Club run series of football clinics near Lake Malawi
Old Meadonians started their eighty-fourth season when training began at Riverside Lands at 7pm. on Wednesday (last) the 24th July under the watchful eyes of joint coach/managers, Paul Rumley and Rory Vermeulen. This will be Rumley and Vermeulen's eleventh season in charge, one in which they will have to strengthen their squad to avoid the alarums and excursions suffered at the end of their last campaign and to maintain their record of winning a trophy every year in charge. However, whilst these two highly successful coaches have allowed Meads' crowded trophy cabinet to attest to their continuing success in the Amateur Football Alliance and Amateur Football Combination arenas, they have managed to keep secret one of their close season activities.
For the last two years Paul Rumley has travelled to Likomo Island on Lake Malawi, to hold a series of football clinics and training sessions for local school children. This year Rory Vermeulen who had not previously been available went also and they enlarged their staff by taking Ed Glover, Andy Thompson, Misha Mantel and Lawrie Pointer from Meads' first team squad who toted the club's donation of 24 balls, 30 pairs of boots and a complete set of Old Meadonians' strip. Meads' member, Tom Pearce, who is assistant to the marketing manager of 'Puma' organised that company's generous gift of 150 football shirts and vests and former first teamer, Ghana International Albert Adomah, not to be left out, apologised that preseason training at Bristol City would rule out his attendance and sent a kind dozen pairs of boots and a junior and senior City shirt which he signed for use as prizes.
Local organisation and accommodation was sponsored by Nick Brown the owner of the Kaya Mawa resort and, considering the fact that the grass-less island could only offer hardened mud topped with sandy gravel, the skills on display and avid attitude to learning was a reward in itself. Thankfully, in addition, the influence of water kept temperatures down to mid-twenties.
The week's training sessions were attended by up to 150 school children but also included in the programme was an eleven a side exhibition game which featured Meads' first team 'four', watched by 1000 and a six a side competition. The latter, watched by 800, brought the best out of Meads who, since they had to field both Rumley and Vermeulen, aggregate age 100, were distinctly under paced. However, they practised what they preached and their superior organisation got them to the semis where they went down to the only goal they shipped in the whole tournament.
July 25, 2013