Sunday 11th November 2018
By Patrice Mongelard
FARNBOROUGH OLD BOYS GUILD SENIOR VETS - REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY MEMORIAL MATCH
Tull’s Wanderers (3) v Chavasse’s Casuals (3)
News that Wellcome Super Vets would not be able to get a side out for today’s game came on Monday morning, but was unwelcome none the less. It meant that after twelve consecutive matches this season, we were facing an unlucky thirteen, our first cancellation. Moreover, it was not down to the weather, although in the end the weather nearly won the day. The ten other Vets teams who were approached could not fill the breach (some were playing each other). So the option was to “play with yourselves”, as Mrs M put it. Word went out to football friends and acquaintances, relatives, past Farnborough Vets and we mustered the required numbers for two teams as set out below. Mick O’Flynn came up with two fitting team names, to remember World War I heroes: Tull’s Wanderers (named after Walter Daniel John Tull) and Chavasse’s Casuals (named after Noel Godfrey Chavasse). To remember these two extraordinary men, let us remind ourselves of who they were:
Walter Daniel John Tull (28 April 1888 – 25 March 1918) was an English professional footballer and British Army officer of Afro-Caribbean descent. He played as an inside forward and half back for Clapton, Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town and was the third person of mixed heritage to play in the top division of the Football League. During the First World War, Tull served in the Middlesex Regiment, including in the two Footballers' Battalions. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant on 30 May 1917 and killed in action on 25 March 1918. He was remembered in a sea portrait (carved into the sand) on Ayr beach between 8:30 and 11:00 am today 11 November 2018.
Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse, VC & Bar, MC (9 November 1884 – 4 August 1917) was a British medical doctor, Olympic athlete, and British Army officer, one of only three people to be awarded a Victoria Cross twice. The Battle of Guillemont was to see acts of heroism by Captain Chavasse, the only man to be awarded the Victoria Cross twice during the First World War. In 1916, Chavasse was hit by shell splinters while rescuing men in no-man's land. It is said he got as close as 25 yards to the German line, where he found three men and continued throughout the night under a constant rain of sniper bullets and bombing. He performed similar heroics in the early stages of the offensive at Passchendaele in August 1917 to gain a second VC and become the most highly decorated British officer of the First World War. Although operated upon, he was to die of his wounds two days later in 1917.
Tull’s Wanderers: Toby Manchip, Patrice Mongelard, Mark Friend, Luke Johnson, Phil Trump, Waine Hetherington, Mike Puplett, Ronnie Blake, Matt Ellis, Robbie King, Simon Thomas, Alex Webb, Louie Dwight-Thomas.
Chavasse’s Casuals: Dave Salako, Mick O'Flynn, Phil Anthony, Michael Hills, Obi Ugwumba, Terry Bear, Sini Gracanin, Ian Shoebridge, Chisa Mkala, Toby Manchip Jr, Jay Hardy, Peter Harvey, Oliver Manchip.
Referee: Paul “Play-on” Parsons (who donated his match fee to the club).
Supporters: Tony Harvey, David Orji, John Puplett, Amanda and Daisy Thomas, Sarah, Alex and Sophie Trump, Chris Webb.
Before the game could start there was a call for a forking party to do a bit of work on the pitch. It was not quite the Somme but there were a couple of patches that needed a bit of work. On the whole, the top pitch at Farnborough was in very good condition after all the rain in recent days, particularly overnight, and it had been played on the day before. I am always up for a bit of forking on a Sunday morning. When Phil Anthony and I joined the party, there were four others already at it – Mick O’Flynn, Obi Ugwumba, Ian Shoebridge and Sinisa Gracanin.
After a two-minute silence in the centre circle the game got under way. It was clear early doors that the two sides were well matched. The midfield quartet of Chavasse’s Casuals were more used to each other and initially they caught the eye but there were not many chances being created. The first goal scored by Chisa Mkala came after fifteen minutes when he chased a long ball. As Tull’s keeper and defenders closed in, the ball was held up in the only patch of wet ground that could have had that effect (a bit of the pitch that Mick O’Flynn did not fork properly, did not go in deep enough). The intervention of geology and hydrology benefitted Chisa who was quickest to adjust his stride and he took the ball around the keeper for a confident finish (a bit like Mo Salah). They nearly doubled their lead a few minutes later when Patrice Mongelard guided a clearance onto his own crossbar from inside the six-yard box as he cut out a low cross from Jay Hardy meant for Mick O’Flynn. It could have been an own goal but I think preferable to letting Mick O’Flynn score. The words own goal were heard not long after though – uttered by a sheepish Toby Manchip, keen to deflect attention away from himself. There was a bit of a scene in our box as we defended a corner. It looked like Toby stopped a shot but as he stumbled the ball squirmed out of his grasp (from gloves he had retrieved from the attic for the occasion) and I shaped to clear our lines he shouted “keeper” and pawed the ball into the net. I suddenly remembered his nickname of “Clown Prince” when he was a regular.
2-0 at half-time felt harsh because apart from these two incursions into our box we exercised a good measure of control, with probing runs from Simon Thomas, Matt Ellis and Robbie King, and the quality of Waine Hetherington and Luke Johnson. The next three goals were scored by our team. A dynamic Alex Webb – only fourteen years of age had enlisted, to play in an accustomed position up front and began to influence the game. Seeing Alex and the Manchip boys do their stuff, I had the sense that footballing talent does not always come down the male line. I had the same thought when watching one of the O’Flynn boys a couple of years back. Robbie King reduced the deficit with a close-range finish after several of our players had a pop. Simon Thomas equalised for us, sliding in at the far post, with a goal that saw Mick OFlynn and a few others mutter ‘offside’ (he did it again on the WhatsApp group hours later) but referee Paul Parsons, fire-proof, saw it as a perfectly good goal. For our third goal Simon was involved again this time putting his posterior in the way of a Ronnie Blake goal bound shot that left Dave Salako unbalanced and wrong-footed. Simon tried later, unsuccessfully, to claim the goal was his – only he could deprive a 72-year old of a goal, but perhaps he was acting. It would have been a much better performance from Simon if he had not produced a comical attempt a yard out, at volleying a ball served on a plate, by stepson Louie, at the tender age of twelve. I hope Louie will remind Simon of this miss for the next twelve years, at least, on every Remembrance Sunday.
For the last quarter of an hour one team had twelve players on the pitch. At seven years of age Oliver Manchip fancied a pop at the old man just like in the back garden at home. He was remarkably unfazed by the experience, made some useful interventions, and seemed more mobile than his papa, as shown in the next phase of play. With two minutes left Patrice Mongelard caressed a back pass to Toby’s good foot but the somnolent recipient could not stop the ball from going out of play for a corner. You can guess the rest – Peter Harvey swung the corner in and Jay Hardy – all five foot two of him got his head to the ball and I could not stop it from going over the line. Whether Jay would have scored this header if Luke Johnson had been on the pitch is a discussion point. Luke had been injured in the last quarter of an hour after contact with Jay as both challenged for a header. There was not much of the armistice spirit between them. Jay was called a ginger by Luke – something which he found hard to take, not because Luke has no hair, but because Jay sees himself more as strawberry blonde. I told Jay to make up with Luke, and reminded him that ginger is OK. Meghan Markle married one after all.
Daisy Thomas appeared like a poppy in the field to help us take down the nets.
For the second week running the showers at Farnborough were not as good as what was available in the trenches. But the rations served up by Leanne MacDonald were copious. They defeated us despite some help from the Sunday team. Even Mr Creosote would have struggled.
Man of the match: Twenty-six players, all mentioned in dispatches.
Man of the match: All 26 players