Note: this review ended up a lot longer than I intended it to be, so in an unforgivably cheesy move, I’ve split it into two parts.
We’re determined not to conform with the programmer stereotype, and as such are a much sportier bunch than you would probably account for. There are a huge range of sports clubs and events at Web Apps, from regular five-a-side and badminton to rock climbing. There’s even a game of mixed netball on the periphery, and our Oldham Community Leisure memberships go a long way towards burning off all the cake and free cans of pop.
So it was with great enthusiasm that we threw ourselves into the 2017 edition of the prestigious Webbie Cup, now in its third iteration. Having learnt a lesson about our lack of fitness in previous years, we came up with the solution of having 3 teams instead of 4. Each team would play each other twice, with extra players allowing roll-on/roll-off substitutes to account for when people became tired, in theory.
In practice, Webbies are a fragile species, and injuries of varying severity wrote off an average of one player per team in the first round of games. Nevertheless, we powered through, and some fantastic football was played.
Meet the teams
Picture courtesy of Oldham Chronicle
Slide into Your PMs
Matt Chambers (c), Ste Lees, Matt Rowan, Jeffrey Ng, Nick Stafford
In the black shirts came Slide into Your PMs, captained by developer Matt Chambers. On paper it looked like they might struggle, unable to get a 6th man to sit on the bench to provide the boost of having fresh legs. With two veterans of previous tournaments on their team in Ste and Jeff, the team did have experience on their side, and Matt Rowan put in a great shift for the men in black despite being written off by injury early on.
David Humphreys (c) +1, Craig Kennedy, Shaun Austin, Luke OKeefe, Joel Richards,
The eponymous Sporting Humphreys, captained by PM David and wearing white jerseys, looked a strong side with two capable Webbie Cup veterans in Shaun and Craig. Not much had been seen of Joel or Luke beforehand, both reasonably new additions to the company. Joel turned out to be a dark horse, coming late and outscoring everybody else to win the golden boot for the day.
FC Red Shirts
Jack Simpson (c), Kris Cartwright, Jack Maders, Chris Sweeney, Jonathan Howe, Gareth Nixon
Named after the perennially endangered crewmen from Star Trek, FC Red Shirts, naturally wearing red, were a strong team on paper made up of Webbie Cup veterans including two previous championship-winning players in myself and Kris Cartwright, whose memorably agile performances in goal last time inspired me to convince him to get between the sticks again. We were joined by Gareth Nixon of Mahdlo after a last minute struggle for a substitute.
The tournament took place on Mahdlo’s outdoor 3G 5aside pitch, which we’d seen before at charity tournaments hosted by Streetleague (one in which we came second!). Mahdlo were great hosts, providing much needed encouragement from the side-lines, and bottled water free of charge to our players!
— claire crossfield (@CCrossfield) May 30, 2017
The tournament opener pitched an up-for-it Slide into Your PMs against Sporting Humphreys, in an initially closely contested encounter. PMs scored twice, both times with quick replies from a resilient Sporting (missing Joel, who was running late) until Matt Rowan sealed an excellent hat-trick and Ste bagged a second to kill off their morale, and the game, 5-2.
With only 3 teams, there was a requirement for teams to take turns playing staggered fixtures, so a dejected Sporting, albeit buoyed by the arrival of their sixth man, had to take to the field once again to face Red Shirts, who started slowly despite having the upper hand. Beaten convincingly 4-1 thanks to goals from Directors Shaun and Jeff, and a double from late arrival Joel, Red Shirts would go on to be repeatedly frustrated by Sporting, who just seemed to have them worked out – Dave Humphreys dominated, controlling the game from the back and racking up a number of assists.
The final game of round one pitched Red Shirts against a fresh PMs, with their comfortable victory still firmly in their minds. Early on the game was closely contested, with key players Ste and Matt R. both netting, but the tables turned drastically after a not-very-accurate challenge on Matt from yours truly. I maintain that I was fully aiming for the ball, but a mixture of poor technique and lack of balance certainly aided Matt rolling his ankle, ending his tournament early.
Borrowing a substitute from Sporting, the demoralised men in black attempted to increase their narrow lead, to no avail. Kris showed great reflexes in net, stopping a number of shots in an impressive display of goalkeeping.
Counter-attacking ruthlessly, the Reds rained shots down on poor Jeff from all angles, with Johnny, Sweeney and Jack S. all getting in on the goal-scoring, and a hat-trick for Mahdlo’s Gareth, who was clearly enjoying playing on home soil. 7-2 to Red Shirts!
It was remarkably close, each team having won and lost one by a similar margin. PMs were looking worried, having lost a key player to injury, and there was a sense that this was too close to call.
What happened in round 2? Keep an eye out for part two, where the thrilling conclusion will be revealed.