All five teams were suited and booted yesterday in Leatherhead colours. The Men were fighting for league points, whereas the Ladies were using friendly games to work on tactics and overall teamwork. The gale-force winds from last weekend had thankfully moved on, leaving us with a frosty start but an all-round beautifully sunny Autumn day. As always, hockey is a game of two halves but this week saw four of our teams seeing double at the end! Here's what the teams had to say:
Men's 1's Vs Reigate.
The weekend began with some optimism having not one but TWO substitutes for the match against Reigate, and it was a match that warranted the extra legs (unfortunately we couldn't play all 13 players at one time). The match started sharply with both teams having some good possession, but a quick break led to a short corner for Leatherhead and we capitalised on the chance - albeit with a bit of a deflection to help it on its way. 1-0 up, Leatherhead had the majority of the play and Reigate looked rattled, and it wasn't long before a second came, a move starting from defense, moving through the team seemlessly, before a great cross from out wide by Chris Powell got a touch in the D from Shaun, Jason which was guided perfectly into the bottom corner. 2-0 Leatherhead. Half time came, and a rejuvenated Reigate came out fighting, their goalie opting to clear the ball himself through lifting and kicking the ball on multiple occasions, one of which baffled everyone on the pitch leading to James Hackett not knowing the game wasn't stopped so picked the ball up - oops. Unfortunately as the second half went on, a few silly mistakes let Reigate back into the game, as they pulled back 2 goals. 2-2 draw. We still had chances just needed to convert more of our opportunities but lots of positives to take.
MENS 2s (Diablos)
It was a glorious autumnal afternoon as our wild bunch of Diablos took the field, this week with a keeper. We welcomed Richard into the fold, by his own admission “I run but not much else”, the words “I run” were all we needed to hear.
We won the toss again (4 out of 5 now), elected to have the ball, and from pushback went instantly on the attack, some quick early passing cut through Kenley’s midfield but alas the finish was absent. There followed a ten minute period of sustained pressure, pinning Kenley in their own half so it was no surprise when the first goal came, the only real surprise was it went to Kenley with their first foray into Leatherhead territory.
A quick regroup and off we went in search of an equaliser still shell-shocked at the scoreline, we flashed balls across the face of the goal on numerous occasions still just missing that final clinical touch, then after 20 mins a goal, however once again to Kenley as a miss hit managed to wrong foot both Leatherhead for the same unmarked player to slot home past our isolated keeper.
This wasn’t how it was meant to be, Kenley were now buoyed by their goals and our domination of possession was waning, so with the topsy turvy nature of the game we subsequently won a couple of penalty corners. Finally we were starting to look threatening in front of goal and we got our just reward a few minutes from half time as Harry sent a ball off the keeper into the roof of the net.
Half time 1-2 down, the best thing was the input at the half time team talk, we knew we were better than the score line showed, we just had to be more ruthless in the area.
With this in mind we started the 2nd half determined to get a result, that saying Kenley also seemed intent and they had swapped umpire at half time and younger legs to midfield which was presenting us further problems. There followed 10 minutes of stalemate, nothing for either keeper to do then our rolling sub, Rich did exactly as he said he would. He burst onto the pitch, dispossessed the Kenley man, drove towards the D before shifting the ball left where it finally arrived with Stu T who calmly slotted home and we were level.
We went on the offensive again, confidently looking for a 3rd and soon we had it, the ball again falling to Stu T after a goalmouth melee and we were ahead, all we had to do was defend our lead maybe nick another goal as Kenley pushed for the equaliser.
Unfortunately with 10 mins to go we found ourselves short handed, Joseph B seeing Yellow for what could called footballers petulance, at training we may have teach him some of the finer arts. With his absence came a flurry of Kenley penalty corners, each repelled mostly by Strictly’s shinpads, 1 by a great recovery save by Paul D-P in goal and when they finally got a shot past him The Beast was there to calmly defend the left post to spoil Kenley premature celebrations.
Down to the last 4 minutes, back to full compliment, one last Hail Mary from Kenley, a speculative pass going to no-one hit Pete’s shin pad and rolled invitingly into the path of a Kenley player, as Leatherhead half stopped, expecting a whistle, and the scores were level.
That was the end of the scoring in a typically enjoyable robust Kenley fixture, honours even. We could have been lying 4th with a win, there is always next week.
MotM: Stu T
DotD: Joseph B
The mystery remains as to what the Mens 3's get up to at the weekend – all we know is they took on Old Kingstonian Men's 3s and drew 3-3. Seems they were seeing double this week too!
What a brilliant game.... and excellent anticipation building entertainment for those on the sideline! We rocked up just as the frost was starting to lift over Surrey – hoods up, gloves on and coaching the sunshine out from behind the clouds. The log shift (dividers across the pitch) and goal moving kick-started the warm up, which promptly followed with drills, stretching and the all important pre-match team talk. Positions explained, we set up on pitch and waited for the friendly-not-so-friendly push back from the opposition.
As anticipated, they sent the ball all the way back into our defence, but with the sunshine on our side and some fire in our belly, it was going to take more than that to throw us of our course – plus we had Molly's mum on the side and we had promised her an exciting game!
From the get go, we pulled together as a team. Moving into space, using the width, picking balls up and driving through the belly of the pitch (great work Trudy, Steph and Jess!) and successfully delivering long balls / diagonally touch passes to keep us moving up the pitch. The forwards did a great job of keeping a player high through the first half which meant not only irritating the opposition by forcing them to keep one of their players behind – well done Liz C – but also we had a high option which we were fortunate to use on more than one occasion. We were also better at sending the ball back to help create more options rather than constantly trying to push forward against a wall of opposition – something inspired by Liv's words of wisdom ahead of the game.
None of the above would have been possible, however, without the superb efforts for our defence. Solid, unrelenting and switched on, Cush, Sophie, Liv and Rebecca (and of course Jo!) manned the top of the D without hesitation. On top of that, we defended together all the way up the pitch as well - all through the team you could see that we wanted the ball, and chased it down endlessly. 50/50 chance balls were converted into 70/30 in our favour, and all the 70/30 not in our favour we turned into 50/50 balls. As Jo said at half time - that made a massive difference in the possession we were able to win.
It should be noted that by half time the opposition had made some cheeky slips through the D and managed to plant two goals, but that didn't knock our confidence and our energy levels remained high (although the jelly babies at half time might have helped with that).
Back in for the second half we met Woking's attacks with strong defence and dribbled through their defence to make some great progress into their D. Although their goalie was proving to be a bit of a nuisance – always standing in the way – through persistence and maintaining a great level of hockey, Molly and Debbie moved the ball around their goalie and scored our first goal with 10mins left on the clock! 2-1.
Cheers echoed down the sideline as the ladies set back up on the halfway line and then, out of nowhere, our girls won possession of the ball, sent it up the wing, passed it into the D where Liz C picked it up and planted it into the back of their goal! Two goals in what must have been three mins. Never has a textbook goal been so well received :D 2-2.
Although a few bumps up and down the pitch, we always enjoy playing Woking as they approach each match with the same energy and competitive edge we do. This always results in a evenly matched game which means for 70mins, we both have to keep our eye on the ball – great practice ahead of the next bout of league games!
Kat said that for her "the BIGGEST positive is that from a position of 2-0 down, we didn't stop trying, and that really paid off. The goals were fantastic team goals, working the ball around to score from tight angles". She also wanted to thank Frankie for umpiring for us again. And to Cathy for teas, who made some outstanding homemade banana bread!
Great work from the L2 in their friendly against Epsom! Just the 6-0 this week which is better than 7-0 last time, and yet another amazing goal scored by one of the LHC midfielders! Leischa Warren-Brown - thanks for keeping me on my toes.....actually I was having a lie down at the time I believe! On a serious note, really good to see the team working well together against a tough side. Keep it up ladies and let’s bring the big guns out for the next league match.
Other exciting news:
We managed to upload a story and a boomerang to our Instagram page this weekend! Very exciting and most definitely worth seeing. Click here to get there faster ;-)
The Ladies have also got their Christmas social sorted (December 9th). If you've missed the emails, click here to find out how to join the party.