Monday, 16 January 2012

Not back, but better

As winter bites and the first few games fall victim to the cold weather, there was a warm little part of me re-ignited by the joy of returning to league action and to winning ways. The cold weather was no match for our weather-proof pitch and the show went on. Last week wasn't fun losing in the manner we did. Everyone was switched on this week though and ready to get out there and stake our claim. It's a dangerous thing, the Christmas break. Some teams get stronger, some get weaker as players drift away or get dropped from higher teams to help out (no such luxury for us, not that we'd do that because it's despicable cheating). After last week I'm sorry to admit that we did look ahead to the first game and the fact it was against the bottom placed team was seen as something of a blessing to us. Not that they played that way, in fact I have to give credit for resilience on the part of our opponents and I hope that they can bring that fight to the rest of their games because I think they'll survive relegation that way, even if it means losing 4-0 to us.

As for us, well we were satisfied. We're a team that is about attrition. We work hard for everything we achieve. It was a great pleasure to see that old industry return in the game. Commanding the ball, playing patient and striking at the right moment were all things that shone through, as well as some few moments of individual brilliance, like high notes of contrast in an otherwise sweeping symphony that brought us the victory we deserved. A good day at the office then. But as usual, it's not enough. Not enough not just because the road isn't run yet but not enough because we want more, of everything. We were all about focusing on getting back to our best this week, and while there is still a bit more fitness work before we can claim that I don't want that to be the true aim. The true aim, to steal a phrase I think Nick used, is not just to be back, but to be better. Towards the end of last season we upped our game, after suffering disappointing losses and having pretty much given up on winning the league we focused on improving our performance level. In the last few weeks of that season we played all of the teams above us, and beat them all. I truly believe we finished that season as the best team in the league (although the number 5 next to our final position would say otherwise). The evidence in my defence is the table this season, we've done a little better so far. We want to continue to do better and I hope we can replicate that late season dedication, in the immortal words of Yazz- The only way is up!

And so onwards and upwards we go into the battle that remains. Our next two games see us face teams battling for 3rd and 4th (one of these teams is the only team that has beaten us in the laegue, but more on that next week), they'll be tough matches and they'll want to try and reel us in, as always though it is up to us to show what we can do and play our game. This is no time to relax, it's a time to roll our sleeves up and get the job done.  Nothing but better is good enough anymore.

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