Oldies overcome schoolboys!
On an overcast but thankfully rain-free Boxing Day (2105) morning, a BGS XI took to the pitch for the annual festive fixture against an Oldies XI. Or in this case, there were sufficient senior players to almost warrant two sides.
Three Dornan brothers, John McCalister and his two sons, as well as a smattering of players from across four decades, all participated in a well-contested match. Urged on by a healthy complement of spectators, the early exchanges were somewhat laboured, due no doubt to an excess of Christmas fayre.
However, the Oldies settled into a reasonable shape and began to create openings from the midfield prompting of Boyd, Irvine and M. Dornan. Stranaghan was unlucky with one snap shot and then a short corner effort fizzed wide.
As to be expected, the younger charges were all movement and pace. Indeed, they were the first to overly threaten, forcing Wilkinson out of semi-somnambulism to deflect wide. However, just as they were beginning to dominate midfield proceedings it was the Oldies who broke to score. A neat move on the right culminated in the award of a short corner. On his return from a short hockey sabbatical, the trusty eye and stick of McNaught was not found wanting as his shot fairly zinged past the school keeper.
Suitably piqued by this setback, the schoolboys responded with gusto. Twice they earned short corners but no reward was forthcoming. Then they fashioned a chance from wide on the left and Wilkinson was beaten by a clever cross shot. Up until half time there ensued a period of relatively anonymous midfield ping-pong, with neither side making any significant headway.
Early in the second half the Oldies regained the advantage. Latching on to an astute MacAfee pass, Stranaghan ran free with only the keeper to beat. Said keeper however, was somewhat rash in his advance, clattered into Stranaghan, sending him just about high enough to escort Vixen and Blixen home?
Once back to earth, Stranaghan despatched the ensuing penalty stroke with aplomb. Once again, the school side pushed forward. However, they were met with a solid defensive line of Morris, Boal and P. Dornan and Wilkinson was not unduly troubled.
The school keeper, however, was kept decidedly busy. MacAfee brought out an excellent acrobatic save high to the keeper’s left from a forceful shot. Then Wilson nicked a cross which the keeper did well to deflect wide. However, there was nothing the keeper could do when McClune burst into the circle, shimmied one way and then sashayed another before coolly slotting home.
A fine goal indeed to end proceedings, even if the final score line slightly flattered the Oldies!
Final result –
BGS XI 1
Old Boys 3
NB Many thanks to Mickey Smyth and Timmy Campbell for umpiring and to Norman Irwin, Ken Best and Brian Johnston for providing the festive refreshments and mince pies! –
Report by George Wilson