After last season’s heart-wrenching defeat, against a well-organised yet not as technically gifted Medics side in the semi-finals, it was always going to be interesting how our new side bounced back in this new campaign. With a solid pre-season, focused around integrating new signings into the club, with a number of club legends moving onto new pastures for the twilight of their careers. Our new sponsorship from Kingfisher has allowed us to become the dominant force in the transfer market as we look to bring in only the very best as we look to mount a title challenge. We have recruited heavily from a Whitefields side, which showed a lot of potential towards the end of last season if measured on the quality of the football played rather than the results obtained. It is likely we will look to another fresher team as a feeder club for the forthcoming year, the ‘Spurs to our Real Madrid’ in E&Y football.
When the fixtures were first released, our opening game provoked a mixed reaction from squad members. Tennis have been the definition of inconsistency over recent years with some strong technical footballers mixed with those that seem allergic to balls larger than a hand. However, having won both games played against tennis last year comfortably, we were confident going into the game. Incoming captain JT warned against complacency in the sessions leading up to our first game, with drills focused on improving both our fitness, which was severely lacking after a long summer break, and counter-attacking orientated style of play.
So it came to the day of the match, we were all prepared, ready and pumped for the match ahead. All except for Will Stodhart whose side-effects from all his ‘gymming’ seems to be at a cost of failing to understand the time. With a match-day squad of 12, this meant that until Stods had awoken from what members of his household have described as a protein-induced coma, we had a bare eleven. Tennis on the other hand seemed to have recruited a couple of players from the match before, already making a mockery of the regulation ‘tightening’ that Warwick Sport had promised over the summer break. Having been informed by resident footballer Povey that these new additions were in fact also footballers but ‘average on a very good day’, the side was confident lining up before the game.
The game started scratchily, with a lack of match fitness shown by the UWMCCFC, as expected. We pressed high from the start, encouraged by Berger-North and Thomas to put their players under pressure, restricting their time on the ball at the expense of our energy levels. Early pressure told and with the massive help of a goalkeeping howler we managed to go 1-0 up within the first ten minutes as Nedmonds stroked the ball into the goal after some good build up play by Hobbs and SDT down the right-hand side. We managed to create a few more chances during the opening stages but these fell mainly to JT, who it seemed had inherited the capitain’s curse from ex-skipper Tails as being unable to finish even the simplest of chances. The game at this point remained quiet stop-and-start, as the introduction of a qualified referee meant that many challenges, which in previous seasons would have gone unpunished did not get the same treatment.
The game however burst into life just before half-time with a double blow for Tennis, as both SDT and JT managed to net goals after some very encouraging build up play down both flanks, with Jewson and Berger-North very keen to get forward and overlap the winger; Jewson celebrated one goal with a sigh of relief as it meant he could walk rather than run back to his position.
At half-time, the message was clear, we stay solid and don’t concede; words of wisdom as the quality of team in E&Y is always demonstrated by the number of goals conceded rather than scored. Moose was an absolute rock at the back, leaping to win every header. SDT, easily the classiest footballer on the field, spread the play majestically, relishing the role as the team’s playmaker. The fourth game was inevitable, coming from a delightfully whipped in free-kick that SDT managed to get on the end ahead of the goalkeeper, who, many would agree, had a game to forget. With the game won, the UWMCCFC shut up shop, keeping the ball for long periods of the play, giving Tennis a long cardio workout ahead of what will undoubtedly be a long tough season of mid-table mediocrity. For the UWMCCFC, however it was a promising performance to kick off a season of high expectations.