Sunday, 3 July 2011

The 2011 Island Games: Isle of Wight v Jersey

The match ball was over-inflated.
Now I know how Puff the Magic Dragon felt. Okay, admittedly I don't know what it feels like to be a large, fire-breathing, psychedelic, drug-quaffing mythical beast (I'm not a rock star, after all), but I do know what it feels like to be, er, puffed out after a long uphill walk. The women's semi-final at East Cowes had finished late, so I only had twenty minutes to trot the 3km to Cowes Sports' Westwood Park ground, and this included a fifteen minute wait for the chain ferry across the River Medina. Like a middle-aged, male Kate Bush, I was running up that hill as fast as my little legs would carry me so that I missed as little action as possible, but still arrived 30 minutes after kick-off.
ITV Channel Television had their cameraman covering the action.
The match in question was the men's semi-final of the 2011 Island Games football tournament (kindly sponsored by Hovertravel, the hovercraft company). The hosts, Isle of Wight, were taking on fellow group winners Jersey. Both sides had won all their matches thus far, with Jersey being involved in the most newsworthy game of the tournament four days previously, when Rhodes had had four players sent off, had attacked the fourth official, and then allegedly trashed Newport's dressing room after the final whistle. Rhodes had been sent packing, with a ban from the next two tournaments as their Isle of Wight souvenir (instead of the usual test-tube full of multi-coloured sand from Alum Bay). Their results had been expunged from the records, so I suspect the first match I had seen (Rhodes v Greenland) now officially never happened!
Jersey, all in blue, attacking the Isle of Wight's goal.
This semi-final could have done with a few incidents, as I can barely remember what happened, despite it being only three days ago. What I do recall is that the Isle of Wight scored the only goal of the game midway through the second-half, a matter of minutes after I'd swapped ends, believing that Jersey would be the most likely team to score, and that I might get a photo of their celebrations if I stood behind the goal that they were attacking. Wrong, as usual!
A Jersey player suffering in front of Cowes Sports' large stand (which seats more than Newport's, and is thus the biggest football stand on the island).
Talking of photos, a combination of arriving late, and being in a relatively large crowd of 813 (and thus not being able to move around the ground as freely as I had been doing at other games), meant that I couldn't take very many interesting pictures, so this photo diary is a little bare. It even includes the same idea twice, as you may have noticed. I took a few more when I went back to Cowes the following day for the women's final, which will be coming up next...
Beware of Stray Flying Footballs (again!).

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