Alive Lynnsport provides an all-weather football surface for a variety of teams and leagues. Picture: KING’S LYNN COMMUNITY FOOTBALL.

It’s a pretty heavy duty task given the size of it.

But I have been known to turn my nose up when talking about small-sided midweek football leagues. I simply couldn’t understand the logic when some players insisted they opted to play six or seven-a-side instead of partaking in traditional weekend combat.

It’s been 11-a-side only for me since I enjoyed my first serious dabble with Lynnsport leagues aged 16 to 18. Back then, it was all about staying sharp for Saturday and Sundays as well as enjoying an extra excuse to play football and go to the pub afterwards. Yet as the commitments of life got in the way, it was soon time to kiss goodbye to midweek matches.

My heart was on grass and I had little interest in playing small-sided games, often turning the chance down. I’d started to believe that those who played under the lights at Lynnsport were either show ponies or not good enough to play “real” football. How wrong was I?

As I made the decision to spend more time with family in March and get back to watching the odd King’s Lynn Town game – that turned out well didn’t it? – my heart remained torn. I had no desire to hang my boots up so something had to give. And that’s when I realised six-a-side was a beautiful alternative.

I could get out of the house, play with mates again and scratch that competitive itch without having to lose hours of time I could be spending almost every Saturday with my son, especially, and wife. For those with similar feelings or weekend work, Saturday football isn’t an option anymore. But midweek leagues, like the Monday night 3G one at Lynnsport our team plays in, enables players not to give up completely and enjoy a flat unmuddy surface to run on. 

The standard is considerably better than I expected too. Plenty of the stars of the real Monday Night Football would walk into Saturday sides around here – hardly a shock as many already play for them anyway. Even the lesser teams can be incredibly hard to beat thanks to the tactics of protecting their area, which an attacker can’t enter, and then breaking at pace. Games are intense and you see much more of the ball than during a “normal” match too. 

I now get the best of both worlds. My football and social kicks on a Monday and more family, or Linnets time, at the weekend which isn’t ruined by me returning home in a foul mood or suffering dad guilt.  

Small-sided football won’t appeal to all for a variety of very good reasons. But it’s a great option so don’t turn your nose up until you’ve given it a try.


Big pride in Russell’s performance

Our second Your Corner columnist Adam Davies didn’t have to wait long before George Russell got the chance he said he deserved.

George Russell, left, is consoled by GP runner-up Esteban Ocon.
Picture: WILLIAMS RACING.

The Formula 1 fanatic wrote that Russell’s performances for Williams had proved a shot in a better car should come in the future. Yet even he wouldn’t have expected it to arrive at the weekend when Russell replaced champion Lewis Hamilton, isolating after testing positive for coronavirus.

Russell was left gutted after a maiden win was snatched away from him twice thanks to a combination of Mercedes errors and a puncture. Yet finishing ninth was still a landmark result securing his first F1 points in the process.

It’s been a hell of a journey for Russell who, less than 10 years ago, was meeting Hamilton for the first time after winning a karting competition.

Working for another publication at the time we used to write about the talented Tydd St Giles teenager all the time and he was a pleasure to deal with. Like so many, I was so proud of Sunday’s performance despite the painful outcome.


The mind boggles at new record

Sometimes the numbers do add up.

Yet it doesn’t mean they always make sense. And that’s exactly how I felt when reading about the new half marathon world record that was set on Sunday.

As a keen runner I was celebrating breaking the 40-minute mark for 10k for the first time since 2017 when I stumbled upon some news that really took the edge off my own “achievement”.

Because Kibiwott Kandie ran double the distance (21.08km) in just 17 minutes more. And I’m afraid that’s just not human.

The freakish pace means he completed his first kilometre in two minutes and 35 seconds. He’d done 5k in 13:36 and 10k in 27:27. The numbers alone are enough to make you want to keel over with exhaustion.

It doesn’t matter to me that he had pacesetters for the world record attempt in Valencia. To be able to do it is just simply astounding. It does make you wonder how far the human body can keep being pushed in pursuit of history.

The Kenyan knocked 29 seconds from the previous record of 58:01 set by Geoffrey Kamworor in 2019 to put his name in the record books.

Yet he wasn’t alone in producing a superhuman performance. The next three finishers, Jacob Kiplimo (57:37), Rhonex Kipruto (57:49) and Alexander Mutiso (57:59) all dipped under the previous best but couldn’t outdo Kandie.