Elders – FFOB tournament

Hassocks 2nd Autumn “Elders” Tournament 13th October 2018

A stunning piece of journalistic liberty taking by one M Chapman gives the story of the day from the perspective of the “Baskets”….


Following last year’s respectable 3rd place position, the “Basket of Deplorables” Team Leader, Andy Wilson, retained the full backing of the board (and the bored!) for this year’s tournament.

Andy Wilson’s challenge this year was to somehow find the ‘Midas Touch’ from an assembled squad of 11 players whose average age was about 57 years. This was a squad that some critics had derided as a bunch of mercenary misfits, mainly old and unfit, prone to injury and whinging, with unsubstantiated reports of ‘off-field’ drinking and occasional ‘womanising’…

This year’s tournament was to be a competition between 4 teams playing against each other on a ‘home and away’ basis and this essentially boiled down to a 6-round fight!!

Round 1 pitted the “Deplorables” against their arch rivals, “The Elder Flowers”, led by the charismatic and enigmatic Andy Starkie, who was very much hoping to improve on last year’s 2nd place position. Despite the “Deplorables” creating the most chances in this game, the “Elder Flowers” produced the killer blow, by none other than the deadly left-foot assassin, Andy Starkie himself.
The worst possible start for Wilson ‘ basket cases ’.

Round 2 was against “The Old Cobras” (snakes by name and ….. ) who in their first game had just beat last year’s tournament winners, “The Carrotiers”, by an impressive score-line of 3 – 0. Maybe the sense at this point was that a draw might be a good result. The game ebbed and flowed and was eventually decided by a rare Chapman tournament goal, from an acute angle.

Round 3 was against “The Carrotiers”, the 2017 winners, led by the irrepressible food and wine connoisseur and Hassocks tournament maestro, Chris Wilson. This game was Wilson v Wilson.
The “Deplorables” were hard pressed for most of this game but managed to gain a nil – nil draw.

So, at the halfway stage with one win, one draw, one loss, one goal scored and one goal conceded, the supporters were wondering if the second half would be equally one-dimensional, or whether the wily old Wilson could turn things around.

Round 4 was the return grudge match against “The Elder Flowers” and in this edgy game both teams cancelled each other out with a nil – nil draw.

At this stage in the tournament, it was clear that there was no obvious winner in sight and so the final 2 rounds of this fight would decide the outcome of this very tightly contested tournament.

Round 5 was against “The Old Cobras” and they put the “Deplorables” under the ‘cosh’ for large periods of this game. However, a lack of finishing turned to frustration and ‘snake tempers’ were beginning to rise, especially when players were ‘going to ground’. The “Deplorables” kept their cool and were able to find another gear with 2 youngsters, Toby and Steve, combining brilliantly to clinch this game 2 – 0, with Steve Colwill picking up a brace. Expectation was now growing…

Round 6 and the final game was against “The Carrotiers”, who applied pressure early on and looked the stronger team. However, Toby and Steve were now live and unleashed. With their confidence and testosterone levels high, they weaved their magic yet again to take a 2 – 0 lead. Steve Colwill picked up another brace. “The Carrotiers” weren’t giving up this trophy without a fight and they bombarded the “Deplorables” creating chance after chance and eventually pulled one back. With the score at 2 – 1 the champions were pressing for an equaliser and they would have got it, if it wasn’t for a ‘finger-tip’ save from Colin in goal…

Eventually, after what seemed like a bit of “fergie time”, the final whistle was blown and after a quick bit of maths from Steve Colwill, the new champions were ready to be crowned.

This jubilant scene (pictured below) was captured, outside the legendary “Purple Carrot” (@No 6) after the celebratory pie and chips banquet which included gravy and mushy peas. Beer was the preferred drink of the celebrations all of which, we are assured, was fully paid for. A spokesperson for the local Sainsbury’s store has confirmed this.

Observers and passers-by were genuinely impressed by the ‘newly-crowned’ Kings of Hassocks, one person noting that “despite their success, they clearly haven’t forgotten their roots…”

Andy Wilson was quick to endorse this and quipped that his young protégé and top goal-scorer “would never forget his roots, although he expressed a little concern that his footballing feats and fame today, might have a negative impact on his square roots…”
For the triumphant “Basket of Deplorables”, there is no doubt that the jury will be out after this victory. Questions will be asked of this deplorable outfit and in particular of Andy Wilson, eg;

Is he a calm tactician who secretly forged a master plan during his hernia recovery period?
Did he meticulously analyse the shortfall in last year’s tournament performance and bring in new players with the ruthless pursuit of success in 2018?
Is he the best ‘man manager’ of unscrupulous players since Brian Clough?

Or was it just luck?!,

Did the ‘Midas Touch’, actually come from Chris Sargeant, a winner and gloater with “The Carrotiers” at least year’s tournament, and now the only player boasting 2 winner’s medals and the first serial winner of this Elders Tournament?

Did Toby’s unplanned saturday morning late ‘lie in’ provide him with sustained energy throughout the tournament, leading to current claims that he has the best ‘engine’ since Roy Keane?

Rivals will say that it was just a “one-off” and it won’t happen again. Andy Wilson will point to the strength in depth of this team including players who were unavailable this time around.

Chapman from now on will now continually let people know that, finally, after 16 Hassocks Tournaments, he is no longer a “specialist in failure”.

For now, “The Basket of Deplorables” are basking in the sunshine of victory. This particular tournament will probably be remembered most for Steve Colwill’s goals, his “brace of braces” and congratulations to Steve for being this year’s tournament top scorer and golden boot winner…

As I sign off, after this victory for “The Basket of Deplorables”, the quiet whisper emerging from the ground is this;

“…… First Hassocks – Next: World Domination.…..”