Sitting in 5th with a mathematical chance to go 4th and facing Miramar who would finish in 3rd regardless of the result, we arrived to find preseason foes the Naenae Nighthawks trampling some of the bobbles out of what was a particularly moist Miramar 2.
With little on the line in this end of season dead rubber we could throw caution to the wind, I mean, not “play Damo up front” carefree, but we did promote Ross into the midfield after Stu saw the weather forecast and reviewed his availability for the match.
Dave put on his gumboots.
Ross pissed and moaned about the cold.
Clem went in search of an extra layer to protect himself from the wind which he found in the shape of a spare, but comically ill fitting, XXL keepers jersey.
Did I mention it was colder than a bucket of snowman piss?
Warm up (at least we tried to) was your standard affair. A bit of passing, some tiki-taka-yolo and then a good spell of blasting balls at parked cars.
Instead of standing around talking tactics we opted to get the match underway as soon as possible and get the blood pumping again. Suffering a bit from the cold Adam decided to increase the blood flow to his face and then promptly took a dirt nap while Ross and CJ chuckled with concern.
Despite the sideways rain, intermittent hail and a bit of double vision we had started well and with everyone working hard enough to stay warm we enjoyed a bit of success down the wings. Unfortunately the best of the early chances fell to Adam and were smashed well over the bar. His usually deft finishing clearly suffering from the earlier power-falcon.
A wee bit of clinical route one later and Miramar were in with a chance, the ball sat up between backline and keeper and the Miramar forward finished calmly over CJ’s head. CJ got chipped. Not the other thing. Giggity.
More hail. CJ steals Dave’s beanie. Everyone steals Rogers jacket.
In what turned out to be a superb managerial decision, Ross who had definitely not been drifting out of position more and more as the game wore on pinballed his way through their backline, scored, faked an injury, and subbed himself off. It was magnificent. Like watching a young Crespo.
Half time: 1-1 - The wind is still colder than a fart from a dead Eskimo.
Game on again. Rosco latched onto a through ball and gave us the advantage. 2-1 Elite. The rain and wind kick it up a gear and it all gets a bit slippery out on the pitch.
Decs got told off for shouting at everyone and then provided the following punditry gold;
“Hoof it up the field, Ross is f@cking quick”
“Don't try and play football”
“Simple balls to feet” (presumably these simple balls were meant to be after you had hoofed it up field while not trying to play football).
Anyway, I digress. Down 2-1 Miramar enjoyed a decent spell but couldn’t convert, their best chance coming from a Tim Haslop back pass that wrong footed our custodian and was only kept out by the post and a healthy southerly.
Looking to kill the game off we won ourselves a corner. The delivery from Decs came straight back to him, then back into the mixer for an unmarked Ross to steal in and complete his hattrick.
At this point the wind, rain and scoreline was too much for our hosts who offered to shorten the game by 10 minutes so we could all go inside and warm up. We gladly accepted those terms and before long someone who was obviously colder than the rest of us pointed out that if we finish the game 15mins early we could all just go home now. Sounds good.
Peep, peep, peeeeep. Full time. Elite winners 3-1
Time to get out of the cold into the sheds where Niall’s nipples made it to the showers 5 minutes before he did.
3 - Rosco: Another game another hattrick. Not bad for a washed up right back.
2 - Decs: Made it through his early morning ultra-marathon/deathrace to come and shout at us for a solid hour.
1 - Rori: Played the conditions (and Dec’s instructions), wasn’t afraid to ping it up field away from danger then made a nuisance of himself when we were defending.