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Penryn 3 Foxhole 2

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Penryn 3 Foxhole 2

Saturday 22nd March 2008

I hadn't been well all week and had practically lived on the toilet. With no sign of an end to my discomfort, I eventually made an appointment with my doctor on Thursday, and soon got chatting to a bloke in the waiting room who had a carrot stuck up his nose and a banana in his left ear. Apparently he hadn't been eating properly. My doctor diagnosed me with a particularly virulent strain of diarrhoea, "one of the worst I've ever seen", he said, which made me feel rather proud. He prescribed some bright orange tablets, saying I had to take one every day for the rest of my life, which worried me as there were only four in the packet. He told me not to worry if I started walking like a crab, as this was only a side effect, before he really scared me by asking if I was an organ donor. I said I'd once given an old piano to the Salvation Army, but then I had to rush out to make urgent use of the surgery's washroom facilities.

I still wasn't feeling much better on the morning of the game. Happily the diarrhoea had eased, only to be replaced by a need to noisily break wind with alarming alacrity and foul smells. Although the potential for embarrassment this presented was insufficient to stop me venturing out to support Foxhole, the bitterly cold northerly gale almost did. As I searched in my wardrobe for my woolly hat and scarf, I happened upon an unopened present from the Christmas before last, which I eagerly unwrapped. May I declare here and now, dear reader, that my conscience is clear - mum should have said she was giving me a puppy.

For purposes of research, I had borrowed a library book on the history of Penryn, and reached for it as soon as I parked outside the clubhouse. Evidently the ground, Kernick Road, had been named after a renowned ex-centre forward, one Archibald Road, who apparently was still turning out for the second team in his seventies. This intrigued me, until I re-checked the book and discovered he was actually still playing in THE seventies. Next door is the picturesque cricket ground of St Gluvias, to whom I searched the book's index for a reference, without success. Given the surfeit of empty crisp packets blowing around, I wondered if perhaps St Gluvias was the patron saint of litter.

With time to kill before kick off, I headed into town on foot. All around me were grey and dreary dwellings and, as I approached the town centre, I pondered how Penryn appeared to be in the shadow of its more illustrious neighbour, a sort of Andrew Ridgeley to Falmouth's George Michael. I thought how Penryn would be an ideal destination should I ever want to lead an anonymous existence, as I half expected to bump into Lord Lucan around the next corner, and when a stallion passed me in a horsebox I remember wondering if it was Shergar.

The cold weather had not affected the number of Easter Saturday shoppers, out of a posse of whom I was amazed to spot a youth in shorts and an athlete's vest carrying a long fibreglass rod. As he reached me I asked him, "Are you a pole vaulter?"

"No", he replied, "I'm German. How did you know my name was Volter?"

Lost in thought, I failed to spot two smartly dressed men approach me, carrying some leaflets. One was grinning inanely, as if about to enjoy a wet dream, while the other's short legs were so out of proportion to the rest of his body to suggest he may soon be the subject of a documentary on Channel Five. The smiley one enquired whether I preferred white or brown bread. Unsure if it was a trick question, I hesitated before mumbling I only ate white. This provoked the oddly-shaped chap into a fierce tirade, proclaiming eternal damnation on all who ate white bread, while the Lord would surely bless those who ate brown bread. Startled, I asked him who they were. "We are the Hovis Witnesses", he said.

Our attention was then drawn to a large group of pensioners gingerly getting out of a minibus. As they gathered on the pavement, I heard two of them loudly argue about whether they were mistakenly wearing each other's teeth, before the whole group shoved roughly past, causing me to drop my book. Normally I wouldn't have thought twice about pushing one of them into the path of speeding traffic in retribution, but today I didn't make a fuss, merely smiling wryly to myself, as I knew they would all be dead soon anyway.

Some headed for the small shop opposite and, suddenly feeling hungry, I followed them in, hoping to buy a pasty. This proved to be a huge mistake as, by now, most of them were already queuing at the only till operating, and were attempting to pay for their meagre purchases with loose change. One lady in particular dealt exclusively in bronze to buy two tins of dog food (which made me think of Shergar again), so, with the line hardly moving, I tried a tactical retreat, only to discover I was hemmed in by the rest of the pensioners. Most of these I reckoned would be similarly unable to recall their PIN numbers this side of Christmas, but, having been encircled in the tiny store by toothless senior citizens in a rapid pincer movement, I had no choice but to hold my defensive position. It was like the Battle of Stalingrad in there, I can tell you.

After a while, and no nearer the counter, a fierce looking German Shepherd edged forward and stood next to me. Assuming it was a guide dog for the short sighted chap directly behind me (and whose asthmatic breath I could feel on the back of my neck), I politely asked him if his dog bit. In wheezy tones, he assured me that it didn't, so I patted the Alsatian on the head. In a flash, it had three of my fingers in its jaws, only releasing its grip when I stood on its tail as I hopped about in agony. This seemed to aggravate it further, and it crashed into a nearby shelf sending a tray of Golden Delicious bouncing across the floor. I turned and glared at the man behind, deliberately dripping blood onto his newly polished brogues. "I thought you said your dog didn't bite!" I exclaimed.

"That's not my dog", he said, sucking on a Werther's Original.

The pain in my hand subsided barely quicker than the queue, so I had gained little ground ten minutes later when I felt the first warning signs of a massive build up of gas inside me. While passing the wind would undoubtedly have aided my bid for freedom, I first sought revenge on the Alsatian, still eyeing me with contempt by my feet. I released a little gas, startling the elderly couple in front of me who had been discussing the price of custard. A voice from way behind me (somewhere near the bacon counter I think) cried out "Rover! Rover!" which made the dog bark excitedly. Pleased at my ingenuity at transferring the blame for the vile odour onto the dog, I passed more wind. Again the anguished cry: "Rover! Rover!" That'll teach you, you ugly mutt, I thought, before loudly breaking wind a third time. "Rover! Rover!" shrieked the voice. "Come here now before that man poos on you".

Regrettably the match itself did nothing to save the day, the Foxes losing to a highly debatable 88th minute penalty for an alleged handball spotted by nobody but Mr Stevens. It was arguably the worst decision since the chauffeur listened to Princess Diana when she said "Put your foot down, I think we can lose them", but was sadly typical of the card-happy referee who will definitely have better games, and who then compounded his error by dismissing Hill for querying the award.

Foxhole had started brightly, Griffin hooking home after 4 minutes, and nearly doubled the lead on the quarter hour, but Panter's header flew just wide. However, Band was continually afforded far too much space and it was no surprise when, from his astute pass, Bradshaw tumbled over Grose's outstretched leg for Mulready to thump in the equaliser from the spot on 29. Within seconds, Warne cleverly released Hill who emphatically restored the advantage, but, with still no-one picking up Band, Penryn were always threatening, and Chris Davey made it 2-2 moments before the break, nodding home from close range after Band had again been allowed the freedom of Kernick Road to measure a cross. Adam Holland was booked for fouling Davey, as was Griffin for dissent, but the referee missed numerous indiscretions by the home team before cautioning both Rowe and Harris for handbags.

Penryn are ordinary and, while they undoubtedly had chances in the second half to seal the points even before Mulready's late second penalty, Foxhole's effort alone deserved greater reward and Griffin three times went close, Warne's free-kick was beaten away by Butcher which provoked a huge scramble, Holland's drive was smartly gathered before Mulready clearly blocked Hill's cross with his arm in the box. Ryan Holland brilliantly denied both Band and Bradshaw, but was as mystified as the rest of us (including, to their credit, many of the Penryn players) by the ludicrous penalty award. Rowe was thrown forward in desperation but the final seconds brought only a yellow card for Appleton's theatrics.

Foxhole (4-4-2): Ryan Holland 8; David Grose 6, Richard Fairclough 6, Jeff Dillon 6, Mark Rowe 7; Jason Warne 6, Scott Hill 7, Adam Holland 6, Steve Panter 6 (sub. Adam Bromley 6); Carl Rickard 6, Richard Griffin 7.

Penryn (4-4-2): Andy Butcher; Adam Trudgian, Paul Baldwin, Peter Davey, Damon Mulready; Sam Eglinton (sub. Will Scoley), Ashley Bradshaw, Chris Davey, Dave Thompson (sub. Luke Appleton); Dale Band, Dean Harris.

Referee: Mr Chris Stevens (Fowey) 5.

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Guest Postie Pidge

Are you a pole vaulter?"

"No", he replied, "I'm German. How did you know my name was Volter?"

Was Billy Connolly the first person to say that?

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