Tuesday 26th April 2016
Statler & Waldorf Challenge Match
By Roger French
Twilight zone victory spoils to Statler
The first of a series of four Senior Vets Tuesday twilight zone games kicked off with a Statler & Waldorf Challenge game where regular Senior Vets managed by Patrice “Waldorf” Mongelard took on a Senior Vets Reserve team managed by Roger “Statler” French. Evening games are very popular among the Senior Vets but the logistics of getting sufficient players in the right place at the right time can be somewhat challenging.
Numbers fluctuated following the Sunday game against Wellcome Super Vets and a notable withdrawal was regular keeper Gary Fentiman for Waldorf’s XI but this was supposedly covered. Statler’s XI consisted of a handful of Young Vets in Pete Harvey, Barry Grainger, Simon Davies and Jon Gasson, a former First XI striker in Liam Williams, a former FOBG Vets player manager in Richard Cawker, a guest appearance from Catford Wanderer Vet Malcolm Seymour, a first appearance by Senior Vet Paul Scotter, John Alliston in goal and completed by the 16 year old sons of players being Jack Kleanthous, Oliver Alliston and Obi Ugwumba Jnr. George Kleanthous had also managed to recruit Danny Ingram for Waldorf’s XI.
When it came to kick-off it became apparent that Waldorf’s XI was short of a recognised keeper so the teams lined-up as follows:
Senior Vets Waldorf’s XI – red and yellow stripes
Patrice Mongelard, Steve Blanchard, Sinisa Gracanin, Colin Brazier;
Stephane Anelli, Des Lindsay, Danny Ingram, Ian Shoebridge;
George Kleanthous, Rob Lipscomb.
Sub: Simon Thomas available from half-time.
Senior Vets Reserves Statler’s XI – Azzurri blue
Jack Kleanthous, Jon Gasson, Paul Scotter, Richard Cawker;
Malcolm Seymour, Simon Davies, Barry Grainger, Oliver Alliston;
Liam Williams, Pete Harvey.
Subs: Roger French and Obi Ugwumba Jnr
The game was watched at various points by Young Vet Jim St John, Club Chairman Steve Viner, Club President Ian Couchman and Senior Vet Mick O’Flynn. The pitch was set up ready for play by Steve and Couch and Veteran referee Mick Gearing got the game going under darkening skies.
The opening exchanges were fairly even but Statler’s XI certainly had a big advantage with the inclusion of 16 year-olds Jack and Oliver who could both play a good game and gave the Senior Vets a torrid time as well as 42 years in some cases! Changes were made after 20 minutes with the introduction of another 16 year-old in Obi Ugwumba Jnr and old Statler in place of Malcolm and Simon Davies who had to make running repairs to one of his boots. Waldorf had no subs available for the first half and no recognised keeper which probably contributed to the three goals scored by Liam, Jack and Pete. Paul Scotter, playing for the first time since the end of last season following hip problems, managed 30 minutes before being replaced by Simon Davies who had bodged a repair on his boot by wearing a sock over it.
Half-time saw a reinforcement for Waldorf’s XI in Simon Thomas who replaced Danny Ingram whilst a change made by Statler saw Malcolm come back on for Oliver. Waldorf took over from Michael in goal and the Senior Vets had more of the ball going forward. Statler’s XI managed to score a couple of breakaway goals through Pete and Liam before Sini took the gloves from Waldorf. They missed an excellent opportunity to pull one goal back from the penalty spot as John saved well from George after protracted discussions were held to decide who was going to take the penalty. Paul Scotter managed to wheel himself back on in place of Richard Cawker to put in a further 20 minutes of excellent play.
The game ended with a 5-0 victory to Statler for a first win in the series of S&W Challenge games. The general consensus of opinion was that it was an enjoyable experience although playing two games in two days for Senior Vets is a big ask.
As is traditional with these evening games pizzas had been ordered to go with the post-match beers and despite trying a different provider the same old delays in delivery were encountered. Still when they did turn up they went down very well. As we approach May we have six games left to play including three more evening fixtures. As Sergeant Wilson would say – “Do you think that is wise, sir?”.
Man of the match: Everybody who played