Alas, I thought having handed over the captaincy baton, the match report responsibility would soon follow. For this week at least, I thought wrong. Poly rumbled up to the Racecourse for what has been historically dubbed the ‘Matt Hillier derby’.
In a team of 10 clubs, it is depressing but sadly not surprising that come kick off, we had the bare 11. In the words of Yogi Bera, it’s like Déjà vu all over again. What transpired was a comprehensive defeat, but we should have no excuses. The result would have been similar regardless.
We competed as best we could, but they were very sharp, fit and played some good stuff. I would be surprised if Poly are far off the top come the season end. Defensively, we could have been a little more compact out of possession, but 3 of the goals were towards the top end of quality you will see at this level. Their delivery from wide areas and intent from midfield to attack the ball was top notch. Positives for us would be Ross and Mark in the centre of midfield, they competed admirably against one of the better midfields you will see at this level.
Without waving the white flag, we will be on the end of some of these results this season. We have had a lot of change pre-season and there are some very good teams in the division. It is important we keep morale up and just focus on improving. Gerry is doing some great stuff in training and it is more important than ever that people make the effort. Having played Poly more times than I care to mention in recent years, they are the blueprint of where we want to get to. We both were promoted from Div 2 together a few years back, they pipped us by a point and there wasn’t a huge gap in terms of ability. From that season, they still have the same core of 8/9 players lining up opposite you every time you play and have clearly developed as a unit. Every new face is additional quality. We have probably been through 3 players in every position since then, with every decent new player plugging a gap from one that has left.
Their prep also spoke volumes. Whilst they were out as a team warming up an hour before kick-off, we were still meandering into the Racecourse in dribs and drabs. It’s worth putting on the table now that the vast majority of the sides will have superior technical ability to us. For us to stand a chance of competing, we have to match or exceed their fitness, organisation and preparation. In the simplest form it’s getting to the ground on time.
Onwards and upwards for the weekend.