East Coast Bays Summer Sevens
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The Premiers and Development team have finished their season.
Into Day 4 and Mums Mob were up against Alberta.
After our last few days issues with referees we were somewhat concerned to see that we had been allocated a Canadian ref for the crunch game v Alberta….the team we were fighting over 4th place with. However having spoken to the Singapore betting syndicates we were advised not to worry….so we had another beer and got ready for the game in determined mood.
Our suspicions regarding the referee were misplaced and both teams went for the important points. An early corner for Mums Mob was perfectly floated over for Kent to power home a header to put us 1 up. For the next few minutes we looked in total control…but looks can be deceiving !!!
Soon the Canadians started to fight back and exerted some pressure on the Mums Mob goal and back up keeper Zev was called into action to keep us in the lead. Unfortunately the Canadians managed to slip past the back four and slot home an equaliser just before half time. That was the final action before the break.
The second half began with the Canadians on the up but despite a decent share of possession and territory were not creating too many real opportunities……..until inexplicably Ken….another transfer window signing flew into the back of a Canadian player to give away a penalty….no arguments about this one this time !!!! However the end result was the same….they scored and again we were under pressure and behind. However when the going gets tough Mums Mob get…..another round…..and it soon looked like we had learnt something from the previous days game against the Aussies and realised that the best time to score was immediately after we had conceded.
That we did straight from the kick off with a flowing move across the back line, down the right wing, with a hard low cross sent flashing across the 6 yard box, and although it was missed at the near post Ken, making up for his error a few seconds earlier got the merest of touches onto the ball to push it just wide of the keeper and just inside the far post. 2 -2 and game on !!
For the last 10 minutes it was all one way traffic but the Canadians were also determined to hang on….and try and snatch a winner and so it ended with an honourable draw and a point apiece.
That made it tight for the last game with us having to play Brazil and Alberta having to play the Aussies to determine who would qualify for the quarter finals. The feeling was so intense after the game that there was a suggestion….made seriously….that we should have a quiet night with “no more beersies”. This was immediately laughed out of court and off we went ….. but all agreed on a moderate nights drinking…as tomorrows game was not only important….but also insanely early with a 9 am kick off…which meant leaving our hotel at 7.30…..hardly worth sleeping after a normal nights schedule.
Mums Mob v Brazil
The crunch day was here….do or die for Mums Mob. We were up against it with a mounting injury toll, and having to beat Brazil to guarantee qualification. We turned up, as normal, by bus, metro, taxi….and the posh ones by hire car….the Brazilians arrived by Air Conditioned Coach. They had been planning for this tournament for years, with training camps, various selection procedures and a host of hangers on….you know managers, coaches, and physio’s. We had just been saving !!!
At least the conditions were in our favour with a positively arctic temperature of only 26c…and a slight cooling breeze !!
The warm up routines showed the differences between the teams….Mums Mob, as usual were smacking a ball from 40 yards jovially about. The Brazilians had a routine of stretches, aerobics, and passing routines that would easily have graced the Premier League….However this was Jairzinho, Pele, Garrincha, and Carlos Alberta we were up against (OK only in our imaginations but it sounds good).
At this point we found our own physio….the wife of one of our recent loan signings. She earned her money that day (OK, a fee beer) putting enough tape on Sean the Aussie Scouser to make him look more like an Egyptian Mummy than a footballer, and also making certain that Simon, Dave and Bob were at least able to get onto the park.
Anyway after extensive video surveillance we decided an a plan of attack….or defence more like. This was based on us assuming tht the Aussies would take at least a point off the Albertans so we re going for a draw. We were going to allow them to have the ball in their own half and not press them as they wanted to draw us out and then knock the long ball in for Jairzinho to outrun our back line. Unfortunately we found out why this was a good plan in the first 2 minutes….as we didn’t follow the plan. We chased the ball and they dropped back, drawing us further forward, and then Carlos Alberta knocked the long ball into the space behind our back line for Juninho to run onto and knock into our net. OOPS 1 – 0 down and everything on the line for us. However we had learnt our lesson and whenever they had the ball we followed the plan to perfection from then on. But of course we had to get back in the game which meant attacking them and protecting the ball.
A game of cat and mouse was played out for the next few minutes but we felt tht we had their match and started to create a few openings and from one of these Sean, the Aussie Scouser, delivered a delicately subtle chip over the keeper and into the net from 25 yards that certainly silenced the Samba crowd. Now Aussie, Scouser, and subtle are not words that would normally be put together but there can be no other way to describe it.
For the rest of the half the cat and mouse continued with us keeping to our plan and giving them a few anxious moments but half time came with no further score.
Into the second half and the pattern continued……so much so that in trying to make substitutions was almost impossible as the ball was just not going out of play….at leat 5 minutes between breaks was the norm. Matt Minor felt we were in so much control that he lay down and had a Siesta in the middle of the park for 5 minutes….his opposite number still did not get away with the ball though. The game was drawing to a slow conclusion with neither team prepared to risk losing what they already had and so it ended 1 – 1.
At that point we were advised that we had won at least a bronze medal as the third best o40 team in the joint competition and depending on the Aussie v Alberta result maybe a Silver. During our warm down routine, of a few cold beers Mum delivered a truly memorable speech………”Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few” to thank the team and supporters …. I think that line will become immortal !!!!
Sp it was up to the Aussie to help us….and the irony of this was not missed by them either. A few shouts of Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, OUCH, OUCH, OUCH went out to show hw much it hurt to cheer for them….and they started off not seeming to care going 1 down in the first half but they equalised in the second half to trigger huge celebrations amongst Mums Mob and the travelling support as it dawned on us we were now guaranteed a silver medal…..second best team at o40 level in the world (OK….but surely you can allow a little journalistic licence).
It meant that we would be playing the top team from Group 2…..the younger team from Brazil !!! So not only were we playing for a semi final place….but also the Gold Medal o40 competition. Would we be able to do it, would we even have a team to put out, but more importantly could we have a drink tonight ??? Of course we could. Their was an official social event tonight with free beer and plenty of food……and our game didn’t kick off until 8.15 in the evening. So party hard and recover during the day tomorrow.
More from Clark and Lois tomorrow