Sunday, September 9, 2012

One thing about going to watch the footy ...

... is that you get to go to some really spectacular places.

The 2nd XI were playing at Chateaugay earlier this afternoon and the road up to the football ground has probably the best view that I have ever seen so far. Way, way, way down there below us is the Michelin tyre testing ground and then over to the right is Gerzat where we record our programmes for Radio Arverne.

And if there had been less haze we could probably have seen right the way across to Roanne. It really was magnificent.

As for the football, it was a disaster. Pionsat started with just 9 players. A hasty telephone call brought along 3 more, somewhat late, and after 15 minutes there was something of a team out there and with a smattering of new players this season it looked slightly-better organised.

But not for long.

Fabien, who seems to have found a little niche playing in the central defence, had to hobble off. That meant a reorganisation with Xavier, who played up front for the 3rd XI last season, going up front and Bertrand dropping to midfield and Sébastien dropping to central defence. When the new right-back was injured, Fabien came back on to replace him but was clearly struggling and it was clear that he was just a passenger in the side so they pushed him up front and Xavier to right-back, which was never going to work.

Shortly after this, someone in the Chateaugay side stood on François' hand and so that was him off the field. Xavier, who had done his best in goal a couple of times for the 3rd XI, valiantly took over there but the result was really a foregone conclusion.

As for the 1st XI, it's clear just how much Jérôme animated the forward line of the team and how much they depended upon him for their results. With him gone, Michel Bucaud suspended and Matthieu Sikorski injured, they had nothing to offer up front which is totally amazing for a Pionsat 1st XI side. I can't remember if Cedric, the star centre-forward, actually managed a shot on goal. The service he was receiving was non-existant.

Two controversial decisions decided this match. The referee overrruled a linesman in an offside decision and allowed play to continue, so while the Pionsat defenders were waiting for the whistle in response to the flag, the Clermont forward popped the ball in the net. I know the referee (we had quite a chat in the interval) and he has a voice like a foghorn and I certainly didn't hear him shout for play to continue - and neither did anyone else.

Five minutes later a Pionsat forward catches the ball brilliantly on his body and then volleys it beautifully from 25 yards right past the keeper into the net. The other linesman signals for handball - and I was right level with play and if he has his hands there then I'm going back to school to re-learn all my anatomy - and the referee, miles from play, awards a free kick to Clermont. How the ref saw the incident when he was so far away and the player's body in the way I just do not know, but I'm going to get myself a pair of eyes just like those just as soon as I possibly can.

Back on the way home, I stopped at the fruit stall at Combronde for some grapes and some melon and then I went round to Rosemarie's to drop off some stuff that I had bought for her in Montlucon. We had quite a chat too - more of a gossip in fact.

But Rosemarie had a laugh about me and my grapes - that I can sit and eat through a whole bag of grapes at one sitting.
"You'll be wanting to go to the bathroom all the time"
"Not me, Rosemarie. Once a day, 08:30, regularly as clockwork!"
"That's very convenient and useful, Eric!"
"Not when I don't wake up until 08:45, Rosemarie"

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