Granny’s Birthday Celebration

Hello Keelings and distant cousins and friends,

Here is probably the most informative and accurate field game update I will ever give on the 8 brothers blog. So if you have any questions to do with the great event, it is likely that I am now about to answer them.

To the players (or if you are interested) -

Firstly I will say a word about the squad. This includes the following people: George, Simon, Jim, Paul, Trev, Tom, Colin Hely-Hutchinson, other Trev Keeling, Tom Palmer, Sam Palmer, Harry Keeling, C.Gardiner Hill, N.Hely-Hutchinson, Ted Keeling, Fred Keeling and myself.

We will play in plain white and all the players will need shin pads, long sports socks and football boots. Although I will be able to help kit people out with stuff lying around the place here at school it is obviously much easier if people can bring their own kit. There is a sports shop called ‘Eton Sports’ on the highstreet perhaps five or ten minutes walk from the playing fields, and the heart of Eton, where all these things can be bought.

There will be changing rooms and showers at the pavilion nearby where everyone can base camp. Or alternatively my housemaster has kindly said that we may use his house to pitch camp and prepare for the game. It is just before half term and many boys will have already gone home, so the place will be reasonably free for this sort of thing.

To everyone -          

I am sure you all have the dates and vital details of the day tattooed into your memories but I will go over them again just in case. It is on the February 14th at 11am. It will be played on Agars playing fields where you can drive right up to the edge of the pitch. I would suggest that supporters aim to get there comfortably in time as, I assure you, it will be reasonably busy and there will be a fair bit of battling to get a decent place for your car (with supporters and players from other teams, of course.)

But I would like to insist that the players pay no attention to this 11am kick off time and instead arrive as early as 9am. I am sure that as you are reading this you cannot help thinking how ridiculous this sounds but this timing is really absolutely essential. Because we will need ALL 15 PLAYERS for at the very least an hour and a half so that our extremely talented but, alas, inexperienced field game team can learn how to play this game. It will require all 15 players to be present and if the entire team can get all kitted out and everything in half an hour I will be very impressed.

Players absolutely must pretend that they have to get there for a 9am kick off. If we do not prepare properly for only a short while for the game, the whole match will be a bit of a shambles, less fun, and will also slightly embarrass the keeling name, which, of course cannot happen.
Also, I should say that for people who want to take the train, there are two options for you. You can get a train to Slough and from there get a five minute taxi into Eton.

Alternatively, you can get a train to Windsor & Eton Riverside and from there you can cross the bridge that the station is just adjacent to and then take a very pleasant walk for about 20 minutes up the high street to Agars playing fields.

After the game, Granny and Grandpa have completely booked the restaurant The House on the Bridge (on the bridge I mentioned just earlier) and the food is amazing and it’s going to be the best lunch ever ever. Incidentally, Granny and Grandpa are staying at the hotel The Christopher Wren which is about 20 yards from this bridge I keep going on about.

The rules –

The Field Game is often branded over complicated and confusing and while this is slightly true, in my opinion, only a basic understanding of the main rules are really required to be able to play it to a reasonably enjoyable and successful level.
The field game is played with a size 4 football. (In the premier league they play with size 5.) It is played at your feet, similarly to football, and no player in the team is allowed to use his hands to control the ball during play.
The object of the game is to score the most points. This can be done either by scoring a goal (three points) and the other is scoring a rouge (five points plus conversion). Scoring a goal is done by putting the ball between the posts. A rouge is, when compared to football, winning a corner. It is done by getting the ball off the opposition’s field of play, via an opposition player. And there are a number of methods of doing this, mainly going along the line. This means that you go along the line. You get the ball up the opposition’s end of the pitch and the attacker shuffles along the line trying to win a rouge (or a corner) off the defender who comes to meet him.
The team consists of 11 players.  There are 2 shorts and a long. These players are defenders who are good at long, accurate kicking. Then there is a fly around whom the attacking game is essentially centred around. The fly is usually a quick, strong player who is good at dribbling. Then there are 7 bully players. These are the workers of the team, they should be strong, good at lots of jogging and, if possible good at dribbling.

The shorts and long are the only players on the pitch who are allowed to pass the ball to other players. The shorts and long will usually boot the ball up far into the opposition’s half which the bully players are then required to follow (or occasionally the shorts will play a neat, clever pass just into the path of the bully). What will often happen in field game is that the shorts and long of each team will be continually firing the ball into the other’s half in an attempt to gain the upper hand and build momentum. While, as often does happen, this passing back and forth between the shorts and long occurs the bully players of each team, meanwhile, have to run up and down the pitch, in a very tight group, chasing the ball, seemingly pointlessly, but actually abiding by some fairly complicated offside rules. These offside rules are the ‘main rules’ I mentioned in the first paragraph of this rules section. If, as an inexperienced player, you can grasp the offside rules, there is a very good chance you can play the game successfully and really enjoy it.

The TWO offside rules are known as sneaking and cornering. Sneaking is essentially the same as the offside rule in football (which you can look up if you do not know it thank you very much) but instead of being behind the last man when the ball is played to you, instead you must be behind the last man when the ball goes over your head as the ball is played over. Cornering is an offside rule that works perpendicular to sneaking. You are cornering when you play the ball and you are either too far to the left or the right of the bully. This rule is more vague and basically as a bully player you must just make sure that you stay in tight, narrow group. Except when you are dribbling, of course.
If this makes no sense, maybe try reading this again. Because it’s not a bad summary of the rules. But if you have gained just one solitary scrap of knowledge from this epic summary of the rules and feel thoroughly unenlightenend, don't panic, I would not expect anyone to really grasp it just from reading. It's the bit of practise we will have before the game that will really count. If you have gained one solitary scrap of knowledge then you have made me a little bit happy.

And finally…

Although I know how useful the internet and the keeling blog and email and everything are at getting these kinds of messages across, I know that there are also bound to be members of the Keeling empire whose ears (or eyes) this message will not reach. And so, please make this event your gossip until its all over because I hate the idea of leaving people out, or worse people forgetting all about it. But don’t worry I have told Granny and Grandpa. I am almost certain they will turn up.
I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year (it’s not too late to still be saying that, is it?) and I look forward to seeing you on February 14th.
Love Archie.

archie rules as captain love it!!!
Posted by: fred | January 18, 2009 at 07:58 PM

It sounds so extraordinary that I may as a distant cousin at least once removed and with no previous interest in any kind of football have to come along...if that's alright?
Alex Palmer
Posted by: Alex Crockatt | January 16, 2009 at 06:15 PM

Amazing captaining Archie - and the team hasn't even met on the pitch yet.
Good luck Dad.
Posted by: ruth | January 16, 2009 at 02:04 PM

oh gosh
Posted by: George | January 16, 2009 at 01:14 PM

Top stuff Arch.
Everyone please take Arch's plea for us to turn up early seriously. Every minute we get to practise before the game, the more enjoyable the game will be by far.
Florat Keeli!
Posted by: Harry | January 16, 2009 at 11:30 AM

Brilliant work Archie. Three early cheers for our captain!
Posted by: Tom | January 16, 2009 at 09:33 AM

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