Night fell quiet, frost fell upon the grass and the Hatchets boys fell into
Middle Earth Bethania. The players from the earlier game were still on the pitch, red and blue clad livestock stomping the icy ground until the final whistle, moving like cattle to the sheds for warmth. This whistle signalled to the boys from UQ that it was time. Emperor Graves put his phone away as it chimed victory in Clash of Clans, Tej worked over his black handbook of insults, Sam Grace polished the instep of his right boot, Tim Thorne folded away his favourite cardigan, Adam Beasley said a prayer over Logan’s right ankle, Dan Edey closed Tinder. As one, the boys walked down the clubhouse steps in time and lined up on the pitch.
Looking at the opposition, the Afghani EFA Boyz, they would be the last bastion of international enforcements before the Hatchet warriors completed their conquest. Boys they were, old enough to be cocky in victory and young enough to not have suffered defeat – the only cure for arrogance. A cure the UQ Medicine students would be happy to provide.
The referee progressed to the middle of the pitch with the pace of the Hobbits across Mordor (if you didn’t read the books, it took an entire 500-page book).
“Alright boys, let’s have a clean game” he said. “Say one word to me and you’re off. Say ‘mine’ instead of your name and you’re off. Say anything besides your name and you’re off. Look at me and you’re off. In fact, screw this game you’re all off” he said, becoming visibly panicked and turning for the sideline.
Sjors Plugge, who was starting on the sideline, took a few moments to approach the referee, calm him down and talk him back onto the pitch as both teams waited in position. A deft hand like I’ve never seen, the Dutch Bomber has been taking notes from Rusty Hatchet Bjorne on psychiatry.
With that the starting whistle blew. And then another, penalty to the EFA Boys. Trey kicked-off from the wrong side of the line.
The EFA boys drove the ball high into the Hatchet’s box. Whistle. EFA’s striker called for the ball: “MINE”.
Rocky Kang cleared the penalty back into the EFA Boy’s half. EFA’s head back. Moonie controls it. Quick pass to Grace on the right wing. Tackle. Ball is out. Grace lines up to throw it in. Whistle. Grace is two-metres off the mark.
Throw in to Trey. Whistle. Trey’s foot came too high, 2 feet off the ground, although not high enough to clear Trey’s waist it was in-fact head-height of the EFA defender.
And so went the first ten minutes.
After the referee had worked out what rules he wanted to put into practice, and the players had figured this out through trial and error, the Hatchet’s made their first strike through the EFA defence. A corner by Donald landing right in the centre of the box. Edey kicks it into an EFA defender in a volley attempt (for which he does not ask for assist credit), the ball deflected out to a calm Rockie Kang. Kang swings his right leg, arced high, straight line pushing the ball along the ground, bottom left. Goal.
It was barely five more minutes until the Hatchet’s were to strike again. With dominating possession, consistent field position, the Hatchet’s were in total control of the game. Positioned just outside the opposition 18-yard box, Moonie found a pass in and then found a gap between the remaining two EFA defenders. Having no time to react as the ball cleared his centre defenders, the EFA keeper could not reach to his right in time and Moonie’s shot found the bottom left corner.
With this the first half would end 2-0 towards the Hatchet’s. However, not wanting to get cold or bored, neither team left the pitch for the half-time break. After many complaints by the referee about his blood sugar and about needing a rest, the teams managed to coax him back on to start the second half immediately.
Five minutes into the second half, Dan Edey made a dastardly run down the left wing only to be aggressively and completely unabashedly slide tackled by the opposing winger. Of course being completely unscathed and mostly disappointed about a wasted run down the wing, Edey appealed to the referee with the intensity of a losing Indian cricket captain bowling finger spinners on a flat Australian pitch. The EFA winger was sent to the bin for ten minutes.
Gaining the advantage of being 11 vs. 10 men, the Hatchet’s leading slander MVP, Tej Sidhu, decided to not let up. Consulting his black book of insults, Tej whipped out a beastly call against an EFA defender. Not a single member of the EFA player’s family was spared, and no expense was avoided in verbally, emotionally, morally and constitutionally destroying the player. The hit was so conclusive that the player immediately went to ground. Not hearing the insult from his chair on the side of the pitch, the referee assumed Tej must have hit the player and instantly displayed the Hatchet’s man a red card, the first of the season for the boys from Herston. The teams were tied at 10-10 (players).
Having scored early, as seems to be the warrant of the Herston Hatchets, the boys simply bunkered down for the entire second half. With the 11th EFA Boi returning after ten minutes, all Hatchet’s players were pulled into defence for almost the entirety of the second half. With strong defence and even stronger communication, the Hatchet’s were impenetrable.
After 20 minutes of defending, the EFA Boiz made yet another error. Being slow on returning to defence in their offensive complacency, Trey and Sam were able to get the ball to half-way, line up some quick one-two passes to work it into the box, where Trey would slot the ball past a cold and bored EFA goal keeper, further sealing the Hatchet’s towards the inevitable 3-0 victory.
With this win, the Herston Hatchets have solidified their place at the top of the division 1 ladder with only two weeks remaining in the normal season.