It was the spring of 2003. I’d not long started my current job and was barely 20 years of age. I followed football a lot in those days and had just finished watching a rather morale draining match with my mates.
In his infinite wisdom, my father approached the garage where I lived (it was a conversion, I wasn’t sleeping next to the lawnmower at night) and informed us that “The day is always darkest before the dawn”.
Such a level of philosophy was all too much for our tiny minds to take, particularly as we were somewhat worse for wear at the time. We laughed and ridiculed him (all in the best possible taste of course!). A week later Celtic went to Liverpool and showed, in spectacular fashion, that “my nan” probably couldn’t win the SPL afterall.
The above probably isn’t the best example of the Rocks’ current situation but i’m hoping for parallels. Tellingly, everyone who attended my house on that day *still* remembers it vividly. I suspect the Surrey game won’t erase itself quickly from the minds of the Rocks’ support either.
The injury to Mikey Thompson in the warm-up and the booing of the team at full time served as the cruel book-ends for a slew of horror-show performances.
It’s a rare occurrence for us to lose 100 at home. Surrey Scorchers are only the third team to do it in the past six and a bit seasons. I’m sure you can guess the first but i’m curious to see if anyone knows the second.
It seems unclassy to avoid giving Scorchers credit for the win. Their job is to beat what’s in front of them. They did it, I congratulate them and I wish them well – they deserved it. However, I think it’d be naive and somewhat worrying if anyone currently on the Rocks’ books left the court thinking “Scorchers were great tonight, we won’t face teams like that every week”. Of course, they’d be half right. We won’t face teams like that every week. We’ll face better teams.
In the context of building a successful side I’m not fussed one way or the other on cutting players. I’ve seen it done effectively (Ricky Taylor for Rahmon Fletcher at Eagles, Donovan Jack for Taylor King at Riders) and not so effectively (Phoenix, Raiders, Scorchers) so it’s difficult for me to form a strong evidenced based opinion on the departure of Martez Harrison. That said, if it’s our intention to cut anymore players i’d probably be keeping the replacement in bubble wrap until tip-off!
Most of the ranting, blaming, dissecting and gnashing of teeth has been done elsewhere. I’m not going to drag it up again because I don’t actually think there’s anything left to add. Players and coaches both got it. One of the few not a casualty of war was Rocky. I’m loving Rocky’s work this season!
The only other positive was Bantu. As a limited minutes player he has much to learn that can only come with game time. Did he take his chance on Sunday? I reckon he did. He was quick, he was fun and he looked like he belonged. I hope to see more of the same from him in the future.
To get back to my original point, the Scorchers debacle needs to be our Rock bottom (excuse the pun). The darkness before our dawn if you like. A squad comparison with the rest of the BBL would suggest we’re hardly lacking in quality. While we’re arguably a SG light, the raw material is definitely there. Kieron Achara apologising after the game may be that first tentative step towards accepting that there’s a lot of work to be done to bring it together into something coherent. Rather than the laughable “It’ll come together for the playoffs” that we’ve heard before, this was a simple “I need to do better”. If the captain, and by extension the team, are self aware enough to “own it” then maybe the penny will drop.
Sometimes a wake-up call is needed – perhaps this is ours?