Apologies for the non-appearance of a Driftwood report of the previous week’s 5-0 victory by the Old Boys over Gordon Head Nearly Dead. The White House staff and the NSA nixed the publication on the basis that it was allegedly “fake news,” comprised of “alternative facts” and downright uncalled-for criticism of the 45th U.S. president. By the time the decision was received, the deadline for publication had passed.
In defence of the Fourth Estate, this reporter has decided to “speak truth to power” and hang the consequence of being included on a no-fly list and will report the unvarnished facts of the Feb. 26 game versus Zgoda FC without fear or favour.
Despite the smirr (look it up), conditions were ideal for soccer at GISS on Sunday, with the ground able to withstand the testing conditions of the last few weeks. It was ideal for the Old Boys’ diamond team set-up, with the midfield linking effectively with both defence and strikers.
A large, appreciative crowd — large by inauguration standards — was on hand to cheer on the Old Boys.
Early play had Donny of Zgoda sending a well-flighted shot from 35 metres, which evaded goalkeeper Jack Braak but rebounded off the post/crossbar, giving pause for thought that Zgoda’s known skill level might pose problems for the Old Boys. But the boys used their surrogate Ben Cooper, i.e. Scott Howe, to strike fear into the opposition strikers as the Old Boys physically imposed themselves on the opposition. The game swung in the Old Boys’ favour with two quick breakaway goals by Dave Toynbee, both with a whiff of offside.
With the Zgoda goalkeeper’s arms outstretched, it was difficult to tell if he was asking questions of his defence or the officiating. Further calamity arose when Stefan Cermak slotted in a third goal to give the Old Boys a “comfortable lead.”
Zgoda showed their potential danger with a beautifully flighted shot that had Braak backing up into his own goal and cut the OB lead to 3-1. A fine passing movement by Donny (Old Boys’ Donny) Brown found Cermak on the wing to chip a finely judged cross for an onrushing Mike McCormick to net his second goal for a 4-1 lead.
The second half saw the Old Boys continue to put pressure on Zgoda’s goal. Toynbee, fighting for his third goal, was thwarted inside the penalty box by a timely defensive tackle. But then a Braak save at one end of the field led to a Toynbee breakaway and a cross to the far post for Cermak to score with an emphatic header (a kneed goal was the other obvious option) for a 5-1 lead.
Howe, showing fine skills, “nutmegged” himself for a confident defensive clearance. The pace slackened as the 60-minute wall made its customary impact on the proceedings, but Grigor Hope, visiting from Pond Inlet, Nunavut and loaned to Zgoda by the Old Boys, powerfully shot in an attempt to fire-start Zgoda’s comeback.
A Mark Aston and Toynbee combination saw McCormick score his second goal.
With time running out, Hope sent a powerful dipping shot into the top left-hand corner to momentarily raise Zgoda’s hopes of a comeback. The score was 6-2! Hopes were dashed when Cermak made it 7-2 with a shot through a maze of players.
Howe now in a striker role had an opportunity to lose his goal-scoring “virginity,” but the goalkeeper was well placed to make the save. Howe last scored against a Gabriola team in an unofficial pick-up game eons ago.
While the team has collectively tried to help Howe break his duck, Toynbee showed no mercy in latching onto an Aston pass to make it 8-2 and get his hat trick goal.
Hope on Zgoda’s left wing saw his shot bounce off the crossbar for a goal kick. Not to be outdone, McCormick used Cermak as a decoy and shot from the right to make the score 9-2 with a hat trick to boot.
It was a first for the Old Boys: three hat-tricks in one game. Congratulations to McCormick, Toynbee and Cermak. Zgoda were gracious in defeat, as were the Old Boys in victory.
Next up is Old Boys versus Sooke 40s at noon on Feb. 26 on the wide open prairies of Finlayson Turf Field.