Ipswich 3rd XI 3 – IES 4th XI 0

Starting in 8th place in Division 4NE meant IES knew avoiding defeat would guarantee a finish out of the relegation zone. But most of the pre-match conundrum was based around being sure the team had 11 players and wondering whether Storm Dennis would result in a postponement. Capitan Williams even went to watch the IES 2nd XI play Ipswich 2nd XI on the same pitch earlier in the day to check both the surface and potential player doubling up of our local rivals. It was interesting to note that Wrinch and Cook didn’t play for the Ipswich 2nd XI – which didn’t bode well for later …

Williams struggled all week with unavailability. Whiting prioritised golf, Scarff his injured leg, Spurling the ski-slopes, Kiel went awol and Page messed up his flight time to China (or wherever). So despite it being match 18, IES 5th XI had 5 debutants. Jones returned from a length injury and played his first away game for decades. Wijesinghe, Ramsey, Russell and Arthur completed the handful. They joined stalwarts Black, Elsom, Williams, Sneddon, Sebborn, Meades, Murray and Vince.

And there at the other end were Cook and Wrinch, joining Langton, Cutting, Askins, Hampton, Nunn et al in a very experienced Ipswich team.

IES started brightly and the maestro Elsom is still having nightmares about his miss at 0-0. Then Ipswich scored and then Sebborn looked around in dis-belief when the Capitan suggested he run 1 at short corners against the peerless Cook. Needless to say he’d just got to the penalty spot at about the time the ball hit the back-board. 2-0 it was at half time. By now Whiting had turned up from the golf course – wearing a hat of the style never before seen on a hockey pitch. He spent most of the first half trying to sub off Chris – despite the fact we had no one of that name. Management turning up before the start time to learn people’s names is a must in the job description.

Anyway IES performed better as a team in the 2nd half and passed the ball better. Jones showed why he was much missed and Murray brought down an aerial (something your reported was never expecting to honestly type). Cook scored another short corner but more surprisingly didn’t score from two others. But an even ish second half meant it finished 3-0. Ipswich moved nearer safety and IES stayed 8th with a gap week ahead. Critical next game against Dereham at home must be won if IES have any hope of finishing 6th or 7th.

Player of the match – let’s keep it simple. Jones was a contender but rules himself out on the grounds he wont be seen to be able to collect the award till about 2024. So it goes to Sebborn. How you can be so bad (last week) and then go to so good (this week) is beyond comprehension – but Sebborn managed it. Other than the short-corners,  he had Cook in his pocket throughout the game – and he’s never been able to even dream that before.

Oh and a use was found for that hat … a very useful shape as the bowl to collect match fees in … maybe it will be donated to the team for posterity.

IES 4th XI 4 – East Coast 1st XI 3

IES 4th XI might have been forgiven for viewing the match against East Coast with a bit of trepidation following three straight defeats and having regard to East Coast’s high flying position in Division 4NE. However news filtered through that the East Coast squad was detrimentally impacted by a stag do and the IES squad benefited from injuries to Capitan Williams, snaffle Scarff and Vince. But, helped by the fact that the top 4 IES teams were all at home, wider availability in the club was strong so the 4XI squad retained Lees and picked up Harris.

The pre-match warm up and team talk were delivered in Churchillian mode by maestro Elsom – stepping up to Capitan for the day. Churchill mind you didn’t have to cope with Sneddon mislaying his gum guard shortly before battle commenced. The subs duly became Sneddon and Whiting – Spurling partnered the Capitan up front.

The first half largely followed the league pattern. The game was pretty even but the dominant two players were East Coast’s aerialling defender Croft – who seemed to – understandably to pick out Murray as his target – and captain and midfield anchor Ayers. Now Murray has admitted to be sensitive to match report criticism of his footballing skills to the point where he has cut kicking out of his game since Christmas. On Saturday his stick developed a hole in it to any and every aerial ball. And didn’t Croft take advantage … not that Murray was helped out much by Page and Farrow.

At half time Coast had taken their chances (despite Black making a number of decent saves) and were 3-1 ahead – with 2 goals from Randlesome and one from Ayers. Elsom naturally scored IESs. Your reporter didn’t witness the half-time team talk but wasn’t surprised that Sebborn started the second half on the bench. Sneddon decided his teeth weren’t in danger and replaced Kiel at right back. Now whilst the great scot had forgotten his gum shield he had this week remembered his lenses and air-shot itis of the home game against UEA wasn’t repeated. Elsom soon nicked in a second and the match got fairly tense. Blood flowed and Jones spent an age helpfully patching up an East Coast player on the side. IES didn’t take advantage of the numerical benefit this produced. But then Reed wobbled, Elsom and Whiting nearly connected and Lees clincically finished from a narrow angle with about 20 minutes to go to make it 3-3.

The second half became a bit of a one-way affair. The East Coast keeper excelled. Farrow stepped higher and higher from the back in the full knowledge that Page would cover for him and then he took the ball at the top of the D – dithered, wandered, decided not to pick out Elsom and there was Harris to knock in the 4th from a few feet.

Some inconsistent ‘we’re too deep’ – ‘we’re too high’ calling followed from the masses. But there were few hearts in mouth moments in the last minutes and the match ended 4-3. This was only the 2nd close game that IES had got any points from all season …. Capitan Elsom has now set his sites on promotion … an interesting challenge bearing in mind IES are 24 points off the promotion places with 5 games to go …. Maybe Williams will be back next week to set more realistic expectations of 6th place.

Normally when IES lose they move higher up the league table. This week they won and stayed 8th. How that makes sense only the retired Whiting has the time or energy to work out. Next week Ipswich away – victory would probably consign Ipswich to relegation and ensure Division 4NE survival for IES.

Quotes from his team mates after the match about Capitan Elsom .. “Elsom led us to a glorious 4-3 win” “Elsom’s end of game team talk was a classic”  and your reporters personal favourite from the man collecting the match fees ..”whose Elsom?”.

Finally, player of the match, well this week Murray and Sebborn probably weren’t contenders. Harris wasn’t bad. Reed wobbled well. Farrow lost the aerialling battle. So the award almost goes to industrious, diligent and resolute Page – who showed all his experience and played as if he knew that Farrow would float and Page would need to do most of the work and all of the running at the back – which he duly did …. But let’s be honest – despite missing a few more sitters than he normally does – there could only be one winner. Yes, it’s the maestro, Capitan Elsom, with the first brace since Trenter on match day 1 and with linguistical nuances and impassioned calling that almost exceeded the precision of the interjections from his spectating mother.

IES 4TH XI 1 – UEA 3RD XI 3

This game against UEA 3rd XI set a new benchmark for the vibrant IES 4th XI team. Starting in 8th place in the league had a novel feel to it – and took some back to memories of October. More pertinently the 13 man squad replicated the travelling band that had drifted to defeat at Norwich City.

Capitan Williams took advice on the line-up from Maestro Elsom and Elder Whiting and their advice differed in every position other than the goal keeper and Whiting started sub. Anyway Williams went with a line up of Black – Vince, Murray, Page and Sneddon – Sebborn, Williams, Lees and Spurling – and Scarff and Elsom up front. Kiel kept Whiting company. After Lees stopped grumbling about not having played in mid-field for 20 years the match started and IES broke with convention and started brightly.

Williams struggled with the pace but Lees buzzed about. Elsom scored from IESs first (and last) short corner of the first half and things were looking up. Williams then pulled up injured and on came Whiting. Scarff went into midfield and then pulled up injured and on came Kiel. And UEA equalised. Half time and one-one. Williams orated and observed that the injured two didn’t feel like coming back on and they had every confidence that the fitness of the other 11 would shine against the students. Scarff sniggered in dis-belief behind his back.

Page excelled in the 2nd half, Sebborn kept falling over, Spurling spent hours on the ball in the attacking right hand corner and Vince showed nice touches in mid-field. Sneddon got air shot mania to a level that may compete with Reid (J) in the air-shot of the season competition. Black made some saves but didn’t make two. Murray plugged away and Lees buzzed some more. Whiting and Elsom were telepathic (not pathetic) up-front – although their telepathy was working to their pace of 1984 whereas their legs didn’t get them anywhere near the other one’s 2020 ‘passes’. Kiel tracked back when required. And the crowd roared with laughter a few times. Shots happened and didn’t hit the net but it was fairly even – other than the two goals.

So a disappointing 3-1 it ended. Maybe it would have been different if all 13 had stayed fit or maybe it would have been better if Williams hadn’t tried to play in mid-field. But results went IESs way and the weekend ended still in 8th and 9 points clear (with 6 games to go) of the relegation zone. Next week – certain defeat is avoided – as there is no game. Some will cast their minds back to their last performance at Watton. Murray is still talking up that game as it contained his penultimate assist – he seemed to have forgotten he was playing central defender and we conceded 17 (yes 17) but lets not be negative.

Two weeks time is the return match against East Coast. Hopefully Whiting wont have another strop and Sebborn wont get sent off.

Finally man of the match. Two figures stood out. Firstly Page for his best game of the season – he even entered the opposition 23 at one point. But he was edged out by midfield dynamo Lees who even admitted to enjoying the exercise and he did demonstrate that getting fitter does make one a better player. Capitan Williams has taken note – and will advise others of this point in due course.

Norwich City 5th XI 4 – IES 4th XI 2

Following the correction to the Division 4NE League Table to account for the 4 concessions in the League to-date, IES had moved 6 points clear of the relegation zone prior to this vital match against Norwich City 5th XI. The long trip to Taverham involved a new chance to assess the mystery dinosaur at Pulham and the Sneddon family have entered a third contender of Apatosaurus to go along-side the Diplodocus v Stegasaurus debate of Dereham away. This time he or she (another question to be solved!) was sporting a Scarff (not Gary as it happens!).

The pre-match build up was maybe a touch over the top. Maestro Elsom seemed to think it was the most important battle since Bannockburn. Anyway the staring line up was back to 5-3-2 with Lees retaining his spot up front and the Capitan daftly volunteering to test his ‘fitness’ as the highest of the 5. The match started in glaring side sun-light and Norwich City belied their lowly league position by storming from the blocks. Now, powerful reverse stick undercut shots are not normally seen in Division 4NE and if they are they always always sail miles high and wide (or bobble along the ground). But not in this match. The first such shot crashed into Black before he saw it and the second one from about 10 degrees found the top corner like a missile. The IES subs were wondering where the City No 167 had been hiding all season. And yes, that’s enough mention of Sneddon and Whiting.

The half improved slightly and – with the Capitan successful by-passing Sebborn and picking out Lees with regularity – IES improved and Lees then equalised with a nifty reverse stick finish that Scarff would have been proud of. Half time came and it was 1-1 but the IES contingent may have been mistaken into thinking that they were 7-0 down from the encouraging hirsute words that gushed from the Maestro. The Capitan made a few interjections, the 2nd most risible being to push Sebborn higher up the pitch – yes yes how daft – but the most astonishing was the choice of himself for bottom of the diamond.

So the second half, well Vince and Spurling started well and both managed 40+ yard runs at different points. Whiting came and went. Sneddon wondered how much money the family were spending out shopping. Murray, Page and Kiel played the whole match for the first time for months as a unit – as did the experienced midfield duo of Scarff and Sebborn. And more problematic, despite adjusting to cut out the reverse stick shooting, IES conceded a 2nd and then a 3rd with 5 minutes left. At this point Norwich City clearly had the 3 best players on the pitch and if they all play the last 8 games of the season then their almost inevitable march towards relegation may be reversed. But with 5 to go Elsom pounced and scored his first goal of the decade and IES saw a point as a possibility for about the 45 seconds it took for one crash ball to bisect the Williams Sebborn duo and for the faintest centre forward deflection to evade Murray and Black. 4-2 it ended.

As has often been the case this season. IES have lost and ended up further away from relegation (up to 9th place) – what with Watton conceding again. Next week a vital home game against UEA. Spectators welcome – we only managed a 4 person contingent for this away game.

Player of the match – well contenders weren’t numerous – but keeping it as snappy as his astros – the award this week goes to Spurling – who grew into the game and provided most of IESs brighter moments – especially in the second half.

IES 4th XI 0 – Bury St Edmunds 3rd XI 1

So puddings eaten, chocolates consumed and dry January well underway for the IES squad. After a good end to the first half of the season, IES sat uncomfortably in 10th place in Division 4NE with aspirations of reaching 4th and fears of falling to 11th. The fact that Bury were first up in the New Year didn’t bode well considering they’d won 11 of their first 12 games.

Societal issues in the top 3 teams meant that for the first time this season the 4th XI were stretched for numbers. Harvey, Mills, Stevens and Wing were all promoted and that meant the 4th XI was beginning to look like a veterans team with a few youngsters … Capitan Williams drafted in Klug (again), picked up Lees from above and promoted Spurling and Vince (the latter for his first ever 4th XI game). Klug therefore became the only starter in his 20s or 30s. In case you had forgotten – the rest of the motley bunch making up the 13 man squad were: Black, Elsom, Kiel, Murray, Page, Meades, Scaff and the irascible Sebborn. Simpson, Sneddon and spectating Trenter and Whiting were unavailable.

The game started brightly – as it was daylight and it wasn’t raining. Elsom looked bemused to be back in midfield and Vince settled well into his new role at right back. Meades started to throw his weight around and Lees and Klug injected energy and no little skill into proceedings. The first half was a fairly even affair. Bury did have a couple of short corners but nothing to unduly concern Black in goal. Sebborn passed it left three times in a row for the first time this millenia and Whiting managed the subs (Kiel and Spurling to start with) with far more skill than he occasionally displayed when on the pitch. Nil-nil it was at half time. From memory that might make it the first first half clean sheet since the opening day of the season.

Bury predictably improved after half time and IES unpredictably didn’t get any worse. Spurling and Meades combined to create IESs best chance but sadly the ball drifted by the left post. Then Williams deflected a crash ball into someone’s head and Bury scored from the re-bound from the subsequent short corner and 0-1 it became.  IES stepped it up again. Kiel and Page interchanged. Murray continued his strong recent form and Spurling put in some shift at right midfield.

Even Whiting’s inspired shift to three at the back led to forward momentum but sadly that one chance just didn’t quite come. The game finished 0-1 but Bury knew they’d been made to work hard for their 3 points and IES know that they have to keep that level of commitment up against the teams near the bottom of the league – starting with the trip beyond the Brontosaurus up to Norwich City next week. Next week IES need to focus on maintaining the commitment and getting the ball more into the opposition D.

So as the table never lies and with Ipswich beating Felixstowe, IES dropped nearer to the relegation zone for an hour or two, until the table was amended to take account of the various league concessions to date with Ipswich and Watton picking up a 6 point deduction each. To summarise IES started off three points clear of Ipswich, Ipswich won, IES lost and IES ended the day 6 points clear. Confusing or what? What says Elsom, confusing says Murray.

Finally, man of the match. Numerous contenders stuck their hands up. It was probably the best game by Williams, Page and Meades this season. Whiting was faultless and Scarff is still recovering from Sebborn passing it to him. Spurling played well in his first 4th XI game this season but the award goes to Vince – it’s not easy to stand out in your first game at a higher level but he did it effectively and was invariably in the right place, always tried to do the right thing and more or less did so every-time ……. If only Capitan Williams could say that about his regulars (including himself) every week!

Felixstowe 2nd XI 3 – IES 4th XI 5

After the 4th XI club record of seven straight defeats was shattered last week, hopes were riding high for the visit to the seaside against Felixstowe 2nd XI in Division 4NE of the East League – especially following the vanquishing of the same team at the start of the season. After considerable practice at his shots during the week Simpson was sadly missing along with Klug who is still searching for his match fee – so Brown and Knight endeavoured to cover for them. Reed breathed a sigh of relief that he didn’t have Whiting behind him – as the great man professed injury and offered his management services. Meades returned in his place.

The warm up was epic – Elsom decided he was too old, injured and suffering from tooth ache to start – and factored in too – how clever – that someone had to be a friendly face on the side for when the manager finally got around to arriving. The starting line up was therefore Black, Kiel, Williams, Murray, Sneddon, Sebborn, Brown, Reed, Scarff, Meades and Knight. IES started brightly for a change and were soon challenged by having a short-corner with no Elsom on the pitch. Reed struck it, a deflection followed and it hit the Felixstowe defender straight in the face. Thankfully he was wearing a now fractured mask and lasting damaged didn’t ensue. Brown despatched the resulting penalty flick with aplomb.

Now the difficulty with writing match reports 48 hours after the event is that your reporter is forgetful and cant quite remember the order of events that occurred next. At some point, Felixstowe crossed from the right, Black saved the first shot but the re-bound was duly buried. At some point the maestro brought himself on for Meades. At some point Whiting arrived. At some point Williams made his 4th tackle of the season. And at some point Elsom scored a brace of far post snaffles. 3-1 it was at half time.

Elsom was delighthfully sanguine in his half time team talk, predicting that Knight would soon open his club account. Little did he realise that Capitan Williams was going to take him off and put Meades back on. The Capitan observed that the next goal was crucial. Brown, in reverence maybe agreed with the Capitan and the 2nd half started and – yes you guessed it – Felixstowe scored with another re-boaund off Black.

But whilst some might be nervous at 3-2, not Meades, and despite never having scored in adult hockey, he showed maturity and experience to bury his first ever adult goal from about 2.5 feet. A distance Scarff might be proud of. Williams, Sebborn, Sneddon, Murray, Kiel and Knight looked on with jealousy as they are yet to score this season. Actually Murray didn’t really look on cos he turned to celebrate his first assist since the reign of Queen Victoria – only to find that Brown was doing up his laces and missed his best mates moment of glory.

Now, if Mrs Murray is a reader of these match reports she may wish to enquire of her husband as to the plan he hatched with the aforementioned Brown to dissuade her from the appropriateness of the much needed new lighting system in their living room. Anyway, we digress, thereafter Elsom completed his 2nd hat-trick of the season against Felixstowe. Maskless Murray ducked on the line and deflected the ball in (again) to make it 5-3 and Knight broke his stick. The only other things of interest in the last 15 minutes were the never ending cry of “Your too high” from Whiting (one doesn’t know what drugs he thought had been partaken and a cameo master-class at right back from Scarff – who repeatedly looked to pass to Reed – and with mind boggling deception, flexible wrist work and cunning – passed it by Reed and up the line – time after time after time.

And 5-3 it ended.

Player of the match, in your reporters view there were 4 contenders, Murray for much improved footwork and his assist, Brown for a reasonable debut, Meades for his debut goal and the maestro for his hat-trick. The award though has to go to Meades – you only ever score your first goal once! One assumes he was rewarded with pizza for tea.

So at the Christmas break – 12 points from 12 games. 10th place in the league but closer to 4th than 12th and all to play for in the last ten games.

IES 4th XI 3 – Thetford 1st XI 2

After seven straight defeats it was perhaps fortuitous that the visitors  to Rushmere this week were Thetford 1st XI. Last year the home game victory against Thetford was the highlight of the 4th XI season and the nadir of Blake’s hockeying career. Anyway despite strenuous efforts by Capitan Williams to secure Blake’s services for this game he preferred the thought of Pelicans away with the 3s.

The squad changed slightly with Meades and Simpson unavailable and Wing promoted. Klug and Reed made up the numbers along with the usual bunch of mis-fits. Your reporter enjoyed a fine curry in the Maharani before the game to celebrate Swindin snrs (aka Pidge) 50th birthday. Stalwarts from other clubs were also in attendance and – when being asked to describe Reed’s hockey in a single work – Bury St Edmunds legend Calver managed ‘pirouetting’ and Sudury and Ipswich legend Palmer managed ‘uncoordinated gate’ – seemingly oblivious to the fact that that isn’t a single word (but never mind).

There was concern on the morning of the game that it might be frosted off. There was greater concern when the team received a picture of Whiting in his slippers in bed as a morning motivator. Anyway the maestro Elsom inspected the pitch and all was fine. Capitan Williams decided to stick with the same 5-3-2 formation that worked so well at Magpies the previous Saturday whilst suggesting the wider two of the 5 could play a little higher and – with his normal tactical acumen – he identified Thetford’s danger man – bandana wearing Reece.

So the match started and it soon became clear that Kiel and Whiting took Williams’ advice literally and played as advanced left and right wings and the Thetford danger man was (a) dangerous and (b) not the bandana wearing Reece. He was lightening quick, skilful and had pitch awareness – and bluntly too good for IESs flagging midfield. However Thetford took the lead from an aerial that was mis-judged by both Whiting and Williams. IES then equalised – and your reporter would like to take credit for this. First Sneddon tackled, then he ran about 30 yards bypassing Whiting and passed the ball up the line and a while later (although Sneddon is still trying to claim an assist), Scarff demonstrated that your reporter doesn’t know what he is talking about (see 16th November match report) by burying a reverse stick bobbler in the corner.

Then with Klug brought on to add some dynamism, Thetford stole forward and outpaced the IES defence (not that that is tricky) and re-took the lead. At this point it became clear that Elsom’s pitch inspection hadn’t factored in the special meteorological conditions that surrounded Whiting all afternoon – every time the ball went near him it hit an icy patch and ended up evading the Elder Wand and going off the pitch (who’d have thought he could go from the sublime against Magpies to the ….)

By half time though Elsom had done what he does best and scored and been subbed. 2-2 it was at half time. This was the first time since the opening day of the season that IES weren’t behind at half time. Capitan Williams changed the formation to 4-4-2 to take advantage of Sebborn’s legs and Klug’s dynamism and to clip the wings of Kiel and Whiting and revert Murray to his favoured left back spot. Reed slowly got into the game and didn’t pirouette as much as anticipated. His telepathic connection with Whiting amazed many. Midway through the half Elsom took a ball on the left wing, did someone for skill and accelerated away – ‘Wow Dad’ echoed around the pitch from one of the hearty crowd – who afterwards claimed she’d never seen the maestro run so fast or so far. Shame it ended with him pulling his calf.

Then as Murray and Klug stitched up the left side of the pitch and Sneddon continued his 70 minute chat with the Thetford centre forward – Klug’s clearance caught a Thetford player in the head and after a lengthy stoppage, a trip to A&E followed – for stiches one assumed. IES took advantage of the man advantage and it was Klug who netted the third with a swept finish from the top of the D. IES then – surprisingly – didn’t sit too deep. But with Whiting back on their were one or two nervy moments as the pitch in his area failed him again.

3-2 it finished and IES broke their defeated run. For some – Murray and Sneddon spring to mind – it was the first win of the season. IES remain 10th in the league and sit 8 points clear of bottom and only – when the impact of Watton’s surprising home game concession against Ipswich filters through the table – 7 points off 4th.

Player of the match this week – well there were a number of contenders but the award goes to Black. Despite not being mentioned above he made a number of fine saves – particularly in the first half – his calling is improving and it did mark his first ever win in adult hockey.

Next week – the final game before Christmas – an away trip to vanquished (on the opening game of the season) Felixstowe. Elsom will be hoping to repeat his hattrick from September and Murray will be hoping not to play kicking back like last years equivalent fixture.

Harleston Magpies 4th XI 5 – IES 4th XI 1

The mood music for IES in advance of this match wasn’t great.

Harleston Magpies stood proudly in 2nd place in Division 4NE having won every home match comfortably and IESs away record was just as consistent – played 4 – lost 4.

After a tough selectorial week where the squad was trimmed to 12 with Sneddon and Stevens rested and Harvey and Abbott promoted, Capitan Williams was cheered to find 9 of the squad at training and less cheered when Whiting contacted him to say he’d tweaked his achilles in a mixed match on Thursday and wondered whether he’d be up to playing. Most of the squad wondered that about Whiting on the average week – it must be professed. Anyway this led to a tactical master-stroke of playing Whiting in the position he felt he’d least need to run in.

So the starting formation was switched to 3 – 3 – 2 – 2 and Whiting played the right of the higher three with Kiel returning on the left. The other starters were Black, Page, Murray, Williams, Sebborn, Scraff, Wing, Meades and Elsom – and Simpson graced the bench. Our spectator core reached 5 – our normal away game fan – Simpson snr (Mr) – and Trenter and his knees.

Worryingly the Magpies squad looked strong with Cobbold gracing the middle and former IES player Cole up top. But IES raced from the blocks and looked a different team – together, committed and up for the fight. Magpies had plenty of the ball in the first quarter but created little. Their edge of the D free-hits orchestrated by the aforementioned Cobbold created problems but, this week, IESs midfield realised that defending was part of the job-description and they were rebuffed. And when the defence struggled, Black stepped up to the plate. Sadly after about 20 minutes the defence leaked and Black couldn’t mop it up and IES went behind and quickly conceded a 2nd. But then a short corner was won and – for a change – IES had someone backing up when it went wrong and Whiting saved the day.

Now, we have re-introduced Whiting to the report. By now he had tackled, hit and tried a collection of aerials – some of which defied gravity and others where gravity never came into play at all (for the slow among our readers – that meant the ball never got into the air).

Then IES won another short corner – and Elsom despatched it right into the left corner. Simpson snr will be uploading it onto you-tube shortly and Elsom will overtake Rogan Josh in his social media influencer battle. 2-1 it was at half time. It was unusual to experience a team behind being so happy at half time. The positivity was astonishing and – yes it is true – even Whiting appeared happy. Murray was beside himself with excitement that he’d only kicked it twice all half.

More was required and more was provided but sadly whilst IES kept going valiantly Magpies stepped it up a gear. Williams gave away a penalty flick with an awful ‘tackle’ on Cobbold and then produced an air shot of hilarity (for others). Whiting and Wing had the right side sown up – other than when two goals were scored at the left hand post. Kiel rotated with Elsom and Sebborn remained steadfast in the middle (whether that is good or bad isn’t really clear). Scarff even looked happy for a change when playing left of Sebborn and Meades and Simpson provided energy up top.

Despite the score-line ending 5-1 and Magpies being deserved winners this was the best IES had played in months. Wing, Whiting, Murray and Black undoubtedly had their best games all season (maestro Elsom was quoted as saying “It’s the best Whiting has played in 20 years”) and others weren’t far behind. Man of the match was a close run thing but fell to either Whiting or Black and the award went to Whiting (on the grounds that he’s never merited an Elsom compliment before, he promises never to run again and also for his adroit chat up lines of the two young ladies in the bar – the highlight – regrettably – of the whole trip for the youngest spectator).

Next week a tricky late home game against Thetford. It is rumoured that Blake may be in for his first 4th team game of the season following his ‘success’ against Thetford last year (Elsom is happy to play bodyguard / minder / diplomat again). But a win would be the order of the day to break the 7 game losing streak and to ease away from the relegation zone.

IES M4 Match Report – Sat 16th Nov

IES 4th XI 2 – Sudbury 2nd XI 7

Some games are strange and this was one of them ……

Sudbury 2nd XI visited Rushmere for this Division 4NE match and if you’d have watched the first hour you’d have thought it was a close match with barely a goal in it at the end. And yet …….

Anyway, back to the beginning. The missing blue shirt and socks were returned. The miscreant will remain nameless although when called a ‘bit of a tea-leaf’ by maestro Elsom, the baffled look the maestro received explained all that was required – i.e. in relation to the general educational time-lapse gap between the maestro and the miscreant. The Elder Wand, Whiting, Stevens and Kiel returned and the bench was kept warm by Kiel and the late arriving Wing. The starting line up was Black, Murray, Page, Williams, Sneddon, Sebborn, Whiting, Scarff, Stevens, Meades and Elsom.

The first half was a novel affair – part predictable (i.e. conceding from an attacking short corner) and part unpredictable (i.e. IES scoring a goal – the first first half goal since the opening day of the season). Scarff found his calling at top of the diamond – if only he could find his reverse stick shooting boots or line-up the shots for the side that he can hit the ball on. Whiting was majestic – the pre-match ‘did I leave my astros in Turkey’ panic may have focussed his mind. What else happened – well who knows – but the score was 2-1 (down – of course) at half time.

Elsom’s oration was remarkably positive – drawing attention to the more positive attacking intent that had abounded. Capitan Williams tweaked the line up and all was positive going into the second half. IES predictably conceded a third but then another Elsom master-piece (the ‘through the keepers legs’ type of mastrpiece) got the score back to 3-2 going into the last quarter and IES were on the up. But lo – it ended 7-2 as IES went backwards, imploded and conceded a series of soft goals. Is a close 7-2 defeat better than another consolation goal in a 4-1 defeat … answers on a postcard.

There were probably only three contenders for player of the match. Elsom for his brace, Black for his heroics in goal (despite the 7) and Scarff for his best game of the season. On balance the award goes to Scarff … Thereafter it is rumoured that Williams may have demonstrated that he is much better at umpiring these days (when doing the M2 game) than he is at playing his beloved sport.

And most bizarre stat – despite starting the match just out of the relegation zone – by better goal difference – and thereafter getting thrashed – IES will find themselves three points clear of the drop when the table is updated to reflect Ipswich’s concession against Norwich City. Next week – a tricky away game awaits against high flying Magpies and IESs proclivity for defending deep may actually be required! But Capitan Williams is rumoured to be considering a new tactical formation.

IES M4 Match Report – Sat 9th Nov

Dereham 3rd XI 4 – IES 4th XI 1

4-1 sequences are great providing they are not successive defeats. Defeats are what this IES team are excelling in.

So Capitan Williams took drastic action for this Division 4NE clash against even more lowly Dereham and reverted to a simple 12 man squad (with two spectators). Logic in the Simpson family went out the window as the celebratory Domino’s Pizza was partaken of the night before the match (there are other purveyors of pizza available – and it is rumoured that Abbott makes a fine base). Anyway Mills was promoted and Scarff and Whiting were rested (and boy didn’t we miss the Elder Wand – if not the aging Whiting). Scarff scotched rumours that he was off to watch his wife’s match (instead of playing) when he was heard to burst into a fit of giggles at the prospect.

So the squad was Black, Murray, Williams, Page, Sneddon, Sebborn, Wing, Harvey, Elsom, Trenter, Simpson and Meades. Meades made the bench place his own – by his geographical faux pas on the journey. Elsom, having missed his safeguarding training, entertained his car load by doing a GCSE geography tutorial. His first question was which county is Dereham in. The assembled mass of young people managed three answers. Bury, Norwich – and – your reporter reports this with a limited degree of pride – Norfolk. Having done complicated geography, Elsom moved onto plate tectonics and dinosaurs. The back seat promptly fell asleep when he started talking to them about his Ancient History A Level.

Anyway – as ever with these match reports -there is more waffle about the great issues of the day than there is about the match.

Reporting on something of relevance, the team all actually got to Dereham by the appointed time. Inevitably the start was delayed by an injury in the previous game. But that meant that the team had plenty of time to squeeze into their blue away strip and the new lucky socks Williams had purchased for the occasion.  Now, why club kit-maestro Buck thought that the 4th XI would only need 2 XL shirts in a whole bag full is beyond comprehension.

O and the match started at some point. And in the first 3 minutes Sneddon pulled of a one handed tackle that he would have been proud of in his hey day – it is only a rumour that the original hieroglyphic version of it featured as compulsory learning in the aforementioned A Level (or Highers as they used to be called in Sneddon’s native Scotland).

But then – guess what – Dereham scored a messy first. And then Sneddon had one of those moments which he professed need to stay in the ‘What goes on in Dereham stays in Dereham camp’ – however since we have talked up his tackle we should mention that he turned and decided not to play the ball back to Williams, then turned again and decided to play the ball back to Williams, but instead he topped it straight to the Dereham centre forward – who caught Black rather flat footed and 2-0 it was.

Now – a marked improvement – IES were only 2 down at half time this week. And – it must be reported – the half time team talk had an impact – because IES played much much better in the second half. That is after Murray scored a delicious 3rd (for Dereham) via a reverse stick own-goal – which had Sebborn in hysterics for quite some time (how uncomradely is that?). But Simpson then hit the post twice (your reporter was told later cos he couldn’t see that far up the pitch) and Trenter scored an exquisite goal to move one behind Elsom in the team goal-scoring charts. Capitan Williams got a ball full on the top of his shin just above his shin pads – Page thought that would teach him for having long legs – and Sneddon hobbled off with a mystery injury in sympathy.

And just to continue the normal sequence IES conceded a 4th – despite Black excelling in the 2nd half. Simpson senior decided to video our short corner – it will soon be a best seller on you-tube and Elsom will be competing with KS3 and Rogan Josh for social media influencer status.

Tea was delightful. Simpson proved it is possible to tear a new plastic ten pound note in half. Wing collected the money and forgot his own. And someone stole a pair of the unlucky blue socks. Clearly the highlight was driving back passed the Pulham Diplodocus – it was too dark to see whether he (or she) had nicked the socks – or whether in fact it was a Brontosaurus.

So IES slide down to a perilous 10th place in the league with hopes that Sudbury at home will see a change in fortune and some points won and the three consecutive 4-1 defeats avenged. Whiting and Scarff will return and others are re-available.

Player of the match – well Black played well – the youthful spectator got the score right this time – Sneddon was excellent – other than his aberration – Trenter doesn’t score many – but the award goes to Simpson. Not only did he hit the post twice but he came of age in terms of running, hold up play and humouring his mother when she explained – on the long journey north – how to think of defenders as chairs and then to beat them with pace and movement. Anyway undoubtedly his best game yet – maybe the pre-match Domino’s did the trick. He also had the good grace to enquire how the Capitan’s shin was …. Your reporter likes – and rewards – such teamliness.

Mind you – back to the chair analogy – the IES 4th XI defence is about as sedentary as a row of chairs – but other defences have been seen to move although – to be balanced – other defences seldom need to move far when playing against IESs attack!

Next week hopes are high(er).