ZZZs All Round For Old Boys At Finlayson

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By FRASER HOPE

Driftwood contributor

Where to start? Old Boys senior management has been fighting to restore and boost team morale after an “autem mensis lanuarii” after the winter break. Eat your heart out Your Majesty! Your “annus horribilis” has nothing on what the Old Boys have had to endure.

The break is a time to heal the body and mind and prepare for the final push to the end of the season, but energies have been directed to countering the rumours and “fake news” circulating the community and world-wide since that fateful announcement on Jan. 8.

Digital staff of the Old Boys FC (now a registered trademark worldwide) and the Driftwood have been verifying the authenticity of a multitude of announcements that have associated the club with the travails of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

In no particular order with assistance from our digital partners in Langley, Virginia and Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, reporter Fraser Hope and editorial staff can now vouch that the following items have been confirmed as fake news. Twedexit: manager Graham Tweddle is not moving to the Big Island (not Vancouver Island) of Hawai’i to take up a position with the proposed new NSL franchise, although two trademarks have been registered: Aloha Mushy Pudding and Aloha Yorkshire Pudding.

Also, Old Boys FC PLC is not investing in the purchase of Newcastle United along with Middle Eastern sovereign funds; neither investing in opening a discount store in the vacant Slegg Field(s) nor building an indoor artificial soccer field.

Prince Harry was never offered the position of Patron of the Club. H&M Royal Red Socks are not sold on the SussexRoyal.com website. The Duchess was never approached to serve at the Lady Minto Thrift Shop as a Boutique Rack consultant. There is no evidence that several Old Boys are related to royalty (The Six Degrees of Separation, Frigyes Karinthy, 1929). The Salt Spring Island Scottish Country Dance Club did not have two tickets set aside for VIP guests and a special demonstration dance of Harry’s (Marie’s) Wedding had not been added to the Burns Night Dance at Fulford Hall.

Our digital partners have narrowed the location of the dark-web site to somewhere south of Old Divide Road in the 653 end of the island. It seems the site is on the move constantly and it is suggested that it may be masquerading as a vintage VW Kampeerwagen. There has been a suggestion that the White House had set up the Old Boys FC PLC as a distraction for the public to take MSM attention away from the impeachment hearings in Washington, D.C.

So it was with some trepidation that a group of players waited anxiously for the sight of the player-manager in the parking lot at the Fulford ferry terminal on Jan. 26. A collective sigh of relief greeted the sight of sunburned scalp and legs, and All Was Right With the World. Tweddle pronounced the team news of 13 committed Old Boys for the game with Zgoda 48s at Finlayson and all boarded the Queen of Slumberland in fine fettle.

Still, the events of the previous weeks dominated the conversation and tactics; fitness reports took second place. Focusing on the game was made more difficult as members of the public kept circulating close to the team lounge with friends and children whispering covertly, “It’s Them! I’m sure it’s Them” for the entire journey.

Given their physical and mental fragility, the Old Boys opted for an enhanced warm-up session at the field instead of selfies at the gates of Milles Fleurs in Deep Cove.

The game kicked off under blue skies and one could sense the calming relief of “at last we are back to Old Boys ‘reality.’” Tactics to counter injuries, lack of fitness and the wide open prairie space of Finlayson turf field had been agreed on. To “keep possession” would be the name of the game. It seemed that the tags were working with the Old Boys dominating possession and camping in Zgoda’s end with only occasional breakouts by the home team. Scott Howe was prominent in this first phase of the match with powerful, decisive defensive work and marauding raids forward in support of the strikers. Unfortunately, what opportunities that came the way of the Old Boys lacked the power and oomph to break the scoreline.  

Toward the last 15 minutes of the half, Zgoda began to pressure the Old Boys and were it not for desperate defence and timely interventions by Donny Brown, Howe and the magnificent goalkeeping of Richard Steel, Old Boys could have been two or three goals down at the break.

Not much tactical discussion took place at the half as most attacked the stash of dark chocolate digestive biscuits, granola bars and mini Cokes that Nick, our resident Victoria team player, provided. Needless to say, reporter Hope was most appreciative of the McVities — his favourite biscuit!

“Reality” had returned with the Old Boys’ passing efforts missing the red jersey players and Zgoda providing most of the opportunities. Steel made four or five saves and frustrated the Zgoda team. Frustration was also building up in the Old Boys ranks with Ben Cooper tussling repeatedly with Zgoda opponents. After a second tête à tête with the referee after a full forward roll on the turf, Cooper listened intently as he tried to finger-comb the black rubber turf particles from his hair. The referee finally decided that after a third incident Cooperman should be sent to the “sin bin” for 10 minutes.

With Steel keeping Zgoda at bay, the Old Boys once more found hidden reserves of stamina and made several attacks. Mike Davis, lacking end-of-game power, had his shot easily gathered by the goalkeeper. Mark Aston deflected a shot off the cross bar and Martin Thorn’s first-time shot found the keeper’s arms and was the closest to scoring. With the sun disappearing behind the gathering clouds it seemed a fitting end to the first game after the winter break: a zero zero tie!

Post-game analysis consensus was that the Man of the Match should be Richard Steel for Old Boys and Old Man Gdansk for Zgoda. MVPs were also awarded to Scott Haggis Howe and Donny Brown, with special mention to Nick Mai for his chocky digestives.

The team soft drinks cooler did show a variety of new brands, suspicious given the last few weeks’ happenings, but fizzy pop for one of our dedicated fans who celebrated a retirement from the workforce was celebrated by all. The return journey on the Slumberland once again explored the possibility of a campaign to keep the most congenial ship on the Fulford run.

Old Boys FC face Centaurs 48s at Finlayson at noon on Sunday, Feb. 2.

Disclaimer: As regular readers are aware, fact and fiction are often difficult to differentiate in Old Boys FC reports and any statement should be taken with a large grain of rock salt.

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