett, Bobby De Ste Croix and Stew Russell

With the wind behind, the Magpies dominated the Many Shades for much of the first period, the unfamiliar 1-3-2 formation not giving us enough out balls and leaving us penned into our own half.  However keeper John Kennett was largely untroubled, and with the score 0-0 at the break we reconfigured our line up to go with a more traditional 2-2-2 line up.

Pushing players forward forced the Magpies to restrict their attacking play, and gave us those vital opportunities to get the ball safely out of defence.  One such opportunity saw some classic Many Shades visionary passing as John slipped the ball to Jeff Pickering, who took a touch then swung a delightful cross-field ball forward to Stew Russell who in turn laid it first time into the path of James McIlwaine for him to take one touch and smash the ball past the helpless Magpies keeper.  With the Many Shades on the ascendency at this point, inevitably we got caught out as the Magpies broke away.  A player got free down their right and sent John the wrong way to slip the ball just inside the post for an equaliser.  So the second period finished at 1-1.

On to the third period, and this was a very even spell of play, with the Magpies dominating midfield for long periods without breaking through the well-drilled Many Shades defence well marshalled by Pete Dolamore and Barry Ingram.  For equally long periods our pressing game kept them pinned into their half, but neither side could make the vital breakthrough.

The fourth and final period saw a tiring but well-oiled Many Shades continue to keep a good shape, and in fact began to dominate the Magpies, with Bobby De Ste Croix forcing a series of corners that the Magpies dealt with with varying degrees of difficulty.  Jeff helped close them down brilliantly, one such intervention leaving him sounding like the BeeGees on helium for a while. It came as no surprise that more of Bobby’s persistent pressuring led to a throw-in (kick-in) level with the penalty area.  It was quickly taken by Stew to an unmarked James, who took two more touches, and suddenly we were 2-1 up with just three minutes to go.  Once again the Magpies refreshed their side, bringing on their more mobile players in a bid to break us down, but the Many Shades were determined to cover each other and we held on to record a really tough 2-1 win.

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The match was played in fantastic spirit, and although tight and end-to-end, there were no signs of anything unpleasant, giving the referee an easy time of it.  It was a real pleasure to play in, and quite possibly a nail-biter to watch.  Many thanks to the Magpies in the Community for their hospitality in organising the game.  They also provided reserved seats and a light buffet at York Road where we watched the Hawks lose a classic FA Cup tie 2-1 courtesy of a last-minute thunderbolt. Mixed results, but a cracking day out!


60+ Octoberfest

Many Shades win on revised age-based Duckworth-Lewis system

After a week where there seemed to be more drop-outs than at a crack house reunion, six teams did finally meet up at Park Community for our 60+ Festival.  Among the teams not able to attend were Bristol United, Southampton DFA, Maidenhead United, Worthing, Emsworth & Hayling, Farnham Retro Rangers, and quite possibly Uncle Tom Cobbley WFC.

The teams attending were two Many Shades sides – of Grey and of Yellow – and Brittany, Pompey ITC, Bognor Regis Town, and Farnham Retro Rangers.  Hang on a minute… didn’t Retro Rangers pull out?  Yes, but in our desperation after Bristol dropped out on Thursday, they offered to raise a side but with three under-60s in it, and we said “OK.”


The Many Shades of Grey


The Many Shades of Yellow

Things didn’t start too brilliantly for either of the Many Shades sides, both claiming 0-0 draws in their opening games, the Yellows against Pompey, and the Greys against Bognor.  Meanwhile, Brittany, fielding an on-loan John Morgan, discovered that they had made the long trip only to start with a 3-0 loss to Retro Rangers.


Barry keeps them guessing

In the second round of matches, the Greys played a backs-to-the-wall Alamo-inspired 0-0 draw against Retro Rangers, while the Yellows compounded Brittany’s misery with a 2-0 win, courtesy of Bobby De Ste Croix and James McIlwaine.  In the meantime, Pompey gave Bognor a sound 5-0 beating.


Despite close attention from Brittany’s new signing, James finds the far corner

On to the third set of games, and the Greys were unlucky to lose by the only goal to Pompey, while the Yellows produced their weakest performance for some time to capitulate 3-0 to Retro Rangers.  In the other match Brittany finally managed to get up and running (?) with a 2-0 win over luckless Bognor, although Bognor managed to maintain their 100% record in our Festivals of drawing an opponent’s blood when one of their players collided with Brittany’s Jeff Smith and cut his cheek.


Bobby through on goal

Bognor’s run of bad results got even worse when they crashed 7-1 against the Yellows, with the clinical Bobby D rampant with five goals, and James supporting with another two.  Credit to Bognor who pulled one back immediately after half-time to make it 4-1, and kept on plugging away in spite of it all.  Meanwhile the Greys were on the receiving end of Brittany’s improved form, going down 2-1, Jeff Pickering’s fine strike giving them hope.  Retro Rangers edged a tight 1-0 win against Pompey on the other pitch.


CJ maintaining total concentration in goal

The final round of matches saw Retro complete Bognor’s misery with a 3-0 win, and Brittany winning their third game on the bounce, this time 2-1 against Pompey.  That left the Yellows and the Greys to battle it out for the local bragging rights, and they were only separated by an opportunistic Bobby D finish in a really well balanced finale.


Rob about to threaten the Bognor goal

Final positions were: Retro Rangers (13pts), Many Shades of Yellow (10), Brittany (9), Pompey ITC (7), Many Shades of Grey (2), and Bognor Regis Town (1).

Your squads were: Yellows – Colin Jeffery (goal), Barry Ingram, Stew Russell, Pete Dolamore, Collin Hon, James McIlwaine, Joe Mair, and Bobby De Ste Croix; Greys – Keith McNeil (goal), Rob Kelly, Barry Tindall, Jeff Pickering, Barrie Gray, Barry Carter, Nick Plant, and Martyn Bishop.

Many thanks went to referees Dan Kelly, Giorgio Colombi, and Darren Welch (better known as Edge the Hawks’ kitman).  Naturally we couldn’t have done it without Suzette and Natalie slaving away in the kitchen to produce yet another superb buffet.


With another successful tournament over, the Many Shades’ treasurer, Rob, has the unenviable task of extracting the match fees from the players



World’s Biggest Coffee Morning – of course we were there!

Unbeaten Many Shades rue firepower shortage

Friday 29th September, and the Macmillan “World’s Biggest Coffee Morning” offered another episode in the annual Maidenhead United’s Magpies in the Community fundraising efforts.  This year your Many Shades squad made their way up the A3 ready for the battle through the group stages to the semi-finals and then the final… they hoped.  Sadly for the Many Shades it didn’t quite work out like that, but we certainly put in a performance that did us a great deal of credit.


The boys are back in town

First up were our old rivals Pompey ITC, and we knew they had a pretty tasty side out, with a couple of danger men and a solid and mobile defence that little would get past.  In a battle royal we took it to Pompey as much as Pompey took it to us, and we felt that the 0-0 draw was a decent result.  Not that we felt in any way that it was a lucky result, we could have beaten them.

Our next opponents were Bracknell Town (Blues), and this was a game we felt we were marginally the better side and could have won had the breaks in front of goal gone our way.  But another 0-0 draw was all we could manage.

Our third match was against Rotherfield, and our observation of their play during our break between games suggested that they were one of the better sides we would face on the day.  Once again we set up well and possibly again had the better of the play, and once again we ended up with a third consecutive 0-0 draw.

Something had to give sooner or later, and we hoped that it would come against Gerrards Cross, which we thought was something that Peter Crouch used to score headers from.  But once again we had to settle for a 0-0 draw, the fourth on the bounce, although this time we were very clearly the better side and frankly should have done better.


Stew leads the Many Shades’ haka before kick-off

So to our final game against the wonderfully named Woodley Saints Deadbeats, and once again we were clearly the better side, with the solid defence and crisp midfield interplay we had shown all through the tournament again on show.  It took a marvellous bit of opportunistic vision late in the game from Bobby De Ste Croix to break the deadlock, spotting the keeper off his line and bending his corner kick neatly round the near post and into the far corner.  With the pressure now off, another of our midfield interplays set up James McIlwaine to finish off a classic move with a sweet half-volley.  2-0 it finished.

Mention must go to the defensive unit that performed so well, going five games without conceding a goal. Barry Ingram and Stew Russell formed the key partnership protecting stand-in keeper Pete Dolamore in goal.  Credit must go to Pete that whenever the defence was breached he was on hand to mop up, including two spectacular salmon-like leaps to preserve his unblemished record.

The midfield was bolstered by Collin Hon making his Many Shades debut in front of the defence, linking well with James who pushed a little further forward. With Bobby D or John Hicks leading the line, it was a combination that proved unbeatable on the day.  Sadly though, we didn’t win enough games, so seven points from five games didn’t get us through to the semi-finals.  Many thanks go to the support of the injured Rich Bishop who came along to keep us in some sort of order.  Unbeaten and unbowed, we got home before the Friday afternoon traffic got too heavy.