I must begin with an apology: our ridiculous game against Exe went unreported last week, for which I am truly sorry. Allow me to make amends:
Ah, Swansea away. The syllabic tetraptych that was tripping off a totality of tongues as soon as we received confirmation that we really had been transferred to the West Conference and it wasn’t, in fact, the worst kind of fever dream.
Our logistical planning started back in September, with Teddy feeling confident and booking out half of the Premier Inn Swansea City Centre. Thankfully their cancellation policy is fairly relaxed so there wasn’t too much drama when we realised that we were actually taking a squad of 11.5, and not 16 as originally envisaged (please everyone send healing vibes to basically every member of our team).
We all survived the night using different techniques – Chloe chose Bible study accompanied by neat gin, Lucy took in the Swansea nightlife after her expensive and expensed train (banter receipt incoming), Teddy revealed an incredible array of travel-size nail varnish and Charlie spent most of the evening hiding under her bed. Fairly standard all round.
We congregated in reception the next morning, having allowed 30 minutes for a 9 minute journey to the pitch, because contingency. An extra 20 minutes should be plenty of time to find a parking spot, thought I. Alas, ‘twas not to be – half an hour later and Michelle had just driven straight through the wall of the squash club and abandoned her car on court 3.
After all the excitement of the fair and the sleepover and the Vodka Revs, it was time to knuckle down and remember precisely why we’d driven the length of the M4:
Oh, no, sorry, hockey. Right.
It was always going to be a tough game, thanks to whoever it is sitting in their attic somewhere with 15 blue and yellow voodoo dolls, sticking pins into hammies at random. Despite this, the first 5 minutes threatened an epic classic the likes of which the IWCHWHLWC18 had never seen… We nicked the ball straight from their pushback and Rosie ran clear for a 1 on 1 with their keeper, which was well saved. Then they came straight back at us and Michelle was called on to save the ball off the line not once but twice in the next two minutes.
Then, for some light relief, Chloe took a 16 and, full of confidence, slung the ball to who she thought was Chaz on her left. Except it wasn't Chaz, it was the umpire, who watched it pass her foot with a bemused expression. Further ‘drama’ followed as we requested that said umpires change their shirts, as to be fair to Chloe, it is pretty hard to differentiate them when they’re also wearing blue.
A joint team nomination for DOTD later and we were back playing.
Nothing else of interest happened in the rest of the game, but for the sake of completeness here are the goals:
Swansea scored – can’t really remember it tbh
Swansea scored again – wish I couldn’t remember it tbh
We scored! – Lucy (I think) cut a wonderful pass through to Teddy, who, erm, scored.
And that was that. 2-1 to Swansea, but I won’t remember the score, I’ll only remember seeing every member of our team play their damn hearts out in the face of some serious voodoo-led adversity. Proud captain.
We’d all run out of things to say to each other by the time we got to teas so were treated to 10 minutes of Abbie’s Marvellous Motorway Facts* whilst watching Rosie eat two jacket potatoes. Three car selfies later and We. Were. Home. God that sofa felt good.
DOTD: Chloe, for trying to solve our injury crisis by drafting the umpire into our backline
SM: Stubbsy, for coming all the way to Swansea on one leg
Addendum: We play Gloucester City this Saturday at Dukes, in our last game before Christmas – come give us a cheer at midday (and if anyone reading this has any friends who want to play National League, do give me a shout…)
*I actually found this really interesting, especially the bit about the M6