AP 8’s Vs Old Blues 2’s (Spring Cup)
The furthest away match this season against an unknown quantity meant the AP 8’s had to demonstrate they had the minerals to make it to the final. Meeting under the clock at Waterloo station the team looked like an ‘away day’ for the dodgeball team. A third were still doing their GCSE’s (or retakes), the other third looked like day release and the rest were the wrong side of 35. On arrival at the ground in leafy Barnes we met a very nice team called Stonewall, who were just about to play on another pitch. Crofty took an immediate interest and sad to report but I think we may lose him to Stonewall next season. They needed a big man up front and with his outstanding season it may be difficult to keep hold of him. With that said, all the best from the lads Crofty, it’s been a joy playing with you.
Old Blues 2’s are a new team hoping to get in to the SAL league next season, in the warm up it was clear they could play and we were in for a tough afternoon. The first half kicked off and after a nervy 5 minutes or so AP started to knock the ball around. Jack Parsons doing what he’s done all season, moaning at the ref as well as shutting down attacks in midfield, squaring it off nicely or trying to thread through balls. Jack Dudmish, Ditmar and Tom buzzed around with Simon Tolcher dominating at the back, screaming motivational/bollocking comments to keep everyone on their toes. Peter Croft, playing in the hole and probably with one eye on impressing Stonewall held the ball well, won his headers and had perfect distribution. The half was a mix- some classy patches of play by AP, just not resulting in a gaol. This compared to a few AP defensive blunders down the left. Centre back Emlyn Robbins came to the rescue with one crucial crunching tackle in the penalty box that left the Old Blues right winger stunned physically and mentally….”Welcome to the SAL pal”.…I wish Emlyn had said after the tackle but he didn’t…. Riding these errors AP went on to push for the first goal. Ditmar using his pace to break through their back line, hit a sweet powerful shot without breaking his stride. Their keeper had to make an outstanding save to tip it over the bar. The moment of the half came from the back when Simon Tolcher gathered the ball and threaded it through midfield to Alex Reynolds , who’d been working hard up front. Showing true class he chipped the keeper and it was 1-0 to the AP. They had one foot in the final.
Second half saw one change with Eric Kenny coming on at left back. AP couldn’t quite get in to their stride over the next 45 minutes. Will Dudimish oozed quality at right back, a useful outlet and always looking to put a foot on it and start a play. His brother Jack, maybe fuelled by bragging rights he could have over their spaghetti hoops and fish fingers for tea, also put a shift in and got in to some good forward positions. However Old Blues upped a gear and pushed on resulting in a ‘sensational’ (thanks Alan Hansen) save from Jaime to deny them a goal. He’s been solid as a rock all season despite insisting on wearing red plimsols instead of boots. AP were nervous after this, they were so close but they could still mess it all up at this late stage. Sure enough Old Blues scored and it was 1-1 with 20 minutes to go. All AP needed was a draw or win to got through. The lads galvanised themselves and whilst not playing that well they made it to 90 minutes without conceding another. Old Blues were decent opposition, they have talent and youth and are sure to do well next season but AP proved they had the minerals and then some.
This is a huge achievement for the 8’s. The record books at the club house report no achievement for the 8’s in it’s ENTIRE history. The team will be expecting and fighting for the win against HSBC but to get to the final of the Spring cup means the lads can be proud. At the very least this will be something AP can now put in their list of achievements. Fittingly MOM goes to the gaffer who has turned our fortunes around this season with this upcoming final and a respectable league finish. Take a bow Simon Tolcher.
The 8’s would like to put a call out to all AP players to come and support us in the final. Venue to be confirmed but we want as many of our AP brothers down there as possible cheering us on. COME ON AP HAVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!