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10 months ago By Tom Slater

The very personal views of David Shuttleworth

Timperley Sports Clubs – Our Club and be Proud of It
For me it is the start of Xmas when Timperley Sports Club hold their annual dinner for the Life Members and Vice Presidents of the club. It is a way that the numbers who attend this event are truly impressive and are an indication of what really makes a community sports club work.

Whilst writing this I am mulling over what makes Timperley tick and why it is the top sports club in Trafford.

At Timperley we are also lucky to have capable and committed professional staff. Led by Colin Taylor who has been a dynamic force at TSC for over 20 years we have Sam and Jayne running the bar and Kerri in the kitchen providing the best bar food, certainly in Lacrosse. Wonderful breakfast barm cakes! Makes turning out worthwhile.

After the combined service of over 60 years from our groundsmen Billy Feick and Ken Hatton (It was good to see Ken at the Dinner) we have been lucky to recruit a capable, hard working and enthusiastic new Groundsman in Andy Horsefield.

TSC has always been a dynamic club and in my time we have seen the construction and resurfacing of 2 ATPs, the building of a new clubhouse and more recently the construction of a new score box and extra changing rooms on the back pitch. Not to mention the over £100k spent on the drainage work to our grass areas. By my back of the envelope calculations over the last 35 years the club has spent around £3m on maintaining and improving our facilities at Timperley. There are currently very exciting conversations going on with Trafford about future developments based around the club site.

The overall running of the Timperley Sports Club is the responsibility of the Executive and the Lacrosse section is well represented with Alan Holdsworth as Chair, John Allen as Secretary and Tom Slater Chair of Lacrosse.

Congratulations to David Loveland, Martin Cragg and Tom Slater on their appointment as VPs.

Call a few flakes of snow a winter.
My views on what makes a playable Lacrosse pitch are formed by my experiences, particularly of 1963.

In my life time there have been two fairly cold winters - 1947, of which I have no recollection and the Big Freeze of 1963.

It snowed on Boxing Day 1962 and the thaw did not occur until the March. The lowest temperature recorded was -22oC which makes the -13oC of this week positively balmy. It was so cold that in a number of places the sea froze over. It was the coldest winter since 1746.

Professional sport was decimated and there was virtually no soccer, rugby union or rugby league for 10 weeks. The 3rd Round of the FA Cup, usually played in early January, was not completed until March, with ties being postponed more than 20 times. This was before the days of under pitch heating and the few games which were played were played on a few inches of snow.

Amateur sports like hockey and lacrosse were badly hit – except at William Hulme’s GS.

I was a pupil at William Hulme’s GS and we thought that we had a fairly decent Lacrosse team. We did not fancy a season of little Lacrosse so we set about clearing our pitches of snow and ice, sanding goal mouths and renewing the markings. My recollection was that we lost few, if any, fixtures and we certainly enjoyed the success from our efforts becoming the first and only school team to win the Junior Flags, beating South Manchester A 9-8 in the final at Cheadle.

The newspapers were so short of copy that John Kay, the father of one of our players and a soccer journalist, wrote reports on WHGS games in the Daily Express.

Ironically, in 1963 Cheadle Hulme School had arguably the best ever school team. Good enough to beat WHGS 3 times.

So when I look at the pitches a Timperley over the weekend I find it difficult to believe they could not, with a bit of work, have been playable. They were certainly good enough to stage a women’s league game and an U12B game (giving our first win of the season.)

There are a number of factors which we need to consider before deciding to cancel games:

• The basic purpose of the exercise is to play Lacrosse. If players keep having games postponed they will, particularly juniors, find something else to do with their time. The first ATP which we laid in 1980 was not put down to be a hockey facility. It was laid to provide summer tennis and a winter facility for junior lacrosse. Too many junior sessions were being lost because of boggy pitches.

• Is the pitch dangerous? Certainly being hard does not mean dangerous or we would not play on many ATPs and children would never be allowed on school playgrounds.
• Can you see the markings? We often tolerate less than perfect marking, especially for junior games. We now have portable creases, many cones and a sweeping brush can clear lines.

• Cancelling effects income. I am very much aware that spending money is significantly easier than earning it. TSC has had a difficult time recently with the cricket season basically destroyed because of the lack of rain in April and May which prevented the grass re-growing on the drainage works. The payback is that the improved grass surfaces mean fewer cancellations. Up until Saturday we were the only Lacrosse club not to cancel games. This past weekend we lost a lot of income from the cancellation of hockey on the ATP and Sunday loss of U19 Lacrosse. Even moving fixtures should only be done after careful consideration. By moving A to Heaton Mersey we filled their coffers rather than Timperley’s.

• I am also not sure that “resting” pitches is a justifiable reason. If they are frozen what damage can be done? Grass is particularly resilient and soon regenerates itself. If they were not frozen then playing on them on Saturday did no harm. I walked the pitches on Sunday and the one used by the women and the one used by the U12 were in great shape (as was the senior men’s pitch).

Brexit – Is it progress?
My views on Brexit are well known. It is a shambolic disaster which can only end in tears.

There was a glimpse of hope this week that Theresa May had made meaningful progress in agreeing to advance to talks with the EU. Until the bumbling lunatic that is David Davis pointed out that the agreement to move talks on was not a binding agreement but merely a “statement of intent”. The EU says that this position is unsustainable and that an agreement is an agreement.

A friend of mine who has spent his career in Whitehall made a number of comments in recent conversations:
• Very few civil servants believe that Brexit is a desirable thing.
• Boris Johnson is the worst Foreign Secretary ever.
• The best hope is that David Davis remains in post because then Brexit is unlikely to happen as he is incapable of delivering a project successfully.

Manchester, Soccer Capital of the World?
On Sunday it has been suggested that 1 in 7 of the people in the world tuned in to view the Manchester Derby. If so they saw a pretty ropey match.

Certainly although City have been playing some sublime football this season most people are still United fans. That is how it has been for the last 50 years.

Although Utd are very much work in progress at the moment they can still regularly fill the 75,000 Old Trafford whilst City struggle to fill the 55,000 capacity Etihad, known even to City fans as the Emptihad.

Both City and Utd seem to have pots of money to rival Real Madrid, Barcelona and PSG but they do not seem to have the absolute quality on the field which leads to being a power in Europe. With the KO rounds of the Champions League coming in January the test for the Manchester clubs will begin. Both have on paper winnable ties though Sevilla, 6th in La Liga, is probably the tougher. Certainly for Guardiola Europe is much more important than the Premier League. I suspect that City fans do not share his view as getting them to Champions League games, even with cheap tickets, is a difficult ask.

One thing certain is that greatness brings with it responsibility and the farcical shenanigans after the game did no credit to either club.

Junior Lacrosse teams generally (with a few exceptions) know how to win with class.

I still think Madrid is the City with the two best clubs, though probably Manchester is a solid second. Neither of the Manchester clubs is a Barcelona, a PSG or even a Juventus but as a pair they are stronger than Barcelona, Paris or Turin or even Milan.

Christmas 8s Tournament at Timperley Lacrosse Club
Hopefully the weather will relent and we will have milder conditions for the Christmas 8s Tournament this weekend.

Cengiz Ilhan has put a huge amount of work into the organisation and it will be a great day of Lacrosse.

Below is a copy of the day’s schedule so you can find out what is happening.

U11s + U15s:
09:00 Get to Timperley Lacrosse Club for registration.
09:10 Umpires & Team Managers briefing.
09:30 Games start with U15s games.
09:50 First games for U11s.
11:40 Semi finals.
12:05 Finals + 3rd/4th play off.
12:30 Prize ceremony.
12:45 End of the day for the U11s and U15s.

• All U11 games will be played on Green Pitch.
• All U15 A group games plus the Semis and Finals will be played on Blue Pitch.
• All U15 B group games will be played on Green Pitch.

U13s + U18s:
12:20 Get to Timperley Lacrosse Club for registration.
12:45 Umpires & Team Managers briefing.
13:00 Games start with U18s games.
13:20 First games for U13s.
15:40 Semi finals (ONLY for the U13s at present).
16:00 Finals + 3rd/4th play off (For U13s + U18s).
16:20 Prize ceremony.
16:30 End of the day for the U13s and U18s and the organisers!

The Ordsall Chord
It could be an episode from “Yes Minister”!!

The Ordsall Chord, the £84m 300m rail link which will connect Victoria and Piccadilly Station was finally completed and the first train has run on the line.

As far as I can tell this is the first piece of railway construction completed outside the London and the South East. For the real geeks it includes an iconic and revolutionary bridge.

Although not a geek I certainly went to see two of the biggest cranes in Europe lift the bridge into position.

However, everyone seems to have been taken by surprise by the completion of the Chord as there is currently only one train every two hours using the link. This is supposed to increase in May 2018 when a new timetable is introduced. The full potential for the link to facilitate cross-Pennine travel and boost the Northern Powerhouse may never be realised as the government is rumoured to be about to remove the funding for the expansion of Piccadilly and Oxford Road Stations which is necessary to take more services. Is it because, as usual, it is London projects like HS2 and Crossrail2 that always end up as the priorities?

Updated 17:43 - 16 Dec 2017 by David Loveland

Where next?

WEEKLY ROUNDUP DECEMBER 13TH The news from Timperley Lacrosse this week
WEEKLY ROUNDUP DECEMBER 6TH The latest news from Timperley Lacrosse

Sat 27 Oct
Mens B Team Cheadle B
League 14:00
Sat 3 Nov
Boys U16A CH / Wilmslow
Friendly 10:00
Boys U14A Heaton Mersey
Friendly 10:00
Friendly 10:00
Mens 1st Team Rochdale
League 14:00
Mens A Team Brooklands A
League 14:00

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