A rather disrupted pre season programme meant that the mens 2's arrived at the first league game of the season rather less well prepared than was ideal - no-one's fault - but our pre match meeting commenced with a round of introductions! Hardly ideal and not something Mr Klop would have put up with. However we did learn that Henry has been a student for 8 years - I kid you not - although he had the good grace to look a little embarrassed , Blakemore buys not sells doors as we all thought, Kieran is over twice as old as some other members of this fledgling outfit and Hugo is training to be an F1 driver. Jake's contribution was blissfully brief.
Our consideration of the opposition lead the meeting to consider the possibility they might for periods of the contest adopt a half court approach to the contest.
I was also struck on arriving at BRN how things change so rapidly and our continued success as a club throws up new challenges each year. Take parking for example. Two years ago our car park at the ground seemed more than adequate even for the busiest weekends. Now you can't get a parking space unless you arrive at the crack of dawn - it seems to get worse by the week.
As it happened Witney arrived by bus and having found no space available in the car park adopted the innovative solution of parking their transport on the near pitch. Clever huh! - not something we had planned for. Not only that they surrounded the vehicle with all 11 players.
So the game followed a wholly predictable pattern. Under the considered gaze of the amiable Australian (I swear he's mellowed somewhat this season) the 2's spent the entire first half hogging possession and then tearing headlong into the side of the bus. As a consequence Witney's keeper was a virtual spectator being scarcely troubled by any Hawks attacks or our misfiring corner routine. It put me in mind of the wave after wave of Zulu attacks in the eponymous film which were routinely repulsed by Stanley Baker, Michael Caine and two other blokes. Half time 0-0. At least the spectators (thank you all) huddling together for warmth in the shelter near the kiosk had a perfect view of the action concentrated at the top end of the pitch.
Desperate measures were required so we turned to our resident Antipodean strategist whose measured assessment of what had transpired, delivered with calm assurance, proved to be in stark contrast to the rant that I had prepared.
While the boys were engrossed by his words of wisdom the visitors quietly moved the bus to the other end of the pitch in anticipation of a second instalment of Rorke's Drift. Thankfully after a brief scare at our end which involved a decent intervention by the previously unemployed Pricey the 2's managed to convert a penalty corner - Sam Windsor Lewis doing the needful. Better still he repeated the trick 10 minutes later.
Other chances which came in the second period were not exactly squandered by the 2's as ignored altogether - and a bit more commitment in the opposition circle looks like an urgent priority.
So 2-0 it ended and 3 points successfully bagged against a depleted Witney side whose ambitions were decidedly limited. Having said that I need to acknowledge, in the interests of balanced reportage, that the visitors did a pretty combative and very resolute job of implementing their game plan.
MoM - Sam Windsor Lewis