Coaches 7 - 2 Parents
After a fantastic U6-U14 Development Day training session it was over to the ‘grown-ups’ who took centre stage in the inaugural Challenge Cup. A keen, slightly more youthful, Parents team captained by Dan ‘Relay’ Rangecroft were pitted against Dan Haase’s ageing Coaches ‘select’ XI.
As Storm Brian picked up, the teams took to the windswept field with an excited crowd building up on the touchline. Even the howling gales couldn’t prevent Referee Matty Brind’s voice bellowing across The Rec as he laid down the law with some strict decisions in a tense opening ten minutes. An even start to the match saw both teams looking surprisingly sharp with solid central defence partnerships of Dan Mounteney / Lee Ramayon (Coaches) and Leigh Emery / Andrew Lester (Parents) proving difficult to break down. An impressive start from the Coaches full backs John Porter and Prince ‘Stormzy’ Moulemvo was short lived – the crowd gasped as a twisted knee brought an early end to Stomzy’s cameo.
But it was the Parents who took the lead through a decisive break on the left wing; a ball into the centre followed by an aerial one-two, finally finished with a thumping right foot volley on the edge of the 18 yard box from Tom Spring (who in typical fashion, had drifted from his central midfield position to end up hanging around the oppositions goal). “Oh, here we go!” was the initial reaction of the Coaches, thinking that the floodgates were about to open – but Hasse’s men kept their heads. Experience kicked in and the Coaches sought to maintain possession rather than pinging those 50 yard ‘Hollywood’ passes. Rob Geraghty, recently back from international duty with Tekkerslovakia, opened his Futsal toolbox and started to pull the strings in midfield, spraying passes left and right. With Rob Mehta and Josh Raeburn’s energy down wings proving too much for the ‘elders’ to handle it wasn’t long before the tide turned. But it was Raeburn senior who stole the show late in the first half with two Lampard-esque strikes from central midfield to send the Parents into the break 2-1 up.
The inhalers, Tiger Balm and Vicks were tucked back away and a feisty second half kicked off. Some questionable decisions from Referee Matty Brind added fuel to the fire as both teams ramped up the tempo. But five minutes into the second period Rob M pounced on Lee Taylor’s dodgy first touch, following up with a 40 yard (possibly 45-50 yards depending on whose story you listen to) left foot strike over the outstretched Mark Woodward. 3-1 to the Coaches.
In true ‘Tinkerman’ style, Rangecroft’s tactical wizardry and the introduction of some fresh faces (from a subs bench of about ten players) saw the Parents claw their way back with Martin Wenham finishing past Mark ‘The Cat’ Hill; the ex-pro’s knees had done well to last 40 minutes between the sticks. 3-2 down, the Parents took advantage of Rob G’s tactical breather on the bench. Jack Casey and Rangecroft himself settled into their rhythm and the Parents started to enjoy possession…but to no avail.
The third and final period saw the Coaches game plan succeed. Raeburn junior continued to harass the Parents back line, adding to goal tally himself to make it 4. Captain Hasse followed, demonstrating his technical genius with what can only be described as his trademark ‘Slice’ - a shot, cleverly disguised as a cross, rocketed into the Parents net, #topbins – The F2 Freestylers would have been proud. 5 became 6 as Glenn Copper pounced on Rob G’s deflected shot to head the ball over the line. With the young Jake Lewis introduced late into the final third, more goals looked a dead cert. The 7th and final goal came from Keith Raeburn who (refusing to be outshone by the younger, more skilful Raeburn version) slotted home to complete an impressive goal-hanging hat trick and seal a 5 goal lead for the Coaches.
Blowing the final whistle on time was probably one of Matty Brind’s only accurate decisions throughout the game but it drew an end to an entertaining, competitive but good spirited game. It was onto the Clubhouse for some much needed food and beverages – all thanks to the lovely Tea Room ladies. The ‘Bigs’ certainly showed the ‘Littles’ that once you’ve got it you never lose it (in some cases). All in all, a fantastic end to Delaford Development Day and despite the sore lungs and aching limbs the Delaford Challenge Cup is sure to be hotly contested again in 2018!
Coaches: Dan Hasse (c), Rob Mehta, Rob Geraghty, Mark Hill, Lee Ramayon, Dan Mounteney, John Porter, Reece Brind, Keith Raeburn, Prince Moulemvo, Glenn Copper, Jake Lewis, Josh Raeburn, Edward Gough, Rob Petford
Parents: Dan Rangecroft (c), Leigh Emery, Jack Casey, Andrew Lester, Tom Pearson, Tom Spring, Lee Taylor, Martin Wenham, Mark Woodward, Neil Winson, Steve Haire, Dave Graham, Jimmy Smith, Jermaine.