Div 1 Match 1 – NK Hrvat

Hey there sports fans. The much anticipated kick off to the VMSL 2011/12 season finally took place last night, despite talks of a player lock out over wage demands.

It was a familiar team, with a few notable absentees and additions… So not as familiar as I would lead you to believe.


  • Rino’s said farewell to it’s captain, and father of the team, Jordan Haas. Jordan has hung up his tattered boots, but will no doubt be seen roaming the sidelines from time to time perving on the the U21’s that step up.
  • Andrew Wade was lulled away by the bright curries of India. He is thought to be bringing the ‘War on Terror’ to their doorstep, and has hit the ground running.
  • Charlie Carrick has taken a sabbatical from Rino’s and traveled to Toronto to recruit some actors for a feature length movie documenting his 18 goals in 18 games last season.
  • One blessing was the departure of Laurie Flynn, he won’t be missed.
  • I have no idea where Peter Bohdal went.
  • Rino’s also said farewell to it’s coach of 3 seasons, Ken Adloff. Rousing pre game talks and finishing 3rd in the league were trademark characteristics of his reign. Commitment to practices despite the trek from Surrey every week, and getting the team back on track were also trademarks, so thanks to Ken for all his effort over the last few years.


  • Cody Levy, although not a new player, has finally said ‘Fuck You’ to his native US and opted to winter in America’s Hat. A much needed boost to our US contingent since Andrew left.
  • James Duff has stepped in to replace Div 2 captain Vincent Martin as our ‘Plastic Paddy’. He has the unenviable task of filling Charlie’s boots, but based on last nights performance he should be up to the task, and may even get his own movie some day.
  • A raft of U21 players will be stepping up this season to help us out. Much needed support, and each one of them has the caliber needed
Step Ups:
  • Haydn Pritchard will be making the move from his successful tenure as U21 coach to a berth as the new Div 1 coach. The long time Derby fan has made a move reminiscent of Brian Clough’s switch from Derby to Leeds, hopefully with better results.
  • Steve Moloney, Jordie Atkinson, and Jonathan Cooper will be stepping up to the Div 1 team from last years CAT after strong winter and summer seasons. Best of luck lads.
Now, after that long winded intro, let’s get to the game.


NK Hrvat 1-1 Rinos Vancouver

What has 2 goals and ends up with shared spoils? A 1-1 draw. Joking aside, that’s what the result was last night.

This was a tale of missed opportunities and heartbreak, frustration and 2pts lost, but also one of hope, desire, and perhaps a brighter future for Rinos. Although only coming away with 1pt, Rinos also came away from Van Tech last night with a sense that, yes, this could be our year. Bonds are beginning to form, understandings and mutual respect growing, the pieces are all there, we just need to put them together, and when we gel fully, that puzzle, and our bonds, will be unbreakable.

Rinos came out of the blocks last night with a display that could be equated to

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a dirty diamond, a little lackluster. An innocuous looking play down the right led to the opening goal of the game. A floated cross to the heart of our box was met with a first time volley which shook the back of our net, but also the cobwebs from our rested boots. And Rino’s response was almost as instant as a nice cup of Nescafe.

From an NK venture into enemy territory the ball broke to Brent Hanson at centre back. A quick pass to Ally Gray in the middle of the park was complimented by another ball slipped out wide to Jordie Atkinson, who sublimely dazzled his marker and broke down the wing. Still with work to do, Atkinson, 34, picked out John Marsh at the back post, with the finest looking cross since Jesus died for our sins. Marsh, having run from well inside his own half reaped the reward of his extra effort when Atkinson’s cross swung directly into his path. A strong header left the NK keeper with no chance and the game was finely poised at 1-1… And Rinos were sparkling again.

Rinos went into the half time break with their tails up, and duly began the second half with the belief that the 3pts were theirs for the taking. Swift passing and moving had Rinos a cut above NK and numerous chances were created, but ultimately spurned by Rinos.

It was a whipped in corner that had the NK keeper sweating like a paedophile in a Barney costume. A glancing header by Brent Hanson beat the entire NK team, but unfortunately struck Jonathan Cooper on the line. Cooper then, with a carat dangling in front of him, had his subsequent shot blocked. The rebound was met with another header from Hanson that struck the bar, and we began to realise it may not be our day.

An equally frantic spell came after James Duff was mercilessly hacked down in the NK penalty area. Stepehen Moloney stepped up to bare the weight of responsibility that has so often affected our spot kick takers. It is this pressure that creates the diamonds of my running reference, but on this occasion it didn’t have the desired effect. A low shot to the right was gathered by the goalie… but distributed straight back to Rinos. Ally Gray leading the charge back across enemy lines, striking the cross bar from an acute angle seconds after the penalty miss.

More chances came, more saves were made, alas, no breakthrough. A solid performance though and one that bodes well for games to come, in what is probably the toughest Div 1 any of us have played in.

We were brilliant at times, lacked clarity at others, but our true colours will shine through as we prove we can cut it at any level, and eventually be as a paragon. Carat.