Travel travails over, the ladies at the ground were happy to sort things out and let me in with a nice black paper wristband. The pitch was split into four as always, but one of them (bottom right corner from a bird’s eye view) was used for kickabouts and press. That meant that for a long period, only one touchline of the bottom left pitch and behind the goal on top right were available to press. I’ve only got a small digital camera, but the professionals were pretty upset about it as even they couldn’t get good pics on the top two pitches. One guy even refused to come in when he heard. They did relax it a tiny bit when it got to quarter-final time, but it wasn’t great. Still, I got some, and they’ll be along when I can get home and sort them out. I do have a team photo proving that they all were in kit!
To the football, then. Three games in the group stages. First up, East 17, who were no match for the dark skills of the lads in blue and black. TD looked a solid team, fully competent and more than a sprinkling of talent. It wasn’t long before the scoring got underway, both Hawkins boys finding the net and Justin scoring about 5! Job done. Next up were the Hunks (……) who were a different kettle of fish and much more physical. An injury to John Quinn in that game. Again though, Hawkins was the dominant name. In these first two games I felt that Dan played well but didn’t see as much of the ball, and seemed to unconsciously back off a little. Justin bore the palm in the first two, out of the brothers, but the whole team was good -Greenwood, Quinn and goalie Yousuf Rab especially. Justin’s goal celebrations drew mention amongst the press- ‘glad he’s doing some cos no fucker else is!’ 3-2, the score, a much much closer game and was only decided late on with the lead swapping back and forth. Next! Omid Dajalili. Apparently David Baddiel, Dave Gorman and Lee Mackenzie were in that team but I was too busy watching TD’s play to notice! This was on the bottom left pitch, the only one with a decent view, so I was running up and down the line a lot. Another good game, Justin still on fire and Dan really coming alive in this one. He showed a lot of determination and grit on top of those skills. The game went to 2-2 before second half goals settled the game at 4-2.
A bit of a break then while the other groups were settled, TD safely through to the quarter finals. I must admit that when Dan and Justin are on the same pitch, hair flying under identical headbands, they don’t half look like each other, especially now Justin has darker hair. More than once the wrong one got cheered. Ooops. The beard doesn’t help if the lad concerned has his back to you running the other way! It was great to see them getting on so well. Obviously things were patched up long ago, but it’s the first time we’ve actually seen it. During an interview the two gave, each said the other was better at football.
Umm… Where was I… Oh yes.
Quarter finals, against Tinchy Stryder. That was another hard fought game with sterling performances from everyone. Both Dan and Jus on the score sheet again, and worthy winners. Don’t ask me the score, I was too busy cheering. There wasn’t anyone you could get the scores from, tbh!
Semifinals came up straight after, as the tournament was running late. A bit of a buggers for our lads, as they had about 3 minutes to catch breath before playing again. Waterloo Road’s team were the opponents, and seemed to be a lot of young lads. Shouldn’t be allowed, in my opinion. Although they weren’t really the better players, they still won 3-1. To cap it all, the rain started with the game and it was a soggy TD and OI that left the field, beaten but unbowed. Justin was awarded top scorer for the day. I’d say it was a pretty good afternoon’s fun all round, and worth getting wet for.
Photos will follow.
Travel travails are not yet done. A cancelled train, a late and then further delayed one mean I won’t be home for another hour or so – but I’ve had plenty of time to write this. Cheers to everyone involved – it was by far the best Soccer Six I’ve been too, with the great atmosphere, standard of football and seeing TD. Three things that make for a fabulous afternoon in anyone’s book.