Dickiebliss’s Blog


Academic Services 2-3 Union All Stars
January 18, 2010, 10:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

With no game since early December due to the weather, the Academic Services squad had kept themselves fit with some indoor training sessions and despite the wind, rain and cold assembled on Friday lunchtime full of New Year resolution. Ah yes, New Year, new beginnings, a fresh start, ringing the changes and all that…and one thing that surely needs changing is the team name. From now on this blog will refer to the lads using the new team name of the “AS Kickers” (© Freda Oliver 2010). Much better…

As ever the squad turned up in healthy numbers but were minus two regulars – Tony Ward was away on a course learning how to collaborate with himself (maybe his left foot will know what the right is doing from now on) and alarmingly top scorer Paul Andrews was also unavailable.

Nevertheless it was still an 8 strong squad and manager Moore unveiled a new tactic of splitting it into “offensive” and “defensive” mini teams. Each mini team would work on their own tactics independently and substitute only within their group. A bit like American Football but without the cheerleaders (FYI: there are still plenty of vacancies for Kickers cheerleaders if any ladies are interested!)

With Chris Awre seemingly now permanently dethroned as the Kickers number 1, this was the lads starting line-up:

  1. Goalkeeper: Wayne Thompson
  2. Right defence: Richard Bayliss
  3. Left defence: Gary Thompson
  4. Midfield: Nigel Cass
  5. Midfield: Robert Sherratt
  6. Striker: Carl Barrow

The cold weather was causing problems even before kick off as Carl Barrow point-blank refused to take off his blue waterproof training top until it was made clear to him that he was starting and would cause a colour clash if he didn’t remove it. “Hey Carl, fancy a game?” shouted Nigel Cass as Carl stomped up and down the touchline moments before kick off with his lower lip stuck out in defiance.

Bizarrely, the weather had not put off a record crowd of 5 people turning up to watch – everyone of them a Union All Stars supporter! Without even the encouragement of Paul Andrews’ girlfriend (so far the only Kickers fan to ever turn up…ever), the lads made a very tentative start. There was very little going forward and every Kickers player seemed to have been struck down with Ray Wilkinsitis – think of a formation-dancing troupe consisting entirely of crabs and you’ve got the general idea.

Ray Wilkins demonstrates a physique that is an all too familiar sight in the AS Kickers' changing room

As the half wore on it became apparent that an element of “niggle” was creeping into the action. Tackles were late, elbows were high and pushes were plentiful – and all of it coming from the Union All Stars! The Kickers of course always play the game in the spirit of the Corinthian Casuals, promoting fair play and sportsmanship – no Kickers player has ever been cautioned let alone sent off (mainly due to the fact that there has never been a ref for any of their games but nevertheless).

Unused to such unsporting tactics, our brave heroes struggled to come to terms with their dirty opponents. Inevitably the AS defence was breached. Some outrageous pushing and shoving at the hands of the All Stars causing Bayliss to shank a clearance from an incoming corner straight to an opposition striker who planted a shot into the back of Thompson’s net.

The main culprit dishing out the All Stars dirt was a a man who bore the legend “AOB” on the back of his shirt. AOB? Was this some ludicrous take on the Elvis Presley acronym TCB? For non Elvis aficionados, TCB stood for Taking Care of Business – Elvis named his band TCB and incorporated it into an emblem which was used in several pieces of jewelry including his famous T.C.B. ring. Its a sinister moto with Mafia connotations that promotes images of organised crime. AOB of course means “Any Other Business?” and promotes images of a softly spoken Chris Awre chairing an Information Management team meeting – it doesn’t carry quite the same tone of menace does it?

As the “niggle-o-meter” ticked over into boiling point, a late challenge on Gary Thompson brought howls of outrage from the AS team. The perpetrator was that man AOB – the Dick Dastardly of the 6-a-side world!

Click below to relive the horror tackle on Gary Thompson (N.B. The Kickers new and yet to be unveiled strip is not pink)

Half-time: AS Kickers 0-1 Union All Stars

The Kickers were in need of an injection of pace upfront and so Gary Moore entered the fray in place of Sherratt whilst Bayliss made way for Hewett in defence. By now the rain was teeming down making the conditions especially difficult for the goalkeepers. Moore was alert to this and, pouncing on a misplaced All Stars pass, unleashed an unstoppable rocket that stung the opposition keeper’s hands causing him to spill it into his net. GOAL! It was a waspish strike from Moore with hardly any back-lift and it also ended his personal season long goal drought. “How about that then?” Moore shouted to Bayliss (the official team statistician) on the touchline. A massive thumbs up was the reply.

Suddenly the Kickers were full of confidence – Cass nonchalantly tried his luck from distance and was unlucky to see his drive rattle the base of the post. Talk about a game of two halves! But just as the match was within their grasp, a mistake in the Kickers defence allowed an All Stars striker to nip into the penalty area to poke a shot past Thompson and into the Kickers’ net.

The injustice of it all became too much for the still sulking Carl Barrow whose ankles had been tapped one time too many. “That’s it – I’ve had enough! I’m refuse to play against this bunch of caddish bounders a moment longer – the rotters!” Carl barked channeling his inner Corinthian spirit once more. “You better have a word with him” Cass remarked to Manager Moore. With a consoling pat of the head, Moore replaced Barrow with Sherratt who was eager to return to the action. At the same time Bayliss replaced Hewett in defence as the game entered the final quarter.

The tears flow as Barrow loses the plot - Papa Cass looks on in responsible adult mode

Sherratt’s impact was immediate as he harried and chased and blocked and tackled. Picking up a loose ball in midfield he advanced to the edge of the area, checked, looked up and let fly. It was a goal from the moment the ball was struck and it arrowed into the far left hand corner. WHAT A SCREAMER! The scores were tied up at 2-2.

Click below to see Sherratt’s Screamer

It was up for grabs now – but even as the Kickers were dreaming of unlikely glory they manged to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. A speeding All Stars forward got in behind Gary Thompson and cut into the penalty area. Bayliss tried in vain to close him down but was unable to prevent the ball across the box. Lurking at the far post was Dick Dastardly (aka AOB) who nudged in front of Sherratt (illegally no doubt) to glance the ball into the net of his shin. 3-2 to the All Stars. Drat, drat and double drat!

Union All Stars forward AOB celebrates his goal with a dastardly twirl of his moustache

Before you could shout “Muttley…DO SOMETHING!!”, the ball was down the other end as the Kickers launched one last desperate attack to salvage the game. Moore forced a corner and beckoned everyone but Wayne Thompson forward. Even Bayliss was allowed to cross the halfway line for the first time in 3 games. As the corner was swung over Bayliss loitered at the back post but was comprehensively out-jumped by his All Stars marker who did though concede another corner. This was it – one last chance. Bayliss stepped up and delivered a decent outswinger across the face of the box that just begged a touch from someone, anyone to divert it goalwards but its trajectory beat everyone and glided harmlessly away to safety. Curses! Foiled again!

Fulltime: AS Kickers 2 – 3 Union All Stars

How they performed:

Wayne Thompson – No clean sheet for Wayne this time but he turned in a decent impression of a goalkeeper anyway with some authoritative handling and cross interceptions. Needs to invent a pair of glasses which come with windscreen wipers as standard for the next rainy day game though. 6/10

Gary Thompson – Put in an almighty shift shoring up the defence despite nearly being cut in two by AOB’s horror tackle. Made countless crucial interceptions and clearances – didn’t deserve to be on the losing side. 7/10

Richard Bayliss – Didn’t do much wrong – didn’t do much at all in fact. 6/10

Alan Hewett – Not one of Al’s better games with some loose passes that didn’t find their intended target in evidence. Al didn’t seem to know where he was meant to be playing in the end and became increasingly isolated caught between defence and midfield. Maybe he should have gone on that “Collaborative Working” course with Tony. 6/10

Carl Barrow – Not one to tell the grandchildren about. “Now then kids, has Grandad ever told you the story about the day I sulked through an entire 6-a-side game whilst refusing to take my waterproof off because it was raining” 6/10

Nigel Cass – Growing in confidence with every appearance, “Stroller” Cass shimmied his way through the game with some daring snake-hipped moves. Unlucky not to score with a long-range strike that reeked of sang-froid. Here’s a thought – if Nigel had his own personal army of female fans would they be called Cass-ettes? 7/10

Robert Sherratt – Herculean performance from Big Bob Sherratt capped by that unstoppable missile of a goal that briefly threatened to earn the Kickers a deserved draw. Determined of tackle, sure-footed of pass, brave to the point of stupidity, Robert did not know when to stop – well apart from his usual 5 minute rest at the start of the second half to get his breath back. 8/10 Man of the Match

Gary Moore – He’s back.. back…BACK! Gary rolled back the years to break his season long goal drought with a smashing effort that would surely have won the “goal of the match” award on any other day. Gary was pipped at the post for that particular accolade by Sherratt’s genre defining wonder strike but that shouldn’t detract from a very polished performance up front from the gaffer. 7/10


1 Comment so far
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I really should have bought a white all weather training top, that way there would have been no argument!

Comment by Carl Barrow




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