Although a Steve E KOOHL tourney was originally planned for the night, the prospect of attending a new tourney venue (SPACKO
ff!) including Ben's return was too much too resist! Having said that my expectations were realistic and both me and Si agreed we would be competing for 4th and 5th places. ROUND #1
Ben G,6,Garry C,1,
Simon K,5,Garry C,2,
Garry C,3,Jon G,9,
Garry C,4,Steve E,6,
Hoping that I'd catch Ben a little rusty is like hoping Bbob will play without autoslides. It just ain't gonna happen! Nevertheless it was great to see Ben back in action who brushed me aside 1-6 in the first round. Next up was the first of my cup finals for the night. Could I get something out of these matches to avoid propping up the league? DISASTER!!!! Our game was always going to be 50/50 but his one swung Si's way 2-5 amid some not-quite-intentional goal scoring from Si. Lucky f*cker!!!! Even though my arch-rival agreed, he was lovin' every second of it!
Not only did I face coming bottom, but bottom AND pointless
- the mother of all wooden spoons!!!! I couldn't give up though and felt I played well against Mr UKC. I only faced a two-goal deficit until mid way through the second half when Jon turned up the heat and left me well done at 3-9. Against Steve, I won't remember that after trailing 1-4 at half-time, I fought back to make it 4-4, I'll remember the moment when Mr E lived up to his name by fouling me not once but twice in a matter of seconds to gain possession. This went unnoticed by the ref of course and from the subsequent play he scored! PURE EVIL!!!
When the going gets tough, the tough get evil ? ROUND #2
Garry C,2,Ben G,8,
Garry C,4,Simon K,3,
Jon G,5,Garry C,4,
Steve E,4,Garry C,1,
Second round against Ben, I thought I'd try some evil myself and professionally fouled Ben's striker just outside the corner of the box in his very first attack. BAM! From the resultant free-kick, Ben first bent the ball away from goal before viciously curling it just inside the far post.
I just had to laugh at the natural justice of it all! Anyway, despite the 3-8 scoreline I actually enjoyed this game more than the first, improving my possession and shot stats, if not the scoreline! Cup final time again and this time I HAD to get a result against Si. I'd take even a draw just to avoid that 'nil point' syndrome! YESSSS!!!! This time the coin came down in my favour and in the last minute of a frantic neck and neck battle, the winner came for me in the last minute to secure a 4-3 victory! RELIEF!
At last, a taste of that winning feeling, which I took into my next match against Jon. Of course he's a better player than me, but I really felt I deserved something out of this match and so nearly did until some Alan Parry goalkeeping. Crueler than cruel, and for the second time this match, my keeper drops a seemingly safe catch back to Jon's striker who gladly taps it into an empty net! Perhaps I was still gutted from this, but I never felt I got started against Steve who comfortable clocked up another victory against me, this time 4-1.
The way the fixtures fell, my game-break came at the end of the round, so I was able to enjoy the finale to SPACKO I. With 1 game to play, Ben was too points clear of Jon and with a slightly better goal difference (just two goals). As the final games reached the last 60 seconds, Steve was holding Ben 3-3 and Jon was leading Si 5-3. As it stood, both Jon and Ben would be tied on points AND GOAL DIFFERENCE!!!!!!
We were all suddenly aware of this fact which just added to the drama of the moment. Maybe to avoid this controversy, Ben ensured there was no doubt over who was champion when he eventually overcome 'the evil one' 5-3, and take the tournament crown! Superb return after over a two-year koa break - welcome back!
Just like KOBRA, SPACKO may not meet the highest tournament standards but it was nevertheless a fantastic venue. It felt laid back and friendly. Hosting in your loft converstion was perfect imo, and as we said at the time the homely feel kinda goes back to all our KO2 roots!
Thanks again Jon for having us over to your place - much appreciated - and looking forward to next time already....