Old Boys made the trip to Finlayson to play against Sooke 40s on Sunday, not sure who was designated to be the home or away team.
The game kick offed under watery skies and a very brisk wind coming out of the south-east picking up speed as it swept over the wide open space of Finlayson. Holy Trump! The Old Boys scored within 45 seconds! A “hustling” Dave Toynbee dispossessed Sooke in midfield, passed to Mike McCormick, who passed inside to an onrushing “rejuvenated” Stefan Cermak, who lashed a shot into the far post to leave Sooke and the Old Boys equally shell-shocked.
A second attack from the centre kick-off saw a Henry Braak clearance to Toynbee passed to Dave Eadie, Cermak and to McCormick, whose shot missed narrowly. Neutral fans and the assembled press asked, “Who are Sooke’s opponents?” The skill level, speed, determination and drive left the spectators breathless at the audacity of the visitors. Not for long! A fine individual effort by Sean of Sooke (sounds like a “Game of Thrones” character) allowed Sooke to nip in and steal a goal back within minutes.
Would the Old Boys crumble under the onslaught of a younger Sooke team? Old Boys fell behind after a goal was scored from a corner kick. But a well-worked clearance from Cermak found Mike Berndt out on the right and his subsequent cross found a willing, hustling Eadie to side foot the ball into the net to tie the score at 2-2.
A weak foul on Toynbee 20 metres out saw McCormick free kick a rebound off the crossbar to Graham Tweddle, who supplied Eadie with a cross for a shot by Cermak to rebound and finish for a 3-2 lead. Wow!
Sooke continued to adjust to the unaccustomed turf surface and pressed the Old Boys defence. A goal line dance by “Twinkle Toes” Wade ter Heide allowed the Old Boys to escape danger and relieve the mounting pressure. Charlie Mayer on the right wing made a “tail-gate” tackle on a Sooke opponent, protesting his innocence to the referee without success. A Tweddle goal line clearance kept Sooke at bay. Against the run of play, a quick, long throw-in from our transfer from Sooke, Dennis Shaw, went to Eadie, whose pass inside to Toynbee was converted for a 4-2 lead. Wow! Wow! Unfortunately, despite exhortations from manager Tweddle to concentrate, a slight miscommunication in the defence allowed Sooke to cut the lead to 4-3.
The second half started promisingly for Sooke, with a 30-metre free kick giving Braak no chance, which tied the score at 4-4.
Confounding past history, the Old Boys roared back with a goal from McCormick, followed quickly by a Braak clearance to Toynbee, who sent a through pass to Cermak — still full of energy — to cross to McCormick for a 6-4 lead. Wow! Wow! Wow! Braak provided a point blank save that thwarted Sooke, firing on all cylinders, that may have been a turning point in the game and giving the Old Boys renewed energy.
A corner kick from Sooke curved in at the far post to cut the lead to 6-5. Yikes! Counter-attacking, the Old Boys relieved Sooke pressure and saw Cermak head in for the 7-5 lead. Sooke threw everything at the Old Boys defence, including the kitchen sink. The Old Boys bent but did not break and, on the counter attack, Tweddle appeared on the left wing to cross for McCormick, who scored his hat trick goal.
Despite constant pressure over the final five minutes, Old Boys carried off a daylight robbery of an 8-5 victory.
The spring sunshine saw the Old Boys return with confidence. The only cloud on the horizon is a World Anti-Doping Agency investigation over the sudden unexplained spike in Old Boys FC success in recent games. Sad!
Old Boys FC (WADA investigation willing) next play Cordova Bay 48s at Lochside turf at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 5.