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Chaos Cup - 25th May 2002


Rory MacQueen
We scored a goal from open play! LOFT's finest achievement of the season as I'm sure you'll agree. In fact there were many such highlights from the day, from our first/second ever win (against Orientear B) to Doug Harper and Dave Knight's synchronised air guitars when Deep Purple and Status Quo escaped from the DJ's CD box.

Football-wise, LOFT fielded a makeshift team consisting 6 players at any time permed from our squad of myself, Jim Cummins, Joel Travis, Jolyon Travis, Tom Davies, Gary Stubbs, Alastair Noble and Andrew Embley. It took a while to learn each others' names (indeed, it was lunchtime before Tom could remember his own name) as the majority of us had never met before. I was nominated captain as the first person to memorise everyone's names.

We took to the field for our first match full of confidence and Paracetamol. The first team we faced was a Torquay side who went on to reach the overall semi-finals, and we turned in a performance full of guts, gaffes and sheer panache. After falling behind to an own goal after one minute, we rallied quickly and were unlucky to only score one goal of our own (through Gary 'Stubbsy' Stubbs) to tie the game 1-1. Given the quality of the opposition, this result filled us with confidence as we prepared to face the pre-tournament favourites for our group, Lincoln.

Well, Lincoln were a well-drilled outfit who had clearly known each others' names for more than 2 hours. In truth they displayed greater skill than us, but the timing of their two goals really hit us as we were enjoying brief spells of superiority. A 2-0 defeat was perhaps slightly harsh, but the other results in Group B meant that we still had all to play for.

Our next opposition was provided by the drunkards of Motherwell, who had started on the lager at an obscene hour. We identified this as our best chance of a victory in the group stages and, sure enough, began the game by battering at their defence from all angles. Despite some of the finest football of the day being played, our attempts to walk the ball into the net left the scoresheet blank at half-time. We upped the pressure even further after the break but found their keeper in outstanding form, not to mention the paint on the woodwork in an uncooperative mood. The move of the day saw Embley curl a through-pass half the length of the pitch to see it just miss the flying head of Stubbs, when even a wafer-thin contact would surely have ensured a goal. And then - disaster! As we threw the kitchen sink at 'Well's obdurate defence they broke away and left Cummins with his only task of the match to pick the ball out of the net. The 1-0 final score can hardly be rivalled in footballing history for its injustice.

With merely a slim chance of avoiding Group B bottom spot now, we faced a confident and physical Cardiff team, who - to be honest - had few problems in disposing of our now disillusioned side. I can't even remember whether the final score was 3-0 or 4-0 but the upshot was the same: we were through to the Wooden Spoon semi-final.

Excitement grew as we found out that our opponents were to be the Orientear B team, with a few personal grudges to be settled. The resistance of the 'Ear stiffs was of the paper variety as LOFT stormed to a 2-0 victory, courtesy of goals from Noble and Stubbs, condemning the 'Ears to the Wooden Spoon final. The default of the Southend B team meant that LOFT won its first silverware: the best team in the Wooden Spoon section (Best of the Worst).

The prestigious trophy was presented at the evening social - along with minor trophies like the Overall Winners (Ghent of Belgium), Plate Winners (Leyton Orient Vets) and the Wooden Spoon ('Ear B, who had lost to Southend A). This called for much celebration, even for those of us under a booze-ban, and much silly dancing. The bar area was eventually cleared of drunken, happy football fans at around 12.30, with all agreed on one thing: that the day had been an undoubted success. I had the pleasure of refereeing a couple of games, and found the spirit throughout the tournament to be almost impeccably Corinthian. Many thanks to Woody and everyone else involved in organising it.

Maybe one day a LOFT member will score from open play for us!

Thanks to all who took part.

The Chaos Cup is organised by the Leyton Orientear, and has been running since 1988. A proportion of the funds it raises goes to CHAOS (Children's Holidays And Other Specialities), a Waltham Forest-based registered charity which runs holidays and other trips for local underprivileged children who would not otherwise get such opportunities.

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