The lead up to this month’s PDFL match day was less than ideal.
We had already experienced uncustomary problems in assembling a 7 man squad for the day in this 5-a-side competition, due to many of our regular players being unavailable for selection for a variety of reasons. Seven was the minimum number we felt we needed to give us a chance of keeping people “fresh” and rested throughout our 3 game schedule, which included a matchup with old rivals and title contenders Boston in game 3 which would be the second of two “back to back” games for Strollers.
In the final few days before match day, both Brian Dunkerley and Andrew “Waggers” Walton stepped up to give us the total of seven players we were hoping for.
Sadly, just a day before match-day we got the news that Paul Archer had unfortunately received a Covid Positive test result and as a result he had to withdraw from the squad. I hasten to add that Paul has told me that his symptoms were not too severe and he is already recovering well…I am sure you will join me in wishing Paul a speedy return to full health.
Then, early on match day morning, Paul Newiss had to pull out due to an injury to his neck/shoulder area sustained at work at the back end of last week. This must have been a great disappointment to Paul, as it was to the rest of the squad, as he had only recently recovered from the hand injury that had been keeping away from playing “between the sticks” for the past few weeks.
MATCH 1 – STAMFORD STROLLERS 1 V SOUTH LINCS STEELERS 3 (GOAL SCORER, COLIN B-T)
So, despite all efforts to field a squad of seven, we went in to match one against close rivals, South Lincs Steelers with only five players and with Waggers rising to the challenge of keeping goal in Paul Newiss’ absence.
In a team where so few people had played together before that we had to have a session of introductions before starting the day! Lol, I have to say that I could not have been more proud of how hard the whole team worked for each other to be competitive in this match. Some of the football produced was at a level that I would have thought unlikely given the unfamiliarity among our ranks.
Indeed we took the lead in the game and remained competitive throughout despite the eventual loss. It would not have been unreasonable had we taken at least a point from the game, such was the even nature of play, with two of South Lincs goals being gifted to them as a result of mis-controlled passes from Strollers. These two goals ultimately separated the two sides.
MATCH 2 – NETHERTON UNITED A 1 V STAMFORD STROLLERS 5 (GOAL SCORERS, ROBIN BROOKES (1), COLIN B-T (1), LEE TILLEN (3)
Match 2 was a game that we expected to win. Netherton have struggled this season, amassing only two wins and one draw up until today.
Strollers started unusually tentatively in the match, perhaps relaxing a little more than was needed against the perceived weaker opposition and went in at half time only 2-1 ahead against a spirited Netherton team.
For this game our squad numbers had been bolstered by one, with Lee Tillen having arrived to join our ranks. Lee’s offer of his services had been received too late for him to play in match 1, due to his previous prior commitment having been cancelled at very short notice, but he was able to join us in time for him to be involved in both of our later games. As you will see, Lee obviously benefitted from his “lay-in” this morning ( ) as he came into the side with great effect, scoring a hat-trick in what ultimately turned out to be a comfortable win for Strollers.
MATCH 3 – STAMFORD STROLLERS 1 V BOSTON UNITED 9 (GOAL SCORER, ROBIN BROOKES)
Yes, you did read that scoreline correctly…Strollers fell to our heaviest defeat of the season so far, in fact I believe our heaviest ever defeat in the league, against our old rivals.
Yet, despite the final result, I have to once again applaud the effort and commitment shown by the entire team in this game. In fact, we were pretty competitive in a hardworking first half which ended (I believe) at 1-2.
The second half however proved to be 12 minutes too far for a fatigued Strollers team as a very strong Boston side took full advantage of the gaps that began to appear.
Once again, I really want to commend every member of the Strollers team for their extremely hard work and commitment, as well as some of the impressive moves that they put together, not only in this game but throughout the day.
Given the less than ideal preparation for todays fixtures, we set out on our “adventure” with two fundamental aims, 1. To work really hard for one another and 2. To enjoy every moment of the day. After all, we all play this game to have fun above all else, right?
I think (and hope that all concerned will agree) that these twin missions were accomplished. Great job fellas!
Huge thanks to everyone who played today;
Andrew “Waggers” Walton
Below is a link to the PDFL Walking Football League site which will be fully updated shortly to include today’s results.