Causton Hawks v Colneis @ Colneis circa 1979

My official debut with the Causton Hawks, a team formed for boys lacking natural football talent. The Walton Colts was the team where you’d find all the good players. Being the 5th or 6th option for the Hawks, I was surprised to learn I had made the starting lineup for a game one Saturday. It seemed as though there had been a sudden outbreak of illness or some other emergency, as I had only previously played a grand total of 3 minutes over the season. I was in goal.

My recollection of the match is quite hazy and I cannot recall the final score or even the names of my teammates. What I do remember is making a complete fool of myself.


Just before halftime, Colneis received a penalty and I managed to save it, causing cheers all around. However, I wasn’t satisfied with just catching the ball – I had to add some flair. As I rolled acrobatically across the goal, I accidentally hit my head on the post and dropped the ball, allowing it to roll into the net. At halftime, we were down 1-0 and the manager, who I believe was Stuart Hazlewood’s father, made me play on the pitch. Unfortunately, my second mistake occurred when I scored a goal but soon realized that we had changed ends at halftime and we were actually down 2-0. I was swiftly substituted and never played for the team again.

Picked for the school Basketball team 1985

During the 1980s, channel four was a new TV station and filled its schedules with American sports, including basketball. This proved to be a hit and soon they began covering British basketball. As a fan of the game, I received a red, white, and blue basketball as a Christmas gift and brought it to practice. Our games teacher Mr McNally noticed and added me to the squad, as long as they could use my ball.

Although I wasn’t included in predetermined practice routines, I was considered an important part of the team. Our first match was at Copleston and I was part of the ten-person squad and took my place on the bench. Guess what? my ball was still needed. Unfortunately, we lost the game and I never got to play. Eventually, I was dropped from the team as I didn’t fit in with Coach McNally’s plans. Coincidentally, my ball was stolen around the same time.

Almost getting selected for the school football team 1985

After leaving my basketball disappointment in the past, I decided to try out for the school football team, with my preferred position being goalkeeper. One Friday evening, I attended the trials and found myself constantly occupied during the game. Despite this, I felt confident that my performance had secured me a spot on the bench as a reserve goalkeeper. I was thrilled. The second half began and I continued to excel, which was indeed a rarity for me. Suddenly, I heard my name being called repeatedly. It was my sister, sprinting across the field towards me. I had lost track of time and was already late for dinner. Sadly, I had to abandon the game and rush home.

I never made the team…

Sending off in the football house cup 1985

As you’ve probably worked out I’m not exactly known for my athletic prowess, but within my school house, Wolsey, I was the star player. We had a match against Constable. Mr McNally (again), Constable’s house master, served as the referee. Unfortunately, my team consisted of remedial students, overweight individuals, geeks, and smokers, none of whom shared my enthusiasm for the game. As a result, we were soundly beaten. Ian McKinnon, my old mate and Constable’s star player, made a dazzling run past our sluggish midfield and left our defenders behind, approaching me with the ball.

I charged out of my goal and tackled him, with my shoulder, causing him to tumble to the ground. Although I was given a red card, and our team lost by a significant margin, I can at least take solace in knowing that McKinnon never scored a goal against me.

Sending off in the rugby house cup 1985

The following term brought rugby, and unfortunately, my non-athletic classmates remained the same. The match was between Wolsey and Felix, but I despised rugby then and still do now. What made matters worse was that we were not allowed to kick for conversions even if we scored a try or penalty. It felt like we were being taught by incompetent coaches who had failed the teacher training course. Despite this, the game began. My recollection of it is again somewhat hazy, but I do recall being sent off for fighting with Julian Dessaur, the opposing hooker. So, in the same academic year, I was dismissed from both football and rugby, perhaps a record that has yet to be matched ll these years later?

Making a break of 37 at Snooker 1991

During the late 80’s and early 90’s, some of us frequented the Felixstowe Labour Club to play snooker. Despite my lack of skill, I joined the team to fill in when needed. One week, the team was short and I was called up to play. My opponent was an elderly gentleman who resembled Joe Davis’ father. The game was uneventful until I became bored and broke open the reds, potting three of them. I followed with the black, bringing my break to 10. I continued to pot another red and black, with the pink taken as the next color.

I was nervous and took a break to sip my pint and munch on some Scampi Nik Naks. Returning to the table, I potted another red followed by the blue, bringing my break to 37. My hands were shaking uncontrollably. Although I won the frame, I never played for the team again. The captain informed me that I couldn’t play the following week as I didn’t drive. In response, I told him to go shove it up his arse.

Man of the Match in Germany 1997

During a weekend getaway with my friends to Amsterdam and Wesel, we had a prearranged a game of football against a Wesel team. However, it seemed lost in translation that they were a semi professional team while we were just a group of drinkers from the pub. After enduring a 24-hour coach ride from Felixstowe to Wesel, with a stopover in Amsterdam, we were not exactly enthusiastic about the game. As expected, we were completely outmatched and ended up losing 13-0, with us being down 7-0 at halftime. I even had a chance to play goalie and let in six goals. I also missed a penalty and made one impressive Banksesque save, earning me the man of the match award. The award was a bottle of wine, stolen from a German service station on our way back home.

A cracking tee shot 2003

My attempt at golf was lackluster to say the least. Despite being able to hit the ball straight, my shots didn’t travel very far. One Saturday, I joined a couple of colleagues from work to play a quick round at Purdis Heath’s 9-hole course. By a stroke of luck, I had won the previous hole, which meant I had the honour of teeing off at the par 3 4th hole. As we approached, two elderly gentlemen who had just about to start putting offered to let us play through. I prepared to take my shot, but just as I was about to swing, two more players appeared, adding to the pressure of the moment. To my delight, my ball soared off the tee and landed a mere 5 feet from the pin. My playing partners congratulated me with slaps on the back and a round of applause. For that one moment, I felt like Nick Faldo.

I 3 putted!

So that’s my sporting highlights. Not many I know but when you’re short, fat and blind you take all you can.

By Verso

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