The Mysterious Case of the Cow and the Banjo

Piranhas 2 Wallingford 1

The Piranhas consolidated their credible 4th position in the league they were promoted to this year with a 2-1 win over a Wallingford team who’d found new form since Christmas and had hammered Milton Keynes 12-0 the week before – so we knew we were in for a tough game.

Things looked distinctly dodgy too as Andy “the Black Spot” Jeffrey was recalled to the team as Captain Camp was nursing a near fatal Achilles injury and was managing from the sideline despite the intense pain, albeit surrounded by his team of personal ever attentive nurses on the sideline (sorry I think that was an old dream I’ve recalled….).

However, it was the young Piranhas who took the game to Wallingford as they played flowing attacking hockey from the start.
Will Eagles marshalled the team brilliantly at the base of midfield and his interceptions and pin point passing got Sam Bracke on the right and Ali Nash on the left storming down the flanks and feeding Squire, Allen, and young Charlie Camp up front. The Wallingford defence were under constant pressure for most of the first half.
Shot after shot rained in at the Wallingford goal – mainly wide or over, and short corner after short corner was won as young Camp, the ever improving Sam Baldry, and Sam Bracke turned the experienced Wallingford defence inside out. But bizarrely no goals – and Manager Camp could only hear the distant noise of what sounded like a banjo swishing through the air and a cow mooing contentedly…..what could that be?

Lee Allen found himself in front of goal on numerous occasions with just the keeper to beat but only managed to hit both posts (a great skill in itself) or have half shots cleared off the line – it was as if the ball had some allergy to the net. The noise of banjo swishing continued to echo mysteriously in the background perplexing Manager Camp.

The defence of Steve Hicks in goal, Matt Allman, Andy Jeffrey, Ollie Webb and Ed Hornby had little to do but intercept long through balls and recycle them to the midfield and attack – Allman and Webb (not a comedy duo) even had time to perfect their aerial passing launching attacks down the flanks and duelling with the Wallingford sweeper who was throwing passes back to relieve the intense pressure on their defence in what started to resemble long base line tennis rallies (but without the likes of Sharapova unfortunately as Allmans legs are no match for Maria’s even after 10 pints and 5 whisky chasers).

Half time came and miraculously the score remained 0-0. Ignoring the mysterious background banjo swishing sound, Manager Camp deployed some concise and effective English language to emphasise the need to push or slap the ball either side of their keeper and preferably inside either post.

The talk seemed to work as early in the 2nd half the piranhas won a short corner after some great work down the right by Finley McEvoy and some sharp skills in the D by Charlie Camp who found a Wallingford foot. The first strike rebounded off the keeper but Ollie Webb was there to hammer the ball home with a viscous squeezed shot that looped over the keeper and defender to give the Piranhas a deserved lead.

More pressure built as Eagles soared in midfield and worked his magic with the tireless Squire, and unleashed the hard working Charlie Camp, Sam Bracke and McEvoy to feed young Sam Baldry and Allen up front. Eventually a great pass from Eagles found Camp who carved through the Wallingford midfield to unleash a perfectly weighted through pass to Allen who, at last (!!!!) found the net to make it 2-0. At that point the cow yelped (if that’s what cows do when a banjo hits them).

Then Wallingford awoke and the Piranha defence had to do some work. Steve Hicks in goal was again very effective making shot stopping saves and acting as the extra sweeper charging out of his goal like some demented Dr Lecter as the Wallingford sweeper threw more aerials to their high forwards. Eventually Wallingford won a series of short corners as the Piranha defence seemed intent on hitting the ball at their own feet. After stoic defending Wallingford scored after a great flick and deflection in mid air by the post.

The game then finished with end to end hockey from both teams and yet more guest appearances by “cow & banjo” as goals were missed…..mainly by the Piranhas.

The final whistle blew and the Piranhas bagged 3 more points and a guarantee for their position as 4th in the league. The Piranhas at last had time to enquire about the sound of swishing banjos and gently mooing cows – “you lot couldn’t hit a cow’s ar$e with a banjo today!” Was the explanation and insightful comment from one of our esteemed umpires – Simon Atkins….Just as well we were just playing hockey then, as we’d have struggled in the “Hit the Cow’s Ar$e with a Banjo” world championship event…..

We retired for teas and Allman’s Road Kill Cafe excelled with a serving of hot hedgehog pies and burnt beans. Specific instructions were given not to put the beans on until Chef Allman returned from his exertions on the pitch. Unfortunately ….a resident Masterchef’s must have been present in the clubhouse at the time who decided to the ignore the said instruction, put the baked beans on a “high” heat, walk off , never to be touched again…. pleased with the satisfaction of a job well done.  This skill of burning the Beans (Beano Carbon Datio) is fine culinary skill and is said to be as challenging as cooking a soufflé – you have to get the beans to a certain temperature and then not stir them at all and leave them on the top heat setting for at least 29 minutes and 15 seconds to get each bean individually burnt. The secret chef has still not been identified and basking in his anonymity but fingers all point to a member of Noel Britto’s 3rd Team who played the game before. Captain Camp has contacted the BBC and requested that the next Bake Off Technical Challenge is the sumptuous and unique “Banbury Burnt Bean Special”. Needless to say, the club house bin filled its boots……….as you can see from the picture especially taken to feature in the new cook book “Baked Bean Offerings for All Occasions”. Matt will publish as soon the mystery chef comes forward to fully divulge the intricacies of the dish.

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Julia (Matt’s Wife) was also not impressed as un-beknown to her –  the favourite Allman pot was implicated in the Banbury Bean Disaster.  By implicated … I mean it had the S** burnt out of it ! The pot is now under going major surgery back at Allman HQ and is in a stable but critical condition. Unfortunately , the experts are recommending a pot transplant being which hasn’t got down well with the lady of the house. 🙁

Next week we have Easter off then a sort of top of the table clash v Marlow away – 3rd v 4th. In the meantime try our Piranha Baked Bean Special for that Easter Day family meal experience – I guarantee unwelcome relatives won’t come back for more…..