Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Two on the Trot

In five seasons of playing for DEH FC never have we started the season as well as this year, played 2 won 2, scored 3 conceded 1, 6pts from 6. Remarkably we are currently only 1pt shy of our total for last season and have already outscored the previous season (our “relegation” one) by 4pts. Things are looking on the up!

Our 2nd game was played at the same venue as our 1st, out in the wilds of Hiroshima state. Whenever it takes more than one hour to get to a ground, spirits are usually not too high, but with the missus driving and with an adventurous air we managed to arrive at our destination in good spirits.

I managed to get to the ground 5 minutes before kickoff comfortable in the knowledge that games always start later than scheduled, and thankfully I was not too be disappointed as I ambled up to be the 12th and last man of the lineup.

Missing from our last game were our new manager and regular keeper to be replaced by our irregular, and freakishly tall sticks-man from the last couple of years. In fact we seemed to be missing a few other bodies from May, but during the warm-up (obviously mine consisted of kicking the ball against the wall a bit) they seemed to be pretty good.

The game itself was a close, end to end affair with DEH dominating the scoring chances and even though Honkawa FC shaded the midfield with two rather robust players not afraid to put the boot in. I hovered around the front line providing support and allowing my partner to zigzag dynamically across the pitch, like a fevered terrier. It worked as we went in at half-time 1-0 up.

The goal had been coming, only minutes before a great move was only just thwarted by the out-rushing keeping getting some part of his anatomy to deflect the goal bound shot. When finally DEH did find the back of the net, it was a well worked move, a fast zipping cross into the D of the box which was volleyed first time by Jaime, saved acrobatically and then rolled into the back of the net by my terrier like partner. Coming only a few minutes before the break Jaime pattered himself on the back and was content that he could be substituted at HT having contributed towards our lead. Except….

After telling Yuiji, our skipper, that the old legs needed a blow in the summer heat and a wonder off to sit in the cool shade of the veranda to peruse the 2nd half in comfort would be ideal, I was somewhat shocked to be told that our “12th” man was a defender and didn’t need know how to attack. Well I resisted the temptation to suggest that I wasn’t exactly knowledgeable in the department either – turkeys don’t volunteer for Christmas. So as the whistle blew, I strolled on hoping the noggin wouldn’t get too burnt from the sun…

The 2nd half was another tight affair, with DEH wasting two glorious opportunities to make the game safe. The team did resort back to some bad old days of “pussyfooting around” (as my mother likes to condemn any team who pass the ball without an end result) whilst not actually shooting much. Still, as the final whistle blew and I could still move my lower limbs without pain, a very satisfactory feeling embraced the whole team.

I strolled off to find the missus, who had spent the game time eating and cleaning the car, rejecting the opportunity to watch her other half tutor the younger team members in the art of preserving energy on a football pitch.

On the journey home we spotted a sign advertising a Sri Lankan restaurant, which seemed too good an opportunity to reject. We still suspected we would be presented with a Japanese interpretation of Sri Lankan cooking, but to a great surprise, there plopped in the middle of nowhere was pucker Sri Lankan chef, who was very pleasant. He was also an excellent cook and the food was both outstandingly tasty and ridiculously cheap. Another visit is planned.

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