Nannas 5 play Harchester United 2
CG, JH: 3, TK, TW 1, Prince, Jerry
Playing with the Nannas last night was like slipping into an old forgotten glove: at first glance it looked old and wrinkly but felt so smooth once slipped on.
And the question came to me on my long drive home last night, are the Nannas ageless?
Admittedly when playing indoor, the court is small. Like infinitesimal in comparison to eleven a side. The distances travelled miniscule, the ball, flat and heavy, a reflection that to move too far in one direction you’re soon likely to reach a sideline or the end of a court.
Still, there’s lots to be said for operating in small spaces, seeing tiny expanses stretch before you, from which the scope of play is measured in half yards.
While the Nannas might not be able to zip through these half yards like youngers anymore, they know how govern them like men in their prime, with puffed chests, feet still large and moving in the correct direction to intercept any through ball, and sculpted legs spread at just the right angle to display loins potent but far past procreation.
The first half was even. The Prince found himself down the left hand side early on and made it count.
The Little Green men responded soon after, with their best player beating Jim down their right to place a sideway firmly erect shot searing past Gilla.
The Greens as I recall them were a better bunch than what they turned out last night. Their best player is still there, long red locks and all, but their other threat from the days gone by absent. He was tall, with dark hair and good foot skills, and could shoot too.
Apart from the dude with the long red locks, AKA their best player, no one else in their team seemed capable of much. In fact, the brother of said red locks, AKA their best player, seemed to provide as much trouble for his own side as red locks, AKA their best player, was a plus. The brother could pass, but that was about it. For the most part he concerned himself with trying to push Nannas over and subsequently fighting with the ref, and getting chewed out by his brother, red locks, AKA their best player.
Anyway, we found ourselves starting the second half, and I did think, would the Nanna wilt like had happened so many times before? Our second halves post 40 years of age not a strong point.
The answer: a polite no.
We went on to score four, while Gilla at the back continued to defy time, his creaking back and any assault on his goal. Three times he pulled off multiple saves (one that turned into a goalmouth scramble), which a much lesser keeper would have had trouble getting a finger nail to the initial strike.
As to the goals. I got the mighty, most hallowed hattrick.
The first from a free kick, blasted past the marker and keeper. The second from some lovely crosscourt passing between Jim and the Prince, with Jim finishing. And the third from Jim, from the right moving onto his favoured left, squeezing his shot onto the inside of their back post, which turned in from the rebound (a truly lovely and most satisfying goal).
And then there was Tao, ageless, wrestling with the Green’s best player over the ball close to their goal. Like he so often does, he won the battle, and then all he had to do was toe poke under their keeper, which he did with ease, for a fine goal.
They got one late, but by that stage the Nannas knew they had it won, Gilla wisely letting them have one to let the Greens think there was something in the match, but in truth there was only team that was going to win.