Andrew Treglown contributed this completely objective report.
The staff team produced two valiant performances in the staff-student football tournament on 25th April. The team was without several of their star performers from last year's matches, including goalkeeper Andrew "safe hands" Morris, but did welcome into their ranks Brazilian playmaker (and postdoc) Itamar Oliveira who had signed from Université Nantes just 10 days earlier.
In their semi-final they had the tough prospect of playing Student Team A. However, the staff team settled into the game well and Bennett was untroubled in his stint in goal. Disaster struck though when Treglown took his turn between the sticks, letting in 2 goals in a matter of minutes. Further goals against the run of play (cough) left the staff 4.0 down. Undeterred, the staff continued their attractive blend of all out-defence and counter-attacking football. Their efforts were rewarded with the "goal of the tournament"; Oliveria picking the ball up near the middle of the park and then providing an inch-perfect pass to Dymond who expertly lobbed the student goalkeeper, causing much celebration amongst the sizeable crowd. Unfortunately, this proved to be just a consolation goal for the staff team, and the match finished Student Team A 4 Staff Team 1.
With the PhD student team losing their semi-final against Student Team B, the former became the opponents of the staff team in the 3rd place play-off match. This turned out to be a real treat for those who came to support the staff team. After just 5 minutes the staff took a deserved lead; Dymond stabbing in from close range. Further chances came and went; Carmesin had a glorious chance to double the lead but shot narrowly over. Dymond too was guilty of some atypical finishing. At the other end, the PhD students were desperate to find a goal, but a mixture of some heroic goalkeeping from postdoc Corbett and stout defending from Leppinen, Bennett, Gallagher and others ensured a clean sheet for the staff and a remarkable 1.0 victory against the PhD students.
Harry Knox has also graciously provided a totally neutral report to your correspondent.
Our students' team was split up into two teams of 8, Knox's Knights and Saha's Soldiers, with both teams consisting of some star talent. Although the Soldiers were lacking powerhouse defender Isaac Carroll, they made up for it in their attacking strengths.
The first semi-final involved the Knights vs Staff team, bringing about some interesting matchups indeed. It started off slow, I can only imagine both teams wanted to sniff out the opposing talent as much as possible, as the first goal took over half the game to come. Then, this all suddenly changed when a keeper change from the staff team meant Jack Grayson and Jonathon Hodgson slid in some tidy finishes and made it 3-0 within minutes. After Jeffrey Lei scored another to make it 4-0, the Knights were hoping to keep a clean sheet, however a staff member decided to take matters into his own hands. A beautiful chip from the halfway line caught Matty off guard and landed in the top bins to make it 4-1 and the score didn't change from then.
On the other side of the pitch played the Saha's soldiers vs PhD team. Although I didn't play in this game, I heard it was a tough battle for both teams involved. With the attacking strength involved, I was shocked to hear goalkeeper Will Rowlands managed to score half of their goals. Is it too late for him to play striker? Who knows, but with extra help from Umar Arshad and captain Jay Saha the game was put to bed as 4-1.
The final was then made up of two student teams, and so the intra-squad game commenced. In previous years this has always been a bigger game than most, some may even consider it bigger than our Semi-final on Sunday but all I knew was it was going to be a tough game. 2 strong starting lineups went at it for a while with no goals scored. However, this was due to change as the Soldier's star man and Mathsoc Player of the Year Jonathon Hodgson absolutely creams one in the upper echelons to open the scoring. Park the bus time commenced, and the soldiers managed to stay 1 up for the majority of the game until I decided I wasn't satisfied with only 1 goal, so I decided to put one in the net myself. It seemed only fair since I arranged the games.
All in all, it was a great bit of fun and we managed to get some charity donations in the lovely yellow hat for Birmingham Children's hospital so it was a win for everyone.