Final Score: Chris Phillips 12 – 7 Callum Gigg
In a rerun of the 2012 Quarter Final, it was Chris Phillips who won the right to play in that very round after defeating Callum Gigg in the most exciting TPC game so far.
It was the game we waited in baited breath to arrive. Chris Phillips, self-styled wind up merchant and yes, smug bastard in times of triumph, was cut down to size in spectacular fashion as he crashed and burned at the hands of the eventual third placed Callum Gigg. However this year despite the manner of his premature exit Chris was upbeat and as irritating as ever, telling everyone that they were gazing their eyes on the 2013 TPC champion. So when this fixture was drawn it was most definitely the pick of the qualifying round as Chris would need to conquer his demons in reaching the next round. Confidence was certainly not in short supply.
The teams were:
It was another tight game to begin with as nerves were jangled on both sides, after all Chris needed to win this game to save face and Callum was keen to silence TTFE’s most prominent trash talker. The sides looked balanced on paper with the two keepers, Billy and Joe, once again kept apart like in the first game and with a smattering of both defence and attack in each side.
The first half ended 4-4 and as time ticked away the inevitability of a mistake would be the only thing which would gift a win for the other side. The scores went to 7-7 with about 15 minutes to go and still no side could muster the initiative to take the lead.
The key talking point for me is the emergence of two of TTFE’s newest additions and rising stars – Pishty and Dan. So far in the TPC they have been on opposing sides and have been certainly looked to as the central playmakers or even game changers. With their excellent pace and ball control, there’s no doubt in my mind why both these players have not been on the same side as they need to be separated. Proof of this came in the 7 V 6 friendly where both Dan and Pishty led a 6 man team to glory and let me tell you, as goalkeeper picking ball after ball out of the net, at times it was like pure poetry to watch both of them tear your defence into shreds.
Fortune so far has favoured Pishty as he has won 2 TPC ties to Dan’s 0 (including Dan’s own defeat as a competitor) and lo and behold, it was Pishty who got his hattrick of TPC games in the bag. His impressive brace of two identical headed goals was not only a joy to watch, but it devastated Team Callum as they were paralysed in attack. Pishty had been running amok with Mike all game and it paid off as the game started to draw to a close. As Team Chris started to pull away, Team Callum were paralysed in attack and it was to become too much for a fightback. Callum sighed to me when he said at the game’s end, “We left ourselves with too much to do”.
So Chris managed to finally get to a winning start in the TPC. Is he a gracious winner? Surprisingly so! His tip of the cap to Callum’s efforts after the game was recognition of a hard fought battle and a form of sweet, friendly retribution for last year’s bitter defeat. So will Chris win this year? “Of course I will” he says with a wry smile, as if the question was absolutely inexcusable to ask.