Posted by: TheAuthor | 13/06/2011

Pre-Season In Canmore: Episode 2

After the difficult game against the Calgary Chinooks we were then pitted against Canmore Utd, another difficult game, in our last fixture for the Canmore tournament.

So, in the red and white strip reminiscent of Sunderland FC. (and as was pointed out to me, the same strip as my childhood colts team Somersham Town) we warmed up in glorious weather on a Sunday morning. Everyone feeling tired and full of aches and strains. I was to play centre back again in a line up that was almost unchanged from the previous days games.

The game had less finesse compared to Calgary’s fixture, both of our teams utilising a long ball option or threaded passes rather than short sharp triangular play. Unfortunately, Boston pizza occasionally didn’t have the legs to catch up to the ball once played which resulted in almost continuous loss of possession. Canmore Utd had an Olympic athlete in their front line, poised to strike just ahead of me. He was quick and had the stamina of a professional runner and boy didn’t I feel out of shape pitted against him on the odd occasion he raced through to meet a pass. Frequently we would tussle in an attempt to retain possession and play the ball to our team, frequently I would end up breathless but more often than not with the ball. A trick, I was informed, was that he would always turn onto his left foot after running with the ball to play it in – making it easy to tackle him. The first real test, after he tore down the right-wing with me in tow, I was poised to receive him as he passed onto his left foot to play the ball.

Watching his moves, anticipating his turn, here it comes, we are near the by-line now he has to turn inside. He drops his shoulder, I prepare to receive him as he moves inside, but he keeps going and hits it with his right. The ball cantered across the penalty box and gets tucked away for the first goal of the game. 1-0 Canmore Utd. I was dejected, after keeping with him a rookie mistake proved costly. Our defence remained resolute until half time.

The second half was similar, long balls and plenty to do in the Boston pizza half for the defenders. The sun beamed down and sapped moisture from your body as you played, mouths turned dry as a bone in minutes. Eventually, the toll of the previous three games and pre-season fitness deficiency set in and Canmore Utd were 2-0 ahead with a lucky goal.

I still had an ounce of pace and stamina left in me as the game drew to a close. Breaking down the opponents play I had opportunities to break forward, twice I made an effort to get forward as space opened up ahead of me in the middle of the field.

In the event, we had a hard game and came out 3-0 down to Canmore Utd. End of the Canmore tournament for Boston pizza. On a personal note, it was great to play competitive football again, something I had not anticipated on the great adventure in the Canadian Rockies.

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