Self-styled “goal machine” (in your dreams mate) Andy Hedge writes this week’s 5th team match report:

Having spent most of the last 24 hours failing to come up with film puns for the match report I have given up and decided to write a more mundane review. It was great to see the continuing blossoming of the Men’s 5th XI in the 2-2 draw with Rotherham and to receive the showering of compliments from the older pros in the Rotherham side.

Missing 4 perennials from the starting line-up – don’t worry they weren’t forgotten about in the DoD voting – our starting XI contained 6 U14 players, 1 U16 player and of the 4 remaining starters, 3 of them at least were no longer in the first flush of youth. Not daunted by this, a midfield of 3 young saplings (Joe G, Matty Snow and Tom Aldred) in front of a mature Hedge continuously fed passes to the willing runners of the attack (Joe H, Max and Stefan). The defence coped admirably with anything Rotherham could throw at them and under the quiet guidance of Mikey McWilliams in goal, Murf, Dave, and Tony looked like a well-oiled machine.

With no disrespect to Mr Poll or anybody else who has umpired us this season, the strangest thing about the game was that the two umpires supplied by Rotherham were young (although most participants look young to me these days), able to keep up with play and spotted most offences. They seemed very friendly at the start and this continued during the game, wanting to talk to one or two of the players in breaks in play and even giving cards out to some.

It was no surprise when a slick passing move resulted in a defence-splitting pass from Stef to the goal machine that is Max Holley, who finished off as we have come to expect. He has certainly benefitted from the tutelage of Sniffer as he seems to have picked up the great knack of being in the right place at the right time. Unfortunately the lead did not last long as a short corner resulted in the equaliser with a fine reverse stick shot powered past Mikey after a great save for the first shot.

The second half was similar to the first, but Dave thought that as we were coping so easily with the Rotherham attack he would have a little rest on the side-line after being hit on the knee, and in the ensuing confusion of re-organisation Rotherham scored again. This was harsh against the (mostly) young team and after Dave came back on the pitch we picked up the game again and started another series of attacks. This resulted in a well-deserved equaliser, when another slick passing move resulted in an Andy Hedge goal.  Fearing votes for the DoD, or due to the fact that he was exhausted, the celebrations were more subtle this week.

The team held on for the draw and although it is unfair to single people out for such a fine team performance the following deserve special mentions: Max and Tom played so well down the left, Matty and Tom who adapted so well in new positions, the developing of the Holley-Hedge goal scoring machine, Joe G for tireless running, tackling and distribution, Murphy for a determined performance against some of the quickest people he will be up against all season, Joe H for willing running all day in what was only his third game, Mikey McWilliams for a MoM performance in goal that kept us in the game, and Dave, Tony and Stef for putting their bodies on the line (quite literally in Dave’s case) for the good of the team.

DoD was tightly fought between those who were not available, and Matty for receiving a green card (sorry I had to put it in), and in the end Matty won.

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