Lymm 5 - Bowdon IX's 1

This was the team formerly known as the Killer Bees, but now known as the 9 XI , first outing of the season and our last friendly match prior to entering new territory of league hockey, with all the benefits of proper umpires and the hope of a full time goal keeper for the season.

Lymm are a newly formed club and added spice to the game was created by the presence of a number of ex-Bowdon players who had taken on the momentous task of setting up and running a new venture.

The game was played at Lymm High School for Girls, which made Andy Pritchard's decision to change within an open car park even more bizarre! Further, Andy then claimed that he had “accidentally” left his shorts behind and therefore had to wear his wife's skirt (this merely confirmed the team's view that Andy is really a “big girl”). Common sense prevailed and he changed out of the skirt into a more appropriate pair of long blue shorts.

With unusual organisation, probably borne out of lack of numeric skills, Bowdon managed to arrive for the match with 12 players. Selection was debated extensively and the final place was a close call between Chris and Olly, with selection eventually based on fitness grounds, the deciding factor being that Chris had just completed the Great North Run in 2 hours 15 mins and Olly was breathless walking a quarter of a mile to the Club House.

Prior to the game, Bowdon went through their normal warm-up procedures, interrupted only by cries of success when the ball was first of all stopped, then hit, generally in the direction it was aimed. Lymm, on the other hand, with all the enthusiasm of a new club, and to their credit, went through a complex warm-up exercise which was clearly so much of a shock for the ex-Bowdon players that none of them were able to make an appearance until the second half. It was also at this stage in the proceedings that most of us realised that Lymm appeared to have significantly more than 11 players warming up.

Bowdon started well with much effort from all parties, good hassling and good team play.

The game was locked at nil all until about the 15 th minute when Lymm scored their inaugural goal through extensive pressure and a clean strike past the keeper.

Despite concerted pressure by Lymm, Bowdon held out well with significant effort from both the Mid-Field and Defence.

Rick Smith was making his debut as goal keeper. Given his previous experience in this position, he performed very well, particularly when you consider that he had spent the proceeding months being encouraged to catch the same size ball being thrown at him, rather than kick it away. Experience and some work on some elements of technique will turn Rick into a good goal keeper and a fine asset to the team.

Bowdon went into half time, 3 nil down, and were greeted by the usual rousing talk from Olly, this time given extra vigour by the fact that he had not played and therefore had some spare breath and also had a good insight into the game having watched from the side lines. The topic of this week's talk was that we were playing “up and down” not “ left and right”, something that went over the majority of the team's heads, as it was simply greeted with knowing nods and smiles.

In the second half, Lymm started with at least six pairs of fresh legs including Sticky Bunn and Dave Phillips. In true sporting spirit, both these ex-Bowdon players were greeted with encouraging remarks, along the lines of “I'll mark the fat one” and “just let the selfish **** dribble and he'll eventually come to the end of the pitch.” Embarrassingly, having given Mr Bunn a reasonable degree of stick, he then managed to turn up in the D, unmarked and slot in the fourth goal within five minutes of the beginning of the second half.

Bowdon continued to battle well with particular effort from Andy Pritchard, Geoff, Chris and Nick West, and deservedly managed to claw back one goal after a good built up play between Chris and Andy White culminating with a decisive finishing from your correspondent.

As the second half wore on and Lymm changed more and more of their players, our lack of fitness began to show and Lymm exerted more and more pressure with a string of short corners, the majority of which were very well dealt with by Rick in goal.

Bowdon did however concede a further goal to end the game 5-1.

Not satisfied with beating us, Lymm then embarked on a series of warm-down exercises, something that the ex-Bowdon players seemed visibly shocked by and will undoubtedly shorten their already finite careers.

Following the game, the Bowdon team returned en-mass to Lymm's new head-quarters at Lymm Rugby Club, where the team captain spent the entire evening looking increasingly smug as he was the only person in the building over the age of 12 who was short enough to walk beneath the oak beams within the bar area without smacking his head.

Further, it has not gone unnoticed by this correspondent that our team captain managed to convince Lymm that Bowdon's jug of choice was in fact Cider & Black, a drink that appeared to be only consumed by one dwarf-like individual.

In summary, Bowdon were delighted to play Lymm in their inaugural game in a very competitive match that was played in exceptionally good spirit.

I am sure everyone will join me in wishing Lymm every success in their new venture and the forthcoming season. We look forward to reaping revenge in the proper league game in December.

Richard Cooper (Bowdon IXs leading goal scorer!)

I can see there are some 'respect' issues to be resolved here, Cooper! I'd also like to point out that I only asked about a jug of fruit juices, the team actually ended up with Jennings bitter, which was no doubt far less pleasant for family members on the Sunday morning... A sterling effort by all the newly renamed Bowdon IXs which I hope we can maintain in our league fixtures. And welcome to Tom McLean & Rick Smith to the team.