Calm before the storm

Saturday morning, a crisp and sunny morning at the theatre of dreams, the magnificent LH Waud sports field, jewel in the crown of the Meadowbank Park complex. The 15/1s went in to battle against Macquarie Dragons. A serious first half injury to Max dampened the mood as Rovers toiled in the sun, but a second half blitz saw West Ryde hit five unanswered goals in 15 minutes. A frustrating final 20 minutes with Macquarie shutting up shop, the home team had to be content with a 5-0 win. Not a bad start to the weekend!

A quick turnaround and Zach changed and ready for AR action in three straight games on Meadowbank 4. Dad made his way over to the canteen at field 2 and set up shop for a book signing. I still can’t believe I’m a published author, it’s great. Members of the Rovers family came to see what the fuss was about, some stopped for a chat, some even bought a book on a whim. What a great way to get the word out.

A decent amount of sales too – nothing like the canteen, where the trusty 35/2 volunteers were cooking up a storm, possibly the busiest mornings the canteen has had. The queue was banked up at one stage, an extra volunteer was made available for the BBQ to crank out those snags. There was time too to undertake the ceremonial lightening of the esky kitty – all that shrapnel swapped for some big notes. We’re on track for a good kitty for our end of season shenanigans, which will be just around the corner.

But the main event was yet to come. 7th placed Rovers v 8th placed and bottom team Epping FC. Big thanks to teammate and physio Rod for the taping to get me on the park, oh how I enjoyed removing that later in the evening! A depleted Rovers team started brightly but couldn’t convert their possession into goals and a sucker punch left them 1-0 down at the break. Two defensive lapses followed to give the score a slightly unrealistic look before new man Sean cracked an unstoppable shot from twenty yards into the bottom corner for 3-1. That’s how it stayed. Rovers are bottom!

An absolutely fantastic esky from Ed put smiles back on the faces of the socially distanced Rovers crew after the final whistle, and it was great to have Icelandic wizard Sjonni back on the field, clearly injured but stroking the ball around the field to admiring gasps from the opposition. Credit to Nas for playing the game with a broken hand, and Andy for overcoming a popped calf in the first minute to soldier on. Rusty also took a huge hit, and Rovers were dropping like flies. Moving across to LH Waud for the top of the bill Premier League clash, a 2-0 half time lead was thrown away as Normo came back to 2-2 with a late goal despite being reduced to 10 men. Good to see last season’s goal of the season recipient Dave down at the game for a beer.

Sunday saw a fabulous game at Christie Park for the Gladesville Ravens GSAP 13s team. Playing the Hills District for the third time this season, they held their own. 1-1 at the break and they were good value. A flurry of goals late in the encounter, including a searing 20 yarder from one of the opponents, left Ravens on the wrong end of the 2-3 scoreline. Straight from Christie back to Meadowbank Park for an AA3W game, Ravens thumping Normo 4-0. A slow motion moment in the 89th minute saw a clumsy challenge in the area gift Normanhurst a penalty, but the ball was sent wide, the bench looking to the skies. Another card-free refereeing appointment. I’m starting to get a little concerned at my lack of yellows – am I being too lenient?

The beginning of the week saw the postie drop off a book that I had forgotten all about, so it was a lovely surprise. Tim Parks’ A Season With Verona looks like a cracker and has good reviews. I’ve already taken in a few pages, but the font is tiny and my tired eyes don’t last long at the end of the day. Aurelia had training on Tuesday, the 35s trained in bitter conditions on the Wednesday, but Thursday’s GSAP session at the fabulously named Bedlam Bay was cut short when the floodlights failed to turn on. After trying to train under iPhone light and car headlights, it was sadly abandoned. Zach had a good training session on Thursday too – 15/1 v 18/3 and a solid 1-1 draw.

A crazy game on Thursday night finished off the Sons of Pitches season, a lousy fifth place seeing us miss out on the finals. After waking up to equalise at 1-1, some sleepy defending saw us 4-1 down midway through the second half. An epic comeback then made it 4-4 until the final move of the game saw Rovers caught pushing for the winner and punished, a breakaway goal making the final score 4-5. An unexpected cheese board to go with some smashing craft beers made it all good. I also received a photo from an avid reader, consuming Jarrod Black Hospital Pass in the pub over a cheeky beer. Marvellous!

And so another Friday comes. Wild rain made the Coerver coaching session very light on numbers, but Aurelia was out there in the wet, christening her new boots received earlier in the day courtesy of her birthday Rebel vouchers. Alas the weekend’s local games are off, so no games, no refereeing, no nothing. Aurelia still has a chance of playing on Sunday morning, but it could be a very blank weekend indeed. Still, I’m sure we’ll have plenty to report on next week. Oh how we love our football!

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