Sport · Weekends

Day 25: Games of Goals

Having refereed 90 minutes of football on Saturday, I had another 180 minutes coming up on Sunday. First, I rode to the Pembroke College sports grounds to refereee a game between Pembroke and Queen’s II. These are to the south-east of the city of Cambridge, immediately south of the Downing College grounds I had been at the previous day. I arrived at the quaint pavilion that overlooked the ground. On the ground floor were the home change rooms, a bar and a pair of squash courts. On the upper floor, were lookout rooms for the squash, and the away and referees changing rooms. I unloaded my things into the changing room, and went out to meet the captains. Immediately, I noticed a problem: Queen’s were playing in green and Pembroke were playing in blue, but I had only brought out my green and blue shirts. This wouldn’t do. I had to ride back home to pick up a red shirt. On the way, I realised that I didn’t bring my watch, but when I got home, I couldn’t find it. My phone would have to do.

I returned to Pembroke College sports ground, and didn’t have time to warm up properly. I collected my things, and walked out to the grounds. But there was no obvious pitch to be seen. I asked the Pembroke captain, who said we were playing on the far pitch, but this was painted in a hard to see blue colour, with the goals not in place. I instructed the players to set up the goals, and prepared for kick-off.

The game was an unfortunate one to witness. Pembroke opened their account from a fumble from the goalkeeper, and from then on, they showed their dominance in the attacking half. For much of the game, Pembroke’s defence did not have much to do, as Queen’s II were put under a lot of pressure. To make things worse, Queen’s II were playing with a lot more aggression than Pembroke, so they gave up more free kicks. There was a tackle by the Queen’s II captain just before half time where I was almost about to award a yellow card, but decided against it. In hindsight, I probably should have.

After half time, Pembroke’s dominance shone through. Goal after goal were scored, and things kept getting worse for Queen’s II. I had to give a yellow card to a Queen’s II player who had just come off the bench as a substitute for foul and vulgar language directed at Pembroke. By the end though, things got dire, and the game finished 9-0 to Pembroke.

I packed up my things, and rode the short distance further out of town to the Queen’s and Robinson sports grounds, where the Darwin MCR were playing against the Queen’s MCR. When I arrived, I was greeted with the news that we did not have a kit; the new women’s team had borrowed it and the JCR were playing at the same time, so we had to play in bibs. Queen’s MCR had won the league the previous year undefeated, and they played the same way again. I kept goal, and was having a miserable time at it. Their striker, number 6, had a knack of finding space at the top of the box, or at the right wing, so shot after shot was fired to the corners of the net. He was playing in a league far lesser than his class. Also in the first half, the (Queen’s) referee gave out a pair of rather dubious penalties, which inflated the scoreline at half time to 7-0. There wasn’t much I could have done. For the second half, I came out of goals because we needed somebody to referee from Darwin (this is the way that the intercollegiate league works). The team gelled a bit in the second half, but four more goals were scored in the first ten minutes. Shortly after, their playmaker, number 6, came off (and subsequently disappeared), and the match evened out a little. The defence was more solid, though it was difficult to get past the midfield. Towards the end of the game, Darwin scored from a counter-attack to bring the final score to 1-11 to Queen’s.

On the way home, we stopped off at The Red Bull pub (not associated with the Red Bull brand) for a cooling drink of apple juice. I returned home for dinner; leftover chicken schnitzels from the previous night, and slept incredibly well that night, having seen 21 goals scored in 180 minutes of football.

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