Spring Festival reveals new shirts and new winners

After some off-field drama surrounding the preparation for this Festival, most notably the withdrawal of two guest teams in the final days leading up to it, we were blessed on 20th May with a glorious day and some scintillating walking football from some enthusiastic teams. To address the drop-out problem, we recruited a second Many Shades side – The Many Shades of Volunteers – and a mixed side “the All Stars”, from all of the guest teams as well as a few Many Shades players. The original squad were resplendent in their brand new white Hawks shirts.

The day opened with the Many Shades of White romping to a 5-0 victory over Bognor Regis Boulders, but controversy reigned as James McIlwaine claimed four of them, Bobby De Ste Croix one of them, and Jeff Pickering the other. Which makes six. We decided James must have got three. Meanwhile the Volunteers were losing 2-1 to a lively Gosport CS, with Rich Bishop scoring their goal.

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Barry in full flight against Bognor


Unfortunately, ref Lee Roberts was waiting for him with a yellow card

In the next round of matches, the Volunteers beat the All Stars 2-1, with goals from Ian Warren and another from Rich BIshop, and the consolation coming from Pete Dolamore. Meanwhile the Whites were holding Gosport 0-0, and expensive game as they lost goal threat James with a deep muscle injury.
The third round of matches saw the Volunteers up against the Whites, and in a tense and close match a Rich Bishop goal settled it. Rich also struck the post from a penalty, awarded for a trip on Ian; CJ claims he saved it, but he never got near it. Meanwhile Pete Dolamore was scoring twice more as the All Stars beat Bognor 3-1.
In what turned out to be his fiftieth appearance for the Many Shades, the Volunteers’ Martyn Bishop finally got on the scoresheet against the doughty Bognor Boulders, enough to earn a 1-0 win. At the same time a Jeff Pickering hat-trick for the Whites was seeing off Mountbatten by a 3-1 scoreline.

The final round of matches saw the Whites being held to a 0-0 draw by the improving All Stars. On the next pitch the Volunteers slipped to a 2-0 half-time deficit against Mountbatten, courtesy of being caught upfield for one and a superb turn and finish for the other. However a stunning second-half comeback saw them turn it completely around and win 3-2 thanks to a Rich Bishop hat-trick.
Back to the Westleigh for another of Suzette and Natalie’s “probably the best buffet in the world”, and the presentation of the prestigious trophy. The final league table read: Gosport CS 13pts; Many Shades of Volunteers 12pts; Many Shades of White 8pts; Mountbatten WFT 4pts; All Stars 4pts; Bognor Regis Boulders 1pt.


Spot the goalkeeper!
Well done to Gosport – thanks to Alan Powell for the photo

Squads were: Many Shades of White: Colin Jeffery (g), Barry Ingram, Barry Tindall, Paul Sealey, Jeff Pickering, James McIlwaine, Bobby De Ste Croix, and Matt Bartolo. For the Many Shades of Volunteers: Keith McNeil (g), Ian Warren, Barry Carter, Mick Sidwell, Stew Russell, Rich Bishop, and Martyn Bishop. Thanks to Pete Dolamore, John Morgan and George Peters who joined up with the All Stars.

Thanks must go to Graham Wilson, Darren Welch and Lee Roberts who all refereed very well, and to Barrie Gray who acted as our central timekeeper.


A day out at Fratton Park brings yet more silverware for the Many Shades

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Given the chance to play on the lush sward of Fratton Park, twenty of the Many Shades players descended on the stadium in the early morning of 16th May to play in the Pompey ITC Spring Walking Football Tournament. With one of the planned seven teams dropping out, and the matches being six-a-side, we rearranged from being two sides with squads of ten to three sides of six outfield players plus our two goalkeepers (to be shared between the three sides). So we had the Many Shades of Yellow, Orange, and Green.


Pete puts pressure on the Oranges’ goal

With small goals and no access to the penalty areas, we predicted a lot of 0-0 draws, and sure enough the Greens started with just that against Pompey 1. The Oranges then picked up a great 1-0 win against Basingstoke, courtesy of a Steve Hall goal. The Yellows then beat the Greens 2-0 courtesy of goals from Bobby De Ste Croix and Pete Dolamore, before Pompey 2and the Oranges drew 0-0.


More pressure from the Yellows as Paul attempts a shot on goal

Bobby was on the scoresheet again along with Rich Bishop as the Yellows beat Basingstoke 2-0, before the Greens were held 0-0 by AFC Bournemouth. The Oranges then beat Pompey 1 thanks to a thunderbolt of a goal from Derek Trapp, his lifetime ambition to score at the Fratton End achieved. Bournemouth and the Yellows, followed by the Oranges against the Greens both ended 0-0, before a third goal of the day from Bobby proved to be the decisive strike against the powerful Pompey 2.

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The Oranges and Greens battle out a hard fought 0-0 draw

The Oranges then played out two consecutive 0-0 draws against Bournemouth and the Yellows before the Greens beat Basingstoke 1-0 thanks to a stunning Carlo Macri strike. Predictably enough, with the title already won, the Yellows and the Greens played out 0-0 draws against Pompey 1 and Pompey 2 respectively to close out the Tournament.

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The title winners, and recipients of a very impressive trophy, were the Many Shades of Yellow, represented by Darryl Horn (g), Stew Russell, Pete Dolamore, Paul Sealey, Rich Bishop, Matt Bartolo, and Bobby De Ste Croix. The Oranges were James McIlwaine (g), Ian Warren, Pete James, Steve Hall, Barry Gray, Derek Trapp, and Colin Baker. For the Greens, Darryl and James shared goalkeeping duties, and were joined by Barry Ingram, Barry Carter, John Morgan, Graham Nobbs, Jeff Hooper, and Carlo Macri.


Stewart and the Many Shades of Yellow collect the solid silver trophy

Many thanks to Geoff Maunder and Tash Stephens for the photos.

For many more of Geoff’s superb photos, please click here and then on the Walking Football album.


Bognor Regis Festival brings record win

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The day after the Hawks had clinched the National League South title in such dramatic, emotionally draining, and euphoria-inducing style, the Many Shades of Grey went to the  Graveyard of Dreams to tread the very turf that Dartford’s players and fans had so disappointingly trudged off only some 19 hours earlier.  Yes, Nyewood Lane was hosting Bognor’s first festival.  Two mini-leagues, each team having five matches of 2x 8 minutes, followed by a knock-out phase of 2x 10 minute matches to decide some trophies at the end.

The opposition goalkeepers looked a formidable bunch

It has to be said that the Many Shades were slow out of their blocks.  Following the previous evenings celebrations, there were some, shall we call them “cobwebs”, still to be dusted off.  So it was that we lost 1-0 to Brighton Dolphins in a match that we were actually quite competitive in.  Next up were Tadley Statin Strollers, and we kind of woke up a little for that one, but only after going 2-0 down.  An opportunistic Stew Russell goal, followed by a great Pete Dolamore thunderbolt dragged us back into the game, but sadly Tadley ran out 4-2 winners.

Next we found ourselves up against the might of Emsworth & Hayling’s first choice team, but because we know their strengths we were able to put on a solid and well-organised team performance, and held them to a 0-0 draw.

Our fourth game was against Southampton Strollers, who somehow beat us 2-1, a Bobby De Ste Croix finish giving us some hope.  If we couldn’t understand how we had failed to win a game so far, our perplexity only increased as our final league game against Gosport Civil Service unfolded.  With one shot on target from their only worthwhile attack, Gosport somehow held on for a 1-0 win. That put us firmly at the bottom of our league, which meant that we won the booby prize  –  a stick of Bognor Rock each!  To prove that football really is a funny old game, our draw against Emsworth was not only the only point we got, it was the only game they didn’t win!

With our usual photographer spending most of the afternoon either on the pitch or in the bar, Pete once again nobly grappled with iphone camera.

For the next phase we were entered in the “Silver Cup” competition, against the lower finishers of the two leagues.  We were drawn against the second-bottom side from the other league.  It seems harsh that our hosts, Bognor Regis Boulders, should be the victims of the single most ruthless and dominant performance ever by a Many Shades side.  Somehow this bunch of losers finally shook off those cobwebs, and walked away with a stunning, shocking, ridiculous 10-0 victory.  Hat-tricks apiece from Pete Brown, James McIlwaine, and Bobby De Ste Croix, all topped off with a really unfortunate own-goal, gave us our record win.

The plate final was against Tadley Statin Strollers, and after our earlier somewhat shambolic defeat to them, we were determined to carry our new-found form into this game.  And for once, we did.  It finished a fairly comfortable win, with two goals each from Bobby and James earning us a 4-1 victory and the “Silver Cup”.

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So, there was some redemption, and the squad that earned your Many Shades that record win and somewhat unusual silver trophy was (l-r) Barry Ingram, Colin Jeffery (g), Pete Dolamore, James McIlwaine, Jeff Pickering, Bobby De Ste Croix, John Hicks, Stew Russell and Pete Brown.

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Galey proudly parades the trophy after Monday’s training session

Congratulations to Jeff Pickering who now joins the exclusive 100-club of Stew Russell and Pete Dolamore by reaching his century of appearances.  Next up should be Barry Ingram, right now sitting on a tantalising 99, followed by Rich Bishop who is currently on 96.