The Isles of Scilly are home to the smallest league in the world. Even legends such as David Beckham and Patrick Vieira have paid a visit. Local player Andrew Hicks scores goals like Cristiano Ronaldo.
It was one of those moments that played out as if in slow motion. The ball rolled over the bumpy turf and across the penalty area. Time seemed to stand still for a moment at Garrison Field as it reached the tall, formidable figure of the Garrison Gunners’ target man.
With only seconds left in the match, this was a huge opportunity for "Big G" to score the winner. Although the striker had not found the target all season, all he needed to do was roll the ball into the empty net from a few metres out. As it left his foot, team-mate and captain Andrew Hicks’s heart was in his mouth – only to see the shot strike the post! As Hicks looked down in despair, he saw the ball roll over the line out of the corner of his eye. Goal! The final whistle blew to seal the game – and the championship – for the Gunners.
"That might be the worst goal I’ve ever witnessed, but I’ve also never seen anyone as proud and relieved as Garraf 'Big G' Torrens was at that moment. It was the best thing I’ve ever experienced in football," explained an enthusiastic Hicks, describing the special moment in such detail that it felt as if we were watching it live.
Listening to the way this 42-year-old family man and shipbuilder talks about the beautiful game reminds you what the sport is all about: passion and a love of the game.
The scene he described played out at the football field on St. Mary’s which, despite measuring just six square kilometres, is the largest of more than 140 islands that make up the Isles of Scilly, situated approximately 50 kilometres off England’s southwest coast. The island’s only two teams – the Garrison Gunners and the Woolpack Wanderers – meet in the Scillies’ only division every Sunday at 10:30. Welcome to the world’s smallest league. As members of the English Football Association, it even has an entry in the Guinness Book of Records.