Plumstead MakeMerry

Oct 14th. 2012

As has been mentioned previously on this blog, the development of three sided football owes an enormous debt to Fabian Tompsett. It was Fabian who first identified Jorn’s tentative description of the game as being a task worthy of enactment and it was also Fabian who first set out the pitch we now play on and the rules we follow.

To benefit from Fabian’s expertise while trying to dissect the unfolding of play during the aftermath of the Deptford X tournament was both a privilege and a masterclass in watching the application of triolectics to the evolution of the game. (see the earlier blog entry entitled ‘Rotorende’ for a more detailed description).

Possessed with Fabian’s invention of the Rotorende to settle the condundrum our round-robin tournament had presented, we were eager to put his idea into practise and the offer made by the Plumstead Make Merry committee of holding a demonstration game during their October event gave us the perfect opportunity.

The game was played on the Plumstead Common rugby pitch, located fittingly besides one of London’s most psychogeographical of pubs – the Plumstead Old Mill (where the landlord – given the right circumstances – will still offer free pints to anyone who will eat one of the nettles from the pub’s garden).

Four teams took part

A. D3FC (Yellow)
B. Polscy (Blue)
C. Philosophy (Red)
D. Plumstead (Orange)

The game was played with three spirals of the four teams playing against each other
(effectively three repeats of: ABC BCD CDA DAB) to reflect Jorn’s idea of both triolectics and the spiral of life which never returns to the same (situlogical) location.

Teams were five a side with referee and scorekeeper being pulled from the team that was not playing the rotation in question. Rotations were 10 minutes long – giving two hours of play with a break of two minutes between each rotation.

With exception of the Plumstead team, most of the players were familiar with three sided football. D3FC brought an experienced side where the players had an average of ten games beneath their belts. Philosophy Football and Polscy Budowlancy were similarly skilled, with about six games their average. Plumstead had three members who had not played before and two who had participated with New Cross Irregulars in some of the Deptford games.

Once the game commenced there was an unexpected air of caution to the play. The first few rotations were exceedingly hesitant and after the first spiral only four goals had been conceded.

1st Spiral scoresheet
R Y B O
1st 0 0 1 0
2nd 0 0 2 0
3rd 1 0 2 0
4th 1 1 2 0

Untitled 7

Teams were certainly trying to get the measure of each other and the experience of the players – knowing that unless there is a significant breakaway the game is likely to be determined in the final rotations – seemed to be evident.

The second spiral saw a similar style of play. Four rotations later and only another three goals let in. As with the end of the first spiral, the surprise leaders remained the inexperienced home team who were embarking on a stout defensive effort while trying to learn the tactics of play.

2nd Spiral scoresheet

R Y B O
5th 1 1 3 0
6th 1 2 3 0
7th 1 3 3 0
8th 1 3 3 0

It was everyone’s expectation that the play would now pick up in intensity. D3FC and Polscy had focused their play on trying to attack Philosophy as they clearly possessed the best football skills. This approach had clearly not worked, and their regular counterfeit attacks against each other had simply placed them both in losing positions overall. As the ninth rotation began they both realised that this was the last rotation in which they could ally to inflict as much damage on Philosophy as possible. Both teams now threw their combined weight against the thinkers and numerous attacks were repulsed. Philosophy knew the stakes and placed an incredible defensive wall around their goal. When the ten minutes were up they had held out. No concessions and a very strong position. They would play in both the next two rotations and knew that all efforts had to be on attacking the still scoreless newcomers.

Tenth rotation and D3FC left the field to be replaced by Plumstead. A joint Polscy Philosophy huddle left them with no doubts as to what might now befall them. The Poles were calculating like crazy. It had to be a joint attack on Plumstead – followed by a switch to lure the hometeam into rounding on the Thinkers. The first part went well. Five minutes in a goalmoth scramble saw Plumstead finally concede. Philosphy had their outcome – they were now in joint 1st – and naturally did all they could to persuade the Poles to stick with the alliance. The Poles were split – who should they attack and who they join? A hesitant few minutes passed while calculations were made. Next rotation was D3FC, Philosophy and Plumstead. The expectation was that the two experienced teams would try and knock out the homeside – so Polscy rallied an alliance with them to hit the Thinkers with whatever they could muster. Play became as hectic as the myriad permutations which now emerged. Philosophy ringed their goal with three defenders and drove endless long balls at the Plumstead goal hoping their lone attacker might pick up a shot. All to no avail. At the end of the rotation the scores remained at 1331.

Polscy now left the field and Deptford returned. While sitting out the last they had made a conscious decision to join Plumstead and break the Philosophy defense. If they could get two against the Thinkers the last rotation would enable them and the Poles to do the same to Plumstead. As play commenced each turned on a Philosophy team that had calculated their strategy with brilliance. Rather than a ‘Chelsea Wall’ being placed around their goal they had decided to come out fighting. Relying on a high degree of fitness and team coherence they attacked the Plumstead goal as one, D3FC were completely ignored. Balls were placed straight to the their own front line between Deptford and Plumstead’s goals (to keep play away from their area). One midfielder was positioned semi permanently on the front line mid point and as soon as he picked up the ball it was passed high into the Plumstead goalmouth where two attackers ran straight in to collect. This worked with astonishing effect. D3FC were caught in a trap. On the one hand wanting to help out in the Plumstead area to cement the alliance, but at the same time knowing that to leave their goal unattended while the Thinkers were in full swing would leave them vulnerable. Pass after pass rained down on the Plumstead goalmouth and an astonishing five goals were conceded – all from Philosophy plays. The hometeam were completely dejected and morale collapsed. Philosophy were in the ascendant. Only one goal conceded and their time was up. They departed the field the winners of the tournament with a rotation still to play.

The final rotation could now only be a battle royale between the Poles and Deptford for who would take the silver medal. Plumstead, as expected, were bit part players in the frenetic backwards and forwards between the challengers. Shots and saves multiplied in quick succession. Tired legs transformed to cramp and frustrations boiled. Neither side could get the goal they craved. As the seconds counted down the stalemate endured. Honours even. Joint second place.

Philosophy FC enjoyed a lap of honour and the inaugural Rotorende was duly awarded to the most outstanding team. A thoroughly deserved victory.

3rd Spiral scoresheet

R Y B O
9th 1 3 3 0
10th 1 3 3 1
11th 1 3 3 6
12th 1 3 3 6

Fabian’s assumptions had proved correct. The repeating spiral had shown its worth in gradually -evenly – building up the tempo to a frenetic denoument. Calculating outcomes had perhaps come a little too late this time and leaving it all until the ninth before unleashing serious play would surely not occur again.

A reprendre depuis le debut!

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