K’s and Tanners battle to goalless draw
They met in August. Their eyes had locked across the bar, but back then she was the one with the style and the swagger. She was the one in a relationship. She was the one who got served immediately. She was enjoying her visit to this part of Surrey. She was top of the league.
He flailed awkwardly. He lacked presence and nous. He wasn’t sure what he was, or what he would become. It was his local, too, and it hurt. He was bottom of the league.
They reconvened on Wednesday. Times had changed. She was single now. She wasn’t quite so sure of herself. She had been a bit up and down. There had been regrettable one-night stands. She had gone on some terrible dates (Hendon, Enfield), and some exciting ones, too (East Thurrock, Lewes).
He was more confident now. He had found his feet. He knew what he wanted, and he knew how to get it. There had been enjoyable one-night stands. He had gone on some fun dates (Harrow, Grays) as well as some promising ones (Bognor, Tonbridge). He hadn’t gone home with nothing in nearly two months, save for a disastrous day in Dunstable, but he had been struggling to get all three points of late.
On Wednesday, a fresh autumnal Wednesday, they met in the Leatherhead Leisure Centre. It was near her house. She was shy and nervous at first; he dictated the conversation and maintained strong eye contact.
Smartly-dressed youths smirked and swore nearby as they frolicked near the squash court. It was half-term, after all. The foliage outside glistened. Halfway through their meeting the fog descended, but disappeared as quickly as it had arrived.
The conversation was pleasant enough. He was doing his best but it was hard work. She wasn’t allowing much through. She did come out of her shell later on, and he was forced on to the back foot on a couple of occasions. It nearly caught him out.
The date lasted a little under two hours, all told. At one point he lost focus, his eyes drawn to a German Cup tie on a nearby television. It was a pretty tame goalless draw. Good positions were not taken advantage of. The goalkeepers were barely tested. It looked, from afar, like a game of maybes.
She smiled as she got up to leave. He kissed her on the cheek; they shared an awkward hug. There had been just enough of a spark to give it another go. Maybe then they would click.
‘I’ll see you on Saturday, say 3pm?’
Match report by Rupert Cane.