Axel Foley and Munster, Richie Mccaw and the All Blacks, Lionel Messi and Barcelona, Torvill and Dean (perhaps not). I could go on. Some partnerships are made to be and find their way into sporting folklore. Thus it is with the chums and Wardy. The chums are but a shadow without their talismanic leader.
Wardy was subject to a three line whip at the weekend attending the nuptials of a distant relative on his distaff side. Reluctant - but clearly under orders and apparently no amount of intensive negotiation could release him for the visit of Aylesbury to Banbury Road North. It appeared that our leader was , after all, human and fallible. The shackles had been very securely applied.
So the chums approached Saturday with some apprehension. News of the passing of the morose genius who was the brilliant Leonard Cohen only added to the mood of despondency - could things get any worse ?. Of course they could.
Meet time 12.15 in the changing room. 14 selected - only 11 present and - astonishingly all the students are there.
Urgent enquiries established that Josh had suffered some sort of mechanical breakdown with his bike - which at least made a change from his usual mental breakdown. In fact I don't think Josh has arrived for a home game on time yet.
Murch, clearly forgetting that he was playing hockey that afternoon, had turned up without his astroboots and had gone back home to collect them (we once had a windowcleaner who turned up to do our outside windows without his ladder - we never used him again).
As for Lodewijk Klinkhamer it was impossible to establish his whereabouts as his mobile voice mail message was in Dutch - brilliant !!.
So - what remained of the squad who had managed to get to BRN at the appointed time picked over the bones of the previous week's catrastrophic defeat at OMT and made solemn vows that such an event must never happen again. Our inspiring leader's absence was observed and condolences expressed. Robson made an impassioned plea for commitment and the squad reaffirmed our guiding principles of patience, outcomes, reality and I forget the other one.
Extraordinarily once on the pitch the chums (now with a full squad of 14) produced their best 35 minutes of hockey this campaign and Aylesbury were swept aside. Kyle - on his 2's debut - scored within 30 seconds of joining the fray and MJ rattled a couple into the backboard. Some of the 2's hockey was a joy to behold. Everyone played their part but there were outstanding contributions from Murch, now appropriately booted and quietly supreme in midfield, Stoker confirming his immense promise at the back and Blongy who had his best game in a Hawks shirt. MJ, when in the mood, is turning into a potent finisher and both Lamby and Dom B had a blast in midfield. 3-0 at half time.
By comparison the second half was deeply frustrating as the chums lost their way but the 2's still managed to hit a post and put another ball in the back of the net only for the score to be disallowed. There was evidence again of players getting a bit too excited and losing sight of the game plan which had worked so well in the first period. Trying to get your name on the scoresheet at any cost is not a particularly productive strategy. A pity because the final score did not adequately reflect the chums overall dominance.
So the chums didn't miss our absent skipper, talisman and inspiration. Not one jot.
I must give Dunners a call.
MoM - Charlie Stoker
DoD - Josh Keeling, Will Murch, the Dutchman.
Wardy and Paddy's Wine of the Week - selection deferred in the absence of our inspirational leader.