Final Score – Team Rich 12 – 11 Team Dan
Rich Hinchly won entry into the TPC Quarter Finals with a stunning victory over the fancied Dan Patterson.
The game was rescheduled at the last minute due to the postponement of the game between Greg and Karl. On arrival to the pitch Rich didn’t know that he was expected to compete, which only adds credit to his win (or it suggests further proof that luck has a part to play in the TPC). Rich didn’t get the memo but clearly didn’t need it.
On a week where there were several regular player absentees, one would be concerned that the spirit of the TPC may not carry the momentum from the opening game. However the tie was played with as much fervour and passion as the opening game, as the two captains demonstrated much intention of progressing. It was a minefield for them when it came to picking, with the field fraught with irregular players including returning Owain Roberts.
The Teams were:
The shock of the pick came from the fact that Dan had managed to choose both the ‘recognised keepers’ – the two players who go into goals willingly each game – despite Rich having the first pick. After picking Billy and Joe, betting men must have been lumping their cash on Dan to romp on home with the win. At first they seemed to be justified as Team Dan took a 2 goal lead. It certainly felt like that would be the end of competition at that point
But thankfully for the neutral, the game was not over just yet, as Team Rich masterminded a comeback which would defy all the doubters. The turning point seemed to be when the team captain of Team Rich went in goal himself; putting in a stellar performance between the sticks and was able to assign his directions from the rear. They managed to push ahead to a 6-4 lead by the end of the half.
Half time instigated the agreed swap for the Team Dan keepers – Billy out and Joe in. It was a like-for-like swap positions wise as Billy took Joe’s role in the centre of midfield. Dan’s game plan was to effectively use the wings, Owain and Karl, to push forward and play himself as the old fashioned sweeper in defence. There was merit in this approach – he is the one player on the pitch who relishes the run from defence into attack with the ball; either supplying the ball to the attack or even going for goal himself. In fact, a chunk of balls came from the team captain going for goal himself. Although this approach kept the side in the game, one would blame the Team Dan attack for being wasteful and blunt in their finishing, as they just couldn’t find the net.
Team Rich however excelled in counter attacking, passing and took their chances to uphold their lead. Mike and Pishty were excellent as they terrorised the Team Dan defence with a intuitive partnership which proved too much to handle. With Paul, who likes to venture forward; plus Big G and Rolan providing support, the ball was happily being passed around on the floor, unlike the long ball tactics being used last week. Until of course Pishty scored those two identical headed goals, which pretty much put the game out of Team Dan’s reach at 12-9.
With a final push for glory Team Dan pulled the game back to 12-11 but the damage had already been done. The obligatory apologies from the team to the losing captain came and although Dan was disappointed with the loss, he took heart that it was indeed a close game. Rich may not have known he was playing, but he sure did look like a winner afterwards. Onward now to face Daryl in a few weeks time in the Quarter Finals.
5 things we learnt from this game…
1. Keepers aren’t the route to victory after all
We all thought the game was up. As Dan used his second pick to get both Billy and Joe, nervous laughter consumed the picking arena as it looked like Rich had committed suicide. However he triumphed and turned the theory that we all knew straight out of the proverbial window. So why? How did Team Dan lose? I’ll ask you to answer that one…
2. First pick maintains important
Instead of a keeper, Rich decided to use his first pick on Pishty. When the collective mass thought he was nuts, it was clear that he knew actually what he was doing – picking the players who will grab the goals. And that’s what Pishty did – in magnificent style with two great headers.
3. Rain games don’t mean one sided affairs after all
It rained. There was one goal in it. Nuff said.
4. Owain Roberts still has it
The return of Owain was last minute due to late pullouts but it was clear that the boy was ready to play. His first game at TTFE in nearly two years (I think) wasn’t the winning comeback he anticipated, but the attacker we know and love showed that he has still got it. Welcome back Big Boy.
5. Ignore all the stuff I said last week….
Suggested by the keepers and rain points made last week, plus un upset in our second game, this year’s TPC is already out to be the most unpredictable yet. It’s clear that no matter what trends you pick up on… there’s always a chance they can be shitted on. So for all captains yet to play – expect the unexpected and be ready to be surprised!