A Blue Planet Special

A Blue Planet special spoken in your best Attenborough voice.

21st September Stats

As the unusually warm summer draws to a close over the vast southern plains of London, preparations begin for the cooler months to come and the arduous task of the winter hibernation. The hot summer has taken its toll on the local wildlife with excessive energy wasted on frequent visits to watering holes, an extended mating season for some of the Bullfinches and prolonged summer migration for the lesser spotted ‘Bowen Great Bowerbird’.

A neighbouring migratory flock from the woodlands of Cheam pass through the southern plains in waves and according to physical superiority, the elite of the flock are the first to pass followed by the supposedly weaker of the flock in a second wave. It is this second wave of invasive species that the native animals fight for resources.

As the natives become aware of the onset of an apparent invasion of their territory, the affects of the long hot summer become apparent as they are slow to form a defence falling to a 0-5 first quarter loss.

High up in the jungle canopy the squawking siege is overseen by another migrater new to these plains, the Whistling Green Pigeon, who appears to be easily flustered by the apparent onset of danger. The slightest of movements from the Red Headed Woodpecker seem to perturb the green pigeon who repeatedly sends ear splitting whistles his way.

Awakened by the squawking and whistling furore, a response is mounted with two goals from the red headed woodpecker and the ever energetic Vine-Handed Gibbon. However a meagre attempt at best as the onslaught continues; 3-11 to the Cheam migraters at the halfway mark.

With local pride bruised and defence lines seemingly wasting away with the leaves on the jungle floor, pockets of resistance are mounted from the swift and agile ‘Bald Ukari’. Known for their peculiar excretion habits in the face of battle, the Bald Ukari dispatches a remarkably disguised pit flick to unsettle the visitors. Another strike from Ukari and the Red Headed Woodpecker, a mere formality to proceedings. 6-16 and defeat looked certain.

The exuberance of a juvenile Gouldian Finch, uses its majestically colourful plumage to both attract a mate and to confuse its prey with sudden movements. This is put to good effect as the juvenile finch launches a dart past a bamboozled defence. Perhaps also a demonstration of courtship and coming of age to impress an onlooking female finch.

The increasingly flustered Whistling Green Pigeon could not resist further squawking at the typically aggressive Holah and Weeble Tailed Macaques with two expulsions a piece. A feeble attempt all round finishes 8-24. The pin point accuracy from the migraters proved too much for the White Headed Winterbotham Capuchin. As the Autumn leaves fall in the South London plains, the natives lick their wounds and plan their own migration to the Northern Atlantic archipelago of the Portuguese Azores.

MoM – Dan for this 50% goal contribution
Moment – Floater for a neatly dispatched pit flick
Fluffer – Almost uncontested and unanimously awarded to Gamble for his row Z attempt. Pretty much everyone off to Portugal for crap passing, attack and defence.

Achtung Polo!

Guten Tag meine Polo Friends. Zer Report on der Wasserpolo matchen gegen Zer enemy Croydon from our very own Deutsch correspondent, Herr Floater von Pooheim

So jetzt gehts loss.

September 7th Stats

Erste Quarter. Narwhalz on ze rampage. Some superb schitzenshooting on zer goalen from ‘Holzschieser’ Rob, Frau Weinhände und Herr Ginger macht das 5-5. Being zer Team with all zer cunning, we had one Scheissrichter pfifenblower who was a secret spy for das Narwhalwasserpolomanschaftgesselschaft. Er blowed sein whistle, aber ze other really Scheisenrichter blowed in zer other way. All zer time. Croydon must have offered zis dummkopf more Bratwursts as payment that ve could. Scheisse!

Zweite Quarter. Nicht gut. Wenig goalen, viel scheisse shooting und splish-splashing ohne result. Zer zer schlecht. Scheiss wasserpolo game. Narwhals sinking faster zen zer Bismark.

Dritte Quarter. Sehr sehr gut. Frau Weinhände und Herr Gimli von Weeble mit goalen, mit zwei Tore von Herr F v P macht viel better scoreline. Jetzt sind wir nearly level. Achtung Narwhali – jetzt kommen wir!

Vierte Quarter. Also gut. But nicht gut enough. Herr Ginger und Frau Weinhände again viele schitzenshooting mit goalen und swimming. Stephan der Puncher mit eine toppenpunch in der letzten minute – Croydon now only mit sex. Sorry, sechs. Aber nicht mehr Goalen von Narwhali, und some mehr other goalen von scheiss other manschafteam. Eine minute von very very Kackscheissspeielen von Finchy, Graf von Babymachen – nicht again bitte!

We haben verlohren 20-16. Aber – sehr gut playing, viel wasserpologoalen und splishen splashen.

Frau des Matches: Frau Weinhände
Moment des Matches: Herr Holzschieser with ein Tor das very gut wahr. Herr F v P also shooten a gut goalen.
Fluffer: Bren ‘der angryman’ Heath mit zwei disallowed goalen und sehr viel arguing und general dirty spielen.

Danke. Aus.

Forza Narwhali

One bottle of wine, One glass Club

Several Wednesdays ago, the Narwhals played Sutton and Cheam 2’s at Whitgift in a London League match up to add excitement and intrigue to the usually empty water polo month of August. This report was intended to be written at the time, but like a fine wine we can only hope it improves with age. Our regular report writer has spent the last 2 weeks sampling France’s finest reds, whites and fizz, so we shall consider the game as a wine tasting experience for you, our global fanbase.

August 30th Stats

There is a gentle start to our gastronomic voyage of discovery, a smooth, light Pinot Noir from somewhere in South America. Jut as the fruity notes of cherries, raspberries and strawberries offer a perfect but distinct contrast to the vanilla middle, the Narwhals were, in stark contrast to Sutton, informed of the correct start time of 9pm due to school holidays. We were optimistic of our chances when, at 9:10, we enjoyed a distinct advantage in manpower of 10 to zero. Alas this pinot noir had a bitter finish, as where one would expect a smooth rounded palate, the opposition duly turned up.

For those of you not so well versed in wine appreciation, there are 5 main elements to a wine’s profile: acid, alcohol, sugar, tannin and water.  While the Narwhals might claim to be experts in the water (and almost certainly the alcohol), a fine wine requires that all 5 elements come together in harmony to form a well-balanced taste. The next glass on our tasting card is a French Bordeaux red. Specifically Chateau Norbert, 2018 vintage. An evenly balanced wine (specifically 1-1 after 6 minutes of the first quarter thanks to a fine goal off the arc from Phil), fragrant and ripe in character, but this particular offering had perhaps been corked as the finish was sharp and not to the Narwhals taste – a generally stoical and well organised defence found Sutton’s combination of strong pit and accurate outside shooters too much and fell to 2-4 by the quarter end. One diamond in the rough of this forgettable wine was a particularly handsome goal from Dan, ghosting off his defender at the back post to catch a lofted pass and convert into the back of the net.

Moving on from the Chateau Norbert with a shattered reputation and tastes of bitter disappointment we come to a pleasant surprise. We next travel to Georgia, to sample their signature red, a piercing and punchy Saperavi. The Georgian traditional grape, grown in clay soils on the terraced vineyards of the Kakheti region, is the upstart of European reds, and its high acidity and phenolity give it a razor sharp edge, with a sweet finish. This is the Narwhals second quarter, a fine comeback (albeit from a familiar source with Dan scoring twice in much the same manner as his excellent first quarter effort) meant the Narwhals drew within 1 goal at the half, a well poised contest at 4-5.

We enter the second half of our tasting in a similar vein with balance of acidity and body being the order of the day. A hearty Argentinian Malbec of a struggle awaits us in the third quarter, with hints of plum and chocolate. A strong full bodied contest, with quality pit defence and disciplined drop in equal measure held a challenging Sutton team to just 2 goals, with the Narwhals answering with 2 of their own from Dan and Nick. The finest of these two was Nick’s long range bounce shot, combined with the hearty punch of 2 Gamble majors formed a strong middle to this well apportioned offering. 6-7 after 3.

4 wines in already, and the Narwhals are starting to feel the effects of a long evening’s tasting. Perhaps it’s the alcohol causing a haze to set in, or perhaps its just that August holidays have meant leisurely drinking as opposed to effective training for such a wine tasting challenge. Either way, as giggles appear and chairs are fallen off, the pickled Narwhals had put up a strong fight, but now needed an Uber home while trying not to vomit over Pietr in his Prius. There was a final goal for Nick, and a rare Gamble special, but these 2 goals did not make up for a tired defence cracking and 5 Sutton goals finishing the game off to a disappointing 8-12 final score.

Hungover reflections would see this experience as a tale of excellent defence only tiring at the final hurdle, and some good individual moments in attack not quite making up for a lack of effective attack from set play.

Man of the match this week goes to Dan, for 4 well taken goals (almost all of them at the back post). Moment also goes to Dan, for the second goal of the contest, the aforementioned perfectly placed lofted pass to the back post with a strong break and a great finish. Fluffer this week was Matt, who succeeded in letting in a 12m shot just as the quarter expired in truly embarrassing style. 5 Narwhals head to Portugal this week, Oggy, Chris Mann, Zach, Tim and Rob will all be hoping for more success against the Amphibs next week.

Until then, Cheers! And Forza Narwhali!

The Local Derby…

Wednesday 25th July saw the Narwhals take on their local rivals Croydon at Whitgift Pool. Given that was a week ago and I have been drinking heavily, I can’t remember much of what happened, but I’ll give it a go…

August 1st Stats

The lead up to the game started in unexpected circumstances as we were told by our referee for the evening that if we gave him any back chat, we would be told to “F*** off”. That left us with no ambiguity – the only remaining question was whether to drop or press…

For all intents and purposes, we started the game pretty well. Our defence held (for the majority) and we scored some good, well worked goals – for example – a peach of a pass from Ed “BBQ Boozer” Gamble that went inside the defender found the swim of Nick “I like 12yr old… whisky” Shute who promptly put it in at the near post. A Further two pit goals from Dan “treasure hunt” Bedford left the score 4-3 at end of Q1.

Rather surprisingly we did pretty well in the 2nd quarter too – screamers from Chris “fillet steak” Mann, returning Narwhal Bren “the other Heath” Heath were roundly applauded and we all welcomed back the return of Tim’s bicep cannon. The half-time score was 8-7 and we seemed relatively surprised to be where we were. Sadly it didn’t last…

Fitness and decision making showed in the 3rd quarter (7 goals to 3), with Croydon scoring a number of breakaways. The score could have been a lot worse had it not been for some superb one-on-zero saves from Andy “face save” Winterbotham. Cynics said he was showing off to the crowd (having brought supporters) – loyal Narwhal fans know it was more to do with the Monday swim session he’d had two days before. Andy was definitely heard praising Coach Weebs after the game for ensuring he was in tip-top condition.

With the score 15-10 going into the 4th, we tried to stage our come-back. Two quick goals put us in touching distance before Croydon scored 3 in reply. A final score of 18-12 not a true representation of how close the game “could” have been.

Man of the match was pretty much unanimous this week following a host of great saves, Andy ran out a clear winner. Shout out to the ever present Dan “gold bar” Bedford for grabbing some votes and a cheeky nod to Matt “far post lob” Finch for his brace of goals (including a well executed lob).

Moment similarly went to Andy for a superb three-on-zero save. I think we can all agree the main highlight of the game was Barry missing 2 such opportunities and proceeding to blame his own team mates. If only Croydon had a fluffer vote…

Speaking of Fluffers, this unanimously went to Gary “passive aggressive” Bowen for his poor lob attempt. Eventually we will teach you not to do it!! Lobs are a cruel mistress – get it right and you are in the running for MoM, get it wrong and well… you know…

Sadly assists don’t count, so Messers Lomardo, Gamble and Finch Jnr take the trip out to Obidos. Its lovely this time of year.

Forza Narwhali!!

The sights of the A3

Buoyed by not only the absence of Gimli, but also Dr ‘High and Wide and that’s just the passes’ Loveless, an eager and invigorated 9 Narwhals travelled up to New Malden to take on the might of Kingston II. All of this enthusiasm was knocked out of us in the car park when a certain referee was spotted, would the curse of Mr Lenkei strike our brave boys once more?

 July 21st Stats

The initial omens were not great, Nick “Back to Black” Shute was going up and down the A3 for sh1ts and giggles and leaving us with 8 against an oppo with a full complement of 13. An inexperienced starting seven took to the water more in hope than anticipation….

With the Lenkeisation of the game somewhat mitigated by a second ‘competent’ referee the game quickly settled into a pattern. Kingston dominating possession (the lack of a shot clock helping them out here) but with little cutting edge and with the Narwhals countering efficiently. Two minutes in saw the Narwhals take the lead through a first time shot from Stef ‘New Boy’ Lombardo, this was closely followed by a Floater rocket and a typically well taken pit goal from Dan ‘Organisation’ Bedford. We would have had a clean sheet too if our illustrious keeper hadn’t been ‘distracted’ by some whimsy and let a speculative shot fly in without moving….

 Nick blessed us with his presence for the second quarter having finally got bored of the delights the A3 has to offer and the Narwhals continued to dominate, all be it mostly without the ball. Defensively sound except from our awesome keeper yet again literally drifting off and being lobbed from distance, a couple of Dan specials and a Nick breakaway goal saw us 6 – 3 up at half time….

 The third quarter, whilst attacking the deep end, saw our moment of the match. A mediocre ball into the pit was plucked from the water by Andy ‘The Scoutmaster’ Ogg and placed in the top corner of the Kingston goal in one motion. Our defence was yet again effective and tight and if our talented goal keeper hadn’t been busy organising our defence rather than watching the ball, Kingston wouldn’t have scored another speculative long range effort (anyone seeing a pattern here?)

The final quarter saw the Narwhals run away with it, a quick fire ‘perfect’ Nick hattrick (lob, near post & far post) coupled with another Floater screamer and a Dan pit goal saw the Narhwals run out 13 – 5 winners on the night. A highly satisfying victory in a pool where traditionally we have struggled with the shallow end, Lenkei reffing and Kingstons industrial physicality….

Man of the match was Dan for bossing it in the pit whilst also covering in defence and ploughing up and down the pool, very much an all round performance despite the five goals! Moment was Oggy’s excellent goal. Fluffer was not quite as unanimous as it might have been. Nick voted for himself for his A3 adventure, but despite that I managed to convincingly wrap up another fluffer on my quest to build a ‘unique’ DVD collection… Messers Young and Mann took an early summer holiday and we last seen enjoying the sites of the Doura valley….

Forza Narwhali

Look at the size of the stats on that!!

This week we have a double stat attack from our two away games of last week – vs. Sutton & Cheam 2’s and London Orca 2’s. Unfortunately I cannot remember much from either game so you’ll have to make do with what you get here and look forward to Finchy’s match report in a few days!!

July 13th Stats

Wednesday 6th July saw us head into battle against Cheam 2nd’s at Cheam Baths – a location we had not visited in several years. This became apparent when Matt “late arrival” Finch forgot how long it actually took to drive to Cheam and nearly missed the start of the game. Subsequently we ended up playing the entire match with borrowed Sutton hats… We did reasonably well for 3 quarters, going into the 4th 6-8 down. Sadly we didn’t do particularly well in the 4th – conceding 3 and scoring none. We had a lot of chances, but missed them all – some botched 1 on 1’s and some dire shooting. The final score (11-6) flattered Sutton but our shooting really let us down.

Awards for the match:
Man of the Match: Matt “double” Finch for grabbing two goals despite not having a warm-up
Moment of the Match: Dan “flappy hands” Bedford for a delightful volleyball-esque goal, flicking the ball over the pit man’s head and then flapping it past the keeper. He definitely was not standing. Or jumping.
Fluffer: Sadly goes to Rob “Woody” Loveless for his profligacy in front of goal. 1 hour of shooting practise the remedy…

 

Friday 8th July saw a plucky 8 turn up to Porchester Baths to watch the Belgium-Brazil game… I mean, play Orca 2’s. The team consisted of some returning heroes, including Tom “one major, one goal” Burridge and Tim “Bicep cannon” Young. After a World Cup Quarter-Final, a burger and a few beers (and a fizzy apple juice for Charles), we wandered down to the pool. As we were sans keeper, we all took a turn in goal – Young, Shute, Holah and Gamble doing the honours. A high press worked wonders for us and a convincing 16-4 scoreline was the result. With the final whistle the crowd went wild – mostly because Ed “Jordan Pickford” Gamble had managed to keep a clean sheet. Miracles do happen. Potential fluffers to the whole team for not trying to score an own goal…

Awards for the match:
Man of the Match: Big man Burridge for making his way up to the game from Bournemouth and heading home that same night. Big effort for the team – and despite not getting his usual major, did pick up a goal for his troubles.
Moment of the Match: Nick “acrobat” Shute for his deft redirection of a drilled pass to grab a goal. One of the voters likened it to an “overhead kick with his hands”… So a shot then?
Fluffer: goes to rubbish Nick Shute for his awful quarter in goal where he let in half of the Orca goals. We are all very disappointed in him… (lol)

Anyway – that’s the stats for this week. Will hopefully have another report for you soon from our game vs. Kingston last night.

Until next time – Forza Narwhali!!

Is there a World Cup on?

Despite the heroics of last night (did someone say penalties?), I had to get this match report out before the next game. With England’s shooting as bad as ours and Colombia’s defending as punchy as Eastern Otters, it feels appropriate that this stat report comes out now – not to mention the Lenki-esq refereeing from the American in charge…

June 30th Stats

Following a team sing-a-long at the social last week, we bring to an end our celebration of all things football and Narwhal related by bringing you the alternative lyrics to two more fan favourites… Please enjoy:

“Pre-Match Poo” (to the tune of Vindaloo by Fat Les)

Where on earth are you from?
We’re from the Arctic
Where you come from
Do you put the shot clock on?

Swim off

Nah nah nah Narwhals!
Nah nah nah Narwhals!
Nah nah nah, nah nah nah Narwhals!
Nah nah
Bonjour (Narwhals!)
Otters (Narwhals!)

(nah nah nah nah nah nah)
Narwhals! Narwhals! Na Na!

We’re Narwhals
We’re gonna score ten more than you

Narwhals!
(whistle blown)

Can I ask you kindly please,
To score a goal like one of these
Pit one
Bounce one
Lob one
Smash one

Smash it

Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah…
Narwhals! Narwhals! Narwhals! Narwhals! Na Na!

We’re Narwhals
We’re gonna score ten more than you

Narwhals!

Gamble and Bedford / And Shute and Finch
We’re off to Whitgift Pool
Loveless and Mann and Bowen and Holah
Phil did a pre match poo

F*ck it!

Pre match poo. Pre match poo. Pre match poo, pre match poo. Narwhals! (repeat)

Pre match poo, and we all love a pre match poo

We’re Narwhals
We’re gonna score ten more than you

Narwhals!

Narwhals (pre match poo), Narwhals (pre match poo)
and we all love a pre match poo

You know the rest… repeat forever!!

and for fun…

“The John Barnes Rap” from World in Motion (c.1990)

You’ve got to press or drop
But do it at the right time
Rob got a goal at last
Chris Mann wants him to be fined
They always hit Ogg and hurt him
Dodgy defence and attack
There’s only one way to beat them
Swift counter attack
Now Catch me if you can
‘Cause I’m Amy Wine-hands
And what’s quite clear to see
There is no master plan
Finch made a great big save
But left an open goal
A Narwhal on his trunks
We knew it would all go wrong

We’re singing for Narwhals
(Narwhals)
We’re playing our song,
(Badooooooop)
etc.

So basically – we beat Eastern Otter 18-8. it was a punchy affair but we won through. A nice distribution of goals and majors and a relatively good performance. Man of the Match was shared by Nick and Phil, whilst Moment of the Match was shared by Nick, Oggy and Weeble (2 votes each). Fluffer this week was shared by Woody (for not passing to Chris Mann and missing a “few” shots) and Finch Snr (for saving a 1v1 only to then flick the ball to an opposition player leaving an open net). Finch Jnr failed to vote so could have broken the deadlock…

Maddies were collected by Zac, Stef, Charles K-T and Andy W. A delightful four man trip to the Algarve.

Sutton tonight – up the Narwhals!! Baaaddooooooooooppppp!!

 

A Narwhal on our trunks…

A heat wave, an unexpected result, people on the streets – yes the World Cup is on, but make time in your schedule because Water Polo is coming home too!! This week’s match report is brought to you by Matt “Baddiel” Finch – it’ll bring a tear to your eye!!

June 26th Stats

A Narwhal on our Trunks (to the tune of some football song about Lions…)

We lost at home, we lost at home, the Narwhals, the Narwhals lost at home,
We lost at home, we lost at home, the Narwhals, the Narwhals lost at home,
We lost at home, we lost at home, the Narwhals, the Narwhals lost at home,
We lost at home, we lost at home, the Narwhals, the Narwhals lost at home.

Everyone seems to know the score (8-7), they’ve seen it all before
They just know, they’re so sure
Our defence is gonna throw it away, gonna blow it away
But we know we can play cos we can boast,

A Narwhal on our trunks
Our passing’s still appalling
11 strapping hunks
But massive problems scoring

So many shots, so many tears
But all those ‘oh so near’s
When your down and can’t find the gears
But I still see that tackle by John
And when Bedford scored, Finchy saving the ball
And Weeble wobbling

A Narwhal on our trunks
Our passing’s still appalling
11 strapping hunks
And Woody’s still not scoring

(The Narwhals have blown it, in the last minute of the game)
(The lights have failed, what now?)
(Bedford misses a sitter, didn’t miss the fluffer though)
(It’s a Father / Son / Shute tie for glory)
I know that was then, but could the Narwhals see glory again?

We lost at home, we lost at home, the Narwhals, the Narwhals lost at home
We lost at home, we lost at home, the Narwhals, the Narwhals lost at home
(Avondale have done it)
We lost at home, we lost at home, the Narwhals, the Narwhals lost at home

We lost at home, we lost at home, the Narwhals, the Narwhals lost at home
*REPEATED IN BACKGROUND*
A Narwhal on our trunks
Our passing’s still appalling
11 strapping hunks
But bigly problems scoring

A Narwhal on our trunks
Our passing’s still appalling
11 strapping hunks
But bigly problems scoring
A Narwhal on our trunks
Our passing’s still appalling
11 strapping hunks
But bigly problems scoring
*FADE TO END*

For those who didn’t get it – Fluffer went to Bedford for missing a sitter but he also got moment for doing something that I assume was ok. Man of the Match was shared this week by Finch Snr, Finch Jnr and Shute.

Due to the lack of majors in the game (despite our best efforts) we recorded 7 Maddy’s. That also includes Andy W’s match day disappearance. Stefan takes his first trip to Portugal and it was nice of the guys to keep him company.

Onwards to Wednesday and the visit of Eastern Otter. I wonder who can create our third football themed master piece?

Forza Narwhali!!

Free scoring Narwhals…

In the spirit of the World Cup, this week’s stats report follows a football theme. The entire update delivered in the medium of football chants. It will be almost like you are on the terraces… almost.

15th June Stats

(To the tune of “She’ll be coming round the mountain”) (Whey…)
We scored twenty-eight and they scored three,
We scored twenty-eight and they scored three,
We got twenty-eight goals,
We got twenty-eight goals,
We got twenty-eight and they got three.

(To the tune of “Blue is the Colour”) – a lovely 7 goal haul
Orange is the colour, scoring is his game. He just scored another, Bedford is name. (etc. etc.)

(To the tune of “Love will tear us apart”) – for his 6 goals – mostly counters.
Shuuute, Shute will tear you apart, again. (repeat)

(To the tune of “My old man’s a dustman”)
Matt Finch is a keeper, he wears a keepers hat,
But when he plays outfield, he says I’m having that,
He tries a dodgy bounce shot, sometimes it goes in,
Occasionally he’ll pass it, so well done to him…

Man of the Match: Charles K-T
(to the tune of “This old Man”)
Charles KT, he scored two,
M-O-M, congrats to you,
with a nick nack, paddy whack, winning was a doddle,
please try harder not to wobble

Almost a triple crown this week for Mr KT. A superb performance on the left wing – could have had more goals if he learnt how to push shot and catch. Who needs Rob Loveless?

Moment of the Match: Stefan Lombardo scoring on his debut…
(to the tune of “He’s one of our own”)
It came off the bar, It came off the baaaarrrr, He scored on the rebound, It came off the bar!!

Congrats to Stef for scoring his first goal for the club on his debut. Nice “assist” from Finch Snr – shame we aren’t counting those…

Fluffer: Charles K-T
(To the tune of “Blame it on the boogie”)
Don’t blame it on the bad pass, don’t blame on the stop clock, don’t blame it on Ed Gamble, blame it on your catching… He just can’t, he just can’t, he just can’t control the ball…

A well deserved and unanimous vote for Charles this week for his first fluffer of the year. Dangerously close to becoming the clubs second wobble master.

And to close, channelling the vibes of South Africa 2010: (to the tune of a vuvuzela…)

Baddoooooooooooppp!! Badddoooooooooooppppp!!

Until next time (to the tune of “Seven Nation Army”)
We’re the Narwhal Army!! We’re the Narwhal Army!!

Four courses, Two of them edible…

The Narwhals travelled to the familiar waters of Putney Leisure Centre on a warm Monday night to face the old adversary Avondale 2s. True to form, Avondale fielded a full squad of 13, and as usual a hardy 9 (including a late cry on from John ‘Punchy’Holah) turned up to represent Narwhal nation.

May 22nd Stats

One could consider the following hour as the plight of an early round Masterchef contestant, including grand ideas and flourishes of quality, infused with collapsing desserts and timing issues keeping John Torode and Greg Wallace interested, while ultimately falling short of culinary achievement. This was more than a Britain’s Got Talent cat whisperer with 4 ‘No’ votes, but Cowell would have recommended several improvements.

The game started as ever with a swim off. Perhaps a simple amuse bouche, probably involving Parma Ham and pineapple. The texture was wrong and the judges didn’t like the cut of the pineapple. Avondale ball. The ensuing 4 minutes saw dropped starters and items left in the oven, as in spite of organised Narwhal defending, Avondale cruised to a 2-0 lead. Phil ‘Floater’ Richards led the Narwhal rally, finishing a fine outside shot to bring a goal back. Avondale scored again as the quarter expired, 3-1 after starters, with John and Greg accepting the offering without being too impressed.

Improvements came with the first main course. The defence tightened up, with a strong press and some fine defending of the pit by Punchy. However as is often the case, the Narwhal attack remained a flavourless Jus. Maybe that is harsh – perhaps the judges would have felt it lacked complexity when added to the solid roast duck foundation the defence had cooked up. We conceded 2 goals this period, and Dan scored 2 hard earned goals from the pit. It was becoming clear that missed chances would come back to haunt us, with several players finding the woodwork (Rob ‘Woody’ Loveless an ever present culprit), over the bar (Punchy) and into the keeper (Chrissy Mann). One particularly memorable disaster involved a “fantastic” counter attack from Ed ‘Gimli’ Gamble, but the pass was not forthcoming, and a golden opportunity was missed. Overall a passable dish, 2-2 quarter, 5-3 half time score.

The third period, a second main course, proved to be akin to the difficult second album. The basics were still there, a well cooked chicken in defence providing a solid foundation to the dish. Here again the accompaniments were all wrong. There was no fusion of flavours in attack, and timing proved an issue. Dan worked hard in the pit to get open, but the pass in was frequently hesitant or indeed absent completely. The Avondale drop afforded Floater plenty of space on the arc, but again service was far from silver and too often he didn’t get the ball. A crown in the jewel of this underwhelming effort was when Woody had broken the length of the pool, only to be flustered by the onrushing keeper and blast a classic rising disaster over the bar of the open goal and into the stratosphere. Zach lost phone signal as satellites were taken out of orbit, and Rob had egg on his face, and fluffer sealed up. Gamble earned a major as the quarter ticked down, deciding a gourmet Portuguese meal wasn’t for him this week.

Overdone potatoes and poor seasoning meant Avondale pulled ahead again, 2-1 quarter and after the 3rd course (the weakest dish) 7-4 Avondale.

Desserts can make or break a fine dining experience, but perhaps the Narwhals efforts had left them too much to do to advance in the competition. Their effort in the 4th quarter however, was much improved on previous rounds. Again building on a solid defence (the chocolate bomb that didn’t collapse), the counter attack was the dark red fruit coulis that made the dish such a success. 2 goals from Nick ‘20-20’ Shute and another from Dan meant a comeback was on the cards. Fatigue set in however, and it was clear our hardy 9 wished we could have turned out a well fed 13 to provide some late game relief. Avondale managed another 3 goals this quarter, turning the screw on a tiring culinary team. Very conscious of his impending flight to the Algarve, having attracted lots of attentive defence to go with his wayward shooting all game, Woody found himself unusually open on 8m. Today was not the day to add a trip to Portugal to the already secured fluffer award, so with the usual overly long wind up, a bounce shot the the far top corner saved him a flight. This earned moment of the match, but earlier shooting woes meant a triple crown was never on the cards. The game ended 10-8 to Avondale, in what was a bruising but exciting game. Man of the match this week was Dan for his efforts in the pit (making that meringue with a furious egg beater), being open far more often than he got the ball, but offering an ever reliable stream of attack for a team who recently have been struggling with creativity. Off to Portugal were Chris and Zach, with a few weeks to top up the tan before our next encounter.

Forza Narwhali!