Tuesday 21 May 2019
Once more unto the breach!

OKS Freddy Clode reports on the Arthurian League Football Final. 

 Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
I see you stand  like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

Sadly I couldn’t remember more than six lines of Shakespeare’s King Henry V’s speech in my pre-match rallying cry, perhaps if I had, my team mates would have been more riled up for the forthcoming final and hence one could conspire that we wouldn’t of somewhat timidly drifted to a redundant 1-0 loss.

However, the words OKS sports team and final don’t often appear in the same sentence, unless the sentence is; ‘ I’d put my life savings on us not making it to the final’.  Well thank G** I didn’t put my money where my mouth is, because alas, I’d have been even more embarrassed to have to share with the rest of the team my lack of life savings, rather than losing the money itself. In truth I am being harsh, as we have had a fabulous season; at time of writing this we sit two wins away from getting into the play offs and we are the first OKS football team to make an AFA Final for over a decade. Under the stewardship of James Morpeth we’ve gone from a team of unfit average footballers to a team of slightly unfit average footballers and in ‘Division 5 South’ that slight improvement goes a long way.

As a team the only experience we’ve had of a ‘cup run’ is at last years end of season house party, when we realised that we didn’t have enough glasses for supper, so I had to run to my neighbour’s house and borrow some cups. Therefore, it was somewhat of an amazing experience to beat four very decent teams on the way to the final and hence find ourselves running out in the early spring sunshine on Saturday 9 th March to play for ‘The London Old Boy Trophy’ against ‘Old Minchendenians’. It must be stated that by far the most exciting occurrence of the occasion was the fact that we had 3 professional officials including two linesman, normally the line is ran by substitutions who of course are biased towards their own team. I wish that I had had enough energy in the tank to engage in a protest of sorts against one of the linesman, just to feel like a professional footballer but alas the opportunity never arose.

Anyhow, as it was a final we thought we should have a proper warm up for a change, unfortunately when the whistle went 20 minutes later to start the match, we were all knackered from actually, well, warming up. Therefore the early exchanges were dominated by the opposition, they could sense we were slightly off the pace and for the first 15 minutes they continuously bombarded us with a mixture of pace and long balls over our defence, exposing us time and time again, attacking with the efficiency of the RAF but the maliciousness of the Luftwaffe (quite the combination). Hence, it was no surprise when eventually we buckled, a mistake was made by our defence trying to clear another incoming missile from the enemy, and they latched onto the ball and placed it into the back of the goal, giving them a much warranted 1-0 lead. However, as is so often the case in football a goal can open up the tie and that’s exactly what followed, we managed to put together our own counter attacking charge and created a number of fantastic opportunities to level the game, unfortunately their goalkeeper was like a rare jacked up Himalayan cat and refused to be beaten.

Half time consisted of rehydrating through the means of overpriced ‘vitamin water’ and lukewarm electrolyte drinks paired with a stirring speech by James Morpeth. I also chipped in with what some may say is an obvious statement, but one that needed to be said nevertheless, ‘if we score two goals and they don’t score again, we’ve won the cup’.

Once again uninspired by my words of encouragement the second half began and as if history was repeating itself, the opposition started ‘Pearl Harbour Stage 2’, yet this time the Japanese attackers were overweight 30 year olds from North London and their ammunition was a size 5 adidas football.The woodwork came to our rescue twice in a matter of minutes and as our keeper said trying to ensue confidence, ‘it was good judgement by you guys to let the striker shoot’, alas once again we were being lied too. However, like when Jean Valjean lies to Javert in order to improve the lives of thousands of his workers/citizens, our goalkeepers blatant lie had given us a weird surge of confidence. For the remaining 30 minutes of the game we were the better team. Constantly forging beautifully worked attacks together and suddenly it seemed like only a matter of time until we would find that allusive equaliser, sadly four days later as I write this we’re still searching for it. However, we put up a real fight in the second half and on another day and with their goalkeeper having undergone a routine doping test the outcome would/could have been very different.

Perhaps the pictures attached to this article would have been of us drinking champagne out of the trophy, sadly having lost the final the opposition weren’t very keen on us borrowing the trophy and staging these photos.

We now turn our attention to our final two fixtures of the season and if we win both of those we will once again be in a final, a play-off final, with the chance to get promoted to Division 4 (South). I look forward to updating you all on the outcome of those two fixtures, yet for now I must bid adieu and go and think about the opportunities which still lay ahead for us this season. 

They didn’t say it was a life of rock and roll playing old boys football but it sure can feel like one at times!

Freddy Clode


 

 
OKS Freddy Clode reports on the Arthurian League Football Final. 

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