Runcorn IIIs 2 - Bowdon IXs 0
Unlucky. That just about sums up the KBs efforts on Saturday (and hopefully might get me an award for the shortest opening sentence in a match report ?). Due a masterpiece of organisation (did Olly delegate ?) the swarm arrived a good half-hour before the start time only to find it was running 20 minutes late anyway ! Your reporter immediately selflessly volunteered to find if the leisure centre had a Bar, but was thwarted by Runcorn's fitness culture (eh ?) and had to settle for a "Cappuccino" and there aren't quotation marks big enough to encapsulate the coffee machine's appalling attempt at brewing one of Italy's finest culinary inventions and a Caramac.
Eventually the hockey had to start and the early exchanges could only be described as "tight'. Surprisingly the KBs resembled something approaching an organised team, and passed to each other and that sort of thing. Much as I hate to admit it, Olly was quite good in midfield (in patches), although his attempts at what might, only very generously, be described as the final "killer' through ball to Yokker made me laugh, as they rocketed off the end of the pitch at high speed with Yokker only just in the same time-zone. Yokker managed a wonderful variety of looks of incredulity and disbelief at Olly's exhortations to 'get on the end of it'.
The drafting-in of a current Scottish International (Ernie) at the heart of the defence steadied the ship, and inspired his fellow defenders (Nick and Jonny) to near-competent levels of performance, and provided much-needed protection for that ever-willing (!) Goalkeeping stand-in Andy Marshall.
And so a tight first half ended goalless, with neither side looking much like they were very interested in scoring, although the wily maestro Jim Stafford did lash a pretty good effort at the largely under-employed Runcorn custodian just to keep him awake. A high point for myself, as umpire, was that I had the perfect excuse for not having to listen to the rotund general's half-time musings always a bonuzzzzzzzzzzz.
And so onto the second half which was a little bit more open than the first, with the red-and-black generally playing the better hockey but lacking a cutting edge to convert the good 'moral' approach play into something more tangible. And, as is so often the case in these close encounters, the poorer side (and yes, I do mean Runcorn on this occasion !) nicked possession in the KBs danger area and a clinical finish saw the away side, against the run of play, 1-0 down.
Thereafter, despite the swarming of the Bees, Runcorn drew their sting, and another breakaway led to a short-corner and a well-struck second goal. Craig Simpson's attempts to "think outside the box" in search of inspiration by using his feet only resulted in the first green card for a Bees player for many years, and defeat inevitably followed. Although I think that this was, without doubt, a clear-cut moral victory of the first order, and those who ventured back to Runcorn's club-house, which was bizarrely under threat by a hammer-wielding maniac just as we arrived, were fortunate enough to enjoy a very fine pint (or two) of Greene-King IPA.
"Win or Lose Drink your Booze !"