Monday, 25 May 2009

Thank you Millwall...

"The Rabblers" 3
Dulwich Hamlet Under Eighteens XI 6.
at Champion Hill Stadium
on Sunday 24th May 2009

Indeed 'thank you Millwall'...
Not for losing at Wembley in the Play-Off Final, but for getting there & depriving the Dulwich Hamlet Youth Team of around half of their squad & Ian Neal, the manager for this friendly against them on the hallowed 'dust bowl' of Champion Hill Stadium.

As it happens the game was played with the true spirit it was intended. The 'young pups' who did play, (plus one dad!) were quick, skillful & sharp. But they treated the match in good fashion. Dominating from start to finish, but not really showboating & taking the piss!

We were four down at half time, with chances few & far between for us. But the tide turned in the second half with our 'secret weapon' of playing the young Dooley clan, where they just couldn't cope with our still at school maestros! Here is Shaun, with his godfers Millie, Liam & Steven. With Steven hitting the back of the net.

This was certainly an encounter that corss the generation gap! Also having a run out was Ian Caldecourt; with his young son Ben-who played the whole match- & his nephew Richard Strivens. It goes without saying that Ben was by far the most talented out of the trio! A fine performance he capped with a goal.

Our other goal came from-shock,horror! Wait for it!- an adult! Chris Garrett also getting on the socresheet. Prompting a harsh (but almost true) comment after the match posing the question 'was this the first time all of our goalscorers have been under five foot?'

Also a big welcome to our ranks go to Jim Marshall, who made his debut for us in this match! Welcome aboard Jim, hope we haven't put you off...the opposition aren't usually that good!

Many thanks to the Youth Team squad for asking us to play the game, it was great to have a run out against them, & cheers to them for being 'kind' to us!

The real winner though was the £100 match subs we collected in our dressing room, to go to the Youth Team funds.

Our team was

Back row (left to right): Mick O'Shaughnessy (manager); Steve Rickerby; Richard Strivens; Chris Tabrett; Ian Caldecourt; Phil Baker; Mishi Morath; Paul griffin; Mark Hutton; Ian Gannon. Front row(left to right): James O'Shaughnessy; Matt Hammond; Jim Marshall; Chris Garrett; Ben Caldecourt; Shaun Dooley.


Thanks to Hamlet fan Tony Squires, who kindly took the team photo.

I returned the favour by taking one with him in it, though he didn't actually play! ;-)

And a few snaps of the event...

One eyed Mark Hutton, less than a year away from his free bus pass; & Phil Baker, sitting on his hands to stop them shaking after no less than fourteen pints the day before, strike fear into the opposition, when they see the strength of our bench!

Not a care in the world from these substitutes! Who are this Youth Team lot anyway?

Half time...and hardly breaking into a sweat!

Topless like a Geordie...but without the tears! ;-)

Now for a few shots of the match, not very good ones I hasten to add, we've been spoilt by Melanie's excellent photos recently. Back to my trusty 'digital box brownie!' ;-)

Well nobody told me I had to get the ball in the picture! ;-)

Ah there it is! Paul Griffin makes one of his rare seasonal appearances. The season being'just before we go on summer tour', when he turns out so he can justify his place on the trips!

He certainly works for his place anyway!

Youth Team? Oi! Where's your birth certificate?

Debutant Jim Marshall gets stuck in.

Steve Rickerby dominates in the box in his own trusty style!

Little Ben, with some bloke old enough to be his grandad behind him!

Two Hamlet cousins in action.

Go on Ben, don't give up!

There are now a couple of long range action shots, from when I asked Griff to take some, when I went on for a few minutes. I should have told him where the 'zoom' function was...

Time to relax in 'Hoopers' afterwards!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours...

"The Rabblers" rallied to the ailing Fisher Athletic cause when we answered a call from them to enter their first ever Supporters' Tournament on Sunday 3rd May, at our very own Champion Hill Stadium.

Organised almost single handedly by their main man on the terrace Joe Arif to raise a few pennies to help them pay a few bills, & do have some fun at the end of a traumatic season for them, which ultimately ended with one hundred & one years of Fisher Athletic football being wound up in the High Court.

The other teams were Millwall supporters' & Eastbourne Borough supporters'.

The day turned out to be a bit of a disaster all round for 'The Rabblers', when we only had eight players, from a supposed squad of sixteen! To make matters worse the temporary 'gaffers' for the day were not only misinformed by the current 'gaffers' as to the start of the competition, they never had any numbers to hand to ring round!

Thankfully both Eastbourne & Fisher came to our aid, & lent us players so we could field a full XI in each match.

Our first game, each encounter being thirty minutes playing through one way, we faced the pre-tournament favourites Millwall, qho we know well from our regular stuffungs in IFA matches . despite battling gamely we went down three goals to nil, ably assisted by the Eastbourne Borough lads. They stepped in having beaten 'hosts' Fisher in the tournament opener by the odd goal in three.

Our the briefest of breaks we had 'drawn the short straw' & were straight back on, against the Fisher supporters' & assorted ringers, with the odd semi pro footballer thrown in! Another defeat followed, despite a different trio of Eastbourneites rallying to our cause. We were also assisted by Phil Doyle, who only popped in to watch for a few minutes, while popping into Sainsburys, his little kid left in te pram pitchside, ably babysat by Melanie!

We actually lost four one, which left a bit of a sour taste in the mouth, not because we lost, but in the manner! Admittedly the referee was a volunteer without any qualifications, but you saw a similar performance out on the pitch by the man in black at a First Team game he would have been lynched! We had a goal disallowed, and a blatant penalty shout turned down, from which they broke away & scored up the other end. To be fair the last two goals were ok, but the stuffing had already been knocked out of us, & this is the game we undoubtedly deserved to win.
But that wasn't to detract from the enjoyment we still had. We knew we were on a hiding to nothing, & if they wanted to beat us that badly that was for their conscience to wrest with!

It was the Lions' fans turn for two games on the spin, which they won comfortably, another three nil, against Eastbourne Borough. Then five for no reply against their former SE16 neighbours Fisher. So Millwall were top of the group, safely through to the final.

That was to be either ourselves, or the Boro. It was possible we could pip them, with a good win, but we were still the underdogs. Not that some of the Fisher team were that interested, as some were already changing, & on their way home as we kicked off! Somewhat disrespectful to the other teams, when it's your own tournament, if I may say so!

But some of the Fish were decent chaps, and they kindly lent us three players, to make up our numbers. When they were putting on the Pink 'n' Blue stripes their manager for the day Donna Powell shouted out 'Judas!' at them, which was a bit rich, seeing as she had appeared in the non-league press the previous season, wearing the famous colours herself as 'Miss Dulwich Hamlet!'
One of the players who guested for us in this match was 61 year old Fisher fan Danny Lodge, who had worn our colours before. He played for the Hamlet in the early sixties & recalled the likes of Dave Darvill & Johnny Everett, to name but two! We also gave a brief run out to young Megan, who was with the tea bar crowd watching.

The match itself, we actually shocked them by taking the lead, before they hit back with four goals, and deservedly made the final, as our tired but surprisingly still cheerful band of players headed for the showers & the bar.

The final was extremely close, Eastbourne holding Millwall until the last couple of minutes, until two late goals won it for the Lions.

It was a shame that more members of 'The Rabblers' squad couldn't make the effort to turn out for this competition. I won't lie & say I personally found it a bit disappointing, but am pleased we managed to get a team of sorts out. It was a tournament at our own stadium, & I feel we should have had a better show. I understand people have other commitments, but we also represent the Club who we support, & it was touch & go on the day if we were actually going to play!

Everyone who did turn up enjoyed the day, despite finishing as wooden spoonists. And tha's the most important thing.

Thank you to Joe Arif, for organising the whole thing, which isn't the easiest thing to do, to say the least! He did Fisher proud! And also thank you to the Fisher team for lending us players against Eastbourne.

Also a big thank you to the Eastbourne Borough brigade, who we've not encountered before. They were really generous in helping us out, and a credit to Eastbourne Borough Football Club.
Hopefully we can arrange an eleven-a-side or two against them next season. Fingers crossed they are at home when we travel to Eastbourne Town. And maybe we can accomodate them on their way to one of their away matches if the fixtures fall kindly enough somewhere for them.

We did receive an invite to their own 6-a-side tournament on the coast, which is scheduled for Sunday 12th July. Sadly we have been unable to have enough volunteers to raise a side, which is a shame because they really were a decent bunch. I guess it's one trip too many, as we are in the Union Saint Gilloise6-a-sides in Brussels, on Saturday 20th June; before we have our main eleven-a-side tour to Helsinki, where we once again take on our good friends from HJK on Saturday 25th July.

One final thank you goes to Melanie Lucking for taking all the photos from our matches...and more! It's taken me a while to sort and publish them, but understandable when she took over eight hundred snaps on the day! Not that I'm complaining, it's much appreciated!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Our 'squad' was...

Back row (left to right): Mishi Morath; Steve rickerby; Paul Griffin; Ian Gannon; Lawrence Marsh.
Front row (left to right): Alex Margolis; Matt Hammond; Megan; James O'Shaughnessy.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Millwall Supporters' 3, "The Rabblers" 0.

Here are some of the picture Melanie took of the Millwall game.

There are ninety nine photos in all of this match. To view them all click here.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Fisher Athletic supporters' 4, "The Rabblers" 1

This selection is from the second of our matches.

In this compilation there are one hundred and eleven pictures. Click here to see them all.