Sunday 22 June 2008

Avondale II 8ish - Sutton & Cheam II(ish) 16ish (Surrey League, 14 June 2008)

For those of you with a penchant for exciting, "edge of the seat", stories the concept of someone letting slip a key fact or tit-bit of unwanted detail as to the final dénouement is like the gratuitous exposure of a bloated roll of pasty white fat above a chav’s Burberry mini skirt on a cold January evening. It is unexpected, unwanted and immediately sickening. Almost as egregious would be the act of drawing the reader in by building the suspense and excitement of a competitive sporting encounter, but then to simply deflate their now stimulated expectation with a banal, or worse irrelevant, outcome. So let me confess immediately that I failed to see the conclusion of this game. The score is a guess based on the state of the parties at the time Rocky and I marched in disgust from the Putney Leisure Centre.

I had been looking forward to this match, having heard stories of recent close encounters and games being decided in the dying seconds. Rocky and I like a cliff hanger! The portents were good as I surveyed the two teams, although my intuition told me that the number of very strong juniors that Sutton had brought would almost certainly tip the result in their favour. Then in a quite bizarre twist their team captain came across to the balcony and exchanged words with their supporters, one of whom I recognised as a key player in their first team. He then proceeded to join the team and started the game for them.

I looked around for a protest from the home team for this blatant infringement of both the Surrey League rules and the spirit of the encounter, but either they were oblivious to the late addition or did not mind or care. I don’t believer Avondale ever make any official complaints about artificially strengthened teams, following the premise that you play the opposition team that are there, rather than the one you expected to turn up. I suppose life’s too short to worry about the outcome of the odd Water Polo match, but still…..

The game started and the result was clear from the first minute. Sutton were clearly too strong for Avondale and scored, I think, five unanswered goals in as many minutes. Rocky slumped at my feet after the third or fourth goal and was, in a trice, snoring gently. Even the visiting supporters, in the past surprisingly animated at these fixtures, were seemingly unmoved by the procession that was unfolding. Avondale were particularly clueless tonight and again and again managed to leave Sutton’s strongest shooter free on six of seven metres. The visitors did not disappoint with their quick accurate shooting. Moorhouse, from the Avondale First team, coaching from the pool side, tried to coax a more coherent and appropriate response from the normally more resilient “Real Avondale”, but sometimes the difference in quality between two teams is too wide a river to bridge.

I’ve better things to do than watch dull one sided games – I left them to it!

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