Disaster in the Gateshead 9 v 9 Tournament.

Paul McConville's body language sums the tournament up for Sassco

Paul McConville's body language sums the tournament up for Sassco

Well, it’s safe to say that Murton’s heralded return to Sassco ended the same way as his Fulwell Buccaneers and Marine House projects ended: ignominiously.

The squad of barely nine players were left cold and shivering in the Gateshead Stadium 3G surroundings. Thirty minute games were fine, but having four of them, including two thirty minute breaks meant the soreness and stiffness defeated most of the team. And by the final game, we were desperately avoiding a win as that would have put us on again – not that it was difficult to lose anyway.

Gateshead 9 v 9 Squad

Opening game against Leam Lane saw us pegged back by two goals, until realising that the offside rule doesn’t count, and then pushing forward. Chances were missed after we clawed one back and lost 3-1.

The second game, we fully expected to win. Two quick goals from Liam Wooton, making his second appearance for Sassco after a Summer friendly 9 years ago, weren’t added to and then they got it back to 2-2. Wooton also let his anger out by crunching an opponent with his new Nike boots, purchased in the morning – with the receipt and tags still on.

After this, we didn’t really care. Murton was too passive and didn’t launch into anyone, and Wooton was injured. The other players, the regulars, were McConville, Paul Whelam, James Adams and John Harper. Dan Kendal was in goal, while James Cassidy was outfield. Glenn Whelam was there for the last game. We nearly called off our entry as both Glenn (only available later on) and Yates dropped out. Last minute calls led to Dan Kendal and James Cassidy being available.

Even with the full nine, we needed many more, plus there were no nearby huts to warm up in, no burger vans and the only toilets were the lampposts that the dogs used.  This meant we inevitably lost the third game (Harper had snuck off by then) and the fourth and trudged home.

The outing of our new Kappa Sassco shirts didn’t have the best debut: Lost 3 Drew 1, but at least Murton was back in the fold, almost 10 years to the day when he last played, in a defeat against Hylton Colliery on penalties.

However it was a strange, subdued Murton. Obviously hen-pecked and well under the thumb, unlike Wooton, who was simmering aggression – we know who’s the daddy out of them two.