Middlesex County Football League
2002-2003 Season
Division Three

Haze  6    Signcraft Reserves  2

Saturday, 14 December 2002

With the first team manager having taken one of my forwards half an hour before kick off and with no recognised centre backs to choose from at all, I was forced to blood three ?new? players today. Bamber Gascoigne (Rob Stevens) returned to his spiritual home after an away day with the enemy, Tony Herbert was coaxed out of early retirement and with Graham ?Lugsy? Baker making his first Signcraft start for 6 years the trio was complete. Not a great start but nothing too much to worry about as far as playing staff was concerned. The added incentive was facing good friend of the club and all-round good egg (not to mention cousin and brother of two of the Signcraft players), Ian Burksfield in the Haze goal. Keeper Ian had the last laugh though as Signcraft Reserves were hit for six to leave them staring at two defeats on the bounce. Two months ago, neither first team manager Bob Colwell nor myself could guarantee Ian a regular starting shirt in either of The Craft?s two teams, so an amicable agreement was reached to release Ian and allow him to pursue more active involvement at another club. A keeper of his quality would grace any side in this league and I?m sure the opportunity to face one of the Signcraft sides swayed his eventual choice of club. Today was the perfect platform to show The Craft what we were missing. His opposite number in the Signcraft goal, the normally impressive Daniel Nunn, had what can only be called a (really, really, really) bad day at the office. After just ten minutes poor Daniel (bless) gifted the Haze attack three, yes I said three, goals.
After the first howler, everyone gave Danny the benefit of the doubt, a bit of bad judgement that could easily be rectified. Another two minutes elapsed and another Danny error allowed Haze a 2 goal cushion. Now we had a difficult job but it was still do-able. The third Danny error was the icing on the cake.
At three nil up it was heard by a number of my players that someone in the Haze team had made the unbelievable comment of suggesting to his team-mates that they should now start playing ?samba style?. It was as if this person (whoever it was) believed his team were that much better than us that they could turn on the style and make us look like a bunch of chumps. Had he been watching the game? Did he not see that the three goals his team had scored was a sort of ?early Xmas present?? My god! ??Oh well, that?s footballers for you.
Anyway we WERE three goals down and already the game was looking well beyond us. Signcraft then started to get in the game a bit but each attack was nullified by the commanding performance of Mr. Burksfield. The ex-Signcraft man WAS beaten eventually by the impressive GRAHAM JEFF, from an equally impressive free kick from 22yds. Then though, Daniel Nunn decided to get that cake out again and put a cherry on the top of it. A fourth misjudgement effectively killed off the game for The Craft as heads were bowed and ?hearts? were failing. After the turn-around a superb 25yd effort from a Haze midfielder powered the game out of reach. At least this one wasn?t another error from the Signcraft keeper. To be fair to Dan, his second half performance was very impressive, especially as he started to take charge of situations. At times he was so far off his line it seemed that we had a third centre back. GRAHAM JEFF added another to take the game to 5-2 but this game was over so much earlier that even HIS god-like display would not be able to turn this score-line around. On the stroke of full time Haze added another to take the game to it's final score of 6-2.
I?m sure the giggling noises that I heard all Saturday evening emanated from wherever Mr. Burksfield enjoyed his after match pint. Never mind, back to the drawing board!
Signcraft line-up: D.Nunn, M.White (T.Ward 65), T,Herbert, G.Baker, P.Carpenter, M.Davies, R.Stevens, G.Harper, A.Baylie (A Scotton 73), R.Thompson, G.Jeff
Warren McMahon ? Signcraft FC