The triple-header of weekend IMS men’s football got underway on Friday night with a challenging match up against improving David Collett. The Cherries started the game 13 points ahead of DC and the league position superiority showed in the first 15 minutes when centre midfielder Al Roberts scored first from a set piece.
Somewhat surprisingly, that was as good as it would get for the reds. The performance, strewn with miscommunication and misplaced passes, was in stark contrast to the 3-0 demolition of Elvyn Richards 7 days previously. DC equalised thanks to a deflected shot 18 yards out that squeezed over keeper George Tipping – and a wasteful Rutherford in the second half were made to pay when DC struck the knockout blow with 20 seconds on the clock remaining. DC’s revival continues; Rutherford’s chances of a top 3 finish now look as likely as Wayne Rooney winning a boxing contest.
RESULT: RUTHERFORD 1 (Roberts) – DAVID COLLETT 2
Just 12 hours later, those willing to sacrifice a heavy night in the Union were on the front crumb for an early Saturday morning clash with William Morris in the B League. Bill Mo are a quality A team outfit, but often lack defensive mettle in reserve team fixtures. This was demonstrated in the first 30 minutes – Rutherford gave an exhibition of attacking flare and potency that included 4 goals and a rare assist by Noah Bigman. Goals were shared amongst Barber, Tipping, Coxhill, and an own goal. A Barber penalty miss before half time proved, very nearly, to be costly.
The second half begun at 9:40am and, by then, it was clear that Bill Mo had sobered up. Rutherford’s opponents fired in two quick goals before a Barber cross was smashed home by Azam, who was demonstrating the upside of alcohol abstinence. Bill Mo replied by scoring 8 seconds from the restart – if this was Fifa, Rutherford would be delivering Subways to the off-campus hall. The Barber-Azam partnership was at it again, making the score 6-3 with 10 minutes left. Bill Mo went on to score 2 more goals, setting up a finish more nervous than wannabe committee members giving a hustings speech. The Cherries held on but any repeat of this pathetic final 20 minutes in future matches would surely end all ambitions of a strong run-in.
RESULT: RUTHERFORD 6 (Coxhill, Barber, O.G., Tipping, Azam x2) – BILL MO 5
Still with us? It’s appreciated. Onto the final game of the weekend, a Super Mothering Sunday clash between the impoverished Cherries and the prosperous Bakewell B Team. Only those with long-distance (or distant) parental relationships were available, which somewhat forced Coach Jelliffe’s hand. Jelliffe is struggling to let go of his Sports Sec powers, but fair play to him for rescheduling his Harvester date for this clash.
Bakewell started like Barcelona. It always helps when the opponents are statuesque, but it took a wonderful finish to put the affluent hall in front on 5 minutes. Rutherford then discovered Bakewell’s Achilles heel – long balls and defenders more sluggish than Ipswich Town’s centre back pairing in the video below. Cal Miles punted it forwards, Catlow scooted around the back and found the net with his right foot. 1-1 at half time.
Some hormonal shouting from a couple of the returners fired up the Cherries for the final 35 minutes of the footballing weekend. Rickenbach, Huz and Tipping completely dominated the midfield. Miles and Coxhill were stopping all Bakewell attempts at the back, and an injury-free Aditya Lal continued his rehabilitation into the IMS setup with two superbly-taken goals. Catlow rounded off the goalscoring with a volley. Jelliffe sent on Big Dave Dawkins in a fraught attempt to get him his first goal of the season, but the Bakewell referee blew the final whistle 4 minutes early, scuppering his chance. The passing, confidence on the ball and use of width was all impressive from the Cherries, destroying Bakewell’s flow. Even Spiros International Athlete Bogdos was a safe pair of hands between the sticks. If only the A team could have replicated this effort.
Rutherford B’s 2015 form guide reads WWWDWW and leaves them 2 points off the pace in third. 4 matches remain against lowly opposition. Will the Cherries be lifting a trophy in Room 1 at the IMS Awards in May? Form suggests it’s a possibility.
RESULT: RUTHERFORD 4 (Catlow x2, Lal x2) – ROBERT BAKEWELL 1