Final Score Greg Davies 12 – 7 Daryl Kisby
Greg Davies overcame a hapless side under the captaincy of Daryl Kisby with a firm 12-7 victory in a fiery encounter.
It has been some time since we had a TPC game – you’d actually have to go back last year when Gareth O’Neill beat Chris Phillips in a bizarre semi final that led to the tournament’s most one-sided game – 20-6. We already knew that we’d have a debutant in the final when both Greg Davies and Daryl Kisby reached this stage, however the bookies have had difficulty in making a favourite. Daryl has had the luxury of the easy route, defeating Richard Hinchly along the way; while Greg has endured rougher seas with battles against Karl Manley and James Pugh. With such little experience under their belts, this game would be crucial in assessing their credentials and will give them a shot at the coveted title.
The teams on the night were:
Right from kick off it was clear that this was a TPC fixture as the ante on both teams was raised suitably for the occasion. In fact this was probably the stand out ‘pressure cooker’ tie of the whole tournament as this was the most intense matchup – filled with strong armed tackles and loud, booming voices echoing from end to end. With a final place up for grabs, who could blame our captains for taking this game a little bit seriously! Big G said before the game he wouldn’t swear throughout the night but the air was blue well before the first goal went in, such was the intensity of this important game.
It was a nervy start with the scores level for a long period, with the stand out feature coming from Tom. He looked to avenge being picked last by showing Greg what he was missing – making it 1-1 with a worthy thunderbolt. The tale of half however would portray the pendulum swinging towards the direction of Team Greg. They capitalised on the counter with the pace of speedy Dan and Karl; whilst James Pugh, returning after a long hiatus, to play in an unfamiliar defending role for Team Greg and after an initial period of rustiness he thrived as he played the wing back position with much confidence and vigour.
Team Daryl were perhaps unlucky in taking their chances; relying a lot on the long ball and although they found the space to exploit at times they just couldn’t hit the target. Billy in goal for Team Daryl also came out during the middle of half meaning that Luke was placed in between the sticks, which gave them extra fight and dynamism up front but perhaps disrupted their flow at the back. The score at half time was 5-2 to Team Greg but the game was far from safe for the Bearded One.
It was the second half that really allowed Team Greg to dominate the game. Team Daryl continued the long ball approach and their short ball game was messy, with cheap balls being given away freely to a ‘Steely Dan’ who was at the top of his game. As Team Greg hit double figures with no reply, the game was effectively won with ten minutes to go and Joe came out of goal. This looked to be a premature move – the defence wasn’t as sturdy as before without Greg’s presence and for a moment it looked like Team Daryl had a lifeline. However the damage had already been done and the diagnosis for Daryl’s title hopes were flat lining as the minutes ticked away. It ended 12-7 to Team Greg.
In a tournament which has presented only a handful of closely-matched games, this didn’t do much to break this emerging trend. So what went wrong for Team Daryl? Gareth suggested a few factors that contributed to their downfall:
But was it all in the pick? Greg stayed true to his belief of not going ‘Keeper First’, by using his first pick after Daryl’s initial pick to load up on pace with Dan and Karl. Was that the pick that won the game? The goal count would probably say so and they were playing beautifully (Pishty will be jealous on his return after this performance).
In my opinion it was also a night where the strong characters of Mike, G and Chris just had an off night. The ball was just lost too much in midfield and placed too much pressure on the defence to handle.
So it’s Greg V Gareth for the 2013 TPC title – this one could be tasty!