1st XI start season in style!
By Callum Thorner
Mids 5 - 0 EUHC Gamblers
The Emirates Cup was a pre-season tournament established in 2007 as a way of ensuring that Arsenal always used to win at least some silverwear throughout the season, but in fact all that it served to achieve was Arsenal being able to hide their obvious flaws against substandard opposition. The 1s had entered into their own version of the Emirates Cup and following a very good pre-season which included a win over Spencer 4s and progression out of a decent group in the Surrey Plate, the question was whether we 1s would be able to bring their good form into the league.
Having navigated the usual post cricket dinner and early season availability woes, a good 12 took to the field at home to EUHC Gamblers 2s, a side who had come up from Surrey Div 2 and were a bit of an unknown quantity. A 12.15 meet for a 1pm start was vehemently followed by at least 5 of the team, with the rest turning up at steady intervals through to co-captain Brady at 1pm due to a combination of poor traffic, poor planning and poor injury management. Debutant Seb Novell was one of the later arrivals, but his tardy appearance didn't stop him from delivering a goal with his first few touches for the club, going round a couple of men and the keeper from the top of the D to make it 1-0 within minutes. The step up in level from div 2 was beginning to look a bit daunting for the away side, and another pacy move saw the ball slipped to JD was finish with abobble and aplomb to make it 2. Next came a number of shorts, and having eventually adapted to pushing out on a very dry surface we scored one via an unplanned move, with Brady finishing well, which was followed quickly by another from John Devaney
from open play. At 4-0 we were cruising with the oppo barely getting out of their own half, but any hopes of a break for anyone were crushed by Seb Novell capping an action filled debut by going off injured. The pace of the game inevitably slowed, but we were still able to slot one before half time with Callum Thorner
slotting in a drag.
So the question was could we romp home in the 2nd half a la Man City, or would it be a case of the Arsenal's, imploding from a seemingly unassailable position. Well, as it was neither scenario unfolded with EUHC operating on a damaged limitation basis and our own energy seeping a little on a pretty hot day with no remaining subs. We might have failed to rack up a cricket score but nevertheless we ensured that we kept a clean sheet which equals the record from the whole of last season. All in all plenty to be happy about whilst knowing that truer tests of our league credentials with arrive in the coming weeks.