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Marlow's penalty corner routine does for the M2's

14 March 2020, 13:30, Banbury Road North (Near)

Men's 2s 3 - 4 Marlow Men's 1s

I suppose the cancellation of the World's entire professional football programme as least has the advantage that I can't spend Sunday afternoon slobbing in front of the TV watching Pep and Jurgen slogging it out. It means that I can get my precious copy in before Wednesday and have some chance of a ranking on the website commensurate with the quality of the report. So, but for the 1's stunning demolition of Canterbury by 5 goals to 2 on Saturday evening I might actually have hoped for top billing. Instead the 2's will take second place to Boggs', dull as ditchwater, but nonetheless incisive analytical assessment of a very fine performance by our premier side - and rightly so.

By contrast I bring news of a rather more mundane performance by the 2's in a game which was competitive but, I might say, rather testy with many participants having a bit too much to say for themselves. Hot air was very much in evidence and not only in the pre match meeting.

Marlow arrived at BRN in third place in the League, with a reputation of being difficult to beat and well organised.

In deference to the all consuming virus, Dunners (on advice from others perhaps more academically qualified than most of us - I refer of course to the recently prolific Henry Taylor) moved our pre match briefing into the open air beside the kiosk. It seemed to me that decision probably exposed us all to the risk of infection, not only from within the group itself, but also from spectators passing within 2 metres of us, many of whom were desperate to hear the great man in the flesh.

As he does, Dunners declared grandly that he had a plan! He said he had thought carefully about the previous League encounter with Marlow and was very sure how they could be frustrated. Thereafter the presentation followed a familiar course. Dunners explained the strategy, players asked questions, Dunners responded confidently and, crucially, counters were deployed. The fact that all was not entirely clear to the squad was cruelly exposed as one player, scrutinising the board, was brave enough to ask in which direction we were playing (up or down?). Although Dunners was briefly unsettled  he regained his composure and answered  confidently.

However the briefing then went seriously off the rails  when, without any explanation, he  moved the yellow counter (the goalkeeper - distinguishable from all the other blue and red counters by both its unique colour and the fact there is only one yellow counter per set) - into midfield, to play as one of the screens, (whatever that is), rather than between the posts which is, of course, his designated position. 

You think I make all this up - I swear something like this happens every single week.

When he did finally bring the meeting to a conclusion Dunners seemed very satisfied that we were more than prepared for anything the visitors were going to throw at us.

I have to concede reluctantly that our coach - and he improves week by week albeit in small increments - was pretty much spot on with his prediction of how the men in red would line up, as in the first 15 minutes, whenever our boys were in possession, they, (Marlow) retreated en masse to various stations between the half way line and the 25. There they were happy to stay and watch Hawks retain possession until we got anywhere near the half way line before they tried to win the ball back.

As it happened,Hawks went 1-0 up and I thought the visitors might change their strategy but not so. We continued to transfer. They continued to watch us do it. 

Let me just say that if it had been up to me I would have said Carry On Chaps and we would obviously have won 1-0 . Simples!! OK - I jest. 

What actually happened is the game very slowly opened up. Marlow were awarded  3 penalty corners which they were rather efficient at doing and that, essentially, was the difference between the two sides. They did us so put up with it

I really can't think of anything else I can usefully say. 

Last game of the season next week - Allelluia!!


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