Renwick finish 2009 on a high

18 Dec
  • Renwick come away with hard earned victory, winning 5-1
  • Dunwoody opens the scoring in possible last appearance
  • McCaughan returns to the action with a brace

On a mild December day, Renwick were back at the Ozone for the last time this year, hoping to take another 3 points and keep the pressure up at the top of the Belfast Super League. The opposition this week was “Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland Supporters Association”, or QUBNISA for short. Records show that the last time this match was played out, on Wednesday 13th December 2006, Renwick lost 2-1. The squad they lined up with, the biggest we have faced yet probably bore little resemblance to that team however. That said, only three Renwick players from the original match featured on Wednesday. In previous games this season results showed that NISA tended not to lose games by much more than a one goal margin, and so Renwick cautiously approached the game, but aware of the importance of an early goal.

Five subs!

For the last match of the year, the Renwick squad was as strong as it has been. Mark McCavery successfully predicted the start XI on Tuesday when he created Virtual Renwick. Robert McCaughan regained his starting place in the team, and Gavin Blackwell returned in central midfield. A late addition to the squad was Gareth Smith, with big brother Dave watching the first half from the sidelines. Robert Cromie joined him there, taking the camera for the first 45, along with keen supporters Kathryn and Heather. NISA refereed the first half.

Kicking off almost on time, NISA got the match under way. It was clear from early on that they were going to be playing on the shoulder of the last defender and trying to catch us on the break. This didn’t go very well for them, as Renwick’s first attack led to a goal. Mark McCavery won a ball in the air, sent Philip Dunwoody free, and with only the keeper to beat he struck the ball low into the goal. A fantastic start to the match, something which was noticeable lacking last week. From the kick off, Renwick again took control, not letting NISA play at all. An Ian Buchanan free kick from the edge of the box was comfortably dealt with by the keeper.

Whilst going up for a header with the smallest player on the pitch, Philip Dunwoody caught a stray elbow just below the eye, and was on the ground for some time. Determined to play on, he got up and got on with it, despite an increasinly large lump. Thankfully there was no lasting damage, just a rather odd looking facial injury.

Shortly after, as a high looping ball was sent into the box, McCavery jostled the keeper, who really should have had it anyway, won the ball, and it dropped at the feet of Robert McCaughan who had the easy task of passing it into the unguarded net. 2-0 up, and with the opposition yet to have the ball in the Renwick half, things were looking good. All this, despite Renwick having barely put a pass together.

Moments later, it was 2-0

Renwick won another free kick in a similar position, and Buchanan again stepped up, but then surprised everyone by playing it short to Steve McCollum who had made a cheeky (is there anything he does on the football pitch that isn’t cheeky?) past the wall toward the by line. McCollum then crossed it to the back post to Mark McCavery who put it back across goal and towards Gareth Smith who smashed it into the net giving the defense no chance. Renwick added a fourth after 25 minutes through Robert McCaughan, with the goal coming in a similar manner to the first.

Ben rushing to celebrate. Pain etched all over the NISA faces

QUBNISA must have been what had hit them, but like so many goals in this league, much of what Renwick did came through defensive ineptitude rather than brilliant play. Although not all goals are like that! With the match effectively won at this stage, the next 65 minutes were all about defending and keeping concentration. NISA started to come into the match as the half drew towards a close. Their approach to goal scoring was still fairly Bolton like, and their main creative force was found not in attack, midfield or even defense, but between the sticks. Taking goal kicks long seemed to be their only option, but this didn’t work out very well, with Lynch and Smith in particular taking charge. When their goal did come it was after a period of sustained pressure, with the defense failing to clear several throw-ins from the Northern Ireland right wing. The ball came loose on the edge of the six yard box, and the first player to it was a NISA player who placed it to the keeper’s right. Despite getting a hand to it, McCullough was unable to keep the ball out. There was a strong hint of offside in the build up, but with no video evidence available, the referee was unable to call it.

The second half was much less eventful, with Renwick spending most of the time in the NISA half, without ever really threatening to score. NISA, with their large squad made several changes to freshen things up, but still were trying to play route one football. Renwick substitutions saw Dave Smith partner younger brother Gareth in defense, and Robert Cromie came on for his fourth appearance of the season. Steven McCollum refereed part of the half, before taking Ben Hanna’s place, leaving Robert McCaughan to referee until the end.

Would you mess with this man?

Within minutes of taking the whistle, the referee had a big call to make, with Robert Cromie through on goal after beating his marker, but then taking a tumble in the box. After considering it, play was allowed to continue, much to the Irishman’s dismay. Post match discussions concluded that the player had a right to feel aggrieved at the decision, as there was contact.

Now having the Smith brothers at the heart of defense, Northern Ireland were allowed very little time on the ball in the final third, and were kept to shooting from distance. It was noted that throughout the whole match, the only shot they were allowed inside the box was the goal that they scored.

Long balls…pfft..

In the closing minutes, Renwick won a corner, to be taken from the left. Philip Dunwoody swung it in, and Gareth Smith was there to send the ball into the back of the net. Protests from the NI players that the keeper had the ball under control were dismissed by the referee. Probably the goal we were made to work the hardest for all season, having gone for 60 minutes without scoring. At no point did Northern Ireland give up and worked very hard in midfield, but an inability to do the simple things well, particularly passing, cost them. This performance was matched and bettered by Renwick, with Andrew Lynch and Gavin Blackwell impressing as ever.

QUBNISA offered a strong challenge, and had they started playing at kick off, rather than 30 minutes in, the result might have been different. Noticeable Renwick trends from previous games were erased in this match, no late goals conceded, and a focused performance throughout.

Other results from today, or rather a lack of them, mean that Renwick sit top of the pile in the Belfast Super League. It should be noted that Renwick have played the most games in the league, having not had any free game weeks. This means that next semester there will be a greater number of free Wednesdays, but hopefully friendly matches can be organized for such occasions. After the Easter break, there may be a BSL cup, which Renwick could be involved in.

The next Renwick match may be the Jonny McCollum cup, now in it’s 4th year, and a date for this is currently being organised. Until then, here is a list of Renwick fixtures until Easter:

03/02/10 – Free week

10/02/10 – Derryvolgie

17/02/10 – Bayern Eunuchs

24/02/10 – Free week

03/03/10 – Law Society

10/03/10 – Donegal Rangers

17/03/10 – Belfast Bible College

24/03/10 – Free week

Finally, it is my great pleasure to congratulate Philip Dunwoody on not just his goal today, but what has been an excellent season for him so far. 10 starts, 6 goals, 10 assists and even 22 refereeing minutes, all adding up to a very valuable contribution. Dunwoody, the man who has been there since it started way back in 2006, may well have played his last game for the club, as next semester he will likely be tied up with other commitments. Renwick House have to date played 56 games, and Philip has featured in all but 3 of these games. Everyone involved with the club would like to thank Philip for all the effort he has put in and sincerely hope he can return for at least one game next year. If you want to read more about the early days, have a look at the SWS archives.

It all started here, with a 6-2 defeat of Church of Ireland. Some things never change!

52 games later, still leading the team.

The real question is of course, what will happen to the no. 7 shirt?

But as good as Phil was, for Man of the Match, there wasn’t really ever any contest. Gareth Smith was a rock in defence from start to finish, and contributed with two goals, making him equal second in the goalscoring charts for the season. The inclusion of Dave Smith in the second half seemed to only inspire him further and the possibility of this being a regularity next year is fantastic.


What is Ben so happy about?

“I have 2 men over here!!”, “But it’s ok Ben, you have them..”

Coming out on the 16th December – dedication. Excellent photography throughout as well!

Put a name on it!


Captions for this anyone?

Or indeed this?

A quiet day for McCavery

The sun sets on another year of Renwick Football.

Thanks to everyone who has played, watched, supported, bought the shirt and read the match reports. It’s great fun!

Sorry about the great delays in getting this report done!


6 Responses to “Renwick finish 2009 on a high”

  1. Peter December 19, 2009 at 12:30 am #

    Yoooo Andy, been sitting at my computer all evening waiting for that! [Not really!]

    Dunno about you Phil but that stirring final paragraph, followed by the ‘retro Phil’ shot and then the ‘Phil running in slow motion while rallying the troops’ shot brought a bit of a tear to my eye and lump to my throat! Seriously though, we salute you – well worth an occasional fat lip, I’m sure you’d agree!

    By the way, what is Stevie doing in the top photo?!

  2. Philip December 19, 2009 at 12:57 am #

    So is it ok if it turns out that I actually can play next semester?! 8) Thanks for the words tho lads, much appreciated!

    Pete- forget the fat lip – you should see all the colours of my eye!

  3. Philip December 19, 2009 at 12:59 am #

    For the caption competition:

    Liverpool fans stunned as a disillusioned Steven Gerrard turns up asking for a Renwick run-out 8)

  4. Ali December 19, 2009 at 12:29 pm #

    Caption for photo of James: “The Renwick Number 1 seems to find it hilarious that his nets have been stolen from behind him…..”

  5. Joel 'SWS till I die' L December 21, 2009 at 10:22 am #

    “Steve McCollum who had made a cheeky past the wall toward the by line”

    What is a “cheeky”? Is he making a cheeky in the top photo?

  6. Andy December 21, 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    Should have read “a cheeky run past the wall”.

    Think that would a fair comment on the first photo though.

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