ATT: CB, DC, EC, JH, RH, TW
Nannas 3 plays New Team 5
Yes, I was selected to play in goalie on this evening, given that I put my hand up to do it.
We were pitted against the New Team. They were dressed in white.
The Nannas were six: five regulars, with the reliable Ides filling the now customary vacant sixth spot (I’m sorry if that seems like a negative statement; it’s not meant to be).
The game was decided in the first ten minutes; the New Team swiftly scoring four goals. This was mainly the result of marking leaving our fourth string, and somewhat clumsy, keeper exposed.
After this initial flurry we did tighten up our defence significantly but the damage was done.
The new team only got one more goal, which was the last one, sealing the result.
We got three but were largely ineffectual in attack.
As keeper, I had an interesting view of the game. Here are some of my thoughts:
• The Nannas need to belie their name and collective age, especially early in the game and especially in defence. In those first five to ten minutes, there were some Nannas in defence that seemed to get lost on court, almost to the point of not knowing why they were there in the first place: he wanders here, he looks there, he wonders about the meaning of life, he scratches his stubble, he tries to look focused and like he knows what he’s doing but don’t let it fool you.
I tried to wake these bewildered souls up with some judicious and very loud yelling (a quick point here about my shouting: I accept that I need to tone it down and will try to do so in the future but contrary to what was said post game [that I was screaming at people in the heat of the moment and that made some confused], I would postulate that a lot of Nannas were already very perplexed and my yelling was after the fact, trying to warm these muddled souls to the simple task of picking up a man), which seemed to work after a fashion.
• Never let it be said that the Nannas will let anything get in the way of a good chin wag: before the game, during the game, after the game, at the pub, there is always something to chat about. And you’d have to say that we have this same vacuity on court, albeit in something of a different fashion. There is a collective silence when defending, so much so that the Captain actually didn’t believe me three times (check your Bible) when I said that I had told a certain Nanna to pick someone up. Then he told me to be shut it when I tried to get up someone after about three of the opposition broke free in attack. Curious. This same code of silence applies to our attack too. There is no ‘time’, ‘have a shot’, ‘bring it back’, ‘clear it’. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating here a little but I do think it’s true that the Nannas need to be a lot more verbal on court.
• There was no penetration. The Nannas have never lacked for virility, so says Chris Gill, but maybe he wasn’t talking about our probing ability, on court that is. On this evening, the percentage of completed passes from the goalie to outfield Nannas was high, something in the order of 90% (I would estimate). Yet, even though we had lots of ball, and a lot of the time this ball was in advantageous situations, we couldn’t do much with it. There are various things going on here:
-We do lose the ball a lot. This tends to be either as a result of over-eager attacking play where we try something too ambitious for our limited foot skills, or we think we have to move it on quickly and then kick to no one, or a combination of the two. We also lose it because there isn’t a Nanna who can stop and control play, knowing when to go forward, when to retreat, when to stop.
-We do not move. This was very evident in the second half (although I do remember the Captain making a number of industrious runs down the right). Coach has been on at us for ages about his, and, while Tom can be statuesque in his own play, he is right. Watch any good basketball team and the one thing you notice is that they constantly try to get their opposition out of position through continual movement. Sure, some Nannas hardly manage a trot at times but any such effort should be at the service of getting free of your marker.
-There is still a lack of cohesion about the Nannas. I know what you’re thinking: are you fucking serious? Yes I am. Even though we have played together for 15+ years we still are a bit disjointed in attack/defence/general play.
Post game eating. The Captain took us to some very reasonably priced but extremely tasty Vietnamese, where we asked Ides boring questions about his final two years of school. He was much enthused.