ACTONIANS CC v ACTONIANS AFC VETS (Football Match) – Sunday 2nd January 2022
The long-awaited football match between Actonians CC and Actonians AFC Vets on 2 January promised much and delivered even more. Billed variously as 'an exciting start to our centenary year', 'a match to decide bragging rights at the bar this summer' and 'a damning indictment of the cricket section's pre-season fitness', both teams (Vets in blue and white jerseys, cricketers in white tops) huffed and puffed their way around a slippery and expansive Gunnersbury 3G pitch for 90 action-filled minutes on the first Sunday afternoon of the New Year.
A stacked bench meant that the cricket section started briskly, with Dave Gorvin bossing the left side from wing-back, Roheet Gupta and Paul Maddock doing useful things in the middle of the park, and Jayson Fernandes and Greg Roebuck-Williams making incisive runs at a shaky-looking Vets defensive line. Jayson provided the cricket section with early breathing room after slotting home from the right hand side of the box. The rolling subs system soon came into its own as Mike Lever, method acting Joe Root (another likeable and technically correct batsman), took a thunderous shot straight to his unguarded grumble chunks. Fortunately, David 'Lord' Whear and his bionic knees were ready to unveil themselves for their first eleven-a-side action in several decades, and we doubled our lead shortly afterward through Sam Worrall linking up with scorer Greg. He came off for Andrew Jones, whose first touch deep in the opposition half saw him clean through on goal before he fell over thin air, clutched his hamstring and went over to cuddle his wife and puppy. Despite pressure all the way through, we could only add one more through Jayson before the half-time whistle.
Buoyed by thoughts from Dave Carr, all three Mabens and Robbo (aka the Wanganui Guardiola) at half-time, we emerged with an even more chaotic and potent XI after the break. Shazzy became the target-man up front, a role he took so seriously that his triple spin manoeuvre while holding off three defenders meant that even he couldn't keep track of the ball. A quick break later and the Vets had got one back, and after Owen (looking in his garish shirt like a CBeebies character after a three-day bender) got sat down by their striker, head-butting the post in the process, suddenly we were in for a very hairy last ten minutes. Fortunately, the route-one downwind balls were too much for the Vets wingers to latch onto, and the cricket section ran out winners of a five-goal classic.
A hugely enjoyable way to start the year - many thanks to Dave, Owen and Robbo for organising and to Actonians AFC for fielding a side and playing in a great spirit. We wish them all the best for the rest of their season.