Present: Adam, Jono, Dribble, Dave, Mark, Casper, Will, Fold, Dumpster, Lamo, Gordo, Shaq, and Hurley (sideline)
And when I say morning, I mean that right now you are reading this piece of literature in the future, as I am typing away basking in the warmth of victory, and savouring the win on this sensational Sunday evening.
But back to the beginning, I awoke from my slumber on the morning of the first round of the Cup competition with the following thoughts racing through my mind:
1. Who the f, has text me before 10am on a Sunday - better not be any non-driving pr*** wanting a ride
2. Can't wait for the big game, hope none of the boys have gotten complacent given our recent victories over the Shamrocks and done a double-nighter on the chop.
3. Can't wait for the bacon & baked bean butties I was about to eat in approximately 30min time courtesy of Bridget (an excellent example of a committed WAG)
And to my surprise, it was a text from Adam, exclaiming that we were in fact playing the unknown, but not to be under-estimated Arakura. Having our last encounter with them canceled due to atmospheric conditions, this was really throwing the cat amongst the pigeons, or throwing the single mother and two children into Caspers flat. This was going to be a test, and I am not going to lie, but I was anxious not to be the first losing captain, and more importantly for us not to be knocked out in the first round.
So I picked up the stragglers in Casper, Fold & Lamo, and we burned rubber out to Upper Hutt and Fortress Moonshine. The boys were assembled early and were quick to kit up and get the nets in action. Upon viewing the mud bath that had replaced our once pristine pitch, we elected to practice over the other side to try and preserve what was left of the 'green'. Practice was better than usual, with a bit more intensity and plenty of talk, namely Bolts abusing people at will, and Casper was in fact mastering the art of speaking.
The referee barely arrived on time, and as he should have got straight into the business of the toss. Arakura called heads, it was tails, I won and elected to stay as we were. We shook hands and put the pleasantaries to one side, it was time for the first cup battle in Marauder history. What was to ensue was a medley of mayhem, majesty and marvellous football. Both teams were committed early, and the ball was being moved around the park very effectively by Arakura, the Marauders were not gun-shy in the tackle, but were lacking the tactics to hold them in such conditions. Calls and talk were flying wildly around the park as Wilson tried to assert his dominance in the midfield early, and I wasn't going to let him be the lone voice. It was back and forth in the early stages, with great ball being played down the flanks to Casper and crosses making it into the box, or flirting with it around the edges. It was about 10 min into this epic encounter, when Mark slotted the first one pass the keeper and into the net, well worked and excellent timing on the run, the keeper was left powerless (that is not to say that Mark is powerful, I mean come on, seriously!).
Which leads me to the first chance that that went begging, corner ball, I put the ball in low and towards the front post, not a single defender moved, it curled in as though it was gravitationally attracted to Marks head, and then in some cruel twist of fate, or poor technique and timing the asteroid of a corner sailed on through the football galaxy untouched until it was neatly and safely pulled into the arms of their keeper.
And so confidence was boosted, but this was merely the start of what was to become an arm wrestle of a contest, like Wiki and Collins and the debate over whether to use a spoon or a fork to eat soup. Personally I believe that soup is not a meal, and that both need to man up and eat something that requires chewing. Weak! But anyway, Arakura found their feet, quite literally as they began to thread the ball to each other whilst the Marauders were not picking up on their man quickly enough, and whilst I understand that in muddy conditions we want an extra metre to be able to turn, you just can't let them have free reign to turn before you can pressure them, and so the yelling and talk came thick and fast, however, it was in vein as their attack were left with a few metres to maneuvre and a shot came to Bolts faster than anything he had seen, well since his last s***** encounter that didn't involve the use of pharmaceuticals. And alas the scores were locked, 1-1.
As if it were like we were trying to rub more mud into their faces than was already been plastered about today, the Marauders hit back in spectacular fashion, with a few minutes of sustained pressure down at the other end, and enough time for our defense to have a conference and assert our opinions on the way forward, we were awarded a corner. From the right, curling in, Dribble smokes one into the back of the net. But what I loved most as I admired the strike from the comfort of half way, was that Wilson called 'its in' when the ball had barely made it past the 18 yard box, either exceptional analysis of trajectory, straight up cockiness, or good tactical nous to create panic and mayhem. I will leave it to the boys on that one.
2-1, the Marauders were up as the second half of the first half was well under way. A couple of substitutions saw Gordo and Shaq enter the mix, and the captain was slotted into right back to link up with the man named after an NBA superstar. The youngsters made their presence felt immediately, with Gordo flying into tackles and taking the man-marking quite literally and basically suffocating his opposition. Good work. Shaq was looking to get wide quickly and I was happy for him to do it, some well worked movement between me, Lamo and Shaq was starting to ask questions at their end. And it was from the right hand side of the field that the next goal was created, Wilson regains possession in the middle of the paddock and rather than playing the long ball wide to Shaq quickly distributes square to me, with time called and Shaq making a run for it I had dribbled forward, seeing a channel that Mark was moving through in the centre the through ball was slotted, Mark was met by the keeper near the edge of the box as he tried desperately to avoid a deja vu moment, he succeeded, only for his efforts to be thwarted by his own defender to slotted it between the posts. 3-1 the Marauders, and not long after half time was blown, which it must be stated coincided by an excellent break away out of our own half to set up Davies on a stella run towards goal, but unfortunately for Casper, rather than the short shrill sound of the whistle being blown for the ball piercing the back of the net, it was for the half time break.
Half-time consisted of some heated discussion by Wilson as per usual, some cool and calm advice from Hurley giving us the low down based on sideline observations, and the emphasis being placed on meeting the attacker rather than holding. It was positive, but just for good effect apparently the F bomb was thrown in, I was completely oblivious to this fact, but applaud such behaviour. Upon taking the field in my role as captain I reminded the troops that we are not a Simon & Garfunkel covers band, and therefore we shall at no point be doing a rendition of 'Sounds of Silence'. The kick off was made and for the first 5min of the second stanza it was all Marauders.and we had Arakura firmly camped in their own half. The talk was up, the movement was good, on and off the ball and we were generating chances. It was at this point here, that Lamo decided that he was getting bored of being an ineffective and impotent striking force, and for the rest of the game did his best to remain offside at all times. Later on in the piece, he actually re-enacted one Didier Drogba by completely throwing his toys out of the cot, screaming like a child and flailing his arms around as if by some miracle he could generate enough lift to elevate him to the level of the rest of us. One to thing to say, like nickname, like nature. Lamo.
The second half would prove to be a clash of the footballing titans, with the play going back and forth and each team doing their best to assert their dominance and control the possession. The mid-field was holding strong and there were plenty of good clashes going on, at one point Dribble thought it would be apt to pull on the shirt of the only guy on their team who did not look the least bit placid, and in fact was rumoured to be the head of the Wellington Triads, at this point I want to point out that I am not being racist, I am simply painting a picture. The ref intervened as he had his arms up and fists clenched, later on Wilson claimed he would not have helped out his mid-fielding counterpart for fear of being nun-chuked in the head. Good point Wilson, as it is one hell of an easy target!
And so I shall continue, with the tussle that was the second half, some complacency was setting in, or this could in fact be fatigue, as the ball was being bandied about in all directions, Arakura were getting some good go forward, the ball was in the possession of their midfield, running back our midfield was trying to put them under pressure, they did not succeed and instead a good through ball was run onto by their man, and the scores were 3-2. Calls went out quickly through the trenches to the troops to keep chins up, avoid machine gun fire and fight on. Hurley at this point became very vocal, and funnily enough so did Casper, which was real helpful, now that he had left the field, well done!
At this point, or there abouts a couple of incidents occured, the first being Lamo once again in the limelight for Falconing himself, much to the delight of myself and Bolts who showed nothing in the way of sympathy, rather I was bursting into a spat of chuckling as described by Big Ears. Speaking of, the second incident being Wilsons studs up tackle on the softest looking dude on their team, that ended with their man on the ground, and I definitely saw at least one, maybe two tears, and Wilson rubbing his back. Not sure if that is the reason he was crying, it is understandable if it is. And this was followed by Dribble being bent over (not in the way Wilson was usually intend) by a football to the groin, writhing on the ground the call went out to the sideline, nothing. So it went out again. Nothing. Finally Casper brings out the water for Dribble, after applying the water from a safe distance Dribble was back to being on top (again not in the way Wilson would intend it).
And so the fight continued, they were re-vitalised and were hitting us hard in attack, some great opportunities down their end, with Pinckney penetrating down the left saw some crosses into the middle come to no avail. A corner was taken, the ball played out and a shot taken by Fold, it was deflected and they were on the counter-attack, a lucky ball that was somehow juggled by their 9, was then passed inside, the shot was taken, Bolts parried, the ball was heading for the goal line, Dumpster in an act of sheer courage and determination mounted our own goal box like it was his night at the prom and cleared the ball off our line, only to be put straight back into the middle and despatched into the net. The scores 3 all and the celebrations were more fanatical than a crowd of screaming middle aged women more commonly known as cougars being invited to a Marauders function. Something to think about gents, Bolts probably has some friends, after all they are his age bracket!
Once again the calls went up, and the look of determination and sheer hatred was plastered across my face, I was absolutely going ballistic! The next passage of play was crucial to the Marauders, pride, prestige and history were on the line, there was no way we could draw, or lose, not the first cup game, we could not break our record. And so with nerves of steel or something equally as strong we trucked on, we were making good yards, turning their D inside out, playing great ball down the flanks, and then rather than smash it for glory, we would play a good ball back and centre. At this point I believe I had an opportunity, the ball had arrived at my feet, room to move, time on my side, and support outside me, I pushed forward and struck hard, aiming top left against the momentum of the keeper coming across the ball flew in and to my absolute horror, and accompanied by an almighty F bomb it had hit the cross bar. But still we pushed on, putting the bodies on the line, quite literally for some of us, as Dumpster at one point had been physically assaulted in our own half and he was playing a stunner ready to slide tackle anyone. Mark wasn't letting Dumpster take all of the brunt of Arakura friskiness, and he himself took to the deck after being inappropriately fondled. Free kick followed, blasted by Dribble, and cleared the bar by a foot. With 6 min left on the clock the ball was being played down the right, it had gone out and Shaq had opted to take the quick one, fortunately Lamo could not be offside at this point and so presented himself, however, as Shaq rightly analysed throwing back to me was a far better option, with time on the ball the cry went out from the centre midfield, ball played to feet, brushed to his favourite left side, avoid a tackle, and crash into the back of the net. THE MARAUDERS WERE UP 4-3 FROM A GREAT STRIKE FROM WILSON!
The atmosphere was electric, the buzz was in the air, there was optimism. 5 min signalled by the ref at the commencement of play, in desperation a shot was taken from the kick off and barely made it to Bolts. Hold on lads, this is going to the wire. The next 5 min seemed like an eternity as several waves of attack were endured, a through ball that Dumpster and myself were onto led to a free kick being taken inside our box, Bolts rightly listened to me and played quickly as everybody retreated I received the ball in the box and turned and went, Shaq was onto it and was making a bee line for the side line, smashing the ball long to him, but neither of us uting it quite as well as we had hoped. It was later admitted by several team members that they thought myself and Bolts had had a brain meltdown and wondered why I was in the box, sharpen up guys! And so the clock ticked down and Bolts would prove to be the man of the moment, with lightning fast reflexs, no doubt helped by soft conditions to land on (or in given the state of the goal box at either end) Bolts was forced to make a save that made the eyes water, expertly parried away and out for a corner. I cannot recall what happened next, but I am pretty sure that not long after the final whistle sounded. And the Marauders marched to victory again!
Well done lads, and I think it was a hard fought victory that showed some real cohones! Much appreciated the efforts of our fill ins, Fold you played superbly, and adapted well as you played a number of different positions, Shaq great movement out wide and definitely stretching the defense to allow more room in the middle, I know Lamo really appreciated the extra room to be offside, and Gordo, strong on D and composed with the ball at feet. Now to the matter of fines:
Lamo - Offside on more occasions than you were onside + self-falconing + tantrums
Dribble - Trying to spark a gang war & getting hit in the nuts, and then rolling over into the fetal position murmuring something about 'Hold me Wilson'
Casper - For having more to say off the pitch than on it!
Fridge - Cross bar & chuckling (allegedly)
Wilson - Studs up assault followed by affectionate touching that could only be described as sensual (Dribble and Lamo were jealous)
Any other offerings of fines are most welcome. Thats all we have time for, I hope you have enjoyed the coverage of the game, and we look forward to tracking the progress of this team throughout the rest of the season. If form, good looks and charm are anything to go by, then the Marauders are destined for glory. This is Fridge signing off, on behalf of all your mothers, thank you and good night.
The Marauders Football Club