Kew Park 1 Old Tiffs 1
Scorer: Steve Reid
1. Dave Smith
2. Simon Burton
3. Keri Ryan
4. Carl Naylor
5. Pete Markham
6. Alistair Rawlinson
7. Craig Walker
8. Ricky Evelyn
9. Steve Reid
10. Rob Lee
11. Michael Barnett
12. Oscar Omo
14. Simon Baile
After tucking into the turkey and a couple of cancellations, it was a heavyweight vets team, lacking a bit of match sharpness, who trudged half a mile through the mud for the vets first fixture of 2016.
The match was held at Dukes Meadows playing fields by the Thames in Chiswick, where it was vying for top billing with the Quintin Head rowing regatta, for which oarsmen and women had come from across the south east to dip their paddles.
Meanwhile back on the pitch, both teams were wading through puddles, the quagmire conditions not lending themselves to the silky skills which would undoubtedly otherwise have been on show.
In an attritional contest, Tiffs coped with some early Kew forays before taking a fortunate lead when the opposition goalkeeper’s delivery fell kindly. Steve Reid showed good composure to tuck the chance away and the vets were ahead.
Tiffs build on the lead, playing some nice football in patches in the first half. They did not, however, create many clear cut chances and a one goal lead is always a fragile one. Sure enough, towards the end of the half Kew’s striker bustled himself into a shooting position and let fly, the ball scorching past Tiffs’ near post, for the equaliser.
The second 45 was perhaps worse than the first from a spectator’s point of view, had there been any non-participants daft enough to watch. There wasn’t, of course.
There was a period where Ali ‘The Salmon’ Rawlinson entertained both sides by winning about 17 headers in a row, defying his 5ft 3 inch frame to tower over his 6ft opponent. The opponent’s ‘Salmon? Yeah, he’s a tinned salmon’ putdown could not take away the respect people had for Ali’s flying feat.
As legs tired, there were a couple of moments at each end where one team or the other could have snatched victory, but that would have been unfair – this was a hard won point for each side.
Meanwhile for rowing fans, I can report that Molesey appear to have won the regatta, beating clubs from as far afield as Oxford and Warwick. At least one Molesey based club got a win from the day.