Picture the scene. November 25th 1348. A stumbling rotten mass of humanity with swollen necks, blackened toes, fever, and vomiting blood. Over the course of 18 months (or the time it took me to write up the last match), the plague would take nearly half the population of London. People living in infected houses had to carry a white stick and sewage flowed through the streets.
The plagues started in China and 25 million people later made it through to London as Europe couldn’t be bothered to fight it off, much like a premonition of Brexit with slightly less interest from Brussels.
670 years later to the day and 11 stumbling corpses turned out for a cup match in Wimbledon. Leaking from every orifice and shambling onto the pitch with a limp that Larry Graysons wrist would envy.
Regaled with the statistics en route we were motivated and almost had a full complement including a linesman until Adam decided he couldn’t be bothered, dropped everyone off and then went home. We began to see why all the other teams had to forfeit the games rather than travel. With a changing room that looked like something from the SAW film franchise, we ensured our innoculations were up to date as we trooped onto the pitch.
Decorated in Xmas blue the first real challenge of the day was for the ref who awarded a throw-in for the ball crossing the twenty-two. Unfortunately, the rugby and football lines weren’t together but arguably the worst mistake the ref made all day, one of the better ones we’ve had this year!
Our scratch 11 looked good on paper until the left back returning back from pulling his hamstring right back in time decided it was getting tight and he’d be better off left back in the goal. Swap number one as our stand-in goalie, he who can’t be named, came out to centerback, right back to goalie, center back to left back, other center to right back, right back to right wing….for five seconds, then we swapped it all back again. The shape changes keeping them guessing.
Not to be outdone, Aaron decided he’d had enough and having told everyone not to pull anything, pulled his groin for the second time in 24 hours. Admittedly the first time had been Babestation at 11:55PM and this time it was more vigorous. Man down but he gamely soldiered on giving the opposition a right good looking at every time they passed him.
After a quick break down the left they got across the byline and slipped one in near post, 1-0 after around 30 mins. We held out pretty well until 44 minutes. At which point they sprung the offside and smashed home a good finish, stand in stand in keeper Chris almost pushing onto the post.
Obligatory team talk at halftime saw us do more of the same. Second half was 0-0 so somewhat of a victory for a team with Aaron, Dan, Voldebeal, Chris and Lambo all firing on 2 cylinders. Dedication for turning up (including Adam!) and dedication for sticking at it. We had our chances but like the lottery, we score 1 in 14,385,211 chances.
And so to the Monkeys, the piece you’ve all been waiting for. The ref gets a nod for the blue line white line throw in, Martin gets a nod for screaming for the advantage whilst he kicked it out over the cricket pitch. The man with no name gets three nods, one for getting nutmegged in the warm-up and a second for suggesting Flares nightclub for the Xmas Social. You had to be there. The third for a self-nomination.
This week’s Monkey goes to our crown prince Ethers for putting his car keys in the boot of the car….the car his ever-suffering better half took away for the weekend. For falling over with nobody around him, in a tribute to the missing Taw and finally for forgetting his towel, losing his socks and burning his finger on a cup of tea.
Man of the Match – nominations for the clear favourite for player of the season (me), Rix for running his socks off (maybe that’s where they went) but the winner is the ever-present Captain Beefheart, Martin King. Running his own socks off and committed to the end.
We’ll look back upon this day as the day we all traveled to a pitch that others have feared to tread and given a great account of ourselves against a team 2 divisions above us. Broken and bruised we returned injured and desperate to fight another day. Roll on next week for our first league game in ages. Anything less than a victory is unacceptable.
Oh, if they read this, thanks for lending us a linesman who played fair and kept it honest. A refreshing thing.
Wimbledonians 2 vs Fleet Sociadads 0