I can't deny I wasn't looking forward to this game. The portents were not encouraging. A week which had seen another half dozen players fall by the wayside with a myriad of excuses for non availability ended with our beloved coach, muse and leader declaring himself a victim of Covid. His son, having survived 12 weeks of basic army training, had returned to the bosom of his family and immediately developed a suspicious tickly cough. Rightly Dunners directed everyone in the household to submit to a test.
By Saturday morning he was able to declare that he (Dunners) was clear but Finn's test result had not yet come through - so after much agonised deliberation he declared himself still to be a possible Coronavirus risk and thus so much of a danger to the team's chances of success that he should not travel. Thus, although feeling as fit as a fiddle, he had been Dido'ed. Someone unkindly suggested he should routinely examine each Saturday morning whether or not his attendance at matches was likely to be a net benefit to the side's prospects of success. At the time I thought that was unfair but as events turned out I'm not now so sure. However one has to recognise that it was a pretty selfless decision at the time.
The venerated one did find time to pass on his views of the impending contest which can be summarised thus - Marlow are a formidable side at home, are well up for this game, very keen to do us and are expecting half of Buckinghamshire to turn up in support. That helpful assessment together with Marlows 100% record and goal difference of 23-3 in 5 games only served to darken my mood. Add into the mix some dreadful weather, the imminent prospect of a national lockdown, the late arrival for our team meeting of nearly half the boys and the fact that Josh turned up dressed as Aladdin and you'll understand why I was struggling to maintain my normal sunny, optimistic, disposition. In fact the woman who manages the Hawks kitchen (TWWMTHK), with whom I share accommodation opined that she didn't know why I was bothering to go to Marlow ( ? when I could have stayed at home and watch the Scots beat the Welsh at the Millenium stadium ?) - Note - it always cheers me hugely to see the Welsh getting stuffed at rugby anywhere but even more so at home.
Well I needn't have worried as it turned out. Our bunch of second string journeymen players produced a high quality performance against the able and combative League leaders in front of half of Buckinghamshire. Having resolved in our pre match, socially distanced, huddle, to start more promptly than Hawks normally manage Sam Greenbank (this is not a case of mistaken identity whatever you may think) put our brave boys one up in the first minute and the whole side played with grit and style for the remainder of an exhilarating contest. 1-0 became 1-2 and by half time 3-2 up. By half way through the second half we were 4-2 ahead but Marlow are not top for nothing and it ended 4-4 so Hawks still sit in second place 3 points behind the home side. I felt we should have sneaked it but I would wouldn't I.
The whole side play their part but special mention again must go to Cutter who prepared for the game by arriving late because he was buying curtains in John Lewis. Perhaps we should all do a bit of home shopping before important games and just can the pre match briefing ? Whatever - he wreaked havoc every time he got his stick on the ball and caused the sort of panic that that French bloke St Maximin, who plays for Newcastle, does in the Premier League. I also need to mention youngster Jamie Hill who is really starting to play very well and debutant Robbie Scragg who had a very decent game. I rewarded them both by leaving them on the sideline for the last 20 minutes of the game - to their credit they accepted the decision with very good grace. Sometimes you have to roll with experience.
Sadly that's it for a few weeks but at least we finished on a high.