Archive | October, 2010

Renwick Tuned in for BBC Defeat

28 Oct

Renwick claimed their first three points of the season against Belfast Bible College with a convincing 4-0 victory. The goals were shared between Aicken, R.  Cromie, Peoples and Hawthorne in a great team performance. The return of Gareth Smith was crucial in securing Renwick’s first Superleague clean sheet since February, when the Institute centre back partnered Andy Lynch in defence. Still facing a long list of unavailable players Renwick will be confident that they can build upon this result.

The team lined up at Cherryvale without talented right-back Luke Campbell and Michael Mitchell, who scored twice in Renwick’s first league encounter. The presence of Smith meant that Carson was moved to right-back and Joel Cromie was available from kick off and partnered Philip Aicken in attack. Renwick started brightly piling on a lot of early pressure in the first few minutes of Belfast Bible College’s Superleague campaign. The breeze behind the Elmwood side made McCullough’s kicking ressemble Sander Westerveld as the College defence floudered under long balls. Joel Cromie repeatedly got the better of the centre half in the air and flicked the ball on towards Philip Aicken. BBC’s keeper came quickly off his line but failed to hold the ball bobbling along the ground giving Aicken the opportunity to score his first of the season.

Aicken looking for another spill from the keeper

Ben heads clear

Carson put in a great performance on the right

Renwick come close again

Ali’s unusual pose for the week – Mark McCaveryesque?

Fresh from Stute action last night

McCullough was forced to use the Swansea City shirt to avoid a kit clash

Joel goes close to extending the lead

Belfast Bible College were struggling at the back but slowly crept into the game. They came close to an equaliser as a deflected shot threatened to loop over McCullough who was forced into a volleyball-style save as he ended up facing his own net. A few minutes later the BBC captain attempted a Maradona impersonation but failed and the miner infringement was spotted by the Chilean referee. Renwick were still threatening the Beeb’s goal regularly with the movement of Cromie J and Aicken terrifying the defence. A long ball picked out the Grange Rangers striker on the left who forced the keeper to commit before squaring a pass to his older brother who finished past desperate defenders. Robert  should have added to his tally when he had a clear-cut chance to make it 3-0 but failed connect with another cross, was his mind elsewhere? Phil Aicken was denied in the goal-mouth scramble that ensued by some brave defending from BBC’s female left back.

Renwick spot Maradona

McCollum building the attack

Cromie’s goal

Cromie’s miss

Heroic defending from Lucy

Michael considers attempting a Dion Dublin

Cromie tackle

Joel’s freekick floats over

Aicken put in his best performance so far this season and his skilful footwork forced the opposition to bring him down inside the box but the South American referee seemed to have his head buried in the sand and pointed for a goalkick. David Graham (making his second ever Renwick appearance) and Richard McKelvey replaced Pete Fallows and Ali McCollum after 40 mins giving Michael Hawthorne an opportunity in the centre of the pitch. Joel Cromie’s corners had caused BBC many problems with Hanna, Smith and Peoples attacking the ball. In front of his fans who had travelled from Donegal, Andrew Peoples rose at the back post, met the ball with a strong downwards header and made the score 3-0 before halftime.

Phil’s penalty appeal

People’s nods home the third goal

and acknowledges the cross


Again Renwick started the half brightly but with the wind at their backs BBC soon put the Elmwood side under pressure. Joel Cromie got his third assist of the game when he pulled the ball back allowing Michael Hawthorne to cap a strong performance with a good finish. Ali and Pete returned to the pitch replacing Robert and Michael and Renwick succeeded in withstanding ten minutes of consistant pressure without giving away any clear goal scoring opportunities. Gareth Smith kept the defence organised and Ben Hanna made several good clearances. Keen to protect his clean sheet McCullough switched to a 4-5-1 for the last 15 minutes and the three man centre midfield of Peoples, Fallows and Hawthorne proved inpenetrable. Chris Carson enjoyed the opportunity to show his attacking ability at right back and on the right wing. He was hauled down by the BBC goalkeeperand Cromie ref had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Hanna raced forward to take it but his shot was saved comfortably by the keeper and Renwick had to content themselves with a 4 goal victory.

Michael’s goal

Renwick refused to lie down under pressure

Great work rate from Peoples

Michael gets advice from Mr Peoples

Chilean fails to get his team out of a hole

McCullough will be relieved that Renwick bounced back so quickly from last week’s disappointment. There were strong performances with many players winning their individual battles against their opponents. BBC looked like a side playing their first league match and Renwick took full advantage. Securing a clean sheet is another major encouragment that will give confidence to the defence. Sadly next week is Renwick’s free gameweek but the side will hopefully be kept fresh with a 5-a-side training session. Renwick’s next opponents are fierce rivals Derryvolgie who a are undoubtedly still stinging from being dumped out of the Super Cup by Porter’s goal at the end of last season. Bayern Eunuchs clearly fancy themselves as title contenders and recorded a post match interview after drawing 2-2 with Derryvolgie. A result Renwick will look at with great interest.

Bayern Eunuch’s Post-Match Interview

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Man of the Match: Gareth Smith

Gareth Smith nearly adds a goal to his impressive performance

Lisburn’s Bible Conference Week, 25th-29th October

25 Oct

This week sees the launch of Lisburn’s bi-annual Bible Conference Week. Our speaker this year is Professor Edward Donnelly who has chosen ‘the Portraits of Jesus’ as his topic. The meetings will be held each evening at 8pm at our Church building on the Nettlehill Road. It would be fantastic if you could come along to at least one of these meetings as they promise to be very challenging and useful for our Christian lives. Please see our invitation below and have a glance over the topics and evenings and we hope to see you there. If you want another reason why you should attend, supper will also be provided after each evening!


Eunuchs put Renwick to the Sword

22 Oct

Renwick’s Belfast Super League season began in defeat in a testosterone-fuelled encounter at Boucher Road on Wednesday. Fresh from a 9-3 drubbing of Donegal Rangers last week, gaffer McCullough made just one change, Michael Mitchell coming in for Translink victim Joel Cromie. Richard McKelvey refereed the first half and new signing Adam Devenney started on the sidelines. Mitchell soon repaid his manager’s faith in him as he grabbed a quick brace inside the opening ten minutes. In the second minute Robert Cromie’s right-wing cross was cleared to the edge of the box, where Mitchell promptly lashed in an unstoppable drive. The second had a touch of good fortune about it, as Mitchell’s inswinging corner curled straight in at the near post. Renwick had indeed started the first half very brightly, but soon found themselves on the back foot as the engergetic Bayern began to stamp their authority on the game, closing down well and playing effectively as a unit. They had soon pulled one back, and continued to dominate, pulling several good saves out of McCullough, before scoring again prior to half time. Renwick began to lose their discipline, and tempers flared, with both Hanna and Cromie getting involved in altercations. All in all, Renwick were lucky to arrive at half time still level.

Campbell went close with a long-range effort

Changes were needed at half time, and so McKelvey replaced Campbell at right back, and Devenney made his debut up front in place of Mitchell, with the elder Cromie moved to right midfield. Again Renwick started the half better, and both Cromie and Devenney were guilty of missing gilt-edged one-on-one chances. The Eunuchs were more like an energy-saving long-life lightbulb, not really doing anything at the start, but getting gradually brighter and staying bright, while Renwick’s standard lightbulb soon burned out, despite early promise. Laboured analogies aside, Eunuchs were soon on top again and took the lead after a defensive mix-up for Renwick, one of several that afternoon. It was at this point that Joel Cromie finally turned up, having walked from Finaghy after an impasse with some train doors. There was an exchange of Cromies, and the younger brother’s introduction gave Renwick extra attacking incentive. However another defensive lapse put Renwick 4-2 down, and the deficit proved too much for them to recover from. There was a consolation goal, as J Cromie jinked past 2 defenders and the keeper before squaring for Devenney to tap in the simplest of debut goals. However the comeback was never really on, and the 4-3 finish was undoubtedly a fair result.

Bayern’s cause no doubt helped by the introduction of an ex-Japanese international at half time

Defensive frailties proved costly for Renwick

Fresh from a 45-minute walk, Joel arrives

Unencumbered by his adventure, he soon slipped through the Eunuchs defence like a wet bar of soap…

…before setting up Renwick’s answer to Park Ji-Sung

All in all, Renwick have lessons to learn from this defeat. At the back, more decisiveness and conviction needs to be shown. In the midfield Renwick were constantly overrun, leaving McCullough with a choice of sticking with his 4-4-2 system, or changing to a 4-3-3/4-5-1 and slotting an extra man in there. Up front, chances were wasted and the ball didn’t stick, which was a stark contrast to the Eunuchs, who were surprisingly potent. There were a few encouraging signs, not least the showing from sub Devenney, who promises to help Renwick tap into the lucrative Asian market. Nonetheless, much improvement is needed for next week, when Renwick face the intriguingly-named Jay’s Football Friends.

Man of the Match: McCullough was one of the few Renwick players to emerge from the match with any credit, shaking off the effects of only having one leg to make several quality saves.

Renwick: McCullough; Campbell, Carson, Hanna, McCollum; Mitchell, Pete, Peoples, Hawthorne; Cromie R, Aicken. Subs: McKelvey, Devenney, Cromie J.

Caption competition:

The winner gets to replace Ben at centre-half next week

Renwick provide another goalfest at Cherryvale

16 Oct
  • Clinical Renwick hit 9 past Donegal Rangers
  • Michael Hawthorne has a stormer down the Left and hits 4 goals
  • Bob Parkes returns to take Renwick photos

Renwick F.C took some very positive steps towards the beginning of the Belfast Super League as they casually brushed aside a skillful and sprightly Donegal Rangers side. Renwick welcomed back Robert Cromie to the starting XI but with Manager McCullough keen to maintain consistency in his team, this was the only change and the Rangers kicked off at a chilly and overcast Cherryvale.

Renwick were coming out on top by making the most of the early exchanges with solid play from the Elmwood Avenue side however it was the Rangers who were to break the deadlock as a surging run resulted in a speculative shot from a midfielder which McCullough fumbled at the net and fell to the feet of the oncoming striker who buried the chance with ease. Determined not to let a sloppy goal ruin their recent good form, Renwick responded quickly, playing some attractive Football along the grass with Phil Aicken and Joel Cromie combining well down the right and it was a cross into the box which Michael Hawthorne latched on to which opened his and Renwick’s account for the game.


Michael Hawthorne proved to be Renwick's star man for the day


Renwick’s confidence began to grow and they soon asserted their authority onto the game with Andrew Peoples and Peter Fallows working hard in the centre of the park to ensure quality possession for the team. Renwick’s second goal came from a lovely ball played over the defence from Joel Cromie which again Michael Hawthorne stretched to get and slotted home his chance to make it 2-1 to Renwick. The side continued to dominate and significant progress was made down the left hand side with Alastair McCollum continuing his good form with long throws, they hassled the Rangers defence and Renwick had some corners and chances as a result. Renwick added a third to the scoreline soon after this with the ball being crossed in from the Renwick skipper Ben Hanna on the right hand side and it was Robert Cromie’s shoulder that had the deflection which saw it safely into the net.

Luke Campbell was performing well and looks to have found his feet at right back, being solid defensively but also making good runs to support the play, he found Phil Aicken on the right who after a bit of skill (probably inspired from some Fifa 11 at the Park) swung the ball in and again it was Hawthorne to pop up and secure his hat trick by guiding the ball home. The Donegal Rangers side picked themselves up after conceding three on the bounce and soon found their feet again with good passing and movement, a ball over the top into the box resulted in a penalty as Chris Carson gave a simple push in the back. Perhaps a contentious decision but the side slotted home despite McCullough choosing the right way to make it 4-2. They could have had a few more goals to their names but for Ben Hanna’s head, he deflected numerous shots safely behind, relieving pressure and showing his Manager that he is steadily growing into his new found Centre Back role.


Peoples distributing the ball from Centre Midfield


McCullough’s Half Time team talk was nearly prophetic as the words ‘2 goals in this League is nothing’ rang true as Donegal Rangers quickly grabbed a third goal as the second half began. Poor defending from a throw in on the left resulted in the ball bobbling which should have been cleared by McCollum but poor effort on his part resulted in the Rangers striking nodding past McCullough at the back post. This disappointed the Renwick side as they were keen to shore up their defence when it came to set pieces however they quickly responded and soon the two goal cushion was restored, making it 5-3, as more good work from Michael Hawthorne on the left flicked on to Joel Cromie who gathered the ball and buried his volley from 25 yards.

Renwick continued to hassle and pressure their opponents and this fine work rate resulted in a good amount of possession and territory, Andrew Peoples ‘rose like a Chilean Miner’ on several occasions to see off any aerial threats while Hawthorne continued to be busy on the left, doing well with the ball at feet. The Elmwood side grabbed their sixth goal following good play by Joel Cromie down the left, he floated a ball in for Michael Mitchell who slotted the ball home despite numerous calls for it being offside. It perhaps was a close call, but the D.R Linesman didn’t motion for any thing and so the goal was given to make it 6-3.

The Rangers tried to keep playing and McCullough was tested a few times in the second half, commanding his area while also pulling off a few brilliant saves, diving to his left and right to deny the strikers. Renwick continued to push on and they grabbed three more goals in the last 15 minutes, Joel Cromie scored a superb individual goal, working down the left side of the box to cut in and then curl the ball in at the near post. Shortly after it was 8-3, Michael Hawthorne again showing his prowess at the back post to knock home his fourth of the afternoon after a lovely delivery from the right side of the pitch by Luke Campbell. Renwick’s afternoon was made complete as Ben Hanna hit home his 3rd penalty of the season as Hawthorne was dragged down inside the area, this finishing the scoring at 9-3. The Donegal Rangers side were clearly showing the signs of a defeated team as their effort and workrate was minimal for the last 20 minutes, and some of their players were clearly going insane as they just dropped to the floor at spontaneous times.

There could have been more goals, with Michael Hawthorne missing a header in David Healy style fashion at the back post, and a few other shots just flying wide. Renwick saw out the game to the final whistle and proved themselves to have a good team mentality and they can now focus on getting the League started and carry these kind of results on through into the first few fixtures.

Man of the Match: Michael Hawthorne – A clinical performance from the left winger, showed great determination, workrate and skill and to come away with 4 goals was a fitting reward for his efforts all afternoon. One to watch throughout this season as he should continue to grow in his role down the left.


Man of the Match



Joel Cromie hitting in his near post shot



A Happy Manager



The victorious Renwick team


Renwick F.C: J. McCullough, L. Campbell, C. Carson, B. Hanna, A. McCollum; Phil Aicken, Andrew Peoples, Peter Fallows, Michael Hawthorne; Joel Cromie, Robert Cromie. Sub: Michael Mitchell

Chilean Miners Saved

14 Oct

There have been some extraordinary pictures coming from the rescue of the Chilean miners. But amidst it all this is my favourite news headline: “2 Chilean miners accept Christ while trapped underground” (Baptist Press). We can praise God for His amazing work and keep praying for these men who have been doubly rescued.

(HT: Challies)

The Messenger on Facebook

11 Oct

The Messenger is now on Facebook. Congratulations to Sarah Loughridge (Cloughmills RPC) who was the first to “like” the page.

Peoples Revolution Continues at Renwick

7 Oct

Chris Carson dealing with Bayern Eunuch’s strikers

Andrew Peoples scored a first half hatrick to give Renwick a 4-2 victory in their latest game against Bayern Eunuchs. At their last meeting Renwick scored 5 without reply but a much improved Bayern team scored first in the friendly at Boucher Road. A shaky start from the Elmwood team allowed the Eunuchs a shot inside the box which found the bottom left-hand corner of the goal. The Renwick response was immediate as a near post flick-on from the corner reached Peoples who steered the ball home with the keeper already beaten. Despite scoring it quickly became apparent that the knee injury that the Donegal man was carrying had to potential to prevent playing his natural game in the centre of midfield. McCullough brought Hawthorne into the middle, moved Aicken to the wing and unleashed Peoples as a centre forward. The game was still being played at a frantic pace and a Eunuch’s corner after 20 minutes found the back post run of their German centre back. He sent a sublime header back across goal leaving either McCullough or Campbell on the line no chance. Again it took Renwick only minutes to reply with the third set piece goal of the game. Alastair “Delap” McCollum found Peoples’ head with a long throw and the scoreline was again levelled.

Renwick defending a freekick

Continental goalkeeping as McCullough punches clear

Rory comes forward to take a throw

Ali winds up

This time the ball was cleared behind for a corner…

…which was swung in by Rob…

…and resulted in People’s second goal

Just before the half hour mark the Eunuch’s came close to taking the lead again forcing McCullough into a double-save. A dangerous cross was tipped away from the oncoming striker before the ball fell to another Bayern player whose bottom-corner shot was pushed round the left hand post. Renwick began to keep possession and pressure from another McCollum throw gave McCaughan a chance to swing in another corner. The ball fell to the feet of Peoples who took a touch before securing his hattrick by placing it in the top left corner of the goal. Michael Mitchell played the first half as a striker and had an opportunity to score on his return to Renwick action but failed to put away a one-on-one chance just before the break.

Bayern on the attack

Renwick were probably the happier of the two teams at half-time but the game still hung in the balance. Joel Cromie had been unable to reach Boucher Road in time for kick off but replaced Michael Mitchell at half time. Cromie’s first action was to rob the Eunuch’s of possession seconds after kick off but Renwick struggled to kill the game off against their determined opponents. Bayern’s two strikers looked threatening and provided a tough test for the Renwick defence. Jinking runs from midfield caused problems but ultimately failed to create an equaliser. On a number of occasions Renwick came close to doubling the lead including Joel’s attempt to lift the ball over the oncoming keeper that drifted agonisingly over the bar. It was the 74th minute before the only goal of the second half as Cromie slotted home his 2nd goal of the season on the end of a Renwick counter attack. Robert McCaughan’s pace had tested the opposition at times but he was replaced by Michael Mitchell with 10 minutes to go. Peoples was moved to centre back in order to provide a stronger aerial presence and Ben moved to the left hand side of the defence. Strong tackling from Carson and Fallows prevented the Eunuchs from creating a clear cut opening and Renwick protected their two goal lead until the final whistle was blown.

Chris with another clearance

Phil Aicken composed in possession

Joel battles for the ball against an uncompromising defence

Luke Campbell continued to improve and played his first full 90 minutes

Ross and Josh, the Bayern strikers, were dangerous throughout

The Bayern captain on the ball

Renwick defended well from set pieces

Holding on to the lead

Cromie Joel makes another probing run

Carson’s aerial ability on display

What is Ali doing? Answers on a postcard please.

Peoples won many headers in his new role as striker

Bayern came close but couldn’t find the net in the 2nd half

It remains unclear whether the league season will begin next week but if so it appears that the Renwick team are ready for the challenge. For a side missing several players, including Richard McKelvey (surgery) and Robert Cromie (texting), this was an impressive victory against a team which should far exceed last year’s position of 10th. Rumours that McCullough is set to make an audacious bid for an Asian target man remain unconfirmed but it is apparent that this young Renwick side is beginning to gel and could exceed expectations this year.

Renwick Team: James McCullough, Luke Campbell, Chris Carson, Ben Hanna (C), Alastair McCollum, Michael Hawthorne, Andrew Peoples, Peter Fallows, Robert McCaughan, Philip Aicken, Michael Mitchell (Joel Cromie 45)

Man of the Match: Andrew Peoples

Renwick Stat of the Week: Boucher Road was the venue for the first ever Renwick match but this was the first time that the Elmwood team had played there since Valentines’ Day 2007.

A special thanks to the supporters for their encouragement and photos. Renwick has enjoyed more fans than ever attending our preseason friendlies.

Mark Loughridge on Suffering

4 Oct

Pastor Mark Loughridge of New Life Fellowship, Letterkenny, and Milford RPC spoke at our church conference day this year. He addressed the theme of the Christian and Suffering. These talks are available in video and mp3 format.

(Sadly the video recording cut out during the last point but all was recorded as an mp3)

Things That Waste Our Suffering

Trusting Amidst Suffering

Renwick are World XI Beaters

1 Oct
  • Elmwood Avenue team record first victory of the season
  • Manager pleased with good performances across the pitch
  • Well used possession and clean finishing prove key for Renwick

A new era of Renwick Football was ushered in at the Cherryvale Playing Fields on Wednesday afternoon as Renwick took on World XI. Manager McCullough made a few changes to the Team who were beaten last week and as McKelvey and Blackwell were unavailable, two Renwick debuts were given to Peter Fallows and Andrew Peoples, who both took roles in the centre of midfield. Hawthorne and Aicken were on the flanks whilst the two Cromie brothers formed the striking partnership and Renwick’s defence remained the same despite a shaky first game.

The match was postponed by 10 minutes due to the incompetence of some of Belfast City Council’s finest, and so Renwick’s warm up consisted of watching the Wellington school boys finish their P.E class and putting up their own nets. The game finally began at 3:10pm on a wonderful pitch and in beautiful playing conditions, and so Renwick quickly found their stride. Michael Hawthorne made early inroads down the left hand side and won a free kick about 30 yards out, Joel Cromie swung the ball in and found the head of Andrew Peoples who glanced it into the net and Renwick took the lead with barely a minute played.

Renwick continued their dominance with some early surges and both Joel and Robert Cromie had chances that went either high or wide. However around the 25 minute mark, good interplay between Hawthorne and J. Cromie led to World XI conceding a penalty and “Ben Hanna, Captain”, stepped up and despite the Keeper choosing the right way, the ball had enough power to bobble into the net. The rest of the first half was played at a lower tempo and this allowed the World XI to get back into the game and caused Renwick a few problems from long balls and corners, however McCullough looked assured in nets and it seemed that no World XI player would be getting past him in the first half. This was indeed the case as it was “Ben Hanna, Captain” who got a foot to a shot at the edge of the box and it dribbled in past McCullough’s near post to mean that World XI had halfed the deficit by the break.

After the break, Renwick began to turn the screw and fresh legs were also key as Luke Campbell and Tim McCollum were brought on to breathe some life into the game. Slick passing from the front men led to more Renwick chances and the team’s next goal came from a Joel Cromie corner….that had a slight inward curve and was helped into the goal by the post, follow much bemusement by players and crowd alike. Renwick soon were in the action again and a rebound goal from Luke Campbell, a clean strike from Phil Aicken and a further penalty from Ben Hanna meant that the result was a done deal and Renwick had a 6-1 lead. By this stage Renwick had ran away with the game and much space was to be found and utilised by new centre mid pairing Peoples and McCollum as McCullough continued to tinker with positioning. The last goal of the game was an absolute screamer from a World XI player, picking the ball up from outside the area on the right and comfortably beating the Renwick keeper with a powerful shot into his top corner. Renwick will be disappointed that the last 10 minutes turned into quite an individual battle for goals and less passing proved to be frustrating for the team. However every player can be pleased with their performance in this game and now expect an interesting battle for places as the League is starting soon, Renwick will hope they can carry this form into the next game and improve on a few things.

A big shout out must go to a fantastic crowd who turned out supporting the side, giving the players much confidence, and a few laughs as chants were directed at ‘El Capitano’.

Man of the Match: Peter Fallows – Worked outstandingly hard in the midfield, covering a lot of ground, providing good distribution and putting the opposition under a lot of pressure. A great debut from the youngster and will be expected to carry on from this good performance.

Manager McCullough commented saying, “I was happy to see a good performance across the park from the lads, I also was able to see various players in a few positions which will be vital come the start of the League in 2 weeks time. All in all, great to get a result today.”

It was indeed a day of Renwick history as the statisticians discovered last night. This was the first time in the history of Renwick, that some one from the original XI was not playing for the side. In the inaugral matchRenwick beat CoI 6-2, incidentally the same score line as yesterday. The original team was as follows:

RENWICK (4-4-2) 18/10/2006 : Jonny McCollum; Walker, A McKelvey, Steve McCollum, Piemonger; P Dunwoody, C Hyndman, M McCavery, Simon Curry the Baptist; S Steele, Andy Johnson.

RENWICK (4-4-2) 29/9/2010: James McCullough; Richard McKelvey, Chris Carson, Ben Hanna (c), Alastair McCollum; Phil Aicken, Andrew Peoples, Peter Fallows, Michael Hawthorne; Robert Cromie, Joel Cromie. SUBS: Luke Campbell, Tim McCollum

Renwick Pundit would like to apologise to the readers for the lack of photos this week but the camera attending the game didn’t produce the end result.