2s celebrate end of season at Bunga Bunga
The OHAFC 2nd XI brought their 2018/19 season to a close with a magnificent evening at Bunga Bunga club in Battersea on Friday night. Skipper Geoff Taunton-Collins marshalled together no less than twenty of his troops in the exotically-named Observatorio Room, complete with mirrored screen, karaoke machine and private bar – all of which proved most useful as the festivities progressed.
On arrival, guests were served a variety of rum punches courtesy of Duppy brand ambassador, CEO and social media manager Jack Orr-Ewing. The ‘Dark and Stormy’ concoction of rum with ginger ale proved a particular favourite.
Whilst drinks were enjoyed, the first surprise of the evening appeared: a slideshow featuring images from some of the side’s games this season, interspersed with some more amusing photos culled from everyone’s facebook pages, was displayed on a screen cleverly disguised behind a mirror. The look of horror on Arjun Chopra’s face as a long-forgotten picture from his stag weekend suddenly flashed up for all to see was most enjoyable.
The food, as usual, comprised of some hearty Italian classics, with arancini di funghi (mushroom & rice balls), pollo al crumbi (breadcrumbed chicken), ensalata di ruccola (rocket salad) and mixta meata (mixed cold meats platter) preparing the way for the main event: numerous metre-long pizzas, delicately balanced on some old upturned tin cans. Unfortunately for those sitting on the third table from the end, there appeared to be an imbalance in the servings, with those nearest the kitchen receiving multiple pizzi before table three had received any. Ed Massey, who had earlier attracted mild derision for appearing to momentarily check his work emails on the big screen during the slideshow, now attracted the full scorn of his teammates as he unleashed a dramatic ‘They give us nothing!’ in his best Italian soap opera accent. Once the imbalance had been redressed, Edmund sat in silence, aggressively chewing his way through a metre and a half of Bunga’s finest.
Two gondola-esque boats arrived laden with limoncello shots, replete with flaming sparklers at either end. This signified the end of food and the start of the post-dinner entertainment, a full programme lovingly put together by the skipper.
First up was the eagerly-anticipated awards section, with enough prizes available to ensure even the weakest of contributors to the season could still hold some hope of seeing their name in lights. Or at the very least on the bottom of a cheaply-framed team photo the skipper had printed off at work earlier that afternoon.
As it turned out however, one player would enjoy a near monopoly on the prizes, with each trip up to shake his skipper’s hand leading to increasingly raucous and weird celebrations. Andres Hutchinson had played thirteen games and scored seven goals for the team in his first season as an OHAFC player and he therefore automatically received the Top Goalscorer prize and, understandably, was also voted the Top Attacker and Best Newcomer. It was hardly surprising, if a little more uncertain, that he was awarded the Goal of the Season for his stunning strike against the Old Parkonians when he unleashed a thunderbolt into the top corner from twenty-five yards out. His numerous garlands finally saw him forced to give a speech, amid loud cried of ‘Take your shirt off’ – a request he was happy to refuse. Amid the hubbub it was tricky to make out much of what was said, although his emotional late pronouncement that ‘this is part of my routine’ led to some speculation as to what exactly he was referring to. We may now have to wait until next season to find out.
In a major surprise, Alexi Pittalis came from nowhere to snatch the Players League Table trophy, earning the most points for overall contribution during the season. This was remarkably close, with Alexi finishing a solitary point ahead of four other players. Clearly, the skipper has concocted the perfect formula to ensure all players have a shot at glory come the season’s end.
Veteran David Lederman was rather less pleased to find out that he was the near unanimous choice for Donkey of the Year, an award that needs no explanation. Having been pleasantly surprised to discover he had claimed the (somewhat minor) Most Assists Award, he was then called up to read out all the nominations for the Donkey prize. This was made an even less appealing task when a picture of him standing stark naked on a beach was suddenly projected onto the big screen to accompany him throughout. Despite one unnamed squad member gallantly accepting their own fallibility for a defensive error against Eton, everyone else plumped for the moment in early February away to KCS Wimbledon when a 44 year-old veteran of over 1,000 games of football decided to stand on the far post at a corner and open his legs wide, allowing a tame shot to trickle through and nestle safely in the back of the Harrow net.
Thankfully, the main award of the night brought some semblance of sanity to proceedings, with centre half Tom Ward deservedly named the Players’ Player of the Year. Despite having to miss the latter stages of the season due to work commitments, Wardy had consistently produced sterling performances at the heart of the Harrow back four and was a deserved winner, both of the Player of the Season and the Defender of the Season.
With the awards section safely negotiated, attention now turned to the four new squad members, all of whom were required to sing a song for the amusement of those present. No indication was given by the skipper what the four songs would be, although the first choice of the Newboys’ solo was determined to be the least demanding of the four and later songs would be infinitely trickier. Andres Hutchinson confidently stepped up to deliver a latin-tinged version, possibly singing being part of his routine too…
Things then began to turn weird, with Jack Dolbey, aka Pitbull (after the canine, not the singer) rose to sing Celine Dion’s ‘All by myself’, Will Monroe performed a topless version of Whitney Houston’s ‘I will always love you’ and Harry O’Hara confidently milked James Blunt’s ‘You’re beautiful’ for all its worth.
By this stage, allowing the squad to disperse into the various nooks and crannies that Bunga offers would probably have been the wise choice, but in keeping with recent tradition, a brief end of season quiz was once again hosted by Lederman, his voice straining due to the thumping music infiltrating the room and the two glasses of wine he had been forced to down for letting the ball roll through his legs away to Wimbledon.
The squad were split into pairs, with one member of each duo having to answer a question and his opponent having to guess if the correct answer was either higher or lower. Questions were supposedly relevant to each pair, with Taunton-Collins and Orr-Ewing asked about double-barrelled OHAFC players, the Curry brothers quizzed on the world’s hottest chilli and Woolley and Chopra asked about being weird. It was definitely time to allow the group to spread their wings.
Unfortunately, for the staff in the Observatorio at least, the presence of the karaoke machine and two live microphones proved irresistible to certain members of the group, and some truly horrific duets ensued. Woolley and an unnamed young lady confidently skipping along to Aqua’s ‘Barbie girl’ in perfect synchronicity perhaps the highlight of the entire night…
So another 2s season draws to a close with the bang of a Bunga confetti gun and Edmund Massey conscientiously sorting through his work inbox while no-one else notices. Congratulations to the award winners, a huge thankyou to the skipper for organising a brilliant party and see everyone again next season.
‘You’re beautiful…you’re beautiful…you’re beautiful to me…’