December 2011 Volume 8

Walker Cup 2011: My thoughts before and after the final

Clive Nicholson
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At the end of their best season in recent years, the KC soccer team played in the Walker Cup final on 30 November 2011. On the previous weekend while pondering the prospect of the match, I made a note on my Facebook page. A few minutes after the match finished on Wednesday, I made another note. I just felt they were worth sharing.

Before the match
Until last night, I didn't know the state of the 2011 Walker Cup; there seems to be a news blackout on it. I knew that KC is in the final, but I had no idea when the final would be played, or which school was the other finalist. I don't know about anyone else, but I am eager to see this match. It seems that coach Jumpy Harris has at last found a good team, although they choked in the latter stages of the Manning Cup.

The prospect of seeing the old school playing to win a soccer cup again is just exciting. It brings to mind a big Walker Cup match (December 1964, I believe), when my friend Monk (Anthony O'Connor) had the stadium crowd on its feet as he kicked his way into soccer folklore. Whenever I see Monk, I remind him of that evening when he became a hero to all KC supporters who were in the stands.

Monk was a member of the Second Eleven, and had not played on the first team before. But coach George Thompson (may his soul rest in peace) had Monk on the bench for this match against StGC. Then Monk got his chance, and the rest is history. By the time the game was over, Monk had scored three times. The British have a saying which is totally apt here: "cometh the hour, cometh the man". According to one of his classmates, Ian Masters, Monk said afterwards that he had no idea scoring could be so easy.

Do any of you remember that game?

I believe this year's final is against StGC, and is scheduled for next Wednesday at 2:45 pm at the Constant Spring FC ground. Pity it's not at the stadium. I urge all of you to come out and support the team. Let them feel that they are playing at home; let them feel that they are surrounded by a sea of purple. Let them play out of their skins and take this one home.

And if you run into Monk there, ask him about that evening 47 years ago, when KC totally outclassed Georges for the Wallker Cup.

After the last whistle
I didn't get to go to the game; indentureship can be very limiting. But I did catch some of the radio commentary. At half time, it was still nil all. In the last 15 minutes, KC was having the better of play, although trailing 1-2; during that period, they also squandered an easy chance in front of goal.

A few minutes ago, I saw boys from a school "not a hundred miles away" (to quote Douglas Forrest) walking down Constant Spring Road past my office, noisy and jubilant. I also saw a large group of KC boys walking down the road after the game, beaten but not crushed, still blowing their noise makers, still waving their purple and white flags.

According to one of the KLAS FM commentators, the KC side has nothing to beashamed of; it was the best game of the season. In the words of Jim Reeves' Adios Amigo song, "When two love the same love, one love has to lose".

So my fondest memory of a Walker Cup clash between these two sides is still that evening in December 1964, when Anthony "Monk" O'Connor came off the bench to score a hat trick and send St Georges packing.

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