Extraordinarily I received an email late last week from one of my regular readers. So late was my match report he was concerned that some ghastly fate had befallen me and had begun scanning the local obituaries and court reports. He didn't clarify in what capacity he expected to locate my name - be it deceased, judge or defendant. - thoughtful nonetheless. I heard not a thing from my other reader.
Saturday heralded the visit of Marlow and the return of old boys Dan Bradley and le Petit Entrepreneur, still, it would appear, joined at the hip. My regular readers will recall that the Thames Valley's businessman of the year had ended last season held together with bandages so it was something of a surprise to see that he was still able to drag himself onto a hockey pitch over halfway through this season.
Predictably the banter started on Thursday with some silly emails from him suggesting that Marlow were so short he might have to play in midfield and continuing into Friday with yet more photos of himself and his long suffering wife getting stuck into ?several? bottles of red wine. I imagine the poor woman can only get through the week if she is permanently anaesthetised A further bottle was particularly featured as being destined for me as his contribiution to (the now largely defunct, sadly) Paddy and Wardy's Wine Appreciation Society - of that more anon.
Saturday dawned and - as anticipated - Marlow turned up with a full complement ready for the fray. For once , after an especially torrid week on the availability front the 2's had 16 players as well. Blakemore, resplendent with his new Pep Guardiola haircut, was in especially fine voice extolling the virtues of pass and trap to anyone who cared to listen. For once I understood most of what he said.
I rather like the visit of Marlow who have been ever presents in this league for at least the last three seasons. They are always well organised, professionally coached, look the part and get seriously stuck in. This match had the added edge that they had turned us over before Christmas and, of course, the inclusion of Oliver and Hardy within their ranks.
No sooner was the game in progress than the unthinkable occurred with Marlow going 1 up scored by His Nibs with an overhead smash of which Nadal would have been proud. I'd just observe here that is the third game in a row that the 2's have managed to go one down within 15 minutes. The rest of the first half was the sort of gritty and quite even encounter that games between the 2's and Marlow tend to be,until our find of the season and Boy Band moniker JLS touched home a penalty corner just before the interval.
1-1. Pep's half time talk suggested to me that he wasn't very happy with the way the boys had performed in the first half and he soon sloped off to have a sulk on the sideline. If that's the way he sells sliding doors I'm surprised he earns any comission at all. Anyway the fact that he said nothing constructive and just delivered the most expletive ridden tirade I've ever heard, led to the boys playing a bit better in the second half and scoring the winner - again through JLS.
It kind of hacked me off because at the beginning of this season, before Pep muscled in uninvited, that's what I tended to do most weeks, but it never made any difference at all, so I do wonder why we even bother with a coach who is really just a glorified sliding door salesman. He tells me he's got 4 sets of sliding doors in his house so it must be a bit like a slalom course in there if they're ever left partly open - why would you want that?. Anyway it does make you wonder also how good these blokes like Klopp and Potchettino and Sarri really are and why they are paid so much. I've always thought I could do as well as them and, if you ask me, I just think they got lucky.
Marlow went straight home after the game which was a surprise but that was, apparently, because our our card machine at the bar wasn't working - however the woman who runs the kitchen wasn't happy. To his enduring credit the South's businessman of the decade stayed for a beer although he must have been hurting as badly as I was when we lost at Marlow. One thing you can say he's a top banana and is unfailingly good value. I gave him a nice bottle of Barolo and he gave me nothing because some big bloke had taken it back to Marlow with him. I think it was the same guy who went down a couple of times in the second half like a sack of spuds after he'd been tackled. Happily he was OK - I hope he enjoys the wine.
Me?- I went home and did a little jig (you know I did Wardy).