Keep on keepin’ on

Finchpalm 1 PFFC 2

Rob the Cat, 25 February 2004


’Twas a freezing February night, the 25th I seem to recall, the day before my 40th birthday ... all together now ... ahhhh. I had also announced to the world, well Geoff and the boys, that I would also retire from the game and seek fame elsewhere. The Penge bowls club have already ordered me a set of woods ­ now there’s a thought Mark, Philosophy Bowls. But I digress ... I arrived early as is my wont: its the anally retentive parent in me, no jokes please!

We change and Geoff assembles the team to announce formation and Hugh is on hand to present a couple of plaques to the old git between the sticks. A lump arises in my throat and I mumble my thank yous but hey there’s a job to get done here, a win tonight and we are champions. Three years in a row, they said it couldn't be done.

We win the toss and kick off and its nip and tuck for quite a while, early doors and the odd lollipop are called for but we pass and move with the best of them and it’s not too long before we burst their onion bag with a sweet move that sees the ball netted to make it 1-0 to Philosophy. We keep it tight at the back, I’m determined to marshal that defence for a clean sheet today of all days. Damian and Bruce read the game well and stifle any threat their main forward poses.

Suddenly it’s half time: quick swig of water and back out, 45 minutes from glory. Again we dominate most of the game although like the first half look a tad shy and hesitant when it comes to scoring nay more, but before you can cut the ice with a teaspoon of intrigue another wonder goal and it’s 2-0, surely we can’t let it slip now!

Ten minutes to go, there’s a free kick close to our 18-yard box, it’s floated in, one of those ’orrible balls that keepers and especially me hate. It bounces and isn't cleared, I see Bruce go to challenge for the loose ball and I slow my urgency to claim safe in the knowledge that Bruce will ... bugger, their striker’s got there first and lifted it over me into the net. 2-1.

The final minutes see an all out assault on our goal but we resolutely defend, its like Stalingrad but without the bullets and thousands being massacred. I cause a few flutters when on catching the ball I attempt to release too early and hit a outstretched leg which rebounds dangerously close to the net. I can now safely reveal that this was in fact part of the act and I have paid their midfielder the paltry sum of £4.27 for arranging that feat. And anyway I like to keep Geoff on his toes.

Then it’s the final whistle, we’ve done it ... 2-1 to Philosophy and we are the Champions ... NO DO NOT START SINGING QUEEN SONGS!... the bubbly flows and I see Cornish has arrived resplendent in herring-bone coat. We re-enact the rostrum at Formula 1 and then its off to the tapas bar to celebrate in style, without Filippo, who it seems had a difference of opinion with Geoff over whether Blue Nun was preferable to Lambrusco ... ah well they’ll patch it up.

I do humbly apologise for not naming anyone, but you see once the game is over, my muddled brain forgets very easy who scored and who played well ... all I know is that you all played your hearts out in securing the Victory and ultimately the Championship, special mention to my lovely back four who over the years have had the pleasure of being shouted at by me and then smiling wryly when I’ve missed a sitter.

And before I close, it has been said before but has to said again, there is no other team like Philosophy, and I consider it a privilege to have played alongside such a wonderful bunch of lads ... thank you and goodnight ... ’twas a freezing February night …