Thistles over 60s squad: Chris Heeps (manager), Ian McCreath (captain), John Lees, Graham Dick, Geoff Duke, Paul Docherty, Iain Cameron, Scott Chisholm, Gurdi Duhre, Neil Macrae, Colin Wilkie, Ross Gallacher, Iain Lynch, Steve Laux.
Friday - Thistles o65s 2-1 win
The hamstring quartet (John, Gurdi, Neil, Iain Lynch) started with a rousing chorus of sore limbs and for the first part of the concert were cagey about playing lead fiddle; the notes were all over the place. Still the ball got a good thrashing but attempts at goal fell on cloth ears. Thistles 65s, after having nine bass players all plucking away in their own 25, took great advantage and in a moment of joy for them Brian De Mattos converted the rebound sending the ball mucho lento over the GK. Chiz was immediately on his trombmoan at the rest of us and after the defence offered an appoggiatura we increased the cadence. Sadly Iain Lynch pulled a string in his anacrusis and had to have the physio massage his viola. At the interval the conductor (Ian McC) tapped his baton harshly by way of a strong telling off.
With the conductor now leading from the front we gave the trombmoan the second half off. Gurdi took centre stage with his violin and repeatedly bowed to the occasion waltzing into the circle. Doc on drum rolled the ball into the backboards at a PC. Then a late ostinato (or maybe a Ford) with John (three hamstrings to his bow) Lees running arco into the circle to score. At last we had rhythm with a 2-1 win but the music-lovers were underwhelmed and wanted their money back (fat chance). We felt obligato to go for a pizzicato on the Friday night.
Saturday Morning - LX 60s 1-2 loss
We started better but not much better and before mid first half the trombmoan's slide came loose and in frustration the conductor (Ian McC) kicked the ball into the net. Then the midfield woodwind ran out of puff and LX were through for second. Two down but this was the making of us and we ended the first act sounding like a band rather than a should be banned.
Second half and you would not have known the hamstring quartet were playing with only three strings. Passing notes were short and crisp and there were few rests. This brought a climax as Gurdi quickstepped into the circle for a goal. It may have been a loss of 2-1 but in the second half LX 60s never had a shot or even brought a "parp" out of the trombmoan, which was a relief to my ears. The ones from LX who speak to us were quite complimentary, but it was small compensation.
Saturday afternoon - LX 65 1-1 draw
Still struggling to harmonize from the start the backing singers came into their own. Colin had been a revelation with his descant overlaps to pass into their circle. Graham was marking time and tackling the difficult parts - the conductor made overtures about how well he was playing. But still there were moments of dissonance with a PC leaving Chiz blowing his trombmoan unsupported and the rebound was put in.
Now our forwards came into their own. Ian C was jamming well on his new salt mobile (his "saxaphone"). Chris on triangle was counting the beats, waiting for his moment. But it was Ross on glock who fired into the net and Chris tinged with joy: great move, great pass and great goal. John then scored the winner but the umpire was not in tune giving a penalty corner when he wrongly thought the shot was from outside the stave. A draw and again the rather poignant comment from them - you should have won that...
Sunday - Dundee 1-1 draw
The final part of our symphony and this was the rondo - a strong first half, okay conceding a goal - Chiz on trombmoan was mezzo allegro about how we could let three of their piccolo in to score. However the conductor brought harmony as a prelude to a reprise of how well we can play in unison. This was helped by a virtuoso performance on a borrowed trumpet from Steve Laux (well, he would never blow his own trumpet).
Shots at goal at both ends with great saves from Chiz but it was Geoff on clarinet with a touch of Gershwin that brought our rhapsody in blue to crescendo with a fine goal. Another "should have won" but what a great game. Great game, great festival and now we have to wait until next year to compose ourselves.