The chums visit to Marlow was preceded by a pretty normal week with a bare XI carded for this tricky fixture.
However Friday brought sorry tidings for Mrs Gladys Blenkinsop of Tooting that her planned move to a new abode in Clapham had fallen through and the services of Messrs Packstore and Son Removals were no longer required. While no doubt the good lady will have been hugely disappointed at this unexpected turn of events every cloud is said to have a silver lining. In this case it allowed the release of one Matthew Laidmann - Brookes University student, part time employee of said removal firm and handy hockey player - so that, at the last minute, he became available for the chums. If only Mrs B had been made aware of the unexpected ramifications in Buckinghamshire of her misfortune she would, no doubt, have accepted it with a joyous heart. Welcome news indeed in a week which had seen availability levels plummet to new depths. Thank you Mrs. B - we wish you well.
Somewhat less joyously received was the return of the chums' muse - safely restored after last week's absence at a family wedding. I say that because in the absence of our fledgling captain of industry the chums had played quite exceptionally well the previous week against Maidenhead.
Hearts ruled heads in selecting the starting line up with the sympathy vote prevailing and our mighty leader must have been immensely relieved to find himself in the chosen XI - the hardliners among us feeling that a spell on the sideline would have been entirely justified.
The pre match briefing included a hugely detailed analysis of Marlow's strengths and our strategy for nullifying the home side. The chums seemed to have all eventualities covered. That is all except one - we had not considered the possibility that the 2's would deliver a first half showing that would have been described by my youngest son as "toilet". (I should explain that he is an Arsenal supporter so quite experienced in matters of this sort). 0-1 at half time (it could have been more but wasn't mainly thanks to Fearless) - and therefore behind at the interval for the second week running .
A root and branch restructuring of the side resulted in a much improved second half and despite the fact that the penalty corner routine was malfunctioning 3 open play goals were scored with some style. Marlow sneaked a consolation goal towards the end but were, by then, second best.
The only other incident of note inevitably involved the extraordinary one to whom we all defer , who, on the arrival of his young family midway through the second half, with the game still in the balance, took a couple of minutes out to welcome his children while still loosely engaged in events on the pitch. I've never seen Diego Costa do that. Words fail me.
3-2 it finished and the chums move into second place 2 points behind Eastcote but with a game in hand. Job done - if only just - and a difficult hurdle overcome.
Bring on Wallingford.
MoM - Fearless
DoD - Dan Andrews (but I can't remember why)