Thursday, 12 October 2017
Colts B v The Downs (A) Won 8 - 3
During the summer holidays, I had the pleasure of playing golf with a retired bank manager, who had previously had dealings with Abberley Hall. He is also chairman of a football club which plays in the semi-professional Conference league and is known as The Poppies. I’m sure you will join me in wishing them well in Saturday’s 4th qualifying round of the FA Cup, away at The Dabbers. (I couldn’t believe that there is a football club with such a cool nickname.) True!
“There are few clubs entering the Emirates FA Cup at this stage with as much heritage in the competition as The Poppies, who have scored more goals in the history of the cup than anyone else – 864, 23 more than second-placed Aston Villa – and have reached the first round proper more times than any other club outside of the Football League.” (Poppies’ website)
Should they be successful, they could be drawn against one of the Premiership clubs who will enter the competition in the” first round proper”. Suppose they draw Arsenal, Liverpool or Spurs: there will be TV cameras at the ground days ahead of the match; Poppies’ shirts will double in price and burger van proprietors will have to secure bank loans of their own to ensure they have enough ketchup. Bets will be placed on the chances of a Poppies win coinciding with an asteroid strike (Blast! The latest near miss was on Thursday morning) and old-timers will tell anyone unfortunate enough to be caught on a bus with them the ever-lengthening tale of the 2009 match against Leeds United.
Ultimately, like yesterday’s Colts B match, the game will begin. It is possible that the Poppies v Superstars match will be an historic triumph for the minnows. Far more likely, however, is the kind of rather anti-climactic event we witnessed at The Downs. Spirited as they were, our hosts were smaller, and less fearsome than we have often been this term. However, rather than demonstrating the handling skills we have displayed in previous matches, our players frequently resorted to bullish solo runs (which often ended with tries being scored, in fairness).
Just as Superstars FC might underperform and yet win comfortably, we did the same.
Dull. Give me glorious defeat any day!