A shocking result for the Beavers against Leatherhead
By Dan Sowden
Barnes Beavers (4) 7 (SEVEN) - Leatherhead Mens 2s (1) 2
On 23rd February 1963, the BBC ran a story about a farmer from Sussex named Peter Hicks. Mr Hicks was waiting to find out whether he would be prosecuted for electrifying his car - with equipment usually used on electric fences - in a bid to avoid receiving any parking fines. The good news for Mr Hicks was that since electrifying his car, and leaving it bumper to bumper with his fleet of 50 lorries, traffic wardens had approached the vehicles but been unable to actually leave a ticket so he had avoided any fines.
Peter Hicks sounds like quite a character - as he had also previously served in the RAF and had also bought a helicopter to speed up his commute into London (and which he also annoyed the grounds staff at his son's school by landing it in their land). Luckily for Peter, nine months after the police had confiscated his electrifying equipment, it was returned and along with it received confirmation that the police would not be prosecuting - although they had wanted to charge him with assault, they were unable to make the charge stick.
On the subject of large shocks, the Barnes Beavers dished out a 2000 volt shock of their own on Saturday, as they slayed fourth placed Leatherhead Mens 2s. As the hazy fog was clearing on Saturday morning, 14 Beavers lined up on the Dukes Meadows pitch - looking to banish the memory of the 4-4 draw earlier in the season at Leatherhead, where we had let a 3 goal lead slip, drawing within the final few minutes.
With 15 players on the team sheet (with Amine arriving his traditional 15 minutes late once again), and Tom Ward kindly blowing the whistle for us, we looked well positioned to avenge the previous result - as the Leatherhead team just managed to bring 11 players with them on the journey to west London.
The opening whistle was blown as the sun started to peek through the clouds, and this seemed to energise the Beavers, pressing hard from the start. It wasn't long before this was rewarded courtesy of a strong hit from Rory across the goal. There's debate amongst the onlookers about whether this was actually going into the goal anyway - or if this was actually a cross - but the ball found the shin of a retreating defender and took a deflection into the goal to put us one goal ahead. With the energy of the early lead behind us, we were straight back into the Leatherhead half, and were rewarded with a string of short corners. The method of Chris smashing the ball at the goal from the top of the D has worked very well for us this season - and on his second attempt he found the bottom right corner - putting us two goals ahead.
The Leatherhead team - to their credit - never stopped chasing down the balls, and had a number of good breaks into our end of the pitch. Luckily, our defence held firm, and one attack led to a 16 yard hit taken quickly, from Pat, through me, to Rory waiting just inside the opposition half, who ran the ball into the D, one-on-one with the keeper and managed to pull off another of his trademark flicks from the left side of the goal and put us 3 goals ahead. Perhaps the highlight of the half came shortly after this goal, as Mark was playing in the right half position - received the ball from Alex with nothing but space in front of him. He ran the ball about 20 metres before swinging wildly in an attempt to cross the ball - unfortunately he completely missed the ball, but the momentum of the swing carried him all the way through a full spin and he landed on his back as the ball rolled on to a waiting Leatherhead defender.
Having got out of bed at around the scheduled meet time, Amine had turned up for the game around halfway through the half, and for the second week running he managed to get himself on the scoresheet during the opening half despite having missed the start of the game - this time after receiving the ball on the edge of the D and calmly smashing it into the bottom right corner of the goal.
Despite being four goals down at this point, the Leatherhead team were pushing hard, and the first half ended with a series of strong attacks for them, a few short corners - one very nice goal-saving jab tackle from Keith as an attacker had beaten keeper James and played the ball to a player lining up to shoot at the empty goal from the P spot - but eventually they got off the mark with a strong shot from the edge of the D, which bounced off JP but still found its way into our goal.
The half time whistle went at 4-1 - with echos of the scoreline from our previous meeting, but with more steely reserve in the Beaver lineup, and much more fresh legs on our bench. The second half went off to a rocky start, as we seemed to lose our structure a little - but we recovered well, and the next goal was a well worked routine as Chris played the ball to Tom S, who laid the ball off nicely to Pops a few feet from the keeper. Cool as a cucumber, Pops flicked the ball nicely over the diving keeper, putting us further ahead again.
The momentum carried us on further through the game, as we were awarded another couple of short corners - and with Chris on the bench at the time, the man at the top of the D this time was Keith - who smashed the ball just as adeptly into the bottom corner, bringing us up to five goals ahead. As the time ticked down, the Beavers were energised and still playing with everything we had - chasing every ball up and down the pitch. The next goal went Leatherhead's way, with a high ball into the D, which took a deflection and ended up in our goal. The final few minutes ticked down, and for the second time in two weeks Keith managed to score in open play - as he hammered another ball from the edge of the D into the goal. The whistle finally went not long after this, on a 9 goal thriller that left all of the men in pink feeling very satisfied for our efforts.
A very tough call for Beaver of the Week this week - with 5 separate goalscorers, and some sterling efforts in our own half too - James making a number of good saves, a few votes for myself, and excellent performances from literally everyone else in the team. This week though, the Beaver of the Week has to go for a man who finally persuaded his wife to come and watch one of our games, put in a hell of a shift in the middle, and scored twice in the process - well done Keith!
The result sees us move up one position to seventh, and Fixtures Live actually has us down as the third best form in the league at present too. Other notable stats from the game are that the website also has Pops, Speller and Dory down in a three-way tie for the golden stick standings this season - and it also reports that as Pops' ninetieth Beaver goal - just six shy of top scoring Beaver legend Andy Davidson!