Banbridge 3rds 1 – 2 North Down 2nds
Gin and tonics all round bar-keep! “Cup specialists”/”league wabs” the men’s 2s progress to the semi-final of the McClements Cup.
But by god was it grim. A first half that would have tried the patience of drying paint. So grim that rather than watch it, the umpires decided to declare war on each other. Obviously they weren’t fans of our innovative 5-6 formation that leaves the middle of the park like Ghandi’s flip-flop – a dry dusty wasteland devoid of pleasure. Cue outrageous outrages by the Bann ump and eagle-eyed interventions (obviously from our objective POV) from a full quarter of a mile away Jim Patterson. You can probably imagine the effect on discipline.
I mean, spare a thought for Adam Tate. Always a stickler for consistent and fair application of the rules, he was first confused and then disillusioned by the weirdy-beardy decisions raining down around him. Seeking clarification from the Bann ump (ah! the folly of youth) he found himself robbed of his first perfect (as in “staying on the pitch for an entire”) game by a whistle jockey obviously aware of the Tatey predilection for “wee rests”. Green card for our favourite teenage dirtbag (ask him about “flicking” – I dare you) and occasional goal scorer.
Half time brought a frank exchange of views at the half way line and in the goal mouth.
In the middle of the pitch the Bann umpire declared that raised balls dangerous-ness would be decided by body count and that he solemnly vowed to give advantage to Bann as they demanded. Jimmy P announced a cessation of hostilities with his opposite number and then to reinforce his new found objectivity declared open season on Paul Work(you know him!) and Scott Moore (ex-goal scorer). No tackle would be too brutal. A declaration that the Bann defence took to with a zeal that would make an ISIS commander feel that he maybe lacked commitment to his bonkers cause.
In the goal mouth all the usual clap trap plus the standard half time Mockey stream of consciousness. “Score goals”, “don’t let goals in”, “make passes”. All the usual biz.
Anyway, second half. Chances galore but all refused until a flurry of activity in the last 10 minutes. We’re 1 up! Ok, so let’s slide the ball around the back. Relax. Coast into the semi. Fard-warks! 1-1. 6 to go. 4 to go and Paul Adgey declared “sliver goal extra time BE DAMNED! Mockey and Magee will never survive it!”. 2-1 victory despite the sleeked Bann man with the whistle.
Hurrah for us! And thanks to Jimmy P for his thermonuclear umpiring, may it grace the semi!
Report by Stevie Magee, assisted on ouija board by L Nimoy.