Already champions, a much changed Mens 4th team journeyed to within the shade of the twin towers, I mean single arch, of Wembley Stadium to face West Hampstead, lying in third place and still vying for promotion. Due to a major lack of availability and more important Hawks games being played elsewhere, we were massively grateful to include Paul Dunleavy, Mark Crowley and Rob Oldershaw from the Senators, the ever-reliable James Mullan from the 5s and welcome youth in Finn D, Adam S and James M. When we arrived, we were faced with a pitch that resembled a massive piece of thick green Axminster shagpile – which made for a very awkward playing surface - and a less than raring-to-go Hampstead, with only eight players. A bizarre discussion with their skipper followed, saying that they may have to default, that they knew they were going to lose anyway (?!) and what did we want to do?
Eventually they cobbled together 11 players and we started what resembled a very end of term match in the sun, as both sides ploughed forwards with little attention to defence. Marky Mark terrorised their defence , as expected, with Adam Scholey in able support and James Mahon showing plenty of skill, while still resembling Bambi on skates. As we went two nil up, we were then faced with the accusation that our maroon shirts clashed with their black shirts – since when did they play in black and why wait for 20 minutes to complain?! So, we changed into a wide array of coloured T-shirts and hoodies that made us look like a disorganised rabble of Josephs. Except that we continued scoring goals. Mark scored a couple, as did Jasper, back from Brazil with no discernible tan, Adam nicked one as did the good doctor Ed Bray. Ed was possibly playing his last game for us – depending on where his next medical posting is – and he has been excellent for us all season and there is no doubt he would have played higher had his availability allowed. Nice touch that he finished off head to head with their centre back, calling him a rude name and gaining a green card … Tom made one great save from a corner and was only beaten by an excellent lacrosse goal, before we explained to the umpire that overhead forehand smashes are not allowed.
So WHHC tamely gave up their hopes of promotion which means Marlow HC progress to Division 4 with us. Man of the match goes to Rob Oldershaw for actually taking the decision to defend, and do so with much skill, though this was almost eclipsed by Dave Cook who was prepared to play in skins in the shirt change. Rather you than me, sunshine. As captain, I was content to sit on the sidelines for the majority of the game and bask in the sun and the glory.