PERFECT STORM FLATTENS HEARTS
By Neil SINCLAIR
Rockets and gale force wind too strong for U13s
There was a storm brewing from the outset. The teams arrived at Lincoln Field to find the remnants of a football pitch: two goals but no white lines. Referee George Lewis expressed his concerns as to how he was going to satisfactorily run the game, so Club Welfare Officer Neil Sinclair successfully got the game moved to the adjacent 4G surface.
Storm Hannah was ripping down the A316 from East Berkshire, howling from end to end on an otherwise perfect playing surface. Ligers, kicking-off with the wind at their backs, had little idea how to play the conditions: passes were over-hit, the forward line came too short, and the defensive line struggled to deal with anything that was wind-affected. Only Joe Wallis, who started in goal, and Gabe Sinclair, making a rare start in the centre of the defence, showed any reading of the game, and between them kept the skilful visitors’ attack at bay. Elsewhere, the usual array of air shots, back-turning and timidity pursuing the first and second ball, enabled Camberley to lay siege to the Hearts end. Ligers did manage the occasional raid upfield but only one George Lee effort troubled the keeper. Three of Ligers four corners resulted in shots on goal by Rockets, and they were playing into the wind! In between, the visitors took the lead with a well-worked goal.
The second-half was an unmitigated disaster. The Hearts midfield decided to opt out of the contest, and with the wind at their backs, Rockets moved to a four man attack that was too fast and strong for Hearts. Gabe had taken over from Joe between the sticks and although he impressed the Rockets‘ coach with his bravery, he was akin to King Canute trying to hold back the tide; and quite simply, his hands weren't strong enough. Joe fought valiantly but with Toby Chilvers struggling with a thigh injury, and the midfield gone missing, the Hearts defence desperately needed Gabe’s pace to stem the onslaught. The flood gates opened and Ligers were blown away - nice mixed metaphor - ed. A sad end to an otherwise successful season.
Elsewhere, Woodley Saints Wolves confirmed the title with a win against Teddington Athletic, and remained unbeaten this term. Hawley and Henley are confirmed as the bottom two.