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That Soccer Game!

Remembrances of playing in the Conway Primary School Soccer Team 1949

My memory stretches back 57 years........... to a wet and windy Saturday morning when I failed to score for our Conway Road Junior and Infants School soccer team.

There was quite a good turnout of parents, family, neighbours etc. Our Headmaaster, Justice of the Peace. Mr Cyril Bull, a large distinguished gentleman, was also in attendance. Our school was recognized as a force on the soccer field. But in my time we had not defeated arch rivals Wood Hill School of Woolwich. From previous seasons games the scores were: 0 : 0; 1 all draw; and a 0 : 1 loss.

On this particular morning, it was very wet and our opponents Wood Hill were goalless at half time. Our Sports Master, Mr Lovatt instructed me to remain as deep as possible around the half way line and to watch out for the offside trap. The resumption of the second half found Wood Hill pressing for the winner with our defence under pressure. They were well drilled and their lone defender kept me close to the half way line. However, the one and only chance presented itself, a long ball from our defence. To this day I remember the screams and shouts from our supporters and how it alarmed me, I even glanced their way. But, with the ball at my feet I rounded their lone defender making good ground goal wards on that heavy muddy pitch only to shoot weakly for their advancing goal keeper to smother the ball, he must have thought it was Christmas!

If only I'd tried to round the goalkeeper with even a penalty chance. I have relived the experience many times in my life, remembering also the disappointment on my father's face. Also Mr Lovatt's hands on his head looking skywards and the resignation of our dignified Headmaster, Mr Bull. I also remember a remark from a team mate's older sister as we carried the goalposts and crossbars back to the park keeper's hut, " But Mark is usually so good!" Well that morning 57 years ago was so very wet and in those days the ball was heavy enough without the added moisture that its untreated leather absorbed.

Yeah, should have taken it round the goalkeeper ............

P.S..
I was the youngest ever to play for Conway Road at 9 years of age.
My school soccer hero was a bloke named Brian Dumford who was two years older than me. He would let me play during the dinner time football games in the playground. Brian was of course in the school soccer team before me.

Mark Weghtman
2006



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