By Tim Armitage
The Rustlers were a little disappointed to arrive at Paddington to find our game would be played on the rubber filled football pitch. In fairness it caused both teams some issues, but we probably benefitted slightly as it slowed down some of their faster, younger players.
We were short of out and out midfielders -no offence to Doc and Steeler who stepped into the middle and right midfield respectively - and with Holden straight off a transatlantic flight, we knew we had a challenge on our hands.
It is also fair to say that a combination of ropey pitch and first game back meant rather more missed passes than normal.
Nonetheless, the first half was closely contested affair with relatively few chances at either end. We scored first, a hard corner strike from Andy to the bottom left which might have been slightly wide, edged in by the post defender.
We continued to play pretty well with some very inconsistent umpiring making life a little difficult- Hampstead appeared to be allowed to stick tackle at will without a whistle. Hampstead levelled the score and it was all to play for in the second half.
Gradually their younger legs became more telling and we went behind relatively early on. I forget the order of things, but they scored two more - two of the three in the second half were direct results of poor or inconsistent umpiring decisions which did mar an otherwise good game.
A 2-1 loss would probably have been fair result, but 4-1 it was. A good tough game- just a shame that both times we have played them this year we have been rusty.
We retired to the clubhouse where we were joined by not a single member of the opposition, were not fed, bought our own beer and did not take a selfie. We won the social fixture 7-0.