The Rumble in the Jungle: M5 vs M6
By Trevor Mallinson
Men's 5s 2 - 3 Men's 6s
It was the last light of the day as the game began, the time when the animals of prey come alive on the plains of the Serengeti. This was certainly true of the game about to ensue between the M6s and M5s on the sandy savannah at Surbiton.
Now the dividing line between the M5s and the M6s is clearly the average age but don’t get me wrong this was no fathers and sons match. The M5s had much to prove after the last encounter and arrived like a pride of hungry young lions with fresh manes, eager to topple the battle hardened older black maned lions. This was a fight for the king of the jungle and bragging rights in the pub.
The M5s eager to prove their prowess started the game with a much more spritely step than the M6s. They got to the ball first and pressed hard narrowly missing a few early chances. However it is not just age that qualifies you for black maned status and the M6s were not going to go down to the younger lions without a fight. Slowly the experience of the black maned lions wrestled back control. First the back four started stepping in front of the attackers picking up the ball allowing counters. Not all counters amounted to much as Wingers found himself slipping a few times in a mud pool left from the last rains.
Eventually the counters paid off with Toby, the one young cub, linking with Stoner to get the ball up field ending in being awarded a short corner.
Deadshot Stoner like a trophy hunter fired the shot from the top of the D only to hit the inside of the post and for the ball to run along the goal line leaving the ump wishing he had Hawk-eye to refer to. Stoner moved on ‘for this is the way’ but unfortunately was not able to add to his fluffy stuffed animal trophy cabinet today.
The black maned lions with years of dealing with pretenders to the throne continued to dominate. The ball was moving freely between the backs and the midfield as they rolled back the years and eventually Wingers refreshed from his mud bath scored what Ravers described as “a blinder” from open play. 1-0 to M6s.
The old guard continued to dominate, earning a few more short corners. A slip from Stoner back to the pusher and Jabulani Jabba, the lion with no mane, made no mistake. 2-0 to the M6s. Another short corner and a rebound off the keeper and in a blur of green and gold the Springbok amongst the lions pounced. 3-0 to the M6s.
The young lions with their greater speed and agility responded with quick attacks down the flanks eventually pulling it back to 3-1 just before half time.
The teams changed ends but the traffic didn’t. It was now the turn of the young lions with renewed energy to launch attack after attack. The battle was starting to take its toll on the older lions with only Charlie to provide some respite from the bench. Captain Crocodile JJ slithering, diving and thrashing everywhere was using everything just short of a death roll to tackle the nimble young guns. A risky strategy but it kept the wave of attacks at bay.
Big T with the most battle scars picked off a few decent shots and doubled his touch of the ball to goals ratio for the year.
Even this couldn’t keep the young lions at bay and soon the M5s pulled back another. Now just 3-2 the young lions could sense blood and a change in the order of the jungle. The waves kept coming but Ravers like a wild dog did not stop running and wore his midfield prey down until many a good position for the M5s turned to naught.
Even Saity was holding fast at left back getting out of trouble by pirouetting like a baby cub finding his tail for the first time.
There were brief moments of attack from the M6s to try push the young lions back. Probably a personal play to try bed down a position in the team, but a notable half field run through five players from Silverback Noaksy. Then Hakuna Matata Bloxy true to his WhatsApp made his way from centre back to the top of the D only to miss the trap.
A proper scrap ensued till the end. The old guard managed to fend off the young lions 3-2, just. In the jungle the mighty jungle, all lions will sleep well tonight.