The Surrey Classics kicked off another new season with the long road trip to Chilliwack, the venue of probably the performance of last season. As per usual, the Classics were hit with the early season blues and could just about muster a team together made up of cripples, crocks and several totally out of shape 'footballers'. The home side had the luxury of about seven substitutes, a luxury which was to bear fruit as the game progressed.
Bruce Cook won the toss and elected to play with the sun at their backs on the always well maintained Tzeachtes field. The first half was one way traffic with the visitors having numerous chances to take the lead. Alfie Deglan could easily have had a first half hat-trick had it not been for the excellent keeping of Harvey in the home goal, the cross-bar and a one or two slightly off target shots. Chances also fell to Billy Ranger, Cook and Jimmy Butler but again some good stopping and timely challenges kept the score at 0-0 after an intense non-stop onslaught on the home defence.
Chuck McGill, back from his worldly travels, made a last minute dash from Vancouver Island to make the game and appeared midway through the first half to take a spot in the visitors defence. He seemed somewhat subdued, which could have been the result of some heavy liquid refreshment on the Island the previous night. It was good however, to see his return to the team after a year of absence. Also making a comeback was Alan Burton (the budge) who struggled with injury for the most part of last season but who thankfully now appears to be regaining his magical, and sometimes dizzy, skills.
The second half kicked off with the Classics again taking the game to Chilliwack and their pressure eventually paid dividends in the 55th. minute. A right wing corner was floated over the the centre of the goal-line by Danny Jensen and Billy Ranger (pictured) was on the spot for a simple tap in from close range. It was Ranger at close range. The goal was nothing short of what the visitors deserved after some impressive attacking play. The lead was short lived however as a break five minutes later put Chilliwack on level terms. A midfield move resulted in a Chilliwack forward breaking free one-on-one with Dave Moore who had stepped in as an emergency keeper once again. Although Moore got a hand to the shot the power was enough to ensure that the home side ended up on level scores.
Ten minutes later a right wing break put the home side in the lead. A Chilliwack break ended up with their forward in a two-on-one with Moore but this time he centred the ball to another attacker positioned at the back post who had the simplest of chances to put the ball home. The Classics were visibly wilting and with no new legs to replace the old ones they went from firm favourites to also rans. Mike Snow cleared one attempt off the line from a corner and Chilliwack were growing in force after sensibly using their strong squad to maximum effect.
Ten minutes from the end of the game Moore was beaten again as a forward curled a shot across the goalmouth. Fully expecting the shot to go wide, Moore left it and it went in off the upright. Moore accepts full blame for this act and acknowledges that it was this error which effectively gave the Classics no hope of recovering in a game that, with another pair of legs or if one or two earlier shots that would have killed the game went in, they would probably have won. The Classics fought manfully on and gave their 100% but it was to no avail as the old legs just couldn't do it.
Chilliwack hit a fourth goal with five minutes to go. It was a hard low shot across the goal, one that even The Hack might not have saved! In the end it was a useful run out and brought the players together for the start of another season. With many players already committed to other things for next Sunday, it's going to be another long struggle as the Classics open their home season by entertaining the New West Regals at their new McMillan Island ground.
Final Score 4-1 (0-0)
You were crap award: Jim (Stirling Moss) Eden