Saturday, May 19, 2012

Rovers vs Oscars

The last confrontation of the season was always going to go The Rovers way...The venue was the Fox and Hounds at Lulsley which has become the regular haunt for our end of season presentation evening and this year we have quite a few things to celebrate.

Oscar
What it's all about...
The boys have worked extremely hard this season and have produced not only our best haul of victories in a season, but also our longest unbeaten run and a cup quarter final appearance. Have a look at their highlights...



Taking a look at the league table we were two points away from our highest league finish and the two teams above that finishing position are teams we have beaten this season, Malvern Town and Worcester Raiders (twice) so next season we have a real chance of mixing it at the top...something really worth playing for.

To the awards...

FA Cup
Most improved player - Connor Porter-Brown



We've all seen how Connor's skills have come on this season. His accurate passing, rock-solid tackling and general awareness make him a fearsome competitor on the left of the field. Connor's continuing improvement and effort next season will be critical to The Rovers success.

Connor's highlights

FA Cup
Clubman of the year - Arron Manton



Arron's dedication to the team is second to none. He is available for every match, comes to every training session and you can see all this hard work showing in Arron's game. He is now a regular starter in the right back position and making his presence felt more and more in each game he plays.

Arron's highlights

FA Cup
Players Player of the Year - Ali Ching



We all know Ali is a brilliant keeper. Every match we play in he can be seen leaping like a salmon to tip a shot over the bar, getting himself behind the ball, making himself 'big' to scare the living daylights out of a forward or unleashing those mighty size 10's into another enormous drop kick. I can confidently predict that Ali will score next season. In Ali we have a goalkeeper that is the envy of the league (as many opponents have noticed and commented upon).

Ali's highlights

FA Cup
Parents Player of the Year - Jacob Gillibrand



Jacob has been a bright star in the galaxy that is the Leigh and Bransford Rovers team. His runs up the wing, pin-point passing, titanic tackling, goalie frightening shots and of course his goal tally that has made Jacob this years player of the year. His professionalism and work ethic are a fine example to the whole team. He is the engine that keeps The Rovers motoring.

Jacob's highlights

FA Cup
Golden Boot - James Henry



James's 17 goals have provided the supporters with some real excitement this season. The expectation is tangible as the through-ball is placed just right for James to get on the end of, he accelerates, passes one, two or sometimes three defenders and then either slots it under the keeper or bangs it in to the back of the net. I seriously expect some real competition for James next season as Matt G (11 goals) and Jacob (7 goals) who will be trying to earn this coveted award but James will take some beating.

James's highlights

FA Cup
Player of the Year - Liam Wood



Liam is the foundation that the team is built upon. His work rate is huge, his tackling is unbeatable, his passing and clearances are long and accurate and his all round skill is a pleasure to watch. Above all it's Liam's organisational ability that makes him stand out. He is always arranging the defense and reminding them what it is they should be doing.

Liam's highlights

Each of these awards could have gone to any of the boys and that shows the depth of the team.

Alfie is banging on the door of being a real contender for the golden boot. He has taken 14 shots at goal this season, an assist and a goal. He is always in the thick of it up front so I'm sure next season more goals will come.

Alfie's highlights

Ben has been working hard in midfield this season and is making his mark with some neat control, good passing and stiff tackling. Ben is the dependable link between defence and attack and consequently works progressively harder in every game.

Ben's highlights

Dan T has had a great season and has become a bit of a specialist midfielder. His has played some excellent 'killer passes', had 7 shots, 2 assists and a goal. Dan's tackling and awareness has improved as he has found himself more and more in the thick of it.

Dan's highlights

Dan W has been a revelation his year. 'The Beast' is scared of no man (or horse) and will take on any opponent no matter how large and normally come out the confrontation with the ball or a least deny his victim the expected easy challenge.

Dan's highlights

Josh is one of those players that has the skill and the attitude to take any of the awards next year. He has struggled with injury this year but he gives 110% in every game he plays. Wherever he plays he sets the pitch  alight and leaves a blazing trail of fire behind him.

Josh's highlights

Luke has been a pillar of strength at the back this season. He is never intimidated by a larger opponent has is very happy to use his strength to apply pressure. He has a fearsome clearance and spot kick ability in addition to powerful tackling and perfect passing.

Luke's hightlights

Matt G's statistics speak for themselves...11 goals, 7 assists and 30 shots. Matt has, in addition to his 'magic' boot and brilliant passing, really got 'stuck-in' and is tackling hard and helping out more and more in defense when needed.

Matt's highlights

Matt S had a brilliant start to the season this year. His really came of age in the victory against Worcester and made his presence felt with some great passing and huge tackles. Unfortunately, injury towards the end of the season cut his spectacular start short. There is always next season.

Matt's highlights

Special awards were made to our hard working coaches who give their time, knowledge and passion for the game free of charge every week so the boys can play and keep fit. I for one think they have done a fabulous job this year and the results, especially towards the end of the season, have proven that all their effort has been worthwhile. For Russ, Mandy and Martyn...

A Big Thank You!
Dave Wood and Keith James received a thank you (in bottled form) for their superbly co-ordinated handling of the nets at home games and Keith's ability to snaffle tent pegs from opposition grounds...

Stuart did pass on the very kind gift (Thanks) and I shall enjoy this as I view the boys highlights when they appear on this blog.

All the boys could have won a trophy this year as they have all put in the work and they have all had magic moments that we will discussed where ever Rovers players or supporters gather. It's all a bit Shakespearean...



This team is called the L&B Rovers:
He that outlives this seasons matches, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this team is named,
And rouse him at the name of 'The Rovers'.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his friends,
And say 'Tomorrow is the end of season do:'
Then will he strip his socks and show his stud marks.
And say 'These wounds I had in the Rovers Team.'
Old coaches forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that season: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Mandy the Manager, Russ and Martyn,
Liam and Jacob, Connor and Ali,
James and Arron, Dan W and Dan T,
Matt G and Luke, Alfie and Ben,
Josh and Matt S. 
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And each season shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the cup,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that plays football with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their Bovril cheap whiles any speaks
Of those that played with us in the Rovers Team.


but...things haven't always gone to plan...



Here's to next season

Ron

Monday, May 14, 2012

Playing with Pride


Playing a team from the very top of the league is always a big ask even when those footballing dynamo's 'The L&B Badgers Rovers', fresh from four wins out of five matches, are asked to step up. You'll remember the last time we played The Ferngully Fliers and how close we were to sending them back to Kidderminster with a lot of thinking to do...That was a close run thing and the faint whiff of gaseous nervousness followed the Fliers onto the pitch this time...no one in their right mind (excluding Nasty Nige of course) relishes playing The Rovers on their home patch. Read on drama lovers and be prepared for an epic tale of courage in the face of adversity.

St George

Right from the off both teams are playing as if their lives are depending on it. It's end-to-end stuff as first Ferndale have a go at the Rovers defence, sorry lads you'll have to do better than that to get past Arron 'The Monster' Manton, Liam 'More dependable than the price of gold' Wood, Josh 'The Motor' Hall and Luke 'The Steadfast' Painter. Then Rovers have a go...in the shape of Connor 'speeding up the left wing' Porter-Brown, Ben 'Through the middle' James, Matt 'Long pass up the right wing' Griffin and of course finishing off with Alfie 'Ronaldinho' Newman, Jacob 'The Express' Gillibrand and James 'Defender destroyer' Henry.

FG have another attack, it is their turn after all, but it's gathered with ease by Ali 'Safe hands' Ching in the Rovers goal. The usual enormous drop kick finds Josh in midfield who flicks the ball to James. The FG defence nervously manage to clear the ball into touch. These guys are not playing as if they are potential division one...

From the throw-in Matt has a go from a long way out...That was close!

It's FG's turn again and they manage to escape the close defensive ring to head over the bar, Never fear, Ali had it covered. FG are applying more pressure but Liam stops them in their tracks with a great tackle. Matt G picks up the ball on the edge of the Rovers box and sends a beauty down the line to Jacob. He plays a 1-2 with Josh and then slots it neatly under the FG keeper. 1-0 Rovers is met with silence from the Ferndale supporters and jubilation from the Rovers contingent.

Back of the net
Back of the net!
From the restart Josh is radiating class again with some fantastic dribbling and passing. His impressive run comes to an end as he's cruelly chopped. Griffo hammers the spot kick at the jumpy FG keeper but much to his credit he hangs on, just. Ali gathers in a weak shot from FG and tries his luck with a shot from his own box...not very far away from making his opposite number give up and start walking backup the A449.

Ali will score next time...

Another attack from Rovers with Josh, James and Alfie but the resulting shot is just wide. Liam is his usual calm and skilful self in defense and passes to Connor who threads a great pass to Ben but the FG defence have it covered. Ali makes another critical save under pressure and the lose ball is cleared by Liam but FG are not giving up so easily and Arron has to make a great tackle to keep them out. His heroics lead to an injury and he has to leave the field of play. Arron is replaced by Dan 'The Beast' Watson. Another huge kick from Ali leads to a shot that is just wide from Jaocb. The pressure from FG shows and they finally score 1-1

FG have their tails up now and looking for more but unfortunatly they come across Ben who puts a halt to their plans with a strong tackle. Corner to FG, Ali has it covered.

Martyn

'No 3 has a mustache!'

Martyn is right. That is more than a dirty mark around the FG No. 3's mouth. Unless he is a particularly messy chocolate muncher then I detect the handywork of Nasty Nige. A quick scan of the opposition supporters does not reveal our arch enemy but we know he's near....

Nasty Nige
'I will have my revenge! You Rovers think you can make fun of me and my plans! NEVER I TELL YOU! I have another surprise for you...just take a look at No. 6, Notice anything???? hahaha! haHAHA!  HAHAHA!

That number 6 does look surprisingly large and FG have him marking James. This might make things difficult...

Despite the intervention of the Odious Ogre of Oldbury Rovers are still keeping the lid on Ferndale. Connor stops another promising attack and Luke is using his strength to great effect. Dan W and Luke combine to clear up before Ali has to earn his pay. Josh and Matt G give a display of accurate passing before a couple of strange events take place...

The first of which is Russ's new fitness routine. I've heard that Pole Dancing is good for you (especially for blokes) but this is taking things too far.

Pole Dancing...Don't be scared mums and dads

The second is a pitch invasion...Ben's dad has a natural affinity with certain woolly hillside dwelling mammals and a few of them wondered onto the playing fields to pass on their regards from the old country...Luckily for us Nasty Nige is allergic to Wales and runs screaming from his hiding place (under the pooper scooper bin) in the general direction of Oldbury.

Meanwhile, back at the match Ben takes on three FG's and beats two. They are looking nervous...a long ball from Ali is delivered to Jacob who puts a superb through ball to James. The legacy of Nasty Nige is working however and James is bundled over by the monster in the No. 6 shirt.

Ref 
'Number 6 is just stronger, no foul'

Ron

'That's a bit of an understatement! That monster is twice as tall as James and three times the width, can we see his birth certificate?'

If nothing else we know that James can out run anyone and he shows his prowess but cutting through the FG defense (leaving the monster looking bewildered) but just can't quite beat the keeper.

FG are attacking again and Ali makes a trademark brilliant save. FG's coaches get their heads together and come up with a cunning plan...

Baldrick
'You see that Rovers keeper? Avoid him!'
Good thinking lads...I can see you are expert tactical thinkers...We know Ali is a great keeper but surely that's the main aim of football, to beat the keeper...

Martyn
 'Alfie stop your flicking nonsense...'

Ron
'Careful now...'

FG are applying pressure now despite their own lack of tactical thought, sheep invasions and Russ's distracting dance moves. Ali grabs the ball off the toes of an opposition attacker.

Ouch that's going to smart a bit! Sympathy for No. 23 as he takes a 'Griffo' in the face...

ouch
Nasty...

Meanwhile Dan W is up to speed now and really battling with the FG's. James is felled again by the giant but wins a corner for Rovers which is safely gathered by the keeper. Back in midfield Josh and Liam are giving a  masterclass in passing and control. Connor, Josh, Dan W and Liam are all mighty in defense. It's nearly half time and Jacob decides to take a long run down the wing but is eventually denied at the death by FG's defence.

The Second half starts much like the first ended with a corner to Rovers followed by an attack from FG. Dan T is on for Ben and makes an early impression with a strong tackle that fells a FG supporter and a through ball to James...felled again by No. 6. This is not funny...

I'm not very clear how that happened but it's a penalty to FG as one of their attackers was taken down...even Ali has no real chance to keep it out. Dan T and Josh are controlling midfield and providing quality ball to our forwards. Dan W does his job well and neutralises another potential threat. Ali is busy at the back with yet another save. Sustained pressure from Rovers now but the equaliser just won't come.

Liam and Dan W controlling middle defense and produce a great ball to Alfie who shows some great skill and tackling to allow Josh to run and earn a throw. Nothing doing. Ali makes another critical save. Ben is back on for Connor in a midfield reshuffle. Ali makes the save of the season, and that's saying someting...leaping like a salmon to push the ball over the bar. It's all defending now. It's like the Alamo out there as Ali saves again. Connor is back on for a tiring Alfie.

Arron sneaks on to the pitch as Russ tries the 4 - 4 - 3 formation but Russ relents and calls him back. Liam is not giving up and is still defending like a trojan. Ali makes three reaction saves as the FG's wonder what they have to do to get past him. That will make his end of season stats look even more impressive. That's it all over. Not the way we would have liked to end the season but the boys showed many of those flashes of brilliance that we have come to know and expect. Next season will be blinding...

Josh is deservedly named man of the match because of his sublime skills, his huge work rate and having more class than Rolls Royce.

This weeks mention in dispatches goes to Ali for two reasons. Firstly, as usual Ali is harder to beat than an ostrich egg and secondly, for the very sporting praise received from the Ferndale coaches after the match.

MiD
Final word from the ref...Yes it's him again...

Ref  'The score did not reflect the game'

Say no more...Played with Pride...well done lads

Ron 

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Close Shave (Part 2)

Coming off the back of a three game winning streak (St. JohnsMalvern Town and Worcester Raiders) and a very close run thing against Warndon the boys are realising that they are now a formidable force in league two. Guess what? we won again! and this time it really was against the odds...Leigh and Bransford Badgers take on St. Johns Athletic...

Smashing game Gromit
Smashing game Gromit
St, Johns Athletic had very sportingly allowed us to play 10 a-side rather than the usual 11 as we had a number of players out with injury, fighting Bruce Lee or simply not available. The feeling was, as the storm clouds gathered on the horizon, that the game should be played as soon as possible. In the event the first few minutes of the game were played in a deluge.

Rain over Worcester
Just before it p...ersistently rained
To the game...

The first thing we noticed from the touchline was just how strict the referee was. The comments that passed amongst all the supporters (St. Johns included) fell into three categories...

The Ref

Either way he made his feelings known about the hand-ball law and how it applied to the modern game of Association Football. This left the boys and the supporters in no doubt how he intended to run the match...more later...

From the off Dan 'The Beast' Watson was on blistering form taking on three midfielders on his own down the left wing. What have you had for lunch Dan?? Long penetrating runs down the wing seem to be the order of the day today. Saints try one of their own only to be stopped in their tracks by Liam 'Mr Reliable' Wood who makes a great tackle followed by a clearance. Now it's Jacob 'The Malvern Express' Gillibrand who powers down the right wing and crosses just out of the reach of Ben 'In the thick of it today' James.

The next piece of Rovers brilliance comes from Connor 'The Confident' Porter-Brown who steals the ball neatly off a dumbstruck Saints forward and through-balls to James 'The defender magnet' Henry. James is surrounded before he can reach warp speed and denied a shot.

Meanwhile a classic Rovers move is in the offing. Arron 'The Monster' Manton clears out of defense to Josh 'Faster than a speeding bullet' Hall who sends a pin-point accurate pass to Ben. Ben dribbles past a midfielder and sends it back to Josh now out on the right wing supported by Dan 'Tuned in today' Thomson. Josh plays a neat one-two with Dan and drops the ball into Jacobs path to have a crack at goal. Just gathered by the Saints keeper. That would have been worthy of Barcelona...but it's not long until all the effort pays off... Ali 'All in control back here' Ching hoofs the ball into midfield where it's picked up by Connor. Connor passes through the middle to Dan T and Dan puts a perfectly weighted ball straight onto the toes of James who slots it under the keeper...This is becoming a habit... 1 - 0 to The Rovers.

Crouch Dance
James...you need to practice this...
Somehow Saints get past our thin black and white line at the back and have a shot at Ali. It's a pretty good shot and it keeps our man-between-the-sticks on his toes. Saints are applying a little pressure now but it's nothing Dan W and Connor can't handle and between them they sort out the difficulties.

Back at the Saints goal things are not quite as calm...Jacob puts in a killer pass to Ben who hammers a terrific shot just wide...that took a coat of paint off the outside of the post! The referee is being strict again...

Ref! Pwwweeeepppp! We'll have a free kick to Saints there...

Jacob looks stunned...and so do we. Jacob fouling someone? you must be blind ref!

Nothing comes of the free kick as Liam calmly runs the ball to through to the midfield who begin the duck-shoot again. Jacob, Dan T and James all have a punt at goal. Jacob puts in another beautifully accurate pass to James but the Saints keeper is staying sharp. Now it's Josh's turn. He has a near miss after more Barcelona-like passing from Rovers. The last play in this concerted application of pressure to Saints comes from Dan T who hammers a shot just over the bar from a long way outside the box.

Ref!Pwwweeeepppp! We'll have a free kick to Saints there...

Jacob is stunned again...and so are we...there was no foul there...even the Saint's supporters are scratching their heads.

Ali and Liam have a little wobble as they forget they can speak the same language but their usual calmness is soon back in evidence with a rye smile from Ali...We're doing a bit of defending now, first from a corner that is knocked out for a goal kick. Then from The Beast, doing what he does best and finally from Arron with a fantastic goal saving tackle...but wait...

Ref!Pwwweeeepppp! We'll have a free kick to Saints there...

What is going on? Jacob would be well within his rights to be furious...but instead he keeps calm, mature and professional (as always) and goes back to his position with no comment.

Ali gathers the rather weak kick and all is well. We have some more top quality defending from who else but Liam, Josh, Dan W, Connor and Arron. It really is not easy for opponents to get past these guys...

Rovers are hungry for goals now and shots from Ben, Dan T and Jacob are all capped off with a second goal from James. That's 2 - 0 to The Rovers.

Yippee
That's 2

but James is not happy, he's limping like Frankensteins Monster.

Meanwhile, Saints have another go at Ali but he knows exactly where his posts are and watches the ball go out. With James struggling in the middle of the park Josh steps into the breach and we are treated to a display that would make Messi pack up his boots and take the next flight back to Argentina...Josh picks up the ball just outside Rovers box, passes three stunned Saints midfielders and lays a through-ball to Jacob that makes Rovers supporters weep with pride. Jacob bangs it home to complete the move. 3 - 0 to the Rovers

Ron Boys - with skill like that you could beat the European Champions...That was pure class!

What a way to end the first half...

But, this is a game in two halves...

The second half has a slightly different story line...

Right from the off Saints are making the most of Rovers being down to nine men as James is immobile on the centre spot. They get one back within minutes...mind you, that's still only 3 - 1 to Rovers.

Josh is showing his class once again down the right wing. This boy is like lightning today. Arron leading from the front and winning a corner for Rovers. It's gathered by the keeper. Nice dribbling and pass from Dan T to Jacob, Jacob to Ben but he's not able to shoot as the Saints defence close him down. James is still struggling near the centre spot and no amount of encouragement, cajoling or bribery can get him to overcome his injury. Connor's strong down the left wing, as he has been all game, but the resulting pass leaves Jacob outnumbered in the box and bundled over. What! No penalty...this ref has it in for Jacob and we fully expect him to give a free kick the other way. The lack of James is beginning to show as Josh has to make another goal saving tackle. The resultant corner is gathered in by Ali. Conner is off again like a scolded hen down the left ably supported by Ben and between them they win a corner. The corner kick is cleared straight into the line of sight of Liam...not wise...Liam has the Saints goaly in a real panic as the shot just goes over the bar. The ground staff will have to get the paint out again.

The next attack see Jacob hacked in the box.

Ref!Pwwweeeepppp! We'll have a penalty kick to Rovers there...

That's more like it. He must feel guilty about treating Jacob so badly. Justice dictates that Jacob takes the kick. Is there any doubt...no chance. The spot kick nearly burns a hole in the back of the net and poor Champion (The four legged Saints supporter in the next field plays safe and sprints for the far end of his patch just in case)

That's 4 - 1 to Rovers

Pearce
That's how to celebrate a successful penalty...
The extra man is beginning to tell and Saints have a couple of speculative punts at Ali. One is an absolute belter that demands a good save from our genius between the sticks. The Rovers are still demonstrating their new improved skills. Great passing is the order of the day with Dan W, Connor, Dan T, Josh and Arron all on target but once again Saints extra man shows and they sneak another goal. 4 - 2 Things might get a bit ropey if they score again...

Whoops...

OMG
Saints score again...4 - 3...keep your fur on!
Things are getting twitchy. Liam clears up a promising Saints attack with his usual calmness under fire attitude. Ben takes down the giant of the Saints attack and Dan W wonders why he wasn't allowed to mark that man. Ali has a moment in the Rovers goal and has to make two attempts at gathering a shot. Ali is proving that his reputation as the best goalie in the league is no empty claim as he has to make a couple more crucial saves. We're into injury time and Liam knows that possession is the key. He takes a sprint down the wing with Ben by his side. Saints are desperate but they can't get the ball.

Ref!Pwwweeeepppp! 

It's all over. That's another win chalked up to the Rovers (and that's with a man down) Imagine what the score would have been if we had been up to strength...

Man of the match was Josh and give his contribution today that is no surprise...

Today's mention in dispatches could have gone to the whole team. Liam and Jacob were their usual solid, reliable and skillful selves. James banged home two great goals. Dan T played his best game of the season. Ali showed his usual brilliance between the sticks. Connor and Ben have really taken off on the left and middle but I think two of our number deserve the accolade today.

Mention


Arron worked hard all game, tackled like a demon, passed and cleared like a true pro. Dan W's courage never fails to amaze me...he will take on anyone and normally win but today he was passing and dribbling like a Premiership superstar.

Russ and Mandy deliver today's lesson...on being humble in victory!



Well done lads


Ron



A Close Shave (Part 1)

A bit of a retrospective this one...the match was played four weeks ago and by all accounts was so close that Mr Gillett-Fusion and Mr Wilkinson-Sword packed up their razor business and trundled off back to Sheffield...

A close shave
The general feeling of the Rovers team after the Warndon match
To say that Warndon managed to scrape past Leigh and Bransford Badgers Rovers by a gnats whisker is a complete understatement. Take a look in the right hand margin and select the quote that best sums up how near Warndon were to a well deserved defeat...

Matt G scored our only goal in the 2-1 defeat but as usual the boys played out of their skins with everyone giving 110%. I'm told one of the Warndon goals was scored off one of their players shoulders...sounds like pure luck to me...Sometimes results don't go your way but just remember how many teams have come away from a Rovers match with the very nervous feeling that they will have to play us again...remember FerngullyWarndon in the pre-season tournament and who can forget the away game at Malvern Town. Malvern are one side who were chopped down to size in the return fixture and I'm sure Ferndale will be training hard to make sure this doesn't happen to them.

Well done to all the boys...Rovers are now a very difficult team to beat and that shows how hard you have worked, how much dedication you have for the team and how your skills have developed over this season.

Nice one lads

Ron


Monday, March 19, 2012

Return of the Rovers (Winning is a habit)

It's been a winning weekend. Jenson Button wins the Formula 1 in Australia, England beat Ireland in the Rugby and made our friends from over the water choke on their Guiness on St. Patricks day, the England Ladies Grand Slam without a try against them, the England Cricketers win in Sri Lanka and I heard a rumour that Wales have won a minor tournament somewhere...but the big win of the weekend was the The Leigh and Bransford Badgers Rovers against The Worcester Raiders...or more commonly known as the...

You'll remember the last time we played the Worcester Raiders...after throwing them unceremoniously out of the cup they gave us a bit of a tough time...but not this weekend. On the back of walloping Malvern Town and crushing St.Johns Athletic the boys were up for a bit of revenge...

Rovers supporters
Han, Leia and Luke (the other one) show who they really believe in...

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

Don't panic! I'm not going to stretch the Star Wars metaphor again...and so to the game.

The Raiders are under pressure from the off with some good attacking challenges from Jacob 'The unstoppable' Gillibrand and Matt 'get stuck in' Griffin. When they do break out they are stopped by a good defensive tackle from Matt 'The Defensive Dynamo' Waldren and a strong clearance from Liam 'The General' Wood. This clearance is picked up by the Raiders midfield and is speculatively punted over the bar. Ben 'Blazing' James is carrying on from last week with another supersonic sprint along the wing. 

Somehow the referee manages to trip over the adjoining goal netting and fall flat on his backside...1 - 0 to the ref?? and then is heard the strangest of sounds...The Raiders coach has been watching to many Guy Richie movies. His Worcester 'Mockney' accent caused great hilarity amongst the Rovers supporters.

awright
Cow mon fellas...sha 'em ha ta play!
Meanwhile, Liam keeping it tight at the back and Jacob tackles the Raiders defense all on his own and wins a free kick after being felled just outside the box. Griffo hits a blinder of a place kick straight into the Raiders goal. 1-0 to the Rovers.
that's one
Well counted Seb...That's one
Arron 'The Monster' Manton makes the tackle that Dan T and Ben haven't quite managed to complete and Matt W makes a well timed goal saving maneuver. At this point one of the Raiders gets a little 'spirited' and decides to have a go at big Matt W...Not the smartest choice he will ever make. Matt just laughs at the little fella in the sure knowledge that if he did decide to retaliate the poor little chap would be hammered up to his knees into the pitch. Raiders coaches to the right thing and sub their intransigent midfielder to cool down (for his own good). The boys are growing in confidence by the minute and this is proven by some great passing between Ben, Alfie 'Faster than a speeding bullet' Newman and James 'Another day, another goal' Henry. James tries a now trademark chip but it's just wide. Things are getting better and better with a great cross from Griffo neatly nodded in by James. That's 2-0 to the Rovers. 

That's two
Advanced mathematics for Wayne..."Erm dat's erm one and another one"
Two, Wayne  one and one is two...
Some words of wisdom from the Raiders coaches as they tell their boys to stop 'Banging-in thirty yarders??? Odd, they can't seem to bang in a one yarder never mind a thirty...Talk to Griffo lads, he'll show you how it's done. 

Jacob dribbles and shoots just wide. He really is on fire today. Luke 'The man in midfield' Painter controls a Raiders clearance and puts in a through ball just out of the reach on Jacob. Great passing and shooting again from Jacob. Raiders have finally got it together and have caused a goal mouth scramble that has the Rovers supporters hearts in their mouths and wins them a corner. Connor 'The goal mouth geezer' Porter-Brown saves the resulting kick. 

James takes on five defenders on his own but is denied...Then out of the blue a belter from Raiders leaves Connor with no chance. 2-1. Nice goal, it has to be said... but as usual the Rovers are not dismayed...

Connor holds a hard free kick after a minor infringement on the edge of our box. Another good run from Ben down the right feeding Jacob who is denied by the Raiders defense. Luke in possession on the halfway line long-balls through to Matt G who in turn lobs it overs the defence to James.  James as cool as you like slots it under the flailing Raiders keeper. 3-1 to The Rovers. 

That's three
Well done George, you've remembered how to count to three...
Connor saves a speculative shot from the Raiders as the last act before half-time. 

A quietly confident team talk takes place...no raised voices, no panic, just cool, calm and collected words of advice from Mandy, Russ and Martyn. Time to bury the Raiders...Only one change Arron subbed for Josh and a bit of reorganisation takes place up front with Matt W (big striker) and James (little striker) being the new double act.

It's a little bit scrappy at the back but so far so good, Rovers maintain their cool. Connor scares a Raiders attacker into missing. A couple of good pieces of control from Dan 'Accuracy is my middle names' Thomson and Ben bails us out of a potentially dangerous situation with a well timed tackle. Meanwhile at the other end Jacob and Matt W combine to allow James a shot - just wide. The ref. spots something and awards a free kick on the edge of the Rovers box. The resulting place kick has Connor making three saves in a confused encounter on the goal line. C'mon lads, hold it together...

The duck shoot continues at he other end...Matt W shoots but it's gathered by keeper. James runs and shoots at the keeper as well.  It's still a little scrappy but Liam is his usual confident self at the back aided and abetted by Ben who is being very tough in defense. Some nice skills from Alfie in midfield but he's not happy and is subbed for Arron.  James and Ben win a corner off a panicking Raiders defence. Josh 'Back in the thick of it' Hall has a go from along way out but with Jacob following up wins a corner. It's now Luke's turn to have a go. He produces a great lob by that just bundled out by the Raiders keeper. Another corner from a scrappy clearance by the Raiders. Dan T penalised for a 50-50, Dan T! fouling someone! are you sure ref??? Either way it comes to naught. All the boys are making the effort now and there is no let up for Raiders. Josh is back to his tenacious best and makes a critical tackle. Arron is not being left out and adds his strength to snuff out a Raiders attack. Luke meanwhile shows his class once again and helping the every reliable Liam clear the lines.

The Raiders coaches are now scolding their players a sure sign of impending defeat. Another speculative shot saved by the confident Connor. Ben 'my new name is Messi' James plays a blinding side-foot flicked through-ball to Matt G and accelerates into the distance. Griffo then returns the favour and Ben lobs it over the defence for James who just can't get the shot away. Jacob is on another storming run down the right after a lovely long ball from Luke. The subsequent shot is knocked in but is handball. Finally, the coup de gras...Jacob slots home a beauty after a pinpoint precise through ball from Matt W. 4-1 to the Rovers...

That's four
That's a big four...


What a performance...AGAIN!

James is nominated as Man of the Match for two sweet goals.

This weeks mention in dispatches goes to two stalwarts of the Rovers team Jacob and Liam. Both have worked their socks off again today and have led by example. 

mention

A very special mention goes to Fabrice Muamba. Everyone wishes him well and hopes for his speedy recovery.

A top effort again by all the boys.

Ron

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Who's playing who??

I have to admit I'm baffled...While I am of course very happy that Rangers are in the final...something is bothering me...Last year a tournament was held in Ledbury for one or two sides from the league and a multitude of 'Rangers' teams. In the club news letter it says that Rangers will be playing Warndon Village Leopards in the final but the question is...Are Warndon still masquerading as the Rangers 'B' team??? If so does this mean that the Leigh and Bransford Badgers have the cup sewn up?? I took the liberty of asking the Rangers management team their thoughts...

Rangers Management

I'm not convinced they know themselves...or is it a cunning rouse??

I smell a rat...and need some professional help to get to the bottom of this...

Sherlock

After some serious investigation...which involved several disguises

DOE
as the milkman to the wealthier members of L&B Badgers coaching team
Rhod
as Rhod Gilberts stunt double
Vlad
as a potential buyer of the Rangers squad
I uncovered the insidious plot...

The plan is not to build a new clubhouse at Powick FC as agreed with the council...it is actually a clone laboratory that will be turning out lookalike Rangers squads to take over the league team by team to ensure they win all tournaments and trophies (you have to assume Ledbury left a scar...). On digging a little deeper I discovered irregularities regarding Italian based financial services with associations in Worcester and a Welsh construction company's proposal for the clubhouse...I have warned the Warndon coaching team and they have taken steps but judging by the latest squad photo I'm to late...

Rangers B
The Rangers 'B' team...Nice kit...
All in good fun...don't shoot the messenger

Ron