Well, I did it. I attended the Freshers’ Trials today
Amazingly, nearly 200 Freshers and other first years had signed up at the Sports Fair, so we were all allotted 45 minute slots when we had to report and play. The trials started at 10 and mine was 2 – 2.45. For all I know they’re still going!
I’d had severe doubts overnight about playing in case I made a complete fool of myself or, even worse, suffered a bad injury. But it’s been a warm sunny day (well, for Keele, anyway) and I’d been working all morning (yes, honestly!) so I decided to go for it. I hadn’t actually got any boots, but I had astros and the pitches had not yet deteriorated into the soggy mess that was so familiar to many of you
As I ambled towards the players I saw a couple of familiar faces who’d been at the desk when I’d signed up. One of them, Ash, looked faintly astonished that I’d actually turned up! But the current players were pretty welcoming and the Freshers were too nervous to pay any attention. It was only when we were put into teams (we were ‘bibs’) that they actually seemed to notice. Asked what position I wanted to play I said “as far back as possible”, which got a laugh
I lined up at centre half alongside Chris (not a fresher, but converting from Rugby due to a hand injury), Tom the second team captain at right back and another Tom at left back, the only genuine fresher in the back line (why are they called Freshers’ trials – ed?). After a few minutes I realised that unless someone came at me with genuine pace I was going to be OK. There were no heavy tackles going in so I had a lot of time on the ball and passed it sideways a la Ray Wilkins to my heart’s content. I was also the only player on the pitch talking (always been good at that!) and issuing basic instructions such as ‘turn’ and ‘man on’
The mini game ended in a 2-2 draw with their first goal being blatantly offside (but no ref) and their second arriving as the result of someone indeed coming at me with genuine pace (see above!). All in all a good run out. Some of the watching players had made the connection with John, my son, who is captain of Burton in the Championship
I strongly suspect I won’t trouble the first and second teams, but who knows, I may sneak a game or two with the fifths!