2nd XI Season review – 2013/14
What chance a promotion for the 2’s this year then? Well not many gave us too much hope. The same basic team, all a year older, we were the pony in need of milk.
Pre-season training was taken to with the usual relish that makes a good second teamer. It was a punishing regime that involved one friendly against Bourne Deeping.
That match set the tone for the season though as we started strongly against a side that would be playing (and history now tells us doing quite well) in the league above us. We came away with a 6-3 win as the blend of youth and experience gelled right from the off.
So with only a 7 day break from the intensive pre-season it was agreed that training on the Wednesday ought to be considered – but only considered.
We knew our first game would be one of our hardest – Away to Horncastle the only team left in the league that finished above us last year. Of course we all know that when you go to Horncastle it is not just the 11 on the pitch that you have to contend with. A close fought game was decided by a Joe Higgins thunderbolt that gave us a 4-3 win.
Next up were March 2’s at home, they were seen off 8-0, the most unsurprising news being Pistols hamstring going, the only surprise being it had taken three games…
There then followed Peterborough 7’s away, we were 2-0 up with 20 minutes to go, conceded 4 in the final period had two sent off and won 5-0. The result being overturned due to an influx of Peterborough 3’s (well 2 anyway!).
Our next game could have been played on the Somerset Levels in a game more reminiscent of an Olympic swimming final we came out on top with a 6-3 win.
Next up St Neots away and the unfortunate news that Jacko had been dropped by the 1’s. Nonetheless we managed a 4-0 away win.
Next up at home were the always entertaining Cambs South 3’s. As always their match report was going to be the main anticipation rather than the game itself.. Despite a poor first half we prevailed 6-0. Their keeper bagging the Mom award.
By this point the table was starting to take shape – we were 6 from 6 and Louth, our next opponents unbeaten in 6. Both sides had conceded less than a goal a game, so there was no surprise when we returned 0-0. As Rick said later in the season if we keep a clean sheet we should get at least a point. A point that uncle Dave could not argue with!
Next was what was always going to be a tough game at home to CoP 6’s, we ran out 3-1 winners.
We followed this up with solid wins over first Bourne Deeping and then St Ives. The writer has been told to not mention under any circumstances the red card handed out to the skipper that day. So we won’t say anymore …
A tricky away game at Alford followed and with the captain watching on in Mourinho like pose as a result of the, not to be mentioned under any circumstances, red card the week before, We ground out a 5-1 win.
There then followed a week off which meant that Rick would only miss one game as a result of, now why did he miss a game, oh yes that not to be mentioned red card.
The final game before xmas saw us take on a Horncastle side showing the usual subtleties of a drunken Rhino. We knew going into the game that we were 10 points clear of them in third – A draw would do us. A draw is what we got. 2-2 for the record.
So with the Xmas break upon us we reflected on the tough training regime during the first half of the season and all agreed that we must keep our fitness up over xmas. We could arrange a knock about, go training, go for a run, – undoubtedly all good ideas. We relished the ideas , but decided it needed further discussion over a pint or two, and before we knew it, Happy New Year we were playing again. Anyway we had trained long and hard we deserved a Xmas break…
First up was March away at 4pm, Despite (or should this be because…) Chris crashing on route to the meet point – there were unconfirmed reports that Pilly was on hand to brandish a yellow card to him for the unnecessary contact, we cruised to a 9 (NINE) -0 win.
By now the seasons outcome was beginning to look reasonably certain and a battling win at Cambs Nomads was followed by a 9-3 hammering of St Neots. Both sides struggled to get going in the game as they recovered from the shock news that Perky had worked on a Saturday. Finally a ten goal salvo away to Cambs South. South’s Twitter report was “South come unstuck against Spalding 2’s awesome short corner routine – 10 attempts, 7 goals.” Now there’s a STAT Attack for you! The Burrell-Wright guide to short corners is available in all good bookshops.
There then followed a potential title decider against Louth – this was enough to persuade Uncle Dave into his third consecutive match, unfortunately it was also the moment Chris picked for his second yellow card of the season. Louth were a young and fit side and whilst we did not play to our full potential it was encouraging that even in playing poorly we pushed them all the way. Unfortunately a 3-1 defeat – our first since the previous February meant the champagne was back on ice.
Next up were Peterborough 7’s and then their 6’s – two wins would guarantee promotion and after a nervy first half we secured a 5-2 win over the 7’s – with Glenn able to find the near post a lot better than Dan Barkworth. This meant a 10am start at Peterboro 6’s to secure Promotion. This was achieved with possibly the best all round performance of the season – certainly in the latter weeks as we cruised to a 4-0 win.
The main talking points in this game were provided by the comedy duo of Perky and Hector. Firstly at half time the umpires called the captains together, Rick returned to inform us to watch the verbals. To which Hector replied “what balls” apparently assuming that we were talking about fur balls from a cat!
Maybe he knew what was to follow in the second half as Perky’s attempts at an aerial ended in the usual farce associated with Paulo DiCanio. Now Perky has attempted many an aerial this season, attempted on all previous occasions is definitely the correct description, however on this occasion he “put some extra Ummph into It” and the result was spectacular, the ball soared high into the air, over Perky’s left shoulder over Lakey (CoP’s watching 4th team captain), over the fence, into some very tall trees, at which point sight of its path to the naked eye was lost, there was a thud, we believe that could well have been the sound of the ball hitting the underside of a Stansted bound 747 before it returned to the Earth’s atmosphere passed back through the trees and collected two squirrels before landing – Watch out for the Fur-balls!
With promotion secured one more win would secure the title however a draw with in form Bourne Deeping meant we would have to wait until the penultimate game at St Ives to finally seal the title.
The event itself was under-celebrated and that was probably due to the fact that there was no Rob Callaby, Rick, Dalton, Doady, Hector or Claude for the game meaning that the team had an unfamiliar look to it.
0-0 at half time things looked a little nervy, but 5 goals without reply in the second period secured the win.
So to the final game of the season at home to Alford, hopes were high of finishing with a big win – perhaps the hopes were too high as chances came and went before Hector final opened the scoring with the teams 100th goal of the season. Despite going 2-0 up Alford pegged us back to 2-1 and gave us a nervy few minutes before we ran out 4-1 victors. There was time for Chris to complete his hat-trick – of yellow cards for the season that is.
Our discipline has though been very good this season with only 4 yellow cards in total and that not to be mentioned red card….
We finished with a record of played 22, Won 18, Drew 3 Lost 1. Most impressively only dropping 2 points away from home.
Top goal scorers were Pete with 24, Doady 18 and Glenn (from half the games!) 16.
Special mentions also to Perky and Joe who played in every game. 5 or 6 more players played in 20 of the 22 games.
It has been a memorable year for all of the two’s as we’ve seen Hector, Joe and Claude develop both as individuals and team players over the season and success of course always aides development. At the beginning of the year we spoke about remaining calm – something the 2’s have always been well known for! And we did that most of the time and as a result the hockey became a lot easier. So after 7 years of gradual and steady improvement the 2’s can look forward to lining up once again in Division 3 next season, we know it will be tough and wont set our targets too high – The target simple – finish above Sutton and reclaim the mantle as the highest ranked 2nd team in the county!