All will be fine for GFC

THE prophets of GFC doom do make me laugh. A few games get postponed and suddenly the whole venture is in grave danger of falling in on itself.

THE prophets of GFC doom do make me laugh. A few games get postponed and suddenly the whole venture is in grave danger of falling in on itself.

Like the ball-boy incident at the Liberty Stadium on Wednesday, what utter nonsense to suggest no promotion this year will be fatal for the Lions.

Bruised, maybe, like the Swansea ball-boy’s ribs, but no, everything is just fine with regard GFC, apart from finding a solution to a home ground which this week still had its own duck pond.

Ever the optimist, Inside Track prefers to think there will be a silver lining in the miserably growing list of postponements, not least in terms of financial gain for having more home matches than originally scheduled, out of the depths of deep, miserable, winter.

Sure, a quick glance at the league table will not make particularly appealing viewing, but it really is a false state of affairs that will be remedied once the clouds part and the rain stops.

It should be remembered that, of the 19 currently scheduled league games GFC have in March and April, 12 of those are at Footes Lane.

That is, as near as damn it, two-thirds of their games in a run-in which promises to be hectic but also potentially very profitable at the turnstile.

It is a proven fact that GFC crowds go up when a) the weather is good, and b) when the game is not simply run-of-the-mill.

And the way the season is developing, GFC will face a string of must-win, highly attractive and marketable games in the closing weeks.

That, I predict, will see the average attendances rise significantly on the already admirable 1,055 for this stop-start campaign, to in excess of the 1,130 in their debut year.

Further study of the club’s run-in, also makes for encouraging reading.

Most of those games are against sides either in the bottom reaches (Sandhurst Town, Farnham Town, Hartley Wintney, Raynes Park Vale, and Camberley Town). And of the other four, only Epsom & Ewell are serious promotion contenders.

South Park, Cove, Horley and Molesey on the last day of the scheduled season, Saturday 27 April, are certainly opponents to be wary of, but by then those sides will be playing for pride only and the thrill of a rare game in front of a decent crowd.

The key will surely be the need to ensure the side is at strength for the toughest midweek away games, because even if GFC lose a couple of players for home fixtures, there is the potential, at a push, to pull in some very handy home-based non-regulars, men such as Craig Young and Marc McGrath.

No, GFC’s title push is far from over and once the weather allows them to gain some momentum, they will be flying again.

Win their six games in hand on leaders Egham Town, and they will be six points clear of that particular opponent.

No side, not Egham (and certainly not second-placed Epsom & Ewell who would only be the little matter of 13 – that’s THIRTEEN – in arrears of the Green Lions if Vance’s men win all their games) is in better shape than GFC.

No, only a really serious injury  crisis will stop the green-and-white bandwagon this spring by which time Angus Mackay will be back and holding the midfield together.

*

DRIVING down the Rohais the other day, I got to realise the full extent of the problems facing Footes Lane groundsman Shane Moon.

As I swung into the foot of the Rohais de Haut, gallons of stream water poured across the road and into the fields that sit directly  above the old Footes Lane rugby pitch. Gravity does the rest.

Poor old Shane has no chance.

His lowly-lying pitch is being hammered by the national contours of Guernsey. It is, and while I hate to point the finger, the fault of the upper parishes.

If St Martin’s and St Andrew’s could only keep their own water, ‘The Lane’ might have a chance.

*

IT DOES not require much to get a chuckle out of Derek Webb.

The head of Guernsey table tennis is as cheerful a chap as you can come across.

Moreover, his sport is in great shape and, while it faces issues over Commonwealth Games selection, the stream of new young talent shows no sign of drying up.

On Monday, Alex Robinson, just 15, thrillingly won the Jack Carrington Trophy title.

Although, the rules of the competition debar anyone who has featured in a Green Trophy inter-insular match for the past two years – so there was no Garry Dodd, Scott Romeril or Phil Ogier – it was still a terrific effort by the youngster who defeated Liam Robilliard in the final.

There is apparently no end to the superb talent emerging down at the GTTA, but what is intriguing is just how many will make the transition from exciting young talent into the finished article, as Dodd and Alice Loveridge have.

The GTTA will back their youngsters all the way, but ultimately only the player can make the crucial difference and I would say to the six or more juniors of similar ability to the new Carrington champion, if Alex can, why not you?

Don’t accept second-best and work a bit harder.

For the association itself, it might be that they need to tweak their policies and development programmes a little to ensure a greater number of young players stay focused and reduce the numbers on cruise control or who give up altogether, which, sadly, Ollie Langlois seems to have done.

Somehow, the GTTA needs to keep these emerging stars hungry and fully focused to train hard and improve.

I see seriously good talent down at the centre, but how many of them want to really stretch themselves to make them automatic Commonwealth Games selections, like Dodd and Loveridge.

I don’t know the answer to that one, but with a bit of luck it could be many.

Staying with ‘le ping-pong’ the CI Top 12 Championships has been a brilliant addition to the CI sporting calendar in recent years, but this year’s edition being staged at the GTTA Centre today has lost much of its gloss.

While Garry Dodd heads a powerful Sarnian group challenging for the title, Jersey will arrive minus four of their six qualifiers, including their top man, Craig Gascoyne, who won six out of six in the sister isle but then declined to travel.

His absence, plus that of the unavailable Alice Loveridge and Phil Ogier (unwell for the qualifier), should prompt some re-focusing in both islands as to how they approach the event.

If not, we could all lose interest.

*

THIS winter’s chase for hockey’s men’s league title is enthralling and very competitive. With this, players get uptight and – as a consequence – umpires get it in the neck. So, they don’t need a Guernsey Press reporter telling them that they caused controversy by allowing goals that, apparently, they never awarded.

Jeff Fisher, one of the officials in last Saturday’s tense 1-1 draw between Clubhouse Casuals and Colombians – where the latter got uptight by missing out on a late winner from a free-hit – has put ‘yours truly’ right on what exactly happened and which was not obvious to someone huddling behind the biggest overcoat he could find, a scarf pulled up to the nose and a woolly-hat, almost over his eyes in a bid to keep warm.

The ‘goal’ was not scrubbed out, said Fisher.

‘When the ball came in towards the circle, it hit the foot of a Casuals defender about one metre outside the circle,’ said the umpire.

‘It then continued into the circle and went into the goal. I did not see it touched by any other player when in the circle so I blew for a free hit to Colombians.

‘At this point, the Colombian players went off celebrating without looking to see what had been awarded, and lined up for a restart,’ he added. ‘A goal was never awarded.

‘Because of the Colombians’ reaction, I went to Stuart [Perfitt, the fellow umpire] to discuss the matter and to establish if he had seen something I had missed, but he hadn’t. Therefore the game was restarted with the free hit I had originally awarded.’

Comments for: "All will be fine for GFC"

Ex Northerner

I am confused by Rob Batiste's attendance averages. Last season's average for league matches was 1,310 not 1,130 as stated in his article. I assume he was referring to the league average and not the overall average as his figure of 1,055 for this season is based on league matches only, and therefore to make a fair comparison one cannot include cup games.

Taking this into account, in order to exceed last season's average (as Rob predicts) GFC will need to attract an average of 1,412 for each of their remaining league matches. My own prediction is that they have two chances of achieving this; Bob and none.

I will keep an eye on the situation and if I am proved wrong I will refrain from posting any more comments on GFC articles. If Rob is wrong perhaps he would agree to refrain from bombarding us with daily doses of GFC propoganda?

JJ Lehto

I hope he's right, as your miserable posts are starting to get annoying.

And if he's wrong, I hope he carries on winding you up.

What are the average attendences of Priaulx matches over the past 10 years?

Ex Northerner

JJ Lehto

It appears that it's you who is getting wound up chum, not me. I just find the endless coverage of GFC tiresome, that's all, and the Press should at least get their facts straight if they're going to try and use them as propoganda.

If you find my posts annoying why don't you just stop reading them?

I have no idea what the average Priaulx attendance has been over the past 10 years, as far as I know the data isn't available, although I may be wrong of course, I very occasionally am.

JJ Lehto

Ex-Northerner

I'm just not a fan of whingers....

Ex Northerner

JJ Lehto

Who's whinging?

Johno

Ex Northerner

Likewise if you don't like the articles in the GP 'stop reading them'........Simples!

Ex Northerner

Johno

But that would mean I'd have to not read about 25% of the Press on average, or maybe even a quarter on a bad day.

Guern

Well stop buying it and then you will be bored with not knowing what is going on. But then you could moan about that then, you seem a very sad old man!

Keep up the good work GEP, we who are unable to get the matches, enjoy the coverage.

laurie carre

this is like a kids playground at playtime