Match Report

"A victory is twice itself when the achiever brings home full numbers."
William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing.

Saturday 7th July 2001, and twenty two immaculately clad sportsmen emerge from the Highfields changing rooms to embark upon a spectacle awash with skill and finesse. But enough of the touring West Indian cricketers, for on the adjacent football pitch the Northern Allstars were about to do battle in their annual reunion match.

Watched by the largest ever Allstar attendance (into double figures, swelled by Allstar' spouses and progeny), a goal in each half by Jack Hawkins sealed a 2-0 victory for Team Excalibur (AC Milan) against Team Sid (Ajax). Such a scoreline does scant justice to the overall domination by Team Excalibur, whose solid defence, enterprising midfield, and Shaggy perched up front remained in control for most of the game.

With a tactical game plan, the intelligence and cunning of which bore all the hallmarks of being devised by Big Brother's Helen, Team Sid were restricted to speculative corner-flag bound efforts. To be fair though, they weren't helped by Cookie assuming his customary left-back role when instructed to make a nuisance of himself at centre-forward.

Neither team was able to capitalise on referee Wolfie's stout refusal to make anything approaching a decision. However, he made one glaring exception when exposed to pressure from Team Sid defenders, the like of which Roy Keane and the rest of the MUFC toe-rags would have balked at, dubiously ruling offside another first-half strike from Hawkins. Given that our intrepid hero with the whistle was stood in the centre-circle at the time of the incident, one can only surmise that with such telescopic eyesight NASA made an even greater blunder with what they sent up into space on the last Hubble mission.

It should be noted that many Allstars arrived at this year's game in much better physical shape than previous encounters. Nowhere was this 30-something re-emergence of athletic prowess more evident, than in the person of Sid McKinlay. Sadly though his 20 minutes sojourn out of goal saw the 12 stone fitness freak match his previous 70 minutes in nets, by again failing to make any significant touch on the very match ball he had supplied.

Elsewhere, Max Halliwell seemed the Allstar most overawed by the emotional turmoil of re-acquaintance with some friends for the first time in over a decade, continually grappling unsuspecting victims to the ground. What the watching Mrs H made of both this, and Shaggy's lamentable open-goal miss (following a rare Mincer foray up the right-wing), whilst she videoed the event for posterity, is anyone's guess.

Thankfully the videotape had run out by the time of the traditional post-match penalty competition, with Team Sid winning 8 to 4.

Despite being deprived of a hat-trick, Dr. Hawkins was duly presented with the Man of the Match award after the game, and so a Simon Waters' golden 'magic' boot now proudly adorns a Nottingham mantelpiece.

After providing such thrilling fayre in the afternoon, it was time for the Northern Allstars and their entourage to be entertained in turn by the comics at Jongleurs comedy club, later that evening. The following morning some Allstars paid campus a visit, checking out old haunts such as Kane's bedroom (!) - see picture below. Sunday lunch in the Rose & Crown completed another thoroughly enjoyable reunion weekend. Thanks to everyone who made it; looking forward to meeting up again next July. Thanks also again to Nigel and the university groundstaff for enabling the game to go ahead, and to Marc for supplying a largely scent-free set of kits.




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Note: this match report above did not appear in any edition of The University Magazine. It would appear a more authoritarian editorial policy had been implemented.