The big game finally arrived. Elf and the boys came to watch, along with Andy's two boys, Paul's son Bowen and Cam's daughter Jasmine. Unfortunately, as the only non-combatant adult, Elf saw almost nothing of the game as she tried to keep the brood out of trouble.
I was really nervous at the start. We had enough players to have three subs. Paul had worked out a plan that we would pair off, so he and I rotated through the game, as did Cam and Adrian and Brett and Mel.
I was hassling the OSM defence deep in their half when I somehow got a boot to the ball and it went in for the opener. If it had been ruled a tackle from behind I would not have been surprised, as I was speculatively reaching my foot through a defenders legs when it happened. Soon Brett added a proper goal, and then I got a free kick not far out. I tried to toe it into a corner as hard as I could, and skied it instead. After a bit of a melee Mel whipped it back across to me and I put it away for 3-0. They got one back, and at half time we led 3-1.
It was a very even half, and as OSM had missed a penalty and also seen the ball roll along our goal line once, so we felt that we were lucky to have the slim lead.
In the second half our luck continued. Twice more OSM's shots hit the post and rolled along the line. Andy was stopping shots all over the place. We made a few fast breaks and finished accurately. Brett scored an amazing Stephen Milne-style solo goal, where he ran, fell, stumbled and swerved from our backline to theirs, then miskicked it just exactly right.
I was very pleased with a couple of tackles I made on our forward line, when I had jockeyed and boxed-in a defender with the ball for long enough that he impatiently tried to pass me. Neither resulted in goals, but it was the kind of thing that tired the OSM guys out and screwed with their morale.
When I subbed off with about six minutes to go we had it just about sealed, at 8-2. OSMs got a couple of late consolation goals, including a penalty after the bell. It was a great game, with no real contentious decisions, played in good spirit, although very hard at the ball. Mel deservedly received the best afield medal, but Andy was fantastic in goals. He improved out of sight over the last six weeks.
At the end we were Knackered, they were still Muscular, but we took home the big ugly trophies. I might suggest to the Centre that they invest in one nice one instead - the ones we got really are stomach turning. And not very well made - Bowen had already broken Paul's by the time I had towelled off and shepherded the family out to the car.
And now - only seven days until it all starts again.