SHC Jokers 1 - 4 SHC Men's 4s
By Tony Haycroft
Scorer for Jokers: Quincey
Team: Tony Haycroft GK (Capt), Richard Mills, Roger Kuipers, Tommy Baynton-Williams, Jon Bowen, Alfie Riley, Jonny Milsted, Trevor Mallinson, Stephen Quincey, Scott Walbran, Harry Hodges, Matthew Bloxham, Jason Foster
Umpires: Simon Aldous, Ian Wyatt (Many thanks)
Half Year Assessment
Halfway through this year at the Jokers Academy presents a timely opportunity to take stock at progress and development. Rather than undergoing an Ofsted visit or setting KPIs, the Jokers SMT thought we should have a Masters (Jokers) versus Pupils (4s) match to evaluate performance. The Masters were captained by Deputy Head Haycroft in the absence of Head Hey. Haycroft duly won the psychological encounter in winning the toss and electing to require the Pupils to face into the sun; a ploy which nearly paid off as will be revealed below.
The Masters were somewhat depleted missing its usual heavy artillery with Head of PE Stoner taking some other pupils on the Academy Ski trip to Courcheval while the Headmaster was on “dancing duties with daughters”. Head of foreign languages Mr Burns is still absent with a chesty cough (someone unkindly called him a clot I heard) and Dye-hard Martin is away emulating Andy Murray in hip-hop. Finally, Head of high-octane liquids Mr Hardy has a ligament issue due to too little left-hand drinking.
As such we drafted in supply teacher Quincey and overseas master Scott from the southern hemisphere, who made a very creditable debut at the Academy. We were also fortunate to enlist a pupil of our own, Riley minor, who displayed his usual effective skills. Missing Master Sayer at right back we promoted our very own Roger (not Federer but Kuipers) to the role which with no training he did with aplomb until half time when he was switched to an offensive role. This was because one of the Pupils kept complaining to Master Aldous “Sir, Sir, Master Roger keeps barging into me.” We don’t tolerate a grass.
Despite the initial exuberance of youth from the Pupils, the Masters slowly (slowly being the operative adverb) took control of the field of play, depriving the Pupils of chances and advanced into enemy territory. Having fooled the Pupils into thinking the Masters could only play in first gear, a crisp move down the right at pace (probably injected by pupil Riley) saw a quick ball flashed into the D to the far post where supply tutor Quincey slotted home to the chagrin of the Pupils.
The Masters won a brace of penalty corners, the second of which was “masterly” despatched by Mallinson, Head of South African Culture and Geography, towards the underside of the cross bar and into Pupil Barney’s eyes only for him to tip the same onto the said cross bar but it luckily bouncing away to safety. That is how it stayed until very shortly before the break when a mishit cross from our left went in off the Haycroft left pad for 1-1 at the break. Despite various saves thereafter which according to Head of discipline Foster “almost” atoned for the error, this faux pas warranted the gift of being the writer of this week’s Tolstoy piece which Haycroft properly volunteered for with little demur. The vote was not quite “nemine contradicente” because Head of Catering, TBW (who has replaced Mr Stevens in the Death Star canteen), voted in favour of the supply teacher to “avoid having to read a Haycroft Report again”; Foster please note and impose (nay inflict) appropriate sanctions to effect summary justice. [Anyone not understanding the above write 100 lines of “Romani ite domum” – see the latin lesson in the “Life of Brian”.] But I digress.
The second half saw the Masters regain their composure and prove that experience, guile and no little skill (or is that no skill?) can match youthful alacrity. That was the case until a sweeping movement from the Pupils resulted in an overload and (a copycat goal of the Masters), scoring at our right post, save no one was within five yards (or metres as I am told we have to call them now – that’s about a quarter of a chain for the cricket buffs out there).
An even game then ensued until about five minutes from the end when the Pupils won a succession of penalty corners and earned themselves two more goals to end the match 4-1 in their favour.
A keenly contested affair played in good spirits, although one Pupil was heard to remark at 0-1 “it’s not a friendly!”. The Pupils are rightly second in the League and there is no truth whatsoever to the suggestion that this result was manipulated in return for a month’s supply of Sanatogen.
Finally, I would like to thank all of the Masters hitherto not mentioned (Mills - music, Bowen - biology, Milsted – media studies, Hodges - history, and Bloxham - biomechanics) for their tireless efforts to date. We have navigated the top echelons of the league and our renewed fitness will hold us in good stead for the remainder of the campaign until Ofsted conduct their end of year assessment.
Deputy Head Haycroft per pro Headmaster Hey