The View from the Bar 

  Happy New Year everyone! Back to work tomorrow for most of us (cue sniggers from most of the retired crowd in Country Corner) but here’s one last chance to enjoy the holiday and with another 3 pm  kick-off too…

  So, as the year turns I guess it’s traditional to cast an eye back as well as forwards. Not as simple as in the (not so distant) past, due to the ongoing pandemic and the restrictions it imposes and disruption it causes, but here goes…

  The first half of 2021 saw precisely zero action for Cowes first team, as the Wessex League season was effectively abandoned the week before Christmas 2020, and the first few months of 2021 were grim indeed as we negotiated another lockdown. This was a tough one. The spirit of the earlier lockdowns seemed to have evaporated and the early months of the year were some of the hardest we have endured – that’s definitely true for myself. The Reserves did return to action in April though and managed to squeeze in fifteen games (the first few behind closed doors) in less than seven weeks to complete their Island League season.

  The start of the 21-22 season brought renewed optimism though, and despite a proper mixed bag of results, the First Team are in their best mid-season position points-wise for a long time. The Westwood crowds have continued to be impressive and have been treated to some memorable moments along the way too – the second goal against Fareham will live long in the mind, especially for the roar that greeted it. The winner against Portchester will be a hard one to forget too, although the edge was taken off it slightly by the way we conceded our opener against Moneyfields last week, it has to be said…

  And what does 2022 have in store for us? Well, I think you’d be a brave man (or woman) to make any firm predictions about anything – absolutely anything – in life at the moment, but if you’re going to nail your colours to a mast, none better than that of the Yachtsmen, I’d say. We’re unlikely to be troubling the top end of the table, admittedly, but whatever happens there should be plenty of fun along the way. As always, come rain, shine, or global pandemics, there’s nowhere I’d rather be at 3 pm on a Saturday than here, surrounded by you lot. I’ll drink to that.

  Oh yeah, and it’s a World Cup year too, isn’t it? I don’t think the trusty Cowes flags will be making an appearance at this tournament, though. There’s a lot of water to flow under the bridge before the (ahem) winter tournament in Qatar though. Let’s see what happens…

  Today’s visitors Shaftesbury are enjoying a splendid season (correct me if I’m wrong but their best start to the season ever in the Wessex Premier) with just three defeats to date so far and an impressive 5-2 whipping of leaders Horndean to their name at the start of December. So it’s with rather more trepidation than usual that we welcome them to Westwood today. We have faired pretty well against them over previous seasons, so with any luck that run might continue (and I think we are due a bit of luck…)

  Enjoy the game.

         Toby

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