This was a need to win game and again we could only muster 9 players. We had Steve at the back and James back in the pit so it was a good 9. I should have realised it was an omen when they asked if one of theirs could ref because the real one was late. Then we took a massive hit and lost Russell in the first 2 minutes not just for 20 secs. but the whole game. Russell and Marlins, oil and water, what more can I say. For new members Russell has history with Marlins which started last year at the Hampton court tournament when one of their players was drunk in the water.
Russell does very little wrong but when he does he does it in spades. We always have a problem playing shallow at Elmbridge it’s about 3 foot deep and you have to lie like a crocodile to stop standing as Steve told us throughout the game.-which was good because it is so easy to stand there and it draws the ref’s attention to it sublimely when defending.- Russell gets a reversal decision for standing and gives a sarcastic thumbs up to the ref. who takes exception and sends him out, Russell takes exception to this and while standing applauds the ref. Final score Russell 2 - ref. 3, he gets excluded for the game. I don’t think total exclusions was necessary but we were in the wrong and I decided not to provoke the situation and contest it. Sometimes one has to take the higher ground and play your way out of a predicament. A difficult decision to make in the heat of the moment but I think it worked for the best. I must say the team took it extremely well, no ones head went down, we did just what I expected and played our way out.
I don’t want to harp on it because I feel the punishment was unjust and it is so out of character for Russell, we have to remember to stop talking, pleading, beseaching and appealing to the ref. No ref will reverse a decision, live with it! It is an unnecessary habit some of us are getting into.
It goes to show though as Alan C mentioned to me later, we can play without Russell and it was a good thing in some respects because the rest of us had to take it up a notch. And guess what? We did. One thing we have to address is our handling of the extra man situation. We had 10 decisions in our favour and never converted 1 of them. It seemed like confusion reigned we lost our head and the ball so many times. Guess what we’re doing at training Tuesday night? Positives from the game were. Good awareness apart from afore mentioned 6 on 5. Fitness is improving and we are playing like a team with confidence. One of the best moments of the game was when I realised Andy H has a contender for skip shot of the year. Andy, Steve has the answer for you, he scored a skip shot from our 7 metre. The secrete is to bounce it off James’ head when he is on their 7 m. The 2 SA guys in their side who normally give us a hard time were closed down and ineffectual. Well done guys. In every game there is always something that stands out, and something I keep meaning to mention is Steve’s blocking ability. He had an off game against Kingston when he deflected some out of Paul’s way which was unfortunate. What is special about Steve’s block is that even in a tackle as soon as he realises his man is going to shoot his hand comes up. Essentially he fights with one arm and blocks with the other. Another aspect I was impressed with was Paul’s positioning, even after your lay off Paul you still put yourself in the right place. I only saw you having to dive once, most times you were right there. Jim scored the goal of the game from the pit, I should have written this sooner because I can’t remember exactly how he did it but I though it was great.