Match report from OGs.
On a crisp winter morning, hundreds of expected fans made the journey to Clifton College, to breathe in the magic of the cup – to cheer on David, in his epic dual with Goliath – to dare to dream that on this day the underdog really could rise up and overcome the odds and deliver a moment to remember. Alas.
Coach Hacker addressed the team in typical Churchillian style, and boy did the troops respond – two quick goals had the crowd enraptured. At the end of the first quarter the dream was taking shape, becoming something real, something tangible. Old Georgian’s were stunned – shell-shocked, perhaps. There was talk that the bookies were paying out on a Robbies win. The ultras were confirming their Megabus tickets for the cup final. The players, too, were full of hope. In homage to Obama’s 2008 campaign, they, too, were internalising those fateful three words – ‘Yes, We Can’. In the eyes of the players, Coach Hacker had morphed into Ted Lasso – Hope rang eternal.
And perhaps, when historians cast their eyes back on that fateful day, it will be this sense of hope, this euphoric belief that victory was in sight at the end of the first quarter, where they will pontificate that the seeds of defeat were truly sown. Hubris. 2-0 – a dangerous scoreline.
The goals of Salmon and Stevens (S) were swiftly, brutally, relentlessly cancelled out by the OGs. A flurry of cards descended in Q3 and Q4, before the final whistle ushered in the ultimate dual – the penalty shuffle. Some were scored. Some, sadly, were missed. Some had a plan. Some had studied Of Mice and Men as a GCSE set-text. At the end of the gladiatorial opening salvos, sudden death was required. Loughrey, golden locks flowing in the gentle breeze, stepped forward – the crowd hushed – the wind ceased – the keeper kept. And here endeth the reading – OGs progressed. The dream was over.
And yet, and yet – for those lucky few who were there that day, the magic of the cup had sprinkled some of its dust on a small corner of Failand’s fields, and given one and all a sporting contest that will live long in the memory.