It was a wet and miserable morning in Earlsfield when the Spencer Sea Slugs met to begin their longest voyage of the year, with the pain of last years Bristol away trip, a 7-7 draw, still ever present in the mind. For this reason alone the tactical decision was made to hire a 16 seater executive minibus, with individual climate control and tables, to fly the Sparrows pitch side and return them again. Not even the presence of 5 crates of alcohol stashed in the boot could divert the Sparrows from their mission today. (However, Tim ‘Huge Lad’ Holdsworth was offered the chance to begin the pint he owed from last week at 9am in the hope he would have finished by 8pm).
Without further ado Mr Hassan the bus driver put his foot on the gas and got the SSS underway on their adventure. 3 hours and plenty of Percy Pigs and near misses later, the team arrived before Bristol at the Hands Stadium with Mr Hassan having read a whole paper, called all his friends, caught 40 winks and spent approximately 30% of his time with his good eye on the road.
On any other pitch this fixture may have been called off due to the amount of rain the night before however the brilliance of Bristol’s 3G surface, once you look past the business principle of having such a facility in the middle of nowhere, meant there was only 3 inches of standing water and the game would go ahead! The team, energized by some old skool drum and base, got their wet gear on and headed out to commence battle.
The game started off with a Bristol attack and with the sun shining in Rick “Dog Sitters Required” Bone’s eyes, this could have been a tricky first test for Spencer. However the long bounce shot which ended their attack was eaten up like Will “Rat Boy” Barrie on a Waitrose cheese board and, before he would have had time to put down his glass of Port, the ball was up the other end with Spencer just missing the target. The first quarter continued in this fashion, with Joe “He Will Find You and He Will Photoshop You” Darkins finishing 2 of the Sparrows goals with Cam “I Need the Toilet” Leslie dipping and diving inside to create an opportunity for himself. Ed “4 Gold Stars from Hillcroft Shooting Clinic” Shee was also making the most of his return to Bristol and unleashed all the power in his ball between the legs of the flailing Bristol goalie, just like the old days he later commented. First quarter 6-0.
With such an early lead and a big game against Blues next week, the quarter time call was to slow the pace and work the Spencer sets of Red, Indigo, Carolina Blue and that Salmon Pink colour Sacha “Can I Bring My Girlfriend to Training Monday?” Stout and Sweet “Bus Full of Lads, Count Me In” Annabelle are buying for their bathroom.
In natural fashion the 2nd quarter started much like the first had ended with lots of run and gun lacrosse, with seemingly no attention being paid in quarter time. Darkins doubled his previous tally and Rob “What Has Caz Packed Me For Lunch?” Holmes was experimenting with his new found tactic of starting his dodges from the corner flag and reversing at full speed to great effect, netting 2. This quarter also saw the 3 contenders for goal of the game. The first was a beautiful high to high outside shot from Joe “Laser” Darkins, which was spotted to have crossed the line thanks to Hawk Eye and the advancing Bristol were stopped in their tracks. The second was a very well seen feed from Eddie “Why Don’t You Count Assists?” Vita, who picked out Maseeh “Cockney Thug” Roshan on the crease for a fantastic cross body finish in to the top corner, only bettered by the rainbow fireworks spraying from the corner flags in celebration and hugs all round. The third came from a great crease cut when Craig “Johan Cruyff” Loeber, who seemed to have caught the feed too late to capitalize, seamlessly rolled the ball in to the net, one handed, behind the back. The fist pump which followed showing his joy that all those hours at the Ajax Youth Academy were not wasted. 14-0 the half time score, would Spencer be on to beat their record set the previous week?
At half time the team took on plenty of stimulants to see them through the rest of the game, with plenty of Percy Pigs and Midget Gems being eaten, leaving Jonny “Ray Mears” Clarke to declare that he was more hyper than the time he accidentally dropped a sugar cube in to his nettle soup. Lids back on, dogs safely harnessed, it was time for the second half.
Sacha “KFC with Extra Bacon” Stout started off from the face off X and with the help of Rob “Yes Bunny has a real name” McAlhone providing the muscle in the midfield the ball quickly came up and Spencer were on the offensive. This quarter saw the defense linking up to great effect and contributing to the attacking power of Spencer. Tom “Big Bully” Bailey striping his man and providing a 60 yard pass in to the path of the advancing Tom “I’m Sure I Used to be Faster Than This” Leahy, who exchanged passes with Vita before netting in the bottom corner. The celebration of this first goal being in contrast to the next where, like Rick and Chester Bone at a puppy training class, a stern talking to was administered and Leahy had to take himself off in to a corner to calm down. Some excellent possession lacrosse ensued and the quarter finished 22-0.
At this point the sun was setting in Bristol, both physically and metaphorically, but there was no let up from either side. Like the RAF over Dresden, the Bombers just kept coming. Up until this point the Sea Slugs had the best of Bristol at the face off X and again came up with the ball. However possession was overturned due to Edward “Thinks He Can Do What He Wants” Vita standing with his foot on the restraining line away from the action. Everyone on the field was disgusted with the audacity of such an act and the ref charitably let him off with a caution and 20 hours community service cleaning beer off minibus seats. From the restart Bristol found a way in via a dodge and shot which just nipped inside the near post. With accusing fingers pointing everywhere the decision was made that the fault for this goal, as well as world hunger, Nigel Farage and the making of every Fast and the Furious film, firmly lay with Edward Vita. The game finished 27-1 and cold showers awaited.
Match Report – Extended Edition
With Tim “Boozehound” Holdsworth (2 digits) still half way through his pint the team woke Mr Hassan up from his slumber and travelled home under the neon blue lights of the Party Bus. As his first away day, Will “Enforcer” Barrie (2 digits) thought it good to make sure Cam “I Promise I Won’t Throw Up in the Uber” Leslie (2 digits) had enough to drink on the way home and kept his hawk like gaze firmly set on completing this task. The rest of the bus was in party mode, with renditions of Sweet Annabelle ringing through in respect of Mr Stout’s female minder. The beer was flowing freely, and with Mr Hassan’s driving this was more over the laps of the passengers than anything else. A mid-way request for KFC by Jonny “Please Keep It Down I Am Watching iPlayer” Clarke (2 digits) was met with cheers as the Bristol lasagna was wearing off, having soaked up the beer to this point like a good pair of cream chinos. Getting close to London, Mr Vita managed to lose his shoe, however this was quickly located by Mr Bailey and Mr Leahy. At this point Mr Vita also felt the effect of a possessed portion of lasagna, much like the possessed pickled egg consumed at Hitchin, and needed a brown paper bag, some deep breaths and to let off some steam to regain his composure. The whole team arrived safely back at Spencer Club House and the festivities continued until service was refused.
Fun and games over, next week sees Spencer take on Blues in Croydon in a huge top of the table clash. One team will maintain their 100% record and the other will fall in to second place (yes there could be a draw you know it alls).
1st – 0 – 6
2nd – 0 -14
3rd – 0 – 22
4th – 1 – 27
Man – Craig Loeber
DOD – Eddie Vita
20+1 goal – Tom Leahy
LDO – Eddie Vita
Scorers: Rob Holmes 7, Joe Darkins 5, Tom Leahy 3, Cam Leslie 3, Craig Loeber 3, Ed Shee 2, Ed Vita 2, Maseeh Roshan 1, Tim Holdsworth 1.
Author – Tom Leahy