It’s a sporting rarity to see a performance by KXP Under 8’s overshadowed on any given Sunday but today was most definitely an exception to the rule.
Dinah Washington once sang ‘What a Difference a Day Make’s’ but for our own Mark Oldroyd aka Olly, it was a week. It was the ridiculous to the sublime and the highest compliment anyone could pay him was that you wouldn’t even know he was involved in the game.....a truly scintillating refereeing performance.
It transpires that he took solace and latterly inspiration from his ‘pop idol’ Michael Jackson. He looked long and hard at himself in the Mirror and murmured...
I’m staring at the ref in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no reffing’s gonna be any better
If you wanna make the match a fairer game
Take a look at yourself and make that change.
And on to the game itself. I have to admit that I missed the first ten minutes of the game as I was otherwise engaged with a stubborn 6 year old....just for clarification, it was my son.
I was reliably informed that we’d taken the lead through the Ginger Ninja aka Ethan Bush and thus lead 0-4 but our lead was short-lived as Birstall Victoria quickly equalised to make the score 4-4. The ever improving Bailey Dacres then put KXP back in front and we now lead again, 8-4.
KXP have relied strongly on their solid defence this season, with the likes of Jake Smith, Louis Inman, Callum Sutcliffe and Billy Whizz aka William Davidson, all giving up little ground to the opposition. However, through great work in training, they’re now developing into a more flamboyant attacking team. It’s genuinely thrilling to see them throw the ball around, keeping the plays alive and all in all entertain the crowd, both home and away.
It was such a play that lead to Ted Grogan touching down to extend KXP’s lead to 12-4. Due to a breakdown in communication with her personal Kit Lady aka Maxine Wadsworth, Lily Wadsworth found herself having to play the game in a pair of pink and white trainers. Yet despite being hindered by the gripless footwear, she still had the strength and desire run the ball close to the line. A quick play of the ball by Oliver Oldroyd and Ted Grogan was in. Happy days!!
Birstall Victoria are a decent team and they came straight back at KXP. They exploited a gaping hole out on the wing and touched down just before the half time hooter sounded to reduce the gap to 12-8.
KXP kicked off the second half and it wasn’t long before the Ginger Ninja was weaving his way through the Birstall defence and touching down to extend KXP’s lead. Ethan Bush had grabbed a brace and increased KXP’s lead to 16-8.
KXP were dominating the game but try as they may, they couldn’t pull away from Birstall. That was until Todd Horner received the ball and broke clear of the Birstall Victoria defence. Once he was clear there really was no stopping him and he touched down to pull KXP further ahead. KXP now lead 20-12.
Surely there was no way back for Birstall Victoria this time and the answer was to be a resounding ‘no’. Again, good interplay between William Davidson and Todd Horner, lead to Noah Smerdon rampaging through the Birstall defence. He was held up 10 yards short of the line but before the tackle was complete, he had the wherewithal to release the ball to Ted Grogan who raced away to touch down and make the final score 24-12.
The score line mirrored that of the home game earlier this season, though today’s performance was a better one and more complete.
Next week is Batley Boys, one of only two teams to beat us this season. If we carry on from where we left today, I suspect Batley won’t be able to live with us. Bring it on!!!
Report by Graham Smerdon