Well, the old men of soccer took to Warrimoo Oval on a bright, sunny afternoon. This was the top-of-the-table clash between West Pymble and St Ives in the over 45 league, division one. Both teams had only drawn one match this season, and that was when they last met back in round 1. Both teams had won all six of their last six games. St Ives was just ahead of West Pymble, but only on goal difference.
Right from the outset, this was not going to be the gentlemanly, sedate affair that I was expecting. These men were quick, skilful and quite wily foxes. They had the experience to draw their opposite man and the courage to tackle hard.
Both teams had a lot of control of the ball, with good, accurate passes and great skill in close. And both teams were not afraid to lead with a shoulder when required.
Ten minutes later there was a repeat performance from St Ives, again drawing the goalie off his line and scoring. 2:0 to St Ives and less than one third of the game down.
But this is O45 football and these men have experience, West Pymble kept a cool head (for the moment) kept their focus and played on, and converted their effort in to a goal five minutes later.
There was quite a bit of niggling going on between the two sides as the half drew to a close, which eventually led to St Ives receiving the first yellow card.
Half time score: 2:1 to St Ives.
The second half saw both teams come back out composed and focussed. The skill was back in to the game, players playing their positions well and moving the ball around easily.
However, these men were getting tired and tired men means grumpy men and the second half saw a lot more free kicks and bookings by the referee. There were some careless challenges that were unnecessary and earned a flurry of yellow cards.
Both sides had good time on the ball, and although they were tiring they still moved the ball around well. There was a lot more passing and a lot less runs with the ball though.
Eventually, West Pymble made a break up the left wing, crossed the ball in to the middle and looked like a good chance for a goal. However, the player was brought down on the edge of the box, earning them a free kick which was confidently turned in to an equalising goal.
Final score 2:2 in a thrilling match.