Sunday, 22 April 2018

A sorry state of affairs.

Whitehaven 38 - Hornets 0

I find myself writing this on Monday 23rd April. To the rest of the country it’s St George’s day, but in our house it’s my late dad’s birthday. Only fitting then that I start by apologising to my dad.

When I was a kid, he would never leave a game before the end, and he drummed into me the same principle: Games last 80 minutes and  - come hell or high water - you stay to the death. Even when we were getting tubbed, he’d walk us up to the Milnrow Rd end of the Railway Side where we’d watch the last painful minutes from a position of rapid exit.

It’s a good principle: you ask 80 minutes’ commitment from your players, so - as a supporter - you should reciprocate. No leaving to miss the traffic; no getting the uncrowded bus; no getting back for an early tea - you put your 80 minutes in.

It’s been a principle that’s been sorely tested over the years. The 40-nil at Wakefield: the last ten minutes watched from the gate. The 30-7 at Dewsbury (after we’d led 7-nil at half time), watched from the top of the popular side steps.

But at Whitehaven on Sunday, 47 years of resolve cracked and I was pretty much back at the car as the final hooter sounded in the distance. Sorry, dad - but you had to be there. Or maybe better that you weren’t…

For once, we have a quite literal nothing to report on a performance so disgraceful that I”m reminded of another thing my dad used to say: “If you’ve nothing good to say, don’t say anything”.

The facts are that a Hornets side devoid of a clue was out-performed, out fought and out-enthused by a hard-working League 1 side who cruised to victory with embarrassing ease - made worse by the fact that they played a quarter of the match with a man-short (Forster and Reece sin-binned) - and scored during one of those periods with men to spare up the edge.

Haven tries to man of the match Phillips (2), Abram, Holliday and Parker, plus nine from nine kicks from Abram did the damage - most scored from sloppy play or through frankly awful defending.

Even on the worst of days, you’d cop the 38 if any resistance were offered, but Whitehaven could have declared after 70 minutes and Hornets would have struggled to string together three meaningful passes.

If losing without a fight is unacceptable, then being annihilated by a League 1 side without offering even cursory resistance disrespects those staunch Hornets fans who’d forked out to travel to West Cumbria. All supporters ask is that it appears to matter when the team pull on our shirt.

Indeed, if you’d have pulled 13 fans from the terrace and played them at the Recre’, they’d have been flogged too - but with more dignity.

So I’m sorry. Sorry to my dad for walking out on my team. Sorry to my fellow supporters for not being able to stomach another minute of this execrable turd of a game. Sorry for questioning my faith in my club.

But mostly I’m sorry I went to Whitehaven to witness this debacle.