Friday, 7 April 2017

Charm Offensive

Renishaw Rangers  3  Sheffield Medics  7

Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior League - Second Division South

My mate Steve is not a happy man!

It all came to a head in October, he'd been to watch a County Senior League game somewhere in Barnsley, I think it may have been Euroglaze, and he'd got absolutely saturated in the process. Wetter than wet apparently, to the point where his own body was taking in water. In fact, if he couldn't swim, he probably would have drowned, he was that wet.......

Naturally I got to hear about this, and to be fair he'd been grumbling about the league since the start of the season when it came to light that an unusually large number of teams had been admitted after the demise of the South Yorkshire Amateur League. While he would probably have preferred trotting off to Wessex for his footy, the completist in him was nagging him to stay local and venture to locations that in all fairness, he'd probably played on in his youth, but as we all know, that doesn't count in this game!

But, the crunch point came when within a matter of days of the soggy Euroglaze debacle, it came to light that they were moving grounds mid-season, he phoned me up....

"F****** County Senior, that can f*** Off for a start, And while you are at it you can add those t**** from the Midlands Regional Alliance as well, and believe me if the Staffordshire start to f*** about, and for that matter the West Midlands, then they can b******* . Oh, and you can add the Wrexham Area t**** to the list while you are at it."

The rant was a classic, even by Steve's standards this was an epic, and knowing him as I do, a Yorkshireman through and through, he wasn't going to change his mind in a hurry.

Forget the Midlands Regional Alliance, that was done, the writing was on the wall following some Punjab United related incident, but I did feel I could get him back onside with the County Senior, however it wasn't going to be easy, and I had to be very strategic about how I did it.

It would all come down to what Silly Season had to offer.

Whispish Clouds Over Clowne Sports Centre
The fixtures were out nice and early, so as we conversed, I slipped the odd one in, like a trip to Brinsworth or a jaunt to Grimethorpe. I sought his advice, his expertise even, massaged his ego if you like, but I had a plan.

When I noted that Renishaw Rangers were at home, again, I dropped it in, talked about how close to home it was, about a local pub we could frequent, how we could have a catch up, and then bingo...

"I think I'll join you at that one....."

One thing I didn't need at this delicate juncture was any kind of balls up. So in a diligent fashion I set about my research. I emailed the Secretary to check we had the date, the time and the venue correct, which we had thanks to Mrs Baxter's swift and detailed reply. I also double checked directions and parking, I could not afford any slip ups. I relayed the information, he was still coming.

I even made a point of arriving at the ground an hour and a half before kick off to check the game was on, and for that matter, making sure we had a back up game close by in a worst case scenario. I'd not had to work this hard since I tried to get the missus to an Anglesey League game (I failed on that occasion).

It's Just A Goal To The Left......
We had an initial wobble though, it turns out he got to the ground just after I'd arrived and decided to make some enquiries in reception, only to be told that no one had any record of a Renishaw Rangers game taking place that night! It could easily have gone pear shaped at that juncture, but I got to him before he got to his car, we were ok........

The Angel Inn was large, spacious and the staff chatty, he was a happy man, and so was I, it was a pub for Christ's sake, what's not to like! We chewed the fat, had the usual banter, and just hoped the forthcoming event would pass off to his satisfaction.

Renishaw Rangers are a new club to the County Senior League, as are the Doctors and Nurses from Sheffield Medics for that matter. Rangers did start the season playing at a school in Spinkhill, which is a small village close to Renishaw itself, but then it came to notice a couple of months back that they had moved to Clowne. It's a good job Steve had not already been to Spinkhill to be fair, that would have put the tin hat on my plan.

Rangers are struggling though, they sat bottom, while Medics were top. It could have been very one sided, and while the scoreline might suggest that, it was actually quite an open encounter with both sides creating plenty of chances, it's just that Medics created a fair few more and managed to hit the target a fair few times as well.

The pitch to the rear of the sports centre was neither roped nor railed, and despite it being a clear night, and having had a quick half time changeover, it was pretty dark by the time the game finished. But it had been a really entertaining spectacle, and I for one thoroughly enjoyed it.

Did Steve though? Well yes he did, and you know what, he came out with the following...

"I think I might do Sheffield Bankers next Wednesday......."

When we found out at the start of the season that they too had moved grounds, but, were flitting between the old and the new depending on the weather, he used a word that wasn't 'Bankers' to describe them, but it sounded an awful lot like it.

What could possibly go wrong I wondered to myself....?

....And Then A Step To.....Hang On....!

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