A very chill wind was blowing in from the north as six doughty groups of players gathered together at Park Community School on Sunday 27th January. Our first festival of the year was living up to its name – the Winter Festival. Solent City, one of our guest teams, reported a sad depletion in numbers, with a catalogue of injuries and illnesses leaving them with just three players a few minutes before kick-off – one of their number even pinged a calf muscle in the warm-up! We formed a Many Shades of Solent squad, lending three of our spectators and one of the original MSoG squad members.
We opened with a comfortable 5-0 win for the Many Shades of Grey squad over Bognor Regis Boulders, with Lloyd Fowler and a Mark Hughes hat-trick doing the damage in the wind-assisted first half, followed up by a Pete Brown strike in the second half. Meanwhile the Solent squad introduced themselves to each other courtesy of a well-deserved 2-1 win over Mountbatten.
The MSoG squad then beat the same Mountbatten team 1-0, courtesy of a debut goal from new signing Jason Burch, while the Solent squad were drawing 0-0 with Gosport Neanderthals.
He’s in there somewhere – John keeping the chill out in goal
The Neanderthals then played a dogged defensive game against the MSoG, and a rare breakaway following a pass being blocked gave them a fortuitous 1-0 lead, which they managed to hold on to in spite of the best efforts of your lads. The Solent squad also found the going getting tougher as they lost 2-0 to the very impressive Godalming side.
The MSoG were next on the list for Godalming, who stormed into the lead, and but for a blinding save from John Kennett would have been in total control within five minutes. However the MSoG gradually began to get a stranglehold on the game, and a neat Lloyd Fowler goal brought us back to all-square. Your lads looked the more likely to score, but Godalming weren’t top of the league for no reason, and they managed to score a winner shortly before the end. At the same time as this was going on, the Solent squad were giving Bognor a bit more of a bashing, running out 5-1 winners.
The final round of matches saw the MSoG beat the Solent squad 2-0, courtesy of a pair of James McIlwaine strikes. Credit must go to Pete Dolamore in goal for Solent, who saved a Pete Brown penalty. Although we didn’t have a record of scorers for Solent, we were assured that Tony Elliott scored two goals for them through the afternoon.
A fine save from Pete D thwarts Pete B
Don’t worry Pete B – I’m certain this incident will never be mentioned again
The final positions (as revealed at Suzette and Natalie’s awesome buffet afterwards) were: winners with a 100% record, Godalming; 2nd were Many Shades of Grey (9pts), followed by Gosport (8), Many Shades of Solent (7), Mountbatten (3), and Bognor (1). Huge thanks to referees Graham Wilson, Dave Lister, and John Morgan.
MSoG: John Kennett, Ian Thakore, Chris Poirrier, Jeff Pickering, James McIlwaine, Lloyd Fowler, Mark Hughes, Jason Burch, Pete Brown. Playing for Solent were: Pete Dolamore, Barry Ingram, Dave Hall, and Tony Elliott.
Thanks to Paul Sumpner from Solent for the photos.