7am start, meant a 6am wakeup call for the driver and his mate. We hit Twerton Park just after 7, some excited, some still asleep. A good journey, one stop off at Exeter with fine weather all the way - things are looking good. We find our destination at St Mewan, home of Charleston FC. Extremely accommodating hosts made us all very welcome. Arriving at 11.30 - we hit the beach. Most boys get wet - Josh gets the most wet, the minibus windows are used as a mobile washing line to the amusement of kernow locals, Cammy over excited.
Tournament time 2 squads of 6.
One GK, the diplomatic player empowered squad selection decided the teams one stronger in attack with GK, one far stronger in defence with rotational GK duties. Team GK, got off to the usual start, though conceded late in their first match which ultimately denied the opportunity to top the group ( by 1pt ) Team no GK, got off to a flying start - goals, more goals, in one match 6 goals... looking like an unstoppable train picking up momentum. The local opponents, big lads, clearly love the outdoors and built for the conditions looked at home in hail, wind and rain. Played some football, but certainly a more direct approach to the game provided a challenge which wasn't all too easy for a passing game with rough course seaside high ground pitches and high wind. Both teams successfully through to the semis - great achievement with no substitutes to call on, and had Team GK topped the group, both sides would have met at this stage. Tiny error, with 8 seconds remaining (!! aaarrrghhh ) and Team No GK are punished and its the end of the tournament. Team GK are looking in determined mood in their semi against Charlestown ( the hosts ). Quite an equal battle, Fin once again pulling out the stops when needed, played the ball into feet and Gav fired home two different goals, one composed, one smashed ala 'Gerrard' to see the boys into the final, great work from all as there is more steel and the chance to right the wrongs of the last two semi finals.
Team GK, totally battered St Tudy ( yellows ) in the final. Created 5 clear goal scoring opportunities, disaster struck in the second half at 0 - 0 totally against the run of play, the boys got caught 3 v 2 which the opponents exploited and fired home with their first clear cut chance in the match. Our boys hit the post, 2 from Sean denied by the keeper and Gav missing the target on a tap in back post electing to aim across the face of goal... shots were raining in from distance from Max, Ben... but no. Not to be, the clock run out and once again first losers medals for the City Boys, despite the domination.
After the footy we elect 'find the local swimming pool' then eat - though when we got there it was closed, so we forfeit the opportunity to wash in the pool and go in search of food. Who would decide to go into town with no shoes?
The boys repaid the trust afforded them by responding well to instructions - being where they needed to be on time. Faced with extreme tiredness, hunger whilst waiting for food in massive chip shop queues on the busiest night of the year in a sleepy sea fishing village - all coped, by 10-15 we'd had enough and returned to camp. The heavens opened up after midnight and so followed the next test - met with our first casualty, Jacob found the combination of fish and chips, starbursts, lucozade sports, bag wrestling, belongings exchange and bag emptying out, throw your trainers as hard as possible at the person opposite activities all too much... and, oh no, the early warning signs were realised - yep, SICK! not just sick, but sick over himself, other players stuff, including clothes, trainers, sleeping bags and perilously close to the head of the first to give in to sleep.
So, 2.30am - all up and out, screaming girls frightened of sicked-up-chips, the smell, the look of it and the fear of who's the next honker. I made a stoic effort to get rid of sick chips, but it was clear the pandemonium needed to be quashed - evacuation to the club house 'away team' changing rooms, for a floor, no smell of sick. Jacob still carried the 'au de vom' into the changing rooms, nice sharing. Had to clean up in the dark. Boys settle down after a fierce dressing down and a couple of expletives for which I later apologise.
The weather - now really bad, audio here - there is no way I am sleeping through this,
KB is doing well and his z's add to my misery reminding me what sleep was. I check the boys to make sure they are all still alive. Worse. They are all still up and its 4am - all were hoping it was 7am, which is the next time I check and believe it or not, they're all still up.
I need to break wind (bad decision), do so, then discover it is not wind and more trauma in the knowledge that my shorts are white for the day... surely this can't be happening? It was happening. 7 visits to the lavatoire and I'm about running on empty, a trip for milk and Imodium at 7:45am all supermarkets are shut, Asda opens at 10 - not good enough. I strike lucky and the Co-Op is open at 8am and they have the pharmaceuticals I need badly.
The clouds ran out of rain. Gav and Ben get cracking with the breakfast and do a fantastic job in feeding the ten plus KB ( who counts for 2 big ones ). We use the Respect barriers as a wasing line to cleanse shirts with sick, the boys are sceptical that this will work and fall for the 'put your shirt on before the whistle' idea.
And at 10:40 the game kicks off, our hosts Charlestown have the benefit of a full on and decent night's sleep. Against all probability, set up as 4-3-3, the boys get into gear and control the first 25 minutes, the shape very tight which enabled two to three touch play, with an option in three positions to pass, Charlestown struggled to get hold of the ball and settle into the game. The City boys registered two extremely good goals, Ben mopping up a deflection and hammering home, then neat interplay down the left channel, Ben and Gav combining well and a superb diagonally ball was met on the volley by Cammy as he timed his run to perfection steering the ball home. A couple of other chances fell as Max jinked into the box but was pickpocketed before pulling the trigger, more corners but the second ball just out of reach, Sean electing to shoot when Ben G, made the run into the box from deep for a tap in, good save from the keeper. Second half Charlestown had a pep talk and pressed high, early and got a foothold into the game, our passing now weiry and hurried meant possession was lost cheaply in midfield and hurried clearances invited more pressure.
The hosts hit the bar with a superb header - so unlucky, would have been a spectacular goal. Understandably fatigue took its toll and the home team's momentum was increased as the deficit was reduced to half, then shortly the equaliser at the end of the second period. The last set of 20 mins, the boys elect to change back to the original starting line up, thinking this may work - and it almost did, Paddy and Jacob couldn't quite find the right touch or find enough space to dispatch a clear shot, one comedy moment sees Paddy on his backside at what looked like an attempted bicycle kick, a header over the bar, Ben G elects to scoop the ball over the keeper from 4 yards.... then the hosts register one more goal to finish the morning. Both sides worked really really hard, played with real endeavour, good to watch and this game made the trip for me.
Confucious say ' there's no way Jose you are going to win a football match if you stay up all night'.... and he was right. Not sleeping sounds like this
Charlestown then treated us to a massive post match feast - the ladies looked after both sides, finished off with super home made cakes. So, all the boys were in fine spirits for the next challenge - tent packing... well almost all the boys, one or two took refuge in the minibus in an attempt to escape any more chores... tssk. I saw you.
Andy F gave us a super time and advised us of a good beach on route home... the pictures say it all, some boys chose to squeeze every second of action out of this weekend - it was wonderful to witness especially after a couple of sticky weeks.
Just who would bring a crab on board a bus ??? But it proved useful as boys slept and sat on various heads on the way... and as we edged closer to Bath, the boys woke and made friends with a lot of folk on the M5