The beautiful village of Tattenhall in Cheshire
Charlie Cooke: July 2019
The Swampions League finals rolled around again at the end of June, and Tattenhall's very own Bruce's Bogtrotters headed out to Poland to build on the foundations they began in the mud last year.
Despite a slimmed down squad, a 9 o'clock kick off, and six exceptionally constructed young Polish men to contend with, Bogtrotters slid effortlessly into the swamp, and began playing with a poise and precision normally reserved for members of the Royal Ballet School.
One new signing — Alan 'Wayne Sleep' Moore — deftly headed in a corner prompting unbridled joy from the away supporters. Coupled with ol' man Burrow's scrappy goal, the Bogtrotters pirouetted their way to a 2-1 victory to set themselves up with a clash against old rivals Dr. Tusz.
Having been defeated by the Drs in the final in Turkey in 2015, Bruce's Bogtrotters were out for revenge. Unfortunately the might of the medics was once again too strong, which meant the Bogtrotters needed a result against Kon Pekinski in their final game to progress. They approached the game professionally, knowing a clean sheet would see them through.
Despite the mud, the squalor, the never-ending filth, Bogtrotter's new signing, German goalkeeper, Peter Von Kaganek, ensured that the sheet remained clean and the knockout rounds beckoned the next day. The team headed out into Bialystok for a sophisticated night on the pickled water, before retiring for a well earned rest ahead of the round of 16 the following day.
The sun shone brighter than a new Polish zloty as the Bogtrotters brushed aside Tarchosfry I Warsaw to set up a quarter-final meeting with the Old Boys of Bialystok. Do not be fooled by the name, these Old Boys were nought but scrappy youngsters, fresh from a mass brawl in the previous game. Although the Poles like to fight, when faced with — to quote an observant onlooker — "the English who say sorry and thank you all the time", they became meek and gentle and just wanted to be friends; and that's marvellous. Bogtrotters took an early lead through debutant James Greenaway, but the canny Old Boys targeted the gap between keeper and defence which threw the team into disarray and this culminated in Cooke Sr scoring an own goal to put the Old Boys into the lead. Cooke Jr and Evered had chances at the end but it was all in vain. Bogtrotters were no more.
The burning question is where will Bruce's Bogtrotters compete next ? Back to Poland, over to the World Championships in China, or will there be a Swamp Tournament in the UK next summer......watch this space.
(Photos — top: Goalmouth celebrations, bottom: Before and After)
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