Maj’s Marvels – defy all odd’s and win again! Epsom 4’s 3 : London Ed’s 3’s 1

AndrewM Match reports, Men's 4th xi

London Edwardians warm up started (allegedly) 1 hour before our game, and this well drilled and ‘keen to win’ team were on the pitch during the half time break of the previous game; whereas the 4’s were all still tucked up in bed, or for me down the vet’s paying loads of money to have my pussy checked over by a man in green.

In contrast, and now customary to the 4’s warm up, this consists of 5-6 of us at training on Thursday night, which we may just rename the 3’s nicking session, as this week we lost our x-factor boy band trio of Triple J (Jack R, Jack D and Jamie G) to higher leagues.  So a home game and surely we would be strong anyway……..

Could have and nearly did start with 9 players, as Andy Adams forgot his boots and had to return home half way, Jamie P (fit thing he is) was cutting it short and coming straight from his earlier football match (is he mad?) and Kris Heath phoned (or probably emailed) Maj to say he was ill and unlikely to make it. So we saw Maj at his best, panicking, panicking and panicking again, and as his therapist advised best to send out a few comforting emails to calm the nerves. But as we know in the 4’s, we do rise to a challenge, but had we gone a step too far here?

Kris had not managed to crawl out of his sick bed, but Andy had turned up, Caggers helped out (thanks mate) and somehow we lined up with a full team, and even had Jamie P arrive in the final minutes of warm up as our sub, along with his Dad Terry with video camera in hand to record all the great moments for his PE GCSE (OK so like I did for Jack last year, best to edit out 90% of it, and strangely just keep the bits when he is great).  London Edwardians are sitting 3rd in the league for good reason, and were a tough solid team, with an uncanny knack of sending aerials far into our half for their forwards to turn us, and apply pressure from the start. But we battled hard, started to gain some composure and then play our game. A great first half for all, and Rob Maslin’s electric pace paid off, when he collected the ball at the top of the D and sort of batted the ball (think that’s an appropriate cricketing term) from under his feet which sailed up at a perfect 2-3 feet high past the keeper for a well deserved goal – hooray.

Me thinks, “they’re not going to like this”, and not surprisingly they came back at us hard, and a quick break, saw our defence wanting, and their forward turned and banged the ball past an otherwise exemplary Tuckers.  So 1-1 at half time, and mixed feelings. Syd gave us his words of wisdom from the sideline, and apart from the need to play the early pass, a bit quicker, with a bit more meaning, and not always try the impossible through ball (but pls see on), we had this game in our grasp.

You’d be surprised how simple this game can become, and it does just prove how valuable these strategic perspectives can prove to be. This was proven to be just so true today, as whilst they probably had better individual players in most positions, we had the better team – because that is how we play and win in the 4’s – teamwork makes the dreamwork #naffmanagementspeakbytheauthor.

Normally we have 2 very different halves, but the second continued where we left off with great pressure (think because I was taking a breather) and we created some great chances, and were looking like the winning team. For me, moment of the match was seeing Tuckers (all 6 stone of him I might add) slide out and take their forward so well that the forward got totally splattered (fairly as Tuckers got the ball) and just proves ladies, that size isn’t everything. It’s the motion of ocean that counts.

Unusually for us, we kept the pressure up, and we were awarded a free hit just outside their D. For which they seem to forget marking me, so I was able to drag the ball back out 5 yards, before smashing it across the D, towards I think Mazza (OK so I had no idea where it went, but it looked good) so he could deflect it onto Jamie P, who scored an amazing goal of impossible odd’s and proven skill and broke the net in 7 places (reality was he scored, but this is how the video will get edited later by Terry, I hope….) . 2-1 up and Edwardians were rattled, they came to win an easy game, they were losing and strangely we were looking ever dangerous.

The electric pace of Mazza continued, and for whom we later found out always runs left, finally turned and played the ball out to the right, for me to collect and run up field with it. Faced with 2 defenders, and the ever eager Dan I contemplated running past the defenders (but then remembered I was puffing out my backside, and was about to roll over and concede to age) when I thought well I may as well have a go at that impossible through ball – worse case the defenders would get it anyway. So I hit the impossible through ball which went through the 2 defenders, splitting them in half, and onto Dan, who amazingly picked this ball up from midair, deflected it in time with his run into the D and slipped the ball under their surprised keeper for a 3-1 win.  Somehow, Dan has managed to play 5 games for the team and scored 5 times (1 per week) and typically each time has been a goal of the season contender which should not happen, but just does. Maybe it is the 5 assists which I have gifted him, but hey the telepathy is working and we are winning again.

Soaking up the delights of winning, Captain email bought the oppo a jug (clearly he was feeling awash with cash this week, having not purchased a new tyre this weekend) and then offered his votes for MoM which was a highly supported vote for newby Rob Pringle – just great at the back, and provided invaluable support and pressure to our attacks; and TFC was awarded to Nick Cheyne for running after the ball from the sideline to return it to London Edwardians, when we were quite happy to watch the clock tick down. Harsh vote, but when we played as well as we did this Saturday, it’s the small things which count and get remembered.