Following last week’s somewhat frustrating trip to Sinjuns, Tiff’s 2s had been itching for redemption, eager to take all 3 points at home against Old St. Mary’s Reserves. Come Saturday, however, a bare 11 ½ players made their way onto pitch, assembled during a frantic covid induced cross club recruitment spree that included anything from internal transfers to new signings. Even Tiff’s rugby team threw in a player at the 11th hour. All in all, no surprise that the team spent most of the warmup learning each other’s names.

The pitch itself was in a surprisingly decent state, given the early January mud bath and rogue car chase that had made Grist’s unplayable for a couple of weeks. The only other noteworthy excuse for what is to come were the strong winds, which among other things saw not one but two footballs hoofed into the neighbouring plots before play had even begun.

The match started terribly, with the opposition going up 1:0 within a matter of minutes. Somehow, the ball had been made its way over the line after being played low across the box. Anyhow, the goal paled compared to the oppo’s second strike which followed in quick succession and saw their striker lift the ball into the net in some style.

Tiff’s were trying to orientate themselves but the ref wasn’t having any of it. Out of nowhere, several of the oppo’s players were called out for their outrageous fashion faux pas, having had the audacity to pair green tape with their orange socks. Never mind one of Tiff’s players wearing black shorts – the green tape had the ref briefly fumble with both yellow and red card before deciding to let things slide this time.

Following a few Manuel Neuer-esque saves out field, Tiff’s went behind yet again, conceding two more goals in quick succession. 0:4 down, things started to look a little bleak. Had it not been for the 1:4 – technically, it was an own goal but who cares – after a delicious ball into the box following a free kick, the ref may as well have blown the whistle.

After the break, the game was unrecognisable. Suddenly, it was Tiff’s who created pressure on the opposition, boosted by the wind in their backs and by their freshly deployed rugby beast creating all sorts of havoc up-front. The ball started to flow much better and chances started appearing left, right, and centre. Unfortunately, in the end, 2:4 was all there was to be had; however, given the circumstances and strong second half, Tiff’s left the pitch holding the heads, well, not exactly high but you get the drift – the team had come back fighting!

Oh, one more thing that might beat tape gate: have you ever seen a ref make a player tie the ref’s laces? Certainly a first for me!

Player of the Match brought to you by The Adventure is Real

Jo Buehlmeyer