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It's never over till the fat lady sings

13 November 2021, 13:00, Banbury Road North (Near)

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

There are days when, occasionally, I find myself afflicted by writer's block - it doesn't happen often but today is a case in point. It's irritating but it makes me wonder how people like Stephen King produce hundreds of pages of riveting text year on year. It is an exceptional talent.

After yesterday's excitement I have therefore decided to dispense with frivolity and concentrate on the hockey following a tremendous contest against  Basingstoke at BRN. It ended 4-3 to our brave lads but could so easily have gone either way. It was , however, an object lesson in never giving up on an apparently lost cause - hence the heading of this report - which , in itself, persuaded me to investigate the provenance of the fat lady herself.

My research throws up a number of theories. One is that it refers to Brunnhilde,in Wagner's The Ring who was traditionally presented as a stupendously proportioned lady with a belting voice whose farewell scene lasts almost twenty minutes in the Ring Circle and leads directly to the finale of the whole composition - a musical work with which, I imagine, my more erudite readers are all too familiar..

Another theory is the saying comes from baseball -possibly the Brooklyn Dodgers in the inter-war period simply because a rather fat, older, female fan used to start singing at the end of every game. So the game wasn't over till the fat lady sang.

Finally it is thought to be a phrase which became a metaphor for declaring that church was not over till the music stops

I must say that I personally favour the vision of the pneumatic Bavarian soprano in full song and on Saturday afternoon at 2-0 down at half time she was clearly pretty close to her final chord.

To confront the brutal truth for a second successive week the boys had not covered themselves in glory in the first 35 minutes. The match had been fiercely but fairly contested but Hawks continually presented their opponents with turnover ball that Basingstoke gleefully accepted and converted into 2 goals and another shot which crashed into the post.

Half time took us into a subdued self examination of the side's collective failings with even the ever positive Dunners appearing to recognise he had just witnessed a calamitous performance. I swear that he is definitely improving in stature as a coach. Whereas I would happily have hurled any available soft toys to all parts of the field Dunners communicated his anger at the quality of the show we had witnessed by (1) abandoning his nervous smile, (2) saying "please" a lot  and (3) delivering his expectations of the second half in a voice redolent with disappointment. Above all he managed to keep his cool.

Start of the second half and a finely worked tap in goal from Matt Wilson then caused the Fat Lady briefly to pause between verses before, within a couple of minutes, Basingstoke scored again thus sending her irrepressibly towards her final building crescendo. It seemed, for all the world, that Hawks' goose was well and truly cooked.

Not so as it transpired. Dan Andrews then sent a shortie screaming into the roof of the net followed, in short order, with further goals from Lewis and finally Kit. 4-3 to Hawks and the boys continued to play the measured, accurate, hockey they are capable of. Basingstoke rather lost their way and, with it, any hope of a revival. As for the Fat Lady- I assume she completed her finale as the final whistle blew.

An amazing game uninterrupted by the issue of any cards and as good an advert for hockey at this level as you will see - thanks to the umpires and our opponents (who accepted the result with exceptionally good grace). 

Marlow away next week - 1st v 2nd - should be a cracker.

 

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