Only four teams were out playing hockey in Storm Brian yesterday – all 3 of the mens' teams were playing league games, the Ladies 1's had a friendly and L2's were given the week off. With gale-force winds curtailing balls as they were passed up the pitch and sporadic downpours of rain, the British weather brought a new edge to hockey, drowning a few players before the game even started. Here's what the teams had to say:
M1 took the lead early on and as the first half went on, possession and chances were very even. Old Kingstonian Mens 1s worked the ball fast and well to equalise. The Chair had to leave the field with a cut to the chin having closed a player down too closely. He's all stitched up now and is proof once again why hockey is a very silly game indeed – that's why we play, no?
Peter Stratford-Lockhart was pretty close to joining the Chair in A&E after finding he had 'got a pretty big egg on my arm'. It is still unclear whether it was an actual egg and how it got there.
With the Chair off pitch, M1s went down to ten players against a squad of thirteen who eventually conceded two more goals in the second half. Despite the blood, sweat and tears, the game finished with a 3-1 lose.
MENS 2s (Diablos)
We arrived at this game against the table topping Cranleigh with a full compliment of bodies but alas none of the 12 was a keeper, an ongoing problem. We had a volunteer but we neglected to get the kit from the 3s capt and ascertained it’s’ location too late in the day so entered the affray with 11 outfield players.
New players welcomed, hopefully to be seen more regularly, positions sorted, team talk over we lined up for pushback. Alas from our pushback the capt, leading by example, gave the ball straight to Cranleigh, not quite what was proposed at the team talk, but we regained possession but an early scare nonetheless.
Without a keeper you are on a hiding to nothing and our stubborn resistance was broken after 56 seconds, a simple tap-in to an unguarded goal. We were better than that but despite holding our own we were always vulnerable when Cranleigh broke, and it was no real surprise when we conceded 2 more early goals prompting a change in formation. The Beast was planted in the area as a last line of defence pushing the rest of the team a little higher and we began breaking up their play in midfield and to look menacing on the break.
This team is made of sterner stuff than recents ones and we started to push Cranleigh back which resulted with a well constructed counter attack that saw Stu T get a goal back. Cranleigh responded and soon we had given away a flick to make it 4-1. Undaunted off we went again flashing 2 efforts just wide of the posts before Freddie popped up unmarked to slot a second, 4-2. We spend the remainder of the half camped in enemy territory and, despite a 1 yard tap-in on a break away, Cranleigh were the more gratified to hear the half time whistle despite being 5-2 ahead.
After a positive half-time team talk we resumed our positions for round 2. We needed to be resolute in defence and this time we kept them at bay for over a minute before conceding, 6-2, but we would not lay down. Again an again we attacked their keeper being called into auctioned regularly, we won penalty corners and fizzed efforts across the goal or just wide, but alas no goals to further our struggle and as we started to naturally tire Cranleigh, with their 16 man squad, just kept coming scoring from another flick, a PC and a couple from open play.
On another day this game would have been settled by the odd goal but without a keeper you need luck to be on your side, Lady Luck deserted up yesterday. Cranleigh scored 10, amongst the 10 were 2 PF, 2 fortuitous deflections passed a waiting defender’s stick and the faintest of touches on a swing at a lifted ball in the area. Our endeavour and commitment was extraordinary which may sound odd having lost 10-2.
Most of us returned to OVSC in reasonably good spirits, which is good to see back again and apparently we had given Cranleigh their hardest game so far.
MotM: Damo (you are welcome anytime, preferably soon)
LHC Men's 3s played an early away game against Old Kingstonian Men's 3s. Although no sightings of the boys yesterday, we can confirm that they are all doing well and came away with a 3-3 draw after spending the majority of the game 3-1 up.
Ladies 1s had a friendly organised again Reigate Priory Ladies 2 (who just happen to play the league above us and have an abundance of fit, young, skilled hockey players!)
The LHC squad arrived to pitch around 10:15, complete with an array of rain coats, a small fluffy mascot (Max) and suitable remarks about the weather / our choice to play an outdoor winter sport. Although the weather had been looking patchy all morning, the heavens decided 10:30am was the ideal time to open over Leatherhead. Teamed with the wind adding a bitter chill, our bodies struggled to warm up – and stay warm – in amongst the running and shooting and stretching. After the captains' pep talk, we walked on to the field soggy, but with nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Rather than attempt to recall the next 70mins of play in perfect detail (not possible), here are some of the highlights from the game:
- We may have lost 4-1 but we successfully worked the ball into the opponent's D on multiple occasions – just need to land a few more goals when we do and we'll be all good :)
- The goal we did score was achieved through team work, with Rebecca passing it up to Ely on the left, who passed it into the D to be collected by the forwards who worked it around Reigate's defence and into the goal off Liz C's stick. Way-to-go girls!
- Jo saved a spectacular flick which caused an up roar of cheering from the LHC ladies back on the half way line
- Rebecca stopped Reigate in their tracks during a short corner after placing herself between our goal and their player at the top of the D, intercepting a pretty strong hit
- There was far more movement from all players this week, enabling the defence to move the ball into space and around Reigate rather than straight into them during hit outs
- Jess did a great job on the wing, chasing down players (sometimes two at a time) and putting in some strong tackles to retake possession and ping the ball back up the pitch. Also a great addition to our short corners.
- Molly showed us once again just how quick she is, chasing balls up the right side and beating the opponent to the ball throughout the game - great energy as always!
- Lots of captain love on the sidelines and upbeat talk during halftime
- oh, and Jess passed her driving test in the morning!
As mentioned earlier, this is only a handful of highlights. The whole team played a really good game of hockey, and despite a 4-1 loss, we left the pitch with our heads held high having thoroughly enjoyed the game. With one friendly and two training sessions between now and our next league game, we have lots of time to take away the positives and build on them before taking on Wanderers Ladies 5s on November 4th.
Ladies 2s had the week off after a friendly game was cancelled due to too few coming forward to field the game - hopefully the numbers are there for the next one!
Some players decided to wait out the storm, wisely sheltering away from the high winds and pockets of showers watering the surrey hills. Others, however, decided yesterday was the best kind of day to complete park runs, an off road biking session and afternoon cake. Well, any day is a good day for cake...