The Miracle of Brent Cross

West Hampstead 2, Banbury Piranhas 2

13th March 2016

New shrines will be constructed and consecrated after a week of miracles occurred from Banbury to Brent Cross.
The first miracle was the fact the Piranhas fielded a team against a strong West Hampstead team who’s age range varied between 25 and 35, whereas the piranhas ranged between 14 and Neolithic. The selection process this week resembled the last moments on the Titanic where finding volunteers to tidy up the ball room and put the deck chairs away in a neat pile proved a tad challenging. Captain Camp had spent every waking moment on the blower deploying bribery, guilt, exaggeration, and the salesmanship of a charity organisation telesales clerk to form a team. The numbers went up and down like Donald Trump’s boxer shorts at the post rally parties on the campaign trail – but at 9pm Friday night a team was born – albeit 10 volunteers only willing to make the trip and Matt Allman’s brother, Tim, who’d not played for 12 years……almost as long ago as when some of the Piranhas were first spawned in their Amazonian crèche.

The second miracle was found during the warm up when some of the Piranhas found a selection of condoms in the D lying in the late morning spring sunshine like a shiny shoal of whiting….. Captain Camp cried out that it was a heavenly sign – an omen that our efforts on the day would be fertile and productive…… or that someone had left the gates to the pitch open the previous night and Adam and Eve had yet again sinned by “chewing an apple” on the Brent Cross AstroTurf – who said romance was dead??

Then rather strangely the opposition placed a “goal cam” above the Piranha goal just before push back – a bit presumptuous?!?!  I asked them if it was for their drag flick specialist…….

The game commenced and within 8 minutes 2 more miracles occurred.  The Piranhas were utterly dominant with Adam Hughes, Charlie Camp, Harry Simons, and James Doran bossing the midfield and winning a short corner after 2 minutes – and Adam Hughes converting it with a flick low into the corner by minute 3.  More attacks followed with Tim and Thomas Allman working hard up front to create chances, which by minute 7 led to the Piranhas’ second goal as James Doran was found on the left of the D after a stunning Piranha flowing move, and deftly struck into the corner of the West Hampstead goal to make it 2-0.  The opposition looked stunned.  The pressure continued with the Piranha defence holding firm and Steve Hicks in goal making his trademark charging berserker stick sweep saves and Captain Camp and Matt Allman keeping the ship stable at the back and distributing the ball effectively to the Piranha midfield and attack.

After 15 minutes of Piranha pressure West Hampstead started to wake up and an attack led to the next miracle when Matt Allman saved a fierce shot on the line only for the equally fierce rebound to hit his dodgy knee.  He arose like Lazarus unscathed but that’s when the “miracle” bit ran out of steam as Steve Hicks just missed saving the resulting penalty by a whisker.  The Piranhas pressed again with Charlie Camp and Harry Simons ripping their older and more experienced opponents to pieces and creating many chances which the “Tim&Tom” Allman Combo up front were unlucky not to convert with some great shots and lay offs for the attacking midfield.

Just before half time another miracle occurred when Hampstead launched a final attack and a goal mouth scramble (which resembled a scene from Mad Max – and keeper Hicks in the starring role) led to the ball hitting the Hampstead  forward’s foot, travelling up his rather large body, and falling back down his rather large body onto his foot and rolling 1 inch over the line….. the miracle being both umpires didn’t see it and awarded the “goal”- whereas everyone else did.  Again our miracles faded as the opposition forward didn’t own up despite some “encouragement” from the Piranhas.  It was the worst goal awarded in the history of the game of hockey but their forward was proud to claim it – it’ll probably go on his bedroom window sill with all those school medals for Sunday morning footy and swimming a width in Brent Cross junior pool unaided (without water wings).

So half time came with the two teams all square at 2-2.  Captain Camp hardly referred to the temporary blindness that came upon the officials for the oppo’s 2nd goal during his rousing half time team talk and instead focussed the team on maintaining possession and tightening our marking….. and it worked for the second half as against this tough team the Piranha bare 11 were more than a match for the opposition and their subs.  Twice in this half the Piranhas were reduced to 10 when firstly Adam Hughes was sent off for some handy tips on stick obstruction to the umpire and secondly when Tim Allman suffered a near fatal attack of cramp and went down like a sack of giant King Edwards baking potatoes (and who can blame him after a 12 year break from running around a pitch!!) but like his brother he did a great Lazarus impersonation and hobbled around in spite of the pain. On both  occasions the youngsters stepped up – Finley McEvoy had a great second half storming down the left and cover tackling, Charlie Camp stepped into the base of the diamond with Hughes off and marshalled the field and turned the oppo midfield inside out with his skills, Harry Simons ended up being double marked just to keep him caged, and young Thomas Allman worked his socks off up front.  Steve Hicks in goal had another great game and deployed his full set of ninja/berserker moves to keep a clean sheet for the second half.

The game ended with honours even but with the Piranhas doing a great job on the away opponents and leaving the pitch with pride. It was a day of miracles but quite frankly I’d love an utterly dull boring predictable week this week….. train spotting….. or discussing the “Brexit”…… or shampooing the goldfish – anything but “selection”!!!!