(February 2024) Boxing Day Football Match

A close up of a football ballIt was standing room only for the fifty strong crowd on a foggy Boxing Day morning for the now traditional Ferris vs Gower football match. The more youthful Gower team started as favourites to win the third match in a row but the somewhat older and perhaps more experienced Ferris team had other ideas. 

The game has been eagerly awaited after the forced cancellation last year and has become one of the highlights of Christmas for some. 

The Gower took an early 1/0 lead but the Ferris equalised before a stunning strike from Tyler Bradley from outside the box restored their lead by halftime. 

Sam Catlin from the Ferris had the dubious distinction of being the first player in the history of the fixture to be sent off, before sportingly being allowed by the Gower gaffer to return in the second half. Controversially, he then won a penalty which he dispatched to the back of the net. Family honour was however restored by his young nephew Zach who gave the demanding crowd a true exhibition of attacking skills and by the end had scored a hat trick. The Ferris were lucky and happy that he was staying in Sibford with Uncle Sam for the Christmas duration, and he will hopefully be invited back to hang his stocking out for Father Christmas in Sibford Ferris again next year.

It was a really entertaining game, some good passing and midfield play, and lots of missed chances to excite the crowd. It was wonderful to see players aged from 13 to 65 giving their all, the three ladies asked and gave no quarter and the football was truly end to end. There were at least 4 father / son/ daughter combinations playing together as well as the uncle / nephew duo.

Matt Gandy scored two goals to make the final score 6-2 but the game was much closer than that until just before the final whistle. 

With a squad of 20, Sir Alex “the tinkler” Rippon opted for multiple substitutions over the 90 minutes in a changing formation that was so fluid it confused the opposition completely, while the Ferris gaffer with only 17 players opted for just two mass substitutions at 30 minute intervals and stuck to the traditional 4-4-2 formation. Everyone had a good run out and hopefully enjoyed it, and many retired to the Wykham Arms afterwards to analyse what had gone right or wrong , and plan for next year.

David Spackman