Brighouse boosted by breaks and bruises to Barnies brothers
The cruel fates which befall many ageing footballers have had a silver lining for Barnies C-graders Brighouse, with the side propelled into the over 35s grand final against Waratahs.
Brighouse has been fortunate as far as injuries go this season with only one player, Paul Crain, forced out with injury – an ankle complaint suffered immediately after he scored a goal – the journeyman now back in the squad and fighting fit.
Not so the other two Barnstoneworth C grade sides – Denley and United – who have suffered an injury attrition rate not seen since the school leopard was let loose in the midst of Denley Moor Academicals’ annual one-legged cross country charity hop.
With United and Denley unable to field sides for the over 35s sub-competition, Brighouse must now fly the flag for the club against the sky blues of Waratahs.
The old sparring partners are expected to leave nothing on the paddock when they clash at a time and date to be set, but which could coincide as early as the next round when the two are scheduled to meet for the first time this season.
Brighouse Team Manager Murray McCloskey said the side would have to lift after a 6-1 loss in round 13 to the fast and the furious Waratahs Wanderers, otherwise known as the Orange High School under 18s.
Brighouse, fielding only one player under 35, met the youngsters at Jack Brabham Park field three, where they held the Tahs at bay for a good 20 minutes.
But the pitch – a field of dreams for many sides in C grade, became a field of screams for Brighouse, after Waratahs slotted one home from a scrappy corner, awarded after initially being ruled a goal kick.
The screams intensified as a Brighouse defender drilled one home – unfortunately into his own net – in a lovely finish which left many torn between compliments about the technical merits of the strike and the downside of it being an own goal.
Down three nil at the break, Brighouse held a council of war and decided to play the second half.
Leaking another three goals, Brighouse’s luck was out after a handball in the penalty box led to a spot kick from one of Orange High’s finest, defended by the school principal, Chad Bliss.
Despite being cautioned by a Brighouse midfielder that he might face detention on Monday if he scored, the Wanderer deftly fired the shot into the net despite Bliss getting a glove to it.
Bliss would later leap into the air with a two handed save, off a shot that was rocketing into the top right corner, earning him praise from both sides.
Team manager McCloskey clawed one back for Brighouse with a late goal from a header which escaped the outstretched mits of the Waratahs keeper.
It’s McCloskey’s second goal in two matches and so excited was he at getting it he celebrated by swinging his shirt around his head and was promptly yellow carded.