football old meads chiswick

Heavy Defeat For Old Meads

Amateur Football Combination Premier Division: Old Hamptonians 9 (yes 9!) Old Meadonians 0

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Old Meadonians

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For those who spent the dregs of the last weekend hoping that the Saturday evening score-line on the league web site was just some one’s idea of a fake news joke, the nightmare’s over. Old Meadonians have set a record with quite a bit of help from their hosts, Old Hamptonians who treated their visitors as open season and were unable to resist the choice pickings on offer. If you really want to sample a mixed melange of a metaphor, the schadenfreude is on the other foot, with a vengeance. Since the millennium and, indeed the start of the Amateur Football Combination, competition between these two clubs has been nip and tuck but with Meads just shading the spoils in individual match results and certainly winning most of the war campaigns by taking the A.F.C. Premiership Title a whacking great seven times in the first sixteen years the league has existed while OHs are no slouches, second to Meads in this arena with three pennants in their trophy room. Thus, having been in the top division of the Old Boys League from the seventies and latterly the premier division of the A.F.C. since its formation, Meads’ scalp is the most coveted one in the league to the extent that, in the noughties, there were stories coming from OHs’ dressing room of anguished players saying, “We’ve got to beat them today!” before a clash with Meads.

It has also inclined towards swings and roundabouts: Three or so years ago Hamptonians beat Meads on artificial turf 5-0 which was a sobering but nonetheless surmountable setback and more recently the knife edge, dog-eat-dog element to intense competition in the league had Hamptonians being relegated, only for the U.S. Cavalry to rescue them in the form of a premier division club folding for them to bounce back. This season Hamptonians who have demonstrated their resilience following their near death experience, have been prominent contestants among the top three league places and, in the process have also proffered a warning in the shape of a healthy goal difference, testifying to a free-scoring attack, but nothing to presage the virtual avalanche on Saturday.

This score-line is rare, if not unknown for a match in the Premier Division of the A.F.C. and, in almost twenty years of continuous if sometimes slightly sporadic first team experience, your correspondent only ever played in one such first team game (ten-nil) in the Old Boys League in the fifties, the days before subs when the opposition went down to ten men through injury.

Thus, this report has to be cathartic as well as curative to enable Meads to benefit from lessons learnt and to rationalise their response by treating this as three points dropped, which, despite being added to those which slipped through their fingers at the start of the season, does not mean that overcoming the ultimate deficit in the season’s run-in is insurmountable. In fact all Meads have lost is a small tuft from the tip of their resplendent Mohican and that will, with correct nurturing, soon grow back. The truth of this heavy defeat might well lie in an unexpected and, more tellingly, unanticipated quick-sand of a surface for which the hosts were well prepared but the visitors were not. The home pitch which usually is beautifully prepared and in pristine condition had been recently cut up so badly that, to maintain any kind of grip, players almost needed crampons. This rapidly had three or four Meads’ players slipping, sliding and wallowing out of their depth and, once OHs got their teeth into their guests, they never looked back. Caveat Adventor should be dinned into all who venture to Rectory Farm this season.

December 20, 2017

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