Wednesday, June 12, 2024
June 12, 2024

Old Boys maintain undefeated streak at GISS

By FRASER HOPE

DRIFTWOOD CONTRIBUTOR

Old Boys manager Graham Tweddle used the well-tried tactic of “deflection” in calling to arms all Old Boys to defend the “Fortress GISS” record of being undefeated at the Rainbow Road stadium since late 2016. 

The “deflection” was that Old Boys FC had not played at the field because it was out of commission for most of that time. Team management had unfortunately not received any replies from the CRD in regard to the possibility of the Alternative Approval Process being utilized as a fundraising vehicle for new shorts to help boost the morale of the team after the bruising loss to Cowichan Classics and the cancellation of the Castaways visit last weekend. 

With the extra time for healing body and mind, fans piled into the stadium expecting a full roster of Old Boys ready to do battle with Vic West 48s. Despite the sunshine and great field conditions, early signs gave Tweddle cause for concern as there were more practice balls than players. In fact, there were two balls for every player! 

Eventually, 12 Old Boys turned up with socks and under team rules the last player to turn up has to play for the opposition if they are short-handed. There was much speculation that Howe had waited at the bottom of Rainbow Road to ensure that he would be last to arrive and be able to play for the opposition “legitimately.”

The sun peeked through the clouds as the whistle blew and immediately Old Boys attacked with a through ball from Dave Toynbee that gave McCormick a fleeting chance at goal. Ben Cooper, as always, got into the action with a run that started on his own goal line and ended up in the Vic West penalty box for the first real chance of the game.

Martin Thorn showed his determination as he raced back 40 metres to save a throw in. A defensive give-away gave the visitors a chance but goalkeeper Richard Steel saved an almost certain goal from Julio the Vic West danger man. Shortly afterwards a free kick to Vic West beautifully flighted came off the crossbar and thankfully for Steel rebounded out to be taken safely.

As if to take strength and confidence from his escape, Steel launched a massive downfield kick which eluded the defender and allowed Toynbee a clear route to goal, which he duly dispatched for a 1-0 lead. After a prudent restart the referee blew for half time.

As in the first half, Old Boys made good use of speed and pace on the wings with Toynbee and Rainer Funk providing attacking opportunities. Unfortunately, Toynbee, in making a cross into the goalmouth, lay injured on the far touchline. The game restarted with no medical assistance being offered until two spectators hurried to assist him to the bench for treatment. At one point it was mooted (in jest) that the game should be abandoned to allow a helicopter airlift from centre circle. Toynbee is expected to miss a few games.

This seemed to disrupt the Old Boys rhythm, which had been more Tik Tok (15-second videos in slow-motion app for phones) than Tiki Taka, their preferred mode of play. A well-timed intervention by Tweddle obviously trying to impress family in the stands saved the lead when a goal seemed inevitable. 

Mike Davis brought proceedings to an end with a nifty piece of footwork that left his opponent floundering, which exemplified the 110 per cent effort by the Old Boys and Vic West to provide an entertaining spectacle in the November sunshine. (That’s for you, Betty.)

All thoughts are now focused on the new streak/run for the socks at Fortress GISS next Sunday at 10:30 a.m. when Old Boys face Centaurs 48s, a different horse for courses.

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