It was the last game before Christmas and the excuses not to play poured in during the preceding week, ranging from the plausible – Charlie stuck in Kazakhstan (“Astana or Almaty?” I responded, quick as a flash) – to the barely believable. Naming no names, I realise that carol concerts, shopping expeditions and visiting your girlfriend’s family are worthy activities but ultimately damaging to the team AND DARE I SAY IT CLUB dynamic. And so off we trotted to Beaconsfield, much visited in my youth to various hostelries, notably a pub near to our venue of the girls High School the Old Hare, or locally known as the Knackered Rabbit. So I was sad to see that like so many pubs it had been turned into a pizza parlour, but I digress, and we should turn our attention to the top of the table clash between Hawks 4s and Gerrards Cross.
We lost Jasper to the 3s but retained Adam for his last game for a while and welcomed Jack Boydon, resplendent in a seasonal turkey hat – you craaaazy stowdents – and the excellent Rob Manson who’s been hiding in the 6s (naughty Nick!). What transpired, once we managed to get 12 players at the ground, Rob and Robin getting stuck in a RTA on the M40, was probably the best team performance of the season as we dominated the Cross to comfortably win 1-4. The main difference from last week’s debacle at West Hampstead was a team effort and the will to win, embodied by the return of Rob Home in defence, where we looked solid and a midfield of ageing *stars*. Having been forewarned that Friday night was Will Cairns’ works Christmas do, I did the only sensible thing – and put the bleary-eyed one at centre midfield. I was hoist by my own door bomb, or petard if you will, as Will who was playing excellently albeit by memory, injured his ankle and I was forced into the libero role. It truly was a veteran midfield now, as next to me was Dave Cook, who was supreme at left midfield and was undoubtedly man of the match. This may be harsh on Tom Forrester, who was a class above everyone else on the pitch, and the forwards who ran the lines excellently.
Robin F opened the scoring with a close rebound as is his wont and although GX equalised from a surprising lapse of concentration at the back, Adam Scholey bagged a brace to take his tally to 15 and Tom F also got on the scoresheet, just rewards for his efforts. It would have been more had it not been from their excellent young keeper, although he was prone to be prone (see what I did there?!). Second to Marlow at the half way stage, if we can get more consistent availability and less of the lame excuses, we can get the balance of the side right and be well set for the second half of the season. Abi Titmus to you all.
Additional player John Carey