A change of management in the 3XI was the biggest event of the summer. Departing Coach John Dixon left behind a grateful, championship winning side and with him we said good riddance/fond farewell to some of the chaff. i
Welcome Tom Khares, new 3XI Coach and a new era of terrible chat andeven worse training wear; the sole objective of retaining the league title and gaining promotion out of the North West 2 myre. Hello, gluten tag and bonjour are owed to Gilbody (retiring from the 2XI), Lockton, Kellett Jr. and Lord (MU Student) as well as Tully, Hodkinson, Bansal and Cuttle Jr. from Ralph's super 7thXI (2017-2018).
Despite graduating and registering for University the 3XI have been unable to lose the services of Jones (Liverpool JM) and Lay Sr (Uni of Manchester) and who have since adopted certain false hierarchical rise following their own self-appointed promotions from Chief Executive Bib Washer and Senior Vice President of Aqua.
With an unfamiliar furore of pre-season activity, spirits were unusually luke warm and BMU’s title defence looks like it has some strong foundations to be built upon.
Windermere presented the first test, expected to be a firm test from season where the Georges Road boys could only grasp a point away from both fixtures (0-1 and 3-3 respectively).
A better Khares than usual stepped up to the side-lines as TK had pre-booked a romantic trip to Bali for himself and significant other… all eyes to social media for any signs of cubic zirconia.
BMU put the Lake District lads under immediate pressure and started to take early control of the game. With an uncharacteristically good shape, Windermere didn’t quite know how to deal with Skipper Virabi’s early dominance. He only managed to turnover possession to the opposing forward once in 5 minutes… a new season record he aims to improve on!
Cuttle, Bennett and Whitehead looked to probe and pontificate round the back giving BMU time to carve their next opening.
A couple of neat exchanges down the flanks saw early opportunities for Lockton, Jones and Tully as the Cumbrian defence scrambled and stood strong… for now. Unfortunately the home side couldn’t prevent a PC being oddly awarded (video replays and 22 pairs of eyes have since confirmed it was not a foul) and subsequently converted by the Windermere skipper. 0-1.
Gilbody saw green as he soon realised umpires at this level don’t like to be told where to stand to get the best view of obvious infringements in the circle. He had however worked really hard for his quick 2 minute breather.
Re-enthused by going down a goal and against the run of play, BMU took charge once again mounting waves of pressure on the car-park end. Persistence paid off as a PC was awarded. Virabi duly dispatched the PC in his usual fashion by nearly breaking through the net. 1-1.
Up stepped the big man, BMU 20 (stone?) Cherry to open his season campaign of circle poaching. He finished of a nice flowing move from the back leaving the ‘keeper in no-man’s land. 2-1. Half time. Keep the ball, keep the shape, keep the ball and work harder.
BMU dominated periods of play as the game matured; Whitehead and Hodkinson both rampant down the flanks and causing problems for the men in mauve. Dudley remained composed linking well with himself in the middle of the park, only choosing to dribble passed 4 players when absolutely necessary (every time he got the ball). Mainly because he can, but also when the Windermere press opened up like the Grand Canyon. Kellett and Bansal looked composed on the ball and made the opposition look like cones with some excellent passing moves.
BMU broke through once more and as the ball fell to Jones in the circle, he thought back to his chart topping scoring success of last season and easily nudged home giving the home side a bit of breathing space. 3-1.
Cue an exertion from Windermere, a higher press and a more open game… their ‘star' forward deploying an innovative new strategy and novel approach of marking the BMU spare-man whilst in possession and being marked himself, stating quite adamantly that ‘he was taking 2 BMU defenders out of the game!?’ Alas, his tactic didn’t work as loose heads and tackling resulted in several cards, and Brooklands were able to ride out more of half in calm control.
A brief lapse in concentration and Windermere created an opportunity, resulting in a PC, and yes, another goal. 3-2 and squeaky bum time for the last 10 minutes. Lay briefly mumbled, "he knew where that one was going" despite not being able to make the save. Bloody ‘keepers.
BMU stepped up, puffed chests out and rode home to victory in the opening home home game, in the showcase Saturday slot as well!
Onto Uni of Liverpool next weekend, unbeaten!
Squad: Lay, Virabi (c), Bennett, Hodkinson, Whitehead, Cuttle Jr, Gilbody, Dudley, Lord, Bansal, Kellett, Cherry, Lockton, Tully, Jones.
Man of the Match: Virabi
Goal of the Match: Virabi
Best Iranian Player on show: Virabi
Unavailable: Sidebotham, Fullerton, Mills, Quibble
Lots of competition amongst the 3XI and 4XI so please make the effort to train this week.
Report written, edited and artistically licensed by Anon.
Ed Note Felix is currently a small, very skilful lad and will be built up by a managed diet of beer, chips, sausage and beans not by sticking an un-required "e" in his surname!!