Gareth Jenkins (5) V (6) Jon Ridout
Jon Ridout progresses to the semi finals of the TTFE Team Picker Cup after a hard-fought 6-5 victory over Gareth ‘Gaji’ Jenkins in the tournament’s opening game.
In what was an absorbing game between evenly matched teams, both contestants prior to picking their sides gave little indication of any strategy or a particular tactic in which players they would pick first. Each team however boasted an even balance of a keeper, defence and attack, with both Gaji and Jon’s playing the latter position.
It was stalemate for a long period with both sides having a fair share of the scoring opportunities. It was Gaji’s team which opening the scoring and also managed to gather a 3-1 lead. Jon’s team clawed a goal back before half time to make it 3-2. The quality of football was unbelievably high with great passing, a high tempo and determined efforts from both sides.
In the second half Gaji’s side continued to dominate by keeping the single goal cushion over Jon’s team. As bodies tired, Team Jon looked to lack that scoring threat as they entered their opponent’s half. Although with frustration festering and precious time ticking away, Jon’s side mustered the resolve to peg the game back to 5-5, then take the lead for the first time to make it 6-5.
To add to the drama of the game, controversy came in the form of a goal line clearance in Jon’s half. In the dying minutes the ball looked to touch the net and Team Gaji immediately claimed the important equalising goal. In these situations both sides need to agree on whether the ball passes over the line and no agreement could be made, meaning the score stayed 6-5. Jon’s side finished the victors as the pendulum swung cruelly against Gaji, who looked to be favourite to progress throughout the game.
It was a bitter sweet end to the match, which although was a great game to play, players could not help but to be sympathetic to Gaji who looked forlorn in defeat. Meanwhile Jon offered a hand to each of his opponents and a big thanks to the members of his team for their final effort in swiping an impressive win. He will now play either Joe Newbury or Gareth O’Neill in Game 3 of the competition.
|Team Gaji: (clockwise from left) Peter, Callum, Gaji, Paul, Pugh, Billy, Chris|