Saturday 16th November, The legend of this story took place in a land far far away. It’s name – Finchampstead.
Two great armies were set to meet. Finchampstead Rovers were to stake their claim against the rampant undefeated STBG FC Reds, from the misty lands of Sandhurst.
This meeting would come to be known as the Battle of Passingtheball.
There was a large gathering of locals, consisting of some bedraggled harbingers and pox ridden males. There was talk of the fair maiden Gemma’s rolls de sausage, which were said to hold magical powers of jollification for those who par took of them. But today, alas, this magic was absent.
Instead, the good Lady Claire of Coe had fashioned enchanted flap jacks within her bubbling cauldron and these had the band of village idiots giggling and drooling with excitement.
The brave Rovers were lead to the field by Sir Simon and Sir Steve, both brave knights of long standing and their battle cry was sure to inspire their brave soldiers to victory.
The distant horn was sounded by Dan of Refereedom and it was the Rovers who advanced first. A fast right flank attack immediately pushing the Reds back and Nathaniel of Swiftfeet creates space for Jake of Goat to unleash a salvo which soars high and over. Again, the Rovers forge forward and again Jake of Goat unleashes a heavy blow on the Reds but their Keeper of Orange will not give an inch.
The Rovers are now under pressure, their lines being forced back but they have HIM back, oh yes, Luke of Rugby. He’s recovered from his previous wounds and is stronger than ever, with his yellow shield absorbing every blow aimed at him. Another attack has begun and Lucas of Tranmere weaves between the opposition and then passes on to Jacob the battler who with a parry and a jab releases Adam of Talltown, he recoils and crashes a shot in, alas, it’s wide.
This is indeed a battle of fine tactics, with both the Rovers and Reds attempting to outsmart each other.
A new pincer movement is sent forward with the help of Oliver of Towerville, who allows Ayjay of West Ham to mince a few opponents out wide and play the ball to Adam of Talltown but again the shot cannot create any damage. The Reds army are not deterred though and attack again and again but Samuel of Ranga uses his pace and combines, time and time again with Luke of Rugby and Josh of Joviality, to repel the Red invaders. It’s then that Josh finds himself deep in enemy territory, can he deal the deadly blow and take the Rovers ahead? Noooo! Over the top, just leant back.
The Reds are indeed strong. With swift flowing counter attacks they come again and again but with Kam of Pantene crashing in they are broken apart and this allows James of Tassy to race forward but again the Reds Keeper is quick to defend.
The standard of swordsmanship from both sides is breath-taking, never has there been two armies on the same battlefield with such skill. Where there is beauty, there has to be the beast and that beast comes out in the tackling. Clang, Samuel of Ranga, crash, Oliver of Towerville, krump, Kam of Pantene, boom, Jake of Goat all send the Reds falling.
A break in the battle is near but Leo of Longleg spins and releases Nathaniel of Swiftfeet on a lightning attack but he is captured offside and must retreat.
Half time is called and the brave troops leave the battlefield to rest and gain valuable council from Sir Simon and Sir Steve.
There is no sign yet as to who will be victors but the pungent rabble taking in this spectacle have been well entertained. The second half of the battle begins and it’s even harder to pick a winner. Soon Bunny of Tottenham and the good Friar Samuel are jinking and weaving between the opposition, annoying them with their swift feet and clever movement.
The Reds are masters of the counter attack and soon it pays dividend. They make good headway on the right flank and get the ball into the box, James of Tassy clears but they come again and ball is with the front man, he fires, bottom left corner and it’s first blood to the Reds. There’s a moment of confusion as one of the adjudicators, Steve of Linesmanshire waves his banner to signal offside but Dan of Refereedom over rules and it’s one nil to the Reds.
The battle continues with all manner of chivalry from both armies. We are then party to what can only be described as, well I think it may be known in the future as “Break dancing” from Jake of Goat. He begins to slide left, then right, then left again, only to end in a spin. Amazing moves. This appears to displease Dan of Refreedom, as he forbids Jake from attempting to bewitch the Reds with his moves of a banshee.
The incantation works not to dazzle the opposition but to inspire the Rovers. Great team work releases the ball to Nathaniel of Swiftfeet, the keeper fells our brave soldier and a free kick is awarded. Who shall accept the challenge of combat? Up steps Josh of Joviality, he aligns his sights, must be nigh on twenty leagues from the Reds ramparts. He unleashes his deadly trebuchet and yes, the net bulges, one all and all for one, the teams are level.
Back and forth, ebb and flow, the battle continues, who will deal the killer blow?
Wonderful cheek from Ajay of West Ham as he back heels the ball to Jake who just fires past the post. Every man on the field is giving his all, such skill and effort must be rewarded soon. The Reds continue to batter the Rovers defences but Luke of Rugby is unbeatable now, his reactions to block the Reds akin to that great warrior Achilles. Battle brave boys, battle.
Not long left now and the spoils may well be shared. Both sides will not budge an inch, suddenly the Rovers troops advance, Adam of Talltown strides forward and floats a peach of a pass to Nathaniel of Swiftfeet, he approaches the Reds keeper and attempts to pass him but he’s thwarted, no, he regains his balance and strikes at the Reds net. Yes, it’s there, victory is in sight. The gathered hoards shout with glee and I have to admit, that even this normally reserved story teller, spins not once, not twice but thrice, giddy with excitement and relief.
The battle recommences but the Reds cannot muster an equalizer. The horn blows and the Rovers are the victors. Cry Valhalla what a battle.
Being serious for a moment, that was a fantastic game of football with both sides actually playing the beautiful game. Well done to both teams, a draw wouldn’t have been an unfair result but this just goes to show how good this Rovers team are.
FINCHAMPSTEAD ROVERS 2-1 STBG FC Reds.