Saturday began with joyous news. It was brought to my attention by a senior member of the Ladies section that this column has more than the two readers of whom I was aware. Better still I was informed that the additional devotees of the M2's match reports comprised virtually the whole of the most successful Ladies 5th XI in the country, if not Europe or the entire world. In short the number of regular readers of these reports appears to have quadrupled overnight.
I had no reason to surmise that my informant had been at the lager and so to count among my readership the all conquering Oxford Hawks ladies 5's ( Current record P18 W18 For 74 Ag 20) lead by the redoubtable Lady Pollyanna (also by good fortune my inspirational Pilates instructor and thus principally responsible for my athletic well being and lithe physique) was humbling indeed . My cup runneth over.
That apart the week had been largely uneventful so I will move swiftly onto Saturday afternoon. Reading 3's arrived with a side that bore very little resemblance to the team we had met earlier in the season. As I have already droned on relentlessly about lack of commitment and players picking and choosing when they will or won't play I will not dwell any further on the subject other than to observe it is obviously not an issue for Hawks alone.
Reading did ,however, come with a game plan. While our trusty boys were still languishing in the changing room the visitors snuck out onto the pitch and took occupation of the Hawks (home) shelter. Well it certainly worked because I was totally disorientated for the entire afternoon. Significantly I remember once our two dogs suddenly stopped eating out of their food bowls. I thought I had done something to upset them and they'd gone on hunger strike. It went on for nearly a week and I even took them to the vet who could find nothing wrong with them except he diagnosed that they were, by then, very hungry. Only later did I notice that, mistakenly, I had transposed their (very similar) bowls and once I transferred them over they happily started eating again. They had just been utterly discombobulated.
Anyway, as it happened, the unfamiliar surroundings of the away shelter seemed to rather suit the boys as they tore into Reading from the start and showed as much menace in the first 15 minutes as they had done in the previous 15 games. Of course that's not to say that we scored a hatful of goals but Mally got on the scoresheet with a wonder drag flick and JLS poached a couple by half time so Hawks were pretty much in control by the interval. I haven't written that very often this season.
Regular readers will note the absence of Gurden's name on the scoresheet. The Kiwi is turning into something of a jester which, frankly , is not an entirely welcome development. He announced before the match that he is "not a natural goalscorer." If proof were needed it came almost immediately as he proceeded to squander numerous routine chances throughout the first half. Indeed it's a mystery how the Kokaburra banners were not totally shredded by the interval.
JLS completed his hat trick in the second half and Gurden finally put one between the two uprights to complete our scoring so the boys finished very comfortable 5-2 winners.
Only compassion prevents me mentioning Henry Taylor. Suffice to say that throughout this entire season he and scoring have remained on the most distant terms.