It occurred to me on the way back from Chiswick that Regional Division 1 is every bit as competitive this season as it was last - perhaps even more so. It's especially tough for a second team and a huge challenge when every side the 2's play, with the exception of Milton Keynes, (currently anchored at the bottom of the table), is a first XI.
If you haven't already worked it out that means that every side the chums play - MK excepted - will be fielding their best available players. The 2's, taking into account injuries and people going off on holiday, (yes - a bugbear of mine), probably get to select a team after the club's first 20 players or so have been accounted for by selection for the 1's or unavailability - so that's very hard.
In addition some of the sides in this League have one or more outstanding performers - Slough had a couple and Chiswick had Nick Giles, player coach, late of Hampstead and Westminster.
Mr Giles had scored 4 goals against Marlow the previous week and seemed to be very fit, playing in approximately half a dozen positions at any one time. He was something of a handful. Other obstacles to Hawks getting anything out of the game included an unfamiliar pitch, very different to BRN, a high and problematic wind, the lengthy journey, the home side defending an unbeaten League record and a squad that included more defenders than is healthy.
So - your correspondent is delighted to report that the chums played really rather well. Mr Giles' influence on proceedings reduced as the game progressed as he was competently shackled by one or more of the defensive Hawks cohort on show. I confess he did score both of the home side's goals - but from penalty corners and none from open play. At the other end MJ responded in kind so that the 2's twice came from behind and , ultimately, were a little disappointed not to sneak a winner - although your scribe felt that 2-2 was a pretty fair reflection of the game. A point away at Chiswick, invigorated by their new coach, looks like a decent outcome.
Regular devotees, (I delude myself there are any), of these articles may again have noted the more subdued tone of the reportage - a consequence of being castigated by a very important club member that last week's missive (Boggs loses helmet and is extremely cross etc) demonstrated, beyond argument, that your correspondent had lost the plot. That admonishment prevents me from mentioning that the demanding task of returning with a kitbag which contained the same 16 shirts with which the team arrived in Chiswick again proved too demanding for this bunch of morons. Shirt number 10 has subsequently surfaced and the miscreant will be allowed to shelter under a cloak of anonymity. However the same person had arrived at the meet in Oxford on his bicycle and seemed genuinely surprised to discover that he was not expected to cycle to Chiswick - Dick of the Day thus becoming a no contest.
MoM - not awarded as far as I am aware.
DoD - anon.