OTFC Club Development Day started in mild panic when at opening up time, OTFC officials found a leak in the bar. There can be no bigger crisis than a closed bar. Thankfully however a carefully placed bucket solved this crisis and the bar was deemed fit for use.
The day was highly attended, the school brought both lower and upper sixth teams, the Vets arrived with their now customary full squad and those extra that had alas been turned away from playing due to high demand for support and encouragement. The four senior teams brought some 40 players to the day.
As the Vets lined up against arch rivals the Walton Strollers – the more astute reader will be aware that Walton was indeed affiliated to Tiffin School until a breakaway was formed. Tensions were therefore high, a nervous pressure evident on the face of skipper Pete as he strolled out to the centre circle for the “if I must” handshake.
A few metres away a round robin tournament had started… the school fielding two teams whilst OTFC had three. All teams were a slight mix, but in essence a “1s” team skippered by Seb Rose a “2s&3s” team captained by Dicky Bostelmann and a “4s” team helmed by Charlie Hughes… except it wasn’t because Charlie was nowhere to be seen… and nor was his keeper with all the kits and most of the balls. Add a number of new players across the 3 squads to the mix and a tournament can be started.
2 pitches, 4 teams in play whilst one sits out. Round-robin tournament with games lasting 25 minutes. No half time. 2 points for a win, 1 for a draw. In the event of a tie, goal difference wins it.
Discussions around whether games of 25 minutes would even give time for a result were had in advance. The available solution of no off-sides mooted. The first two games ended with worryingly tight 1-0 victories, but, from there on in, we had a 5-0, a 4-2, a 4-1, a 3-0 and the goals kept coming.
Eventual bragging rights went to Charlie’s team, having kept a clean sheet all day and scoring in every game. As it happens, going out so late that you are spotted on the train “getting home” whilst your players are getting to the game, announcing the wrong start time, only having 4 players arrive on time, not having a keeper for the first game and causing widespread confusion is a tactic we should all learn from. Where credit is due though, the “4s” were better organised, more mobile and on target more often than the rest of the teams. The school teams brought pace and potential to the tournament, scoring goals and showing future OTFC potential.
And the Vets… well Pete Stephens was right to be nervous, a tight and eagerly fought battle with the two teams eventually unable to break the other… 1-1 a probably fitting end to the day.
As another Club Development Day comes to a close, we concentrate back on the league and our cup runs… next year though, we look forward to a new crop of Tiffin Boys joining the club.
A footnote… the OTRFC squads were also at home this weekend and had brought along the school rugby team for support. Rugby vs Football banter therefore ensued… it is widely accepted that football won – at least that’s what the video suggests.