SIFL Cup “What a great day for football!”
Mark ‘2 yard thunderbastard Kenny’ hollered at the gods during the warm up, as they repaid him by cranking up the humidity by 10 degrees and removing all cloud cover.
Although the SIFL Cup was the official ‘curtain raiser’ of the new season, Raiders still missed a few key players from last year’s campaign, with Mirko missing and Sipho still celebrating his recent engagement (get over it, ya melt!). Man-child goalkeeping cutie-pie Hank (and surely the only Gen Z baby to EVER be named as such), stepped between the sticks, in front of a much-changed back 5.
Reports of Hank leaving his own sweet sixteenth birthday party early on the Friday night, after getting off the batphone with Coach Colin, only served to suggest that this wee little scamp is a talented padawan with much yet to learn from lord of the dark side, Kevin Fox. Recent signing from the opposition, Wisdom, quickly silenced his former teammates by walloping a Magnus free-kick beyond the keeper and celebrating with the kind of vigour you’d expect against an old side. In fairness, this was against the run of play as Sporting started strongly and soon equalised and led, although Jimmy Q, Nayan and Kenny were adamant the officials and not their high line were in the wrong.
As the game progressed, it would be a mistruth to say Raiders grew into the game, as Sporting threatened at every opportunity and the Raiders midfield struggled to keep any sort of possession. Half time came and went and although this showed marginal improvement, the match was over when a miscommunication between Hank and Jimmy Q led to the latter hauling down the Sporting striker and the penalty dispatched.
Hank almost added a penalty save to an eventful weekend but alas, 3-1 it remained. Several changes were made to the side for the 3rd/4th place play-off against Hot Shots as Jonas joined Wisdom up top for a ‘hair’ em, scare ’em, if all else fails, absolutely wallop’ em’ strikeforce that shows promise for the season ahead.
Chris revelled in a more slightly central role whilst old guard Tom Champion, proved a sturdy communicative rearguard with his younger accomplices. Wisdom, Chris and a Jonas double (“Was Camy watching?”) rounded off a comprehensive 4-0 win that secured the 3rd spot and ensured that at least the raiders were not spoon-worthy.
Just as weatherman Kenny decided to head home, the heavens opened once more and gave Saints the benefit of a more level playing field by absolutely drenching the pitch in preparation for a tight final that ended in a penalty win for the mostly Irish contingent. There’s always next year…