Fifth game, played 4, won 3. Lost the last but against a good team. This game’s winnable. Win this, and the last, which should be easy, we’re in the semis. At worst, draw it and win the last one heavily, we’ve still a good chance of going through. Early pressure, pushing forward, attacking throw-in down the left. I can see an attacking option, so run up for the ball. Lee G sees an even better option, runs up and calls for it also. The player who fetched the ball blanks us both, and takes an unbelievably under-powered throw back towards keeper Ash. (He claims afterwards that, having arrived very late due to some personal stuff he had to sort out, he didn’t realise that Ash couldn’t come out of his area, as he would give away a penalty). So the Unity forward is left to run on to the ball and proceed unchallenged to slot home what turns out to be the only goal of the game. Hell’s teeth…. (worse than that is shouted….) Heads go down, it takes a few minutes to get back on top, we win (and miss) a penalty, but it isn’t to be. As said in the last tournament write-up, 10 minutes is very little time to come back from a body blow like that. So near and yet……
But let me put this in context………..
The Doorway team was not going into the Wiltshire Social Inclusion Cup 2012 (held at Stanley Park, Chippenham, on Monday 3rd September) high on confidence. We had been royally thumped in our last tournament appearance, the WASP tournament in May. And we looked like being even more depleted of players, for various reasons, including the fact that our two currently active female players were unable to play due to FA rules. I won’t go into that here, as it’s covered and linked to in this post. However, we probably weren’t as hacked off as the Streets Revolution Huntingdon ladies, who travelled all that way to find they had nobody to play. Our two came anyway, Abi to support, and Kerrie-Anne to support in between helping as a volunteer with the organisation of the day.
On the way there, it looked as if we would not even have a full team, as one player had had to pull out through work commitments, and one was going to be late as he had to go to fight Kafkaesque battles against state bureaucracy. But then, like the sun of the day shining in contrast to the previously woeful ‘summer’ weather, so too did fortune shine on us. Darren, one of our previous stalwarts, had been bumped into that very morning, and turned up to play. And Lee G and Brad had arrived to find that nobody else from WASP had been able to come to the tournament, and so joined us ‘on loan’. There is history of great co-operation between the two teams / projects anyway, so I don’t think there was a moral problem there….. (even if Lee did score half of our goals…..).
So, we now had a team AND substitutes – which were going to be needed on a hot day with a minimum of 6 10-minute games to play.
Some teams had pulled out late or not turned up (and Streets Revolution Huntingdon were very delayed), so the organisers had to do some hasty re-jigging of fixtures, which they did very well. There were two groups of seven, playing a round-robin within the group, with the top two going through to the semi-finals. And there were some teams we knew to be very good – eg the original Streets Revolution crew, founded by the seemingly inexhaustable Jon Regler, from Oxford, who was, with Adam Greaney of the Wiltshire FA, and others, one of the organisers of this tournament.
And it all started very well. A more attacking game plan than in the previous tournament, probably a clearer idea of our tactics and roles on the pitch, and good levels of commitment. A strong Streets Revolution Oxford B side was narrowly beaten with a penalty (after our goalie Ash, who had a superb tournament for us, saved one we had conceded after our defender ran back into the (very faintly marked) keeper’s area). A great and morale-boosting start.
The next game – another win, against another good side in Chippenham Police, but well-deserved. Then, on a real roll, the third in a row, 4-1 against Threshold. Surely nothing could stop us? Ha!
Well, as ever, we seemed to get our extended break between fixtures just when we would happily have carried on in our positive frame of mind. When one is winning, aches, pains and tiredness don’t seem to be so noticeable. And also, Lisa, Doorway’s CEO, turned up to support us, having finished the Monday morning drop-in session. Yes, let’s blame her. In fact, let’s have a picture of her sunning herself so you can picture who we’re blaming…
The next game was against Streets Revolution Oxford A, who we knew would be tough. Perhaps we showed them a little too much respect and let them come at us. Anyhow, they took a deserved 2 goal lead, and our goal back was too late to give any hope of salvaging the draw. So, not disheartened by that, just win the next two….
But Steve had picked up a hamstring injury, our delayed player turned up, still a bit distracted, perhaps. I don’t think his phone going off twice during the next game helped…. And the rest is as stated at the start of this piece. Confusion reigned in our minds as we started our last game, as to whether we still had a chance, but we had reckoned that the draw between SR Oxford B and Chippenham Police had consigned us to no better than third. As it turns out, if we had drawn that game against Unity, or if SR Oxford had beaten the Police, and we’d beaten SR Huntingdon 4-0 (which I think we could have if required), we’d have got through. But there’s a saying involving aunts and uncles and bits of anatomy which I think covers that.
So finishing on the positives. Another generally enjoyable tournament outing. A much better set of performances by us than last time out, with some really rather good football played at times. The tournament winners, Chippenham Police, were only beaten once all day – and that was by us. The day was well organised (though better availability of fluids would have been good – the cups ran out early). The sun shone all day, very much against the 2012 form. The playing surface was excellent, as ever. And the whole tournament was played in a spirit of friendship and sportsmanship. Competitive, yes. Underhand, cheating or dirty, no. This wasn’t the Premier League, you know…… And with each tournament we cement further our friendship and links with other organisations and projects in the same sector.
One further thought. The teams are made up of service providers and service users. And I would defy anybody with no prior knowledge to be successful at working out who was who. And that’s one heck of a lot of the point.
“We’ll be back!”
The Flickr Photostream from the day (with thanks to Andrew Davidson for use of some of his photos):Vodpod videos no longer available.
The other pool of 7 (Group A):
Qualifying for semi-finals:
1: Streets Revolution Portsmouth
2: Stokey City
Did not qualify for semi-finals:
Streets Revolution Swindon A
Streets Revolution Swindon B
Swindon Central Police
Chippenham Police 1 Streets Revolution Portsmouth 0
Stokey City 2 Streets Revolution Oxford B 0
Chippenham Police 1 Stokey City 0
Fair Play award:
Streets Revolution Huntingdon
Link: Wiltshire FA write-up of the tournament
I’d love to link to the local paper’s write-up, but despite their photographer coming, nothing ever appeared…..