By all accounts, Tank “absolutely bossed” last year’s University Firsts captain Matt Witherwick on Monday. Goodricke Seconds produced the biggest upset of the group stages, outplaying Vanbrugh Firsts in a 3-2 victory, and the stocky centre-mid seemed to defy the bodily laws of football – he really doesn’t look like he’s going to put you on your arse…but then he does. This was bound to happen at some stage: highly vaunted university players underestimate plucky college second-teamers (see my previous post), miss chances, sporadically nap at the back, suffer humiliating defeat.
But the ramifications will worry any V-Bar stalwarts out there: Vanbrugh might now have to beat Derwent Firsts to qualify for the quarter finals. That’s the Derwent team yet to concede a goal – having notched 8 in two games – with a central core that includes Greg Gardner, Chris Barnett and, of course, the capricious Dreamz Murphy. I know where my money would be.
Vanbrugh’s struggles have had a big fantasy impact, too, with only a couple players breaking the 7 Fantasy Points barrier after two games – and one of those is the off-colour Mark Gouland. If Vanbrugh fail to do the business on Tuesday Week 7, Gouland’s £8.1m price tag might come in handy for those window shoppers looking for a boost going into the quarter finals. Trading him out and bringing in a Dom Green (£4.6m, 13 Fantasy Points) or Chris Barnett (£6.3m, 15 Fantasy Points) doesn’t just provide the chance of better scoring, but frees up some cash to improve your squad as a whole.
In the latest Team of the Week – revealed every Saturday on the Fantasy “Home” page – Shaun Evans continues to defy the odds, having popped up for a midweek penalty and clean sheet, whilst Goodricke Seconds’ hero Andy Myhill leads the line after bagging two against Vanbrugh.
Start ‘em: Matt Hallam has been one of the players of the tournament so far for Derwent Firsts, despite only amounting 8 Fantasy Points. While his long-range belter in Matchweek 2 represented a rare score-sheet appearance, his dominant performances at the centre of a promising Derwent team make him a good bet to pick up steady points as the tournament progresses.
Sit ‘em: This week Vanbrugh’s first-teamers deserve a category of their own (“Drop ‘em”?), but they’ve taken enough stick. More pressing is the revelation that Joe Cooper (£5.2m) has been edged out of Alcuin Firsts’ starting line-up after Parris Williams’ (£4.1m) two excellent displays alongside Dan Cox. Cooper is a confidence man and, after a decent regular season, a poor cup final performance for the University Seconds two weeks ago saw the belief drip-drop-drain away.