North Down 2nds 1–1 Kilkeel 2nds. North Down win 5-3 on penalties.
North Down vs Kilkeel encounters at any level are never for the faint hearted. They’re usually pretty bone-crunching affairs (literally if you take last year’s blood bath – no names but it was up there with Rumble in the Jungle). Add “semi-final” to the mix and you’ve got one spicy meatball.
Hockey played second fiddle to the umpires in the first half as they spent the time locked in a titanic struggle for supremacy. Eagled-eyed Action Man Jim Patterson peppering the opposite end of the pitch with whistle-propelled mortars. The Kilkeel ump leaving no act of Kilkeel brutality punished (for the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s sake don’t call him “ref” – “WHAT DID YOU CALL ME?!”). And where Jimmy P’s heightened sense of the sight can target a field mouse at 200 yards the Kilkeel whistle jockey’s (ref!) sense of hearing seemed to be so dull that respected umpire critic Andy Walls had to practically cup his hands over the blighter’s ears to offer a frank assessment of his performance. Not taking up his option, in the strongest possible terms, to agree with Mr Walls the umpire attempts to send off the North Down captain for failing to control the bench. But I’m on the bench! HA! What now Mr. Kilkeel Umpire (ref!). A quick Google and I’m invited to rest someone of my choosing from the “on the pitch” contingent. Another Google rules out my first pick – apparently it has to be a North Down player. Damn the connected world we live in today, it’s the death of the Pub Argument. Unless it’s Mockey of course, weight of evidence, consensus etc. mean nothing to the man. Anyway, I digress. Ok “someone of my choosing”… and who should catch my eye?! Wee Adam Tate of course! Leaning on his stick like a Dickensian chimney sweep waif with consumption – off you come Tatey, two minute power nap buddy. Two weeks, two cards. He’s a disciplinary time-bomb.
Luckily, with both teams heading towards mutually assured destruction, half time came giving all concerned a chance to reflect…well, except for us of course as Mockey raised his usual half-time hysteria to new levels of nuttiness that threatened to redline the Barking-mad-o-meter. If we’d listened to him we’d have probably garrotted the first Mourne man that crossed our paths at the resumption.
With the umpires having gotten it all out of their systems the second half saw the hockey proper get underway. Mockey made good on his final reparations for last week’s first half of traitorous goings on and had probably his best game of the season. Scott Moore got lumps knocked out of him for the second week running as did Andrew Boyd‘s opposite number (fair play to the Kilkeel umpire (ref!) for letting him stay on the pitch after dishing out a tackle banned by international treaty). Jordan Linter turned in this week’s MOTM performance. Like a Weeble you can knock him but he doesn’t fall down and unlike a Weeble he will bite when cornered. And flip me if Tatey didn’t score the equaliser at the fag-end of normal time of the back of a ruck a meter out from the Kilkeel line! I hear he’s got some sort of coaching badge recently – look forward to a new generation of louche hipsters lying around on the benches of North Down.
So, let’s skip extra time (I can’t remember a bloody thing about it other than it was “silver”) and get straight on to the dreaded stroke competition!
Stroke 1 –
Kilkeel Man. Good stroke. ‘Nuff said.
Buhda. Pure pants but managed to make it over the line while the keeper flapped around like a landed fish on the floor. Laughable (Dalzell claims it brought on a mild bout of incontinence), but nice celebration – patting the ‘ol dickie ticker.
Stroke 2 –
Kilkeel Man. Another good stroke.
The Milk Maestro. Slow ball to the top corner. Keeper reads the trajectory but not the pace, leaps kung-fu style to the top corner but the ball is going so slow that he’s back on the ground before the ball lobs into the onion bag. Jammy.
Stroke 3 –
Kilkeel Man. One word, “Tatey”. The Kilkeel umpire (ref!) ducks for cover.
Little Beardy Dazzler. Pure power forces the keeper to take evasive action and leap out of the way. We’re in front.
Stroke 4 –
Kilkeel Man. Miyagi catch fly with chopstick!
Adgey. From the “Eyes closed and HOOF it!” school. Off to the final boys!
The final! Next week apparently! Be there!
Report by Stevie Magee