In need of repair

Next report from guest writer Woody – live from Andy’s toy box. This report is accompanied by stats from both games. Goal hanger Bedford is taking his place at the top of the goal charts whilst Punchy Holah and Robo-hip Bowen are putting in solid performances to challenge Weeble for the Catas Trohpy… Enjoy!!

May 1st Stats

Thursday evening saw the Narwhal horde descend to the depths of Morden to take on Sutton and Cheam’s second (…) team. The opposition had clearly struggled to find players as they numbered only 7 in total, likely only achieved after some panicked last minute cries for help. The Narwhals, as has been the case in recent games were aplenty, a firm 10 turning out to do battle once again. It would appear this rally of numbers was where our achievement ended for the night, and what follows is a sorry tale of woe, floundering, and despair. The derelict and dilapidated Morden Park Pool, much in need of a coat of paint or a demolition contract, served as a fitting metaphor for the play we exhibited in what proved to be a long hour within its 4 high walls.

The first quarter started with a lost swim off (were we missing Gamble already?!). It rapidly became clear that the opposition’s main threat was former Olympian Matt Holland, who took a while to get used to in defence and attack. We tried a drop in the narrow pool, and while their pit had little success, we were too quick to leave shooters free and we conceded from the outside. Going forward we lacked ideas save for a couple of goals from Dan, the first in particular proving memorable for his sheer persistence under heavy pressure to put the ball over the keeper’s head. This was the moment of the match. After one quarter the scoreline read Matt Holland (and a few others) 5, Dan Bedford 2.

Cue the second quarter, and the Narwhals felt more comfortable defending in deeper waters, or so we thought. Our defence here proved leakier than the pool’s ceiling (which has a large net to catch falling roof tiles), and we conceded a further 6 goals. 3 exclusions and the resultant goals scored from Sutton’s men up had hurt us, but our poor passing, and poor finishing meant only Phil troubled the scoreboard all quarter. 11-3, and looking like our recent form had deserted us.

Phil and Dan scored a goal each in the third quarter, and remained the only Narwhals to trouble the net with only one quarter to go. On a more positive note, we held Sutton to only 2 goals of their own as we adopted a press defence which proved more effective (a draw for the quarter felt like a massive victory at the time). In one of the stranger episodes of the game, Rob attempted an ill-advised back hook shot from his right wing, and while the ball did little to trouble the goal, his flailing arm did connect with an unfortunate Sutton defender and split his eyelid open. Sutton now down to 6, blood everywhere, apologies all round, and surely now we might have a chance.

Its unusual to get such a prolonged opportunity to practice man up attack, and we now had 8 minutes of nothing but a man advantage. Sadly it quickly became evident that 8 minutes was nowhere near the time we required to make our man up play passable, and we continued to allow goals from a Sutton team a man short, while squandering opportunities at the other end. One particularly memorable failure was Phil’s attempt to put the ball in to Dan in the pit as we were 2-on-1, only managing to put the ball firmly in the grasp of the one defender. This earned him fluffer for the week. After this things picked up. Gary and Finch Sr. bagged a pair of goals each, and Holah once again left his post at pit defence briefly to score a self-branded ‘wonder goal’ ricocheting off the keeper, the bar, possibly a defender and the surface of the water all before finding the net. The final quarter was won 5-4. The match was lost 18-11. Man of the match was Dan for his efforts in attack and defence. At the post-match debrief in the pub, it was decided to send the Narwhals back to school, with classroom sessions beginning next week. Probably followed by several passing drills and man up.

Forza Narwhali

Probably the scariest man in the Universe…

Only a week late, but Finch Maximus delivers our first report of the day…

Narwhals vs. Enfield 2:

A Narwhals team buoyed by the absence of our resident Julio Englesias impressionist faced an unknown quantity in the mighty Enfield 2. We had two referees, a strong squad and were at home. A home win and strong performance was expected.

The Narwhals took an early lead with Dr Woody finding all deep home comforts much more to his liking than our recent procession of shallow pools. Our usual issue of decision making and poor passing saw us miss out on numerous other opportunities before Nick “Amy Winehands” Shute bagged a well worked goal. The oppo weren’t showing much but did score from the pit before our ginger destroyer restored our two goal lead. 3 – 1 to the Narwhals at the end of the first.

The second quarter saw our mighty Narwhals hit their stride another well worked goal by our team medic coupled with 4 from ginge, 2 from Nick and a deflected goal for Gary “more metal than man” Bowen saw us 11 – 4 up at half time and in complete control.

Then came our obligatory collapse. Our inability to adequately play a drop defence saw our TJ defending the pit by himself a couple of times and their big wallowing pit man took advantage, more on him though a little later. Our usually glorious reserve keeper (I.e. Me) forgot the dimensions of the goal and got beaten at his near post three times (oh the shame….), Dan, Woody, Amy and a “daddy” floater special kept our scoreboard ticking but the quarter ended with us 15 – 10 up.

The final quarter saw our resident enforcer and three time winner of our “Catas” trophy for services to excess violence introduce himself to the Enfield pitman. After a handshake, discussion of the weather and the merits of Brexit, our hard man very quietly and menacingly suggested that if he was “to do that again” then punchy would “redecorate his face”. Who knew that discussion on the relative merits of various passport colours could get so heated??? Needless to say their pit man swam away suitably chastened and utterly petrified of the Narwhals hardman.

The final quarter also saw an attempt by our leading goal scorers try to help Tim “patented guns” Young avoid a visit from the Portuguese police by giving him a recently won penalty. Unfortunately Tim’s pen was uncharacteristicly poor and for this he wins Fluffer for the game. The rest of the quarter saw three more goals for Nick and another man up goal for Floater. The game petered out with the Narwhals winning 19 – 14.

Dan and Nick both scored 7 but Dan gets the man of the match award. Moment goes to JH for his menacing threats and Tim gets fluffer for his missed pen.

Forza Narwali….

Some assembly needed…

Wednesday 11th April saw a bad water polo team beat a slightly worse water polo team. More through weight of numbers rather than skill and ability, the Narwhals were triumphant 16-8 against Blue Marlin. Apparently it was the first game of the summer league – but someone should have told the weather…

April 13th Stats

Despite the fact the fixture lacked any appeal – long drive, shallow pool, late night – the pub afterwards is quite nice, so we were in danger of fielding a full 13-man squad. However we managed to strategically avoid this – the Lord of Limoncello was collecting the dowry for his daughter whilst Andy W picked up a match day maddy for a late cry-off. Equally worrying was John “Punchy” Holah’s disappearance – requesting a lift from Finch Snr but not turning up. Our suspicion is that he spent 24hrs in Portuguese Police custody.

I can’t remember much of the game, but all the classic moves were there. Sensational blocks from messers Gamble and Loveless both resulted in own goals, Rob “woody” Loveless continued to bother low flying aircraft and Finch Jnr picked up his customary middle of the pool major. Gary “Duke of Edinburgh” Bowen made a triumphant return, picking up 3 majors for his troubles.

Slightly more worrying was our inability to set up a 3-3 attack for a man-up. Below is how it should have looked, and then how we did it…

   

or something similar to the Narwhal trademarked 2-1-2-1 formation…

For those of you who are interested, someone did a better tic-tac corner than me. (http://www.waterpoloplanet.com/HTML_Dave_pages/dm11_water_polo_tactics.html)

Equally, for a team who lack any real motivation to do much swimming, we were very good at swimming back to halfway – despite the ask being for a full press. I am sure we can work on that at our next training session… boooooooooooooppppppp.

Man of the match went to Nick “not so selfish” Shute for grabbing himself 4 goals and for uncharacteristically passing to other team members to let them score. He also won moment of the match for an audacious attempt to do a back flick thing towards the goal. I can’t remember it, but he got 4 votes for it… so well done.

Fluffer was a close run thing this week. Shute was close to getting the triple crown for not passing to Charles. In contrast to the reasons he won man of the match, he decided to shoot and score rather than let Charles escape the Portuguese police. That being said, I would have voted him fluffer if he had helped Charles avoid that flight to Lisbon – so swings and roundabouts. Gamble and Loveless were also close with their dramatic own goals, but the winner this week, for his delightfully well worked call for a time out is Matt “1 second to go” Finch. Calling a time out with 1 second to go in the 4th is superb even by his own very high standards. Congratulations.

The Narwhals continue you their march on against Enfield next week. Hopefully we have mastered the 3-3 by then…

Forza Narwhali!!

Japanese Blossoms

This week we bring a bit of culture. The match detailed in Japanese Haiku:

March 22nd stats

Dominant Display
Nineteen-sixteen victory
But just not for us

Man of the Match: Andy W

With great legs, big saves
leaping like a salmon leaps
a glorious game

Moment: Dan Bedford

A ball in the pit
Makes defender look a mug
Goal for the ginger

Fluffer: Matt Finch

Swim in to the pit
Save on line, the ball rebounds
He sleeps, they don’t. Goal

Where are Shute and Finch?
they went missing in Lisbon
a dangerous place

A Roller-coaster of Moments

Putting his GCSE English to good use (someone has to) Charles K-T chips in with a match report…

March 19th Stats

After a long journey, by train or by car, the Narwhals arrived, further North than their regular hunting grounds, at the underground layer of Eastern Otter. The Narwhals started in classic fashion – going 2-0 down in the first 4 minutes… A golden opportunity fell their way early on, with a 2 on 1 against the keeper. Rob ‘long-range’ Loveless executed a superb lob – over both the keeper, and the supporting player: to the dismay of the crowd. Yet with 2 minutes left of the first quarter, the Narwhals staged an impressive comeback with two goals from Nick ‘likes to Shute a lot’, the top goal scorer, and a hat-trick from Dan. The first quarter ended with a blast, as “Long-range” Loveless realised shooting from twelve meters was much easier than two and bounced one in the top corner, with only a second left on the clock to make moment of the match. 

The second quarter saw significantly less goals as we attacked their almost shallow end. Despite losing the second quarter 3-2, we maintained our lead with goals from Tim and Nick, finishing the quarter 5-8. The most notable moments of the quarter was a sudden violent streak from Gamble, resulting in two majors in as many minutes, to cap a slightly underwhelming quarter – and taking his brutality rating to 7… 

Starting the third quarter, the Narwhals found themselves down another goal, in under a minute. Following the decline of the last quarter, real pressure was on to ensure the match didn’t slip away from the Narwhals. A man up, finished superbly into the corner by Phil provided some comfort before a controversial penalty was given against us. Despite a lengthy explanation of the rules from Finch ‘Major’, the penalty was incorrectly given, then scored. The three goal lead was quickly restored as Rob ‘long-range’ Loveless scored again from range, before realising he can also score from two meters too. A brief Otter counter attack, bringing home two goals, was quickly nullified by a rear guard action with goals from Charles and Tim, following some hand magic (almost worthy of moment of the match) from Nick. Mr. ‘likes to Shute a lot’ scored again and brought the game firmly under control. The quarter set to end on a high saw a speculative, long range shot from the Eastern Otters line up. Blockers in place. Keeper set. The Narwhals were ready to defend any incoming fire power. A wide, slow, looping shot was expertly volleyed in by Gamble – past Finch Major – into the Narwhals’ goal. A bizarre own goal secured Gamble the title of fluffer, against the rivals of misplaced passes and shots that threatened low flying aircraft. 

The final quarter got off to a slow start, but with building momentum, goals arrived from Rob, Nick and Phil. With the score at 10-17, the fight to avoid a maddie began. A soft foul was given away by Oggy; it is also currently under investigation by the dubious maddie committee. Otter scored, but the game was won and with a couple of minutes to go, Dan fired a shot from range – high, wide and straight into the changing rooms. Unfazed by this, Dan tried again blasting one in the far post to cap of a comfortable 11-18 win. Man of the Match going to Rob, for finally learning how to score, and doing so in phenomenal style. Notable mention should go to Charles and Nick ‘likes to Shute a lot’, for close runners up. 

Finally the London Metropolitan Police force would like to put out a missing person report for a Mr Zach Finch, who hasn’t been seen since Monday, the 12th of March. He was last seen somewhere in North East London, but also was apparently sighted loitering in Portugal in following days: any knowledge of his whereabouts would be greatly appreciated.

Tales of the Deep

This week’s match report courtesy of Rob “High and Wide” Loveless. Has he “hit the target” with his writing? You be the judge…

28th Feb stats

Tales of the Deep:
The odyssey of the Narwhal horde continues as our intrepid knights of the cool waters headed into the unknown pastures of Walton upon Thames to face another battle. Some compared the battlefield for this bout to the borderline watchable 1999 Renny Harlin thriller “Deep Blue Sea”. More vigilant observers pointed out that this pool was neither deep nor blue, and really wasn’t very close to the sea. 2 shallow ends in fact proved a novelty for Narwhal and observer alike. Genetically modified sharks were nowhere to be seen,  but in their place the formidable Blue Marlin stood in the Narwhals way. The game started much as a trip to the fabled Elmbridge Xcel centre often does, with 14 brave souls splashing about in the shallows waiting for something resembling Water Polo to happen.
“Standing” cried the Narwhal travelling support. “Set up the arc”, “Do something!”. The horde responded to such criticism initially with a resilience unseen before as they avoided anything resembling attacking play. The horde’s defence is where their strength lies, although sadly those championships that many suggest are won on the basis of defence do not appear to include the London or Thameside Water Polo Leagues…
Finally, mid way through the first quarter one Narwhal rose above the rest, and following 3 outstanding assists (which never seem to get credited?), Dan had scored a hat-trick. Attacking the deeper of two shallow ends appeared to suit the Narwhals. A further man up goal from Holah completed the quarter’s attack, but as the spoils appeared plentiful the defence lost concentration and allowed 3 goals in return. 
The second quarter proved as memorable as 2003’s suspenseful bore-fest “Open Water”, to the point where I remember 3 things. Dan scored a second hat-trick, Ed got his first major, and we conceded only once. Evidently defending the deeper shallow end was also to our taste. 
After the customary rousing team talk from Dan (“I know no-one wants to be here but lets not lose”), the third quarter began. At this stage Dan would then go to sleep for the remainder of the game and allow Nick to come to the fore as the Narwhals attacking threat. A fine goal off the right flank for Charles and a particularly well worked lobbed goal under pressure from Nick both gained votes for Moment of the Match, but that crown was to be grabbed with both hands, and the head, by Gamble.
Valiantly defending the pit against a man twice his size (difficult I know…), the referees called major as he battled to regain the ball. He dutifully swam to the corner, not anticipating that the Marlin sharpshooters would prove sharper than usual. The shot cannoned off the back of Gamble’s head, he was felt to be interfering with play (it remains unclear whether he had any idea of what was going on, or any lasting memory of the event), and a third and final major was awarded. Wrapped. Disgraced. Wobble. He earned moment of the match for his troubles. 
By the fourth quarter the game was well in hand, and Nick continued his scoring escapades. This was in stark contrast to Rob, who continued to push the realms of possibility with shots further and further off target in spite of considerably larger goals than usual. One particular effort was so far high and right that landings at Heathrow were temporarily diverted to avert disaster. Shooting practice prescribed, he wraps up Fluffer for another week, extending his streak to 2.
The final score was 19-7 to the Narwhals who returned victorious to deeper waters. Man of the match was awarded to Dan for his 7 goal haul, with special mentions to Nick and Chris Mann in attack and Andy W in goal who made several good saves. No trips to Portugal this week, although Zach’s last quarter major has warranted referral to the DMC, considered very dubious. The Narwhal undefeated run of 2018 survives, as they await their next challengers.
Forza Narwhali

Ad Victoriam! Narwhal Victoriam!

This week’s stats report was provided by guest writer Nick Shute, fresh from the set of Gladiator 2. For those who are uneducated and didn’t study Latin at school, there is an appendix at the bottom for you to work out who the characters in this epic story are…

Feb 7th Stats

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Anno MMXVIII

5th Februarius

And so we come to the second great battle of MMXVIII. The Narwhal legions amassed at Las Iguanas in Westfield Stratford for a pre-battle feast. Victory felt like an inevitability against the Orca clans of the East, and the soldiers were jovial as Amator Lignorum played out the battle formations with condiments to hand. With no heed to the hour, the sun rose without warning over the waves in the far distance. The faint but distinct drums of the Orcas could be heard, closer than expected. The Narwhals (after paying the bill) gathered their weapons, and with “gaudia certaminis” in their hearts they lined up on the field of battle.

The sound of war horns filled the clear wintery skies, the battle had commenced and the two armies rushed towards each other. Amans Vinum, on his steed Nanti, the fastest of all horses in Londinensi, sped ahead of all others down the left flank. As he reached the middle of the battlefield, he prepared his gladius, however, as he kicked up to strike, an enemy spear was already mid-flight towards him. With no time to avoid the projectile, he closed his eyes and prayed “In Vino Veritas” and thought about the whisky collection he’d never get to drink. However, thank the Gods, the throw was wayward and Vinum was spared.

The Narwhals were bemused, “how did the enemy get a spear away so quicky?”. “Neptune! Neptune!” Finchus Maximus cried from troops in reserve, “they have summoned the help of a God!” And so they had, the lumbering form of the God of the Sea could be seen prowling the side of the battlefield, giving advantage to all Orca troops. With the help of his son, Finchus Minimus, Maximus started the ritual to summon our own Goddess, Edesia, God of Food and Rings. Alas, try as they might, she was at a work function she couldn’t get out of. All thoughts of a quick and easy victory were dashed like the terrible ocean waves onto the Eastern Londinensi cliffs.

Battle raged, blood was spilt like wine at a Narwhals Christmas Party, the sound of men screaming and dying filled the air. At midday the tides were even, with Neptune concentrating his power on stopping the Narwhal captains from slaying their enemies, whilst giving his Orcas easy kills. However, Amator Lignorum, with his love of the forests, kept Neptune from his mind and slew 2 Orca captains with his spear in quick succession. He rallied to him Brutus, Vorago Scaenicus and Multis Proposita who along side him slew at will. Brutus slew a man with his bare fists, Scaenicus got in close and took off a man’s head with his axe, and Proposita put his sword through a mans heart after Scaenicus had twice laid glancing blows. Hiems Inferus held the back line well, however could not stop the slaying of 4 of the Narwhals best men, leaving the outcome of the battle known to only Apollo himself.

All of a sudden, Neptune seeing some of his best go down, unleashed a torrent of terrible reffing decisions. Lignorum, Brutus, Scaenicus and Proposita took grave wounds and had to retreat, taking no part in the rest of the battle. Inferus was called into action again, and kept the losses down to 2. Vinum, enraged by what he was seeing, jumped from Nanti into the head of the fighting and slew 2 men where they stood. Finchus Maximus brought in the reserves and rallied Sordidum Balneo and Iuvenis Vir to him. Together they slew a further 3 Orca captains, Maximus with a well aimed spear, Balneo twice with his poisonous arrows. Vir twice had easy kills with his slinger, however shot above target. 3 more of our best men fell, however Neptune was waning as successive blows from Maximus and Lignorum were aimed towards him. Finally, Vin slew the last Orca captain and victory was secure.

Many Narwhal captains took grievous wounds from the work of Neptune, however none were slain and they quickly marched back down the Grey road to the South to heal. Finchus Minimus, despite his good work and many assists, took no wounds, killed no men and failed to summon Edesia, so was banished to find a new home in far Western Europe.

At the post battle council, it was agreed Vorago Scaenicus was most influential in the eventual victory. Moment of the battle was shared between Vorago Scaenicus, who whilst battling a man at close quarters, got 2 glancing blows on Multis Propositas man allowing him to get the killing blow. Other moments included Maximus and Balneo for a man up goal, Vinus for his final push shot kill, Maximus for shouting at Neptune and not being wrapped because he knew he was wrong and Lignorum for distracting Neptune while Propositas dived back into battle. Fluffus was awarded also to Multis Proposita, who on a hattrick of kills and with his spear aimed at an unarmed man, just threw the man his spear. A week to recover from these wounds, then those brutes in Kingtonian. Narwhal Victoriam!

Notes on the soldiers: 

Finchus Maximus –  Finchy “the biggest”, named so as the father of Finchus Minimus and because he’s the biggest lad.

Finchus Minimus – Finchy “youngest”, Son of Maximus. Banished from Londinensi after the Battle of Londinensi Aquatics Centre, rumoured to have founded Lisbon, Portugal.

Brutus – The name might seem hard, but it actually translates to irrational, or dumb/imbocile. Brutus loves battle, but isn’t very good and is regularly wounded.

Amans Vinum – Literally translates to “lover of wine”. Amans is the old Latin name for Amy. His horse Nanti translates to swimmer, as the quickest horse in the battle due to Monday swim training attendance.

Multis Proposita – “many goals”. Given the name after the Battle of Londinensi Aquatics Centre due to his prolific start to MMXVIII.

Sordidum Balneo – Literally translates as “dirty bathroom”. Because there’s no latin word for poo.

Hiems Inferus – Heims is the season Winter, and Inferus can translate to lower or below as in bottom of. It can also in context mean hellish. The rear guard of the Narwhal legions.

Iuvenis Vir – translates as “a young man”. Youngest(ish) captain of the Narwhals, his potential can be seen despite lacking a finishing move.

Vorago Scaenicus – Vorago meaning abyss/chasm, used to describe the pit in the heart of battle. Scaenicus translates as “player” or “actor”, depending whether he wants to score or win a major.

Amator Lignorum – Literally translates as “lover of wood”. He insists the other captains heed his advanced planning on the battlefield, but once all hell breaks loose it very rarely (never) happens.

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Maddy Club:

The Battle of Croydon Fields

It has been a cold and miserable winter for all you Narwhal’s fans out there. Two long months of darkness without the shining light of a stats report to brighten your days – but the wait is over – the first game of 2018 came like a guiding star, shining bright in the sky, drawing us closer to an epic tale of brotherhood, bravery and betrayal…

Jan 26th Stats

It had been exactly a year since the now legendary navigation of the Victoria Line by Sir Amy of Winehands and Bronn Weasly his ginger gardener, who led the raid on the homelands of the Eastern Otters (who strangely live in the north). The heroic actions of the Narwhal warriors held back the northern hordes but with the coming of winter, the hordes of the Thameside league managed to cross the great river and swarm across south London. It was time for our champions to reassemble.

Observing the Otter horde cut a swathe across Thornton Heath (we assume they were responsible for the fires and chaos) Lord Oggy, now several stone lighter having been to a boxer-cise class, lifted the ancient Narwhal horn to his lips and blew – “Badeeeeeerrrrrpppp” “Badeeeeeeeerrrrrrpppp” “Badeeeeerrrrrrp”.

The Lord of Limoncello lifted his head to a sound he had not heard in months. Knowing what he had to do, he quickly stuffed two bottles of liquid gold into his bag and ran from his house. He jumped onto the steed that had pulled up outside – his travelling partner was to be the feared Champion of Catas(trophy) – three-time winner of the most brutal of tournaments. They were quickly joined by Finches major and minor, bringing together the Knights of Redhill for the first time in 2018. Sadly, Scooter King-Tenison misheard the Narwhal horn and ended up in Lisbon…

Lord Oggy had blown so hard on the horn that it could even be heard in Germany!! Upon hearing the summons to defend his homeland, Tim the Bicep knight promptly dropped his wurst and stein and rushed to find his buried speedos.

Eventually the whole motley crew were assembled and the Nation of Narwhals took to the pool, a merry band of 11. As we prepared for battle, we heard a creak behind us and the sound of a cane banging against the floor. Grand Master Bowen had also heard the call!! Limping from an injury sustained during a previous fight, he took up a spot high above the pool to watch the fight unfold – occasionally oiling his bionic hip.

We took to the water and engaged our foe. The fighting was fiercest in the opening stages, with losses tied at 6-6 at halftime. Bronn and Amy brought the goals whilst Finchy of Many Colours made many miraculous saves – including one from a penalty. It was then in the second half that the Narwhals showed their strength and fitness, opening up a lead in the 3rd quarter which turned into a rout in the 4th – 5 goals without reply left the Narwhals standing in a field of fallen foes. Victorious at last, ensuring that their homelands were safe again. Despite his reputation as a brutal fighter, the Champion of Catas was nowhere to be seen after the battle. It is believed he faked his own death and fled to Portugal.

As our heroes emerged from the field of battle, bloodied and bruised, they made their way to local Inn to sup beer and share tales of their deeds. Little did one of their party know that the Crown and Sceptre would be the scene of a final betrayal. Despite having slain many foes and grabbed himself a (stunning) goal, Gimli, the destroyer of Rings was ambushed by the Knights of Redhill. They beat him down and released the foul Fluffer Troll from its cage. He fought valiantly, protecting his comrades from the foul monster (“Flee you fools!!”), but sadly, despite his efforts, everyone’s favourite Narwhal eventually fell to the assault. Down into the bottomless depths of the Wobble pit Gimili fell, continually wrestling with the Fluffer troll. I suppose he will probably be re-born with new super powers in the next instalment…

Despite fearsome perfomances from Amy and Bronn, the bards will be singing Finchy’s name for the weeks to come. The heroics in goal earning him the first Man of the Match of 2018. It was widely agreed that despite Sir Tony of Popovic’s fumblings in front of goal being superb, Bronn had several incredible moments (goals) – for which he wins that award.

After the victory at the Battle of Croydon Fields, the Narwhal Nation moves on to the Battle of the Arctic. An epic showdown with the Orcas of Stratford.

Forza Narwhali

The return of Thameside

The return of the Thameside league sees a reversal in our fortunes. Like the monsoon rains revive the plains, so the Thameside league helps to rejuvenate our faltering scoring and end the harsh realities dealt to us by the London League. Due to the delay of a detour via Budapest, I bring you two games against opponents who also have staring roles in Blue Planet 2… Blue Marlin and London Orca.

Nov 20th Stats

Frankly – I forget what happened in the Blue Marlin game… we won it 12-5, making much harder work of it than we should have. A disappointing 2nd quarter saw a 5min period where no goals were scored by either team – riveting stuff!! Nick “counter-attack” Shute got man of the match with 5 goals, putting some distance between himself and the chasing pack. Zac got Moment of the Match for scoring despite regular emails between the Stats Department and the Dubious Maddy Committee (DMC) at Narwhal HQ. Fluffer was shared between Matt “poor push shot” Finch and Gary “dodgy lob” Bowen for some combined bad shooting. Regardless of the awards, we got the result and recorded a win. Back on track for the Narwhals.

Last week saw a visit from our Arctic adversaries – the London Orca. It is often documented that Narhwals are difficult to find in the wild – none more so than the legendary ginger narwhal – who hadn’t been spotted in months. That being said, the prospect of a feast meant that Dan “flat track bully” Bedford made a rare appearance – dominating our opposition and picking up a solid 5 goals. This was despite Gary stealing his no.8 hat… This time around Rob “there’s a snake in my boot” Loveless won man of the match for his 5 goals, narrowly beating Andy who made some good saves (and very nearly conceded from half way…). Moment of the match went to Phil “baby daddy” Richards for a cheeky back shot lob. The game was not close, with Narwhals winning 19-2.

Fluffer was well contested this week – Rob missed a one on one but his blushes were saved by a terrible miss from Ed “too many waggles” Gamble in the last minute. It would have been assumed that Fluffer was nailed on – but the voting public were far kinder than expected. Fluffer was shared this week – with Gamble getting his inevitable just desserts, but sharing his punishment with Zac “lazy major” Finch who was picked out for giving away a major whilst we had the ball. Wobble avoided for now…

So, with the Christmas dinner not far away, our attention turns firmly to the stats. It is tight at the top of the scoring charts, with Rob and Nick still in contention. Despite the number of majors being relatively low, it is still all to play for with Phil and John tied on 12 – not far behind on 10 are Ed, Chris and Gary. Could we be getting a new name on the Catas Trophy? I know Mrs. Holah hopes so…

Meanwhile, we have ties for Man of the Match, Fluffer and Moment of the Match. It is all very exciting and will definitely come down to the final games. Expect some fancy skills and outrageous passing to try and secure those final votes. Can the Finch’s make it a Father Son double for Fluffer? I’m pretty sure that is the easiest way to share that DVD…

Until next time, FORZA NARWHALI!!