Picture the scene:
A huge crowd gathered in North London; for a match of gigantuan proportions.
Over – exaggeration?….more fool you my friend.
The undercurrent of unadulterated hate that was wheezing itself around the club could literally be smelt in the air..and that smell was of dead dogs and putrid breath. A grudge match, you could say (if you wanted to be a little over-dramatic in order to jazz up your match report).
The opening exchanges between the 2 sides were pretty even with Josh putting a long shot past the post and Parsons putting one over the bar. The elder Tolcher (and North London’s answer to Brendan Rodgers) was a man on a mission to win ..ever since he was a boy, Tolcher used to stroll along Hastings beach, past the empty cider bottles; groping teenagers; and open sewage – dreaming of appearing in his first Cup Final for the 8th team in the ‘Theatre of Wonders’..aka Ebogs 2nd best pitch). Today was his chance and by God he wasn’t going to let that chance go. The breakthrough came when Tolcher’s younger brother Oli decided that he had forgiven his older brother for pulling his hair and nicking his dinner money in 1991 and decided to score a goal of the season contender from outside the box..in the words of a greengrocer (or a fruit stall owner), it was ‘a peach’.
The 8s continued to play some good, organised passing football but the match remained tight as the 7s were also fully committed to a victory. Will ‘he score this season?’ Dudmish was characteristically roaming up the right flank and working some nice passing with the imaginatively titled ‘Scottish Dave’ (who happens to be from Scotland). Pete ‘Crofty’ Croft (his nickname relates to his surname) had made a welcome return, elegantly holding up the ball and playing some nice one-twos with ‘Kenny’ who was tirelessy working 100% for the cause. Gavin and Jack anchored the midfield with steel and verve and the 8s back four did a good job of keeping the 7s strike team relatively quiet.
The half time whistle blew and the 8s knew they were in a hard fought, close game. Not for the first time ever either, Jamie had pulled off some fine saves in goal.
The second half saw a surging pass to Oli Tolcher and run from Ware all the way from the back and into the oppo’s box..at this point Ware knew that his telepathic relationship with Tolcher would serve him well, as Oli would probably return the pass at just the right moment so that Ware could get his first goal of the season in glorious fashion…unfortunately Oli decided to shoot rather tamely instead, not nly destroying the rather flimsy footballing ‘bond’ that Ware had conjured up in his head between the two but also nearly giving Ware a heart attack through exhaustion.
The 2nd goal came from a through ball to the marauding George ‘Walders’ Waldrum (his nickname relates to his surname) and with not a measle in sight, Walders ‘dinked’ the ball over the keeper towards the goal. The ball appeared to be rolling in but like a Glasgow Kiss, Scottish Dave showed no mercy and buried the ball into the back of the net…2-0!!! The only question now was who got the goal?!…. Walders or Dave? In typically dignified manner, the two have agreed to decide who ‘owns’ the goal by staging a ‘winner takes all’ naked wrestle at the AP awards night..who says that real men don’t play football?….erm, anyway back to the game and the 8s lost their star keeper Jamie Grobelaar to Romford dog track (it’s true), making way for Dan ‘Dan’ Dan (his nickname relates to his name) in goal. Dan took over where Jamie left off and was solid as a rock. Changes were made for the 8s, with Matty’ Matt’ Tarrant (his nickname relates to his first name) and Kevin (aka ‘Kev’ – which relates to his first name) coming on and performing well.
The last few kicks of the game saw Josh bang in a great half volley from the edge of the box but by then it was too late – the 8s had taken the spoils and the tears of joy were there for all to see.
‘All’s fair in love and war’ as they say and this was exemplified by the way I overheard one of the 8s players having a stimulating Biblical conversation with Doctor Nigel Bagley as they trudged of the pitch (I believe the story they were referring to was the story of ‘Judas’.which I believe is Hebrew for ‘Nigel’)
..only joking Nige – you know we love you!
So now the 8s await their next cup match with Old Park 9s and we say bring it on!