Our first game against St Mary’s, in the autumn of 1999, produced a shock 2-0 win for the then second division outfit St Marys (in perhaps their first season) over a Rowley side approaching its prime (in the early part of the new millennium). Had today’s game matched (with fearful symmetry) that score (which I think it should as I thought their third goal offside) then it would have been as predictable as the 1999 result was unpredictable. St Marys are the model of consistency and Rowley infuriatingly the opposite. Despite fielding a weaker team this week against a (with all respect to Chawn) stronger opposition we managed a much better fist of it: if we’d managed this level of performance across the season it’s doubtful that we would still be looking over our shoulders and wondering which top side we’ll need to beat to be safe.
It may be that the underlying problem is that we’ve been at it too long, a problem that St Marys too will sooner or later have to face as their lads all get old together. Today we got a visit from our League and Cup winning captain Johnny Warr (six years retired) who was surprised to find two more who’d started that 1999 game with him starting today (Southall and Harvey) and two more (Nic Hadley and Alun Inett) emergency signed to fill a casual vacancy on the bench [Al is 42]): five players in all who would in their 99 vintage have given St Marys plenty to think about.
In fact Stew had a stormer until he wrenched his knee and South continues to be one of wmcfl’s most consistent performers. Today at centre half he was outstanding as was Olly Staien in centre mid (a sub in 99!) and Joe at full back and I have little complaint about anyone today. Truth was we were largely in the game though always susceptible to their quality and their annoying habit of knowing when to score. They did this in the first half when a good block fell to Locke who drove in from twenty yards. They threatened more but Hunter and Christie and Brad and Lance were all getting forward and this extended into the second half when we had our best spell. However, though they were stretched they were never breached and when Myatt contrived a brilliant and/or fortunate overhead kick the points were safe.
The brilliant Coleman did run in (I thought he was offside) for a third and Lee made both a spectacular tip around the post and a terrific penalty save to keep the score decent (and reasonable). Good luck to St Mary’s : a good side and a good bunch of lads!