Some weeks writing the match report can be pretty hard work. I suspect that my readers may think it's perfectly straightforward to churn out several lines of infantile nonsense but when you operate at the rarified creative levels that I do then finding inspiration doesn't always come easy.
This week is a case in point. The 2's were entertaining Witney or Team Chilv as they are known. For those many of you who are wondering yet again whether the marbles have gone missing I should explain that Witney are coached by ex Hawks stalwart Neil Chilvers and captained by his eldest son Tim - also a former Hawks player. In addition and judging by their position on the touchline on Saturday Chilv's wife Jane is the club's technical advisor and his other son Sam (who I always mistake for Tim) acts as Chilv's assistant. What do this family discuss over supper I wonder?
Over the last few seasons Chilv has taken Witney up through the lower leagues so they now nestle comfortably and deservedly in our league which is no mean achievement as it has been done without merging with any other clubs and is based on home grown and developed players who are well organised. On Saturday they sat one point behind Hawks in the table with a game in hand.
So the 2's anticipated a tough encounter.
This game took place on a Saturday.
I mention this obvious fact because the routine this season has been that on Friday each week not only is there always an accident on the A34 which causes traffic chaos but also Oxford Hawks Hockey Club inexplicably suffers a torrent of calamitous and wholly unanticipated injuries and unavailability at the top end of the club.
This weekend the 2's squad of 16 on Friday at 6.00.p.m. was reduced to 13 by push back on Saturday. During that short time span one player remembered that his back was hurting so he wouldn't be able to play, another had forgotten that he had to go to work and another one's hip suddenly fell off (no names, no pack drill - whatever that means) - which must have come as a surprise to them all but not to the first XI manager and myself. It is such a regular occurrence that we now spend Friday night into Saturday morning sat by the phone waiting for the "Sorry but...." phone calls to come in.
I won't go on other than to ask when was the last time that Pep or Jurgen ever had to devote their Friday nights to sorting out their squads for the following day.
Whatever - the game against Team Chilv turned out to be a pretty dull contest with neither side at their best .I can say, however, that no one on the Witney side seemed to have mastered Chilv's trademark move as a player, which was to stop the ball and then drag it onto his left foot thus conceding a free hit. Pity, because it used to provide weekly entertainment to his team mates so I know he won't mind me mentioning it here.
In the end the 2's won 2-1 although the outcome was a bit more comfortable than it sounds as Team Chilv got their goal in the last minute to deny Boggs Junior a clean sheet. That would have been absolutely unthinkable 6 weeks ago. A pity as he's even learned to come off his line when the need arises. Progress indeed.
I feel I should apologise for this report. It's been a long season.
Thanks to Evelyn Hargeaves for the excellent photos.