Men's 2s Virtually Secure League Title
By Rhys Linnel
Men’s 2s 2 – 1 Henley M1
POM: Dave Bartram
DOD: Rhys Linnel & Jonny Bird
*The Factory delivers*
After an important point at Oxford Brookes last week, the 2s knew that two wins would seal the title.
A combination of Coronavirus cancelling the GB trip to South Africa and Glyn Jones’ continued administrative excellence meant that ‘The Factory’ had full use of their ‘Ready for the first team’ youngsters once again.
Henley were the visitors, the reverse fixture of Max Anderson’s facial injury. Efficient as ever, Nikolaus foresaw a repeat performance and picked up a fractured jaw at training to allow a head start on his recovery. Embarrassed by his ‘howzat’ performance last week, Tinker took a week off to work on his pint.
It won’t be a secret to our readers but occasionally the over 18s have a pint on a Friday night to smooth the transition between the working week and the weekend. The Factory pride themselves not just on producing players, but helping shape people. I’ve never seen said ‘adults’ so proud of their work.
I don’t know how big Rachel’s house is but if the size of the stamp on Max’s hand or the show of affection on his neck are anything to go by, I’d say it houses an excellent party.
The chat was that the 2s had started slowly. Dave Bartram disagreed and banged in two first half goals.
With Premier League football fixtures cancelled, the 2s welcomed a capacity crowd – Ollie Shelton receiving a ripple of applause for some skill in the circle and an upright reverse off target. ‘There through thick and thin’ fan James Baker didn’t think much to these plastic supporters and went back to encouraging the umpires to keep control of the game.
Despite dominance, the 2s struggled to make it three or four – chances were created but squandered. The best opportunity fell to Redders; ever the performer and with Ollie’s applause ringing in his ears, he tried the impossible. He failed, but you have to admire his optimism.
Henley grabbed a goal from a broken down corner and disaster was a goal away for the 2s. Fortunately, we held on, Mark Haycroft solid as ever in the Surbiton net. Jonnie Bird was so confident that he treated everyone to a knee slide during a second half Henley counter attack. The upended Henley forward wasn’t too impressed and the umpire neither. The lads rewarded Birdie with the honour of washing the match shirts.
With three points secured and the wonderful tea devoured, the biggest news of the day came through. Southgate had lost at Woking and Oxford held at Bournemouth. Our ‘tricky’ fixture away at Chiswick next week suddenly seemed as simple as the 10-0 victory first time around.
Barring a mathematical miracle, the league title is secured. Your author writes this before we toast a fantastic season, conscious that things might be slightly blurry tomorrow morning.
When we lost to Southgate at home on 9th November, we had a philosophical chat in the changing room about whether the 2s’ job was to win the league or produce players for the first team.
We’re absolutely delighted to say that we’ve managed to do both.