This week's LHC round up character is dedicated to Jo Parish, whose goalie hockey bag is apparently much like "a turtle, it has a way of finding its natural way up". Turtles aside, all five teams had a tough weekend, with some unable to field numbers, others sustained injuries in the opening minutes of play and one had a keeper-less goalie which drastically changed their luck on the day. The British weather also seemed determined to add to the mix by spitting on us for the duration of the day. Although not our week, and regardless of the score line, the games over the weekend were testimony to the perseverance and ability of our members to run their cahoonahs off for the full 70mins, and not stop pushing until the final whistle has been blown. This is what the teams had to say:
Men's 1's Vs Purley Walcountians. This is one of those weekends where it's hard to understand how the result matches the match itself.
The game started a little late as Purley required a bit more time to get their final players pitch side, an already far too familiar scene seeing players rushing to get on to the pitch on time however it wasn't the men in the blue tops this time.
First half underway and it was clear to see that even with another week of squad consistency issues that Leatherhead were going to have plenty of opportunities in the match.
A few stoppages, injuries, tellings off and missed opportunities and the first half ended goalless. Half time chat was as simple of "more of the same" whilst our brains registered the input, our co-ordination seemed to take a nap and not wake up till the final whistle. I think more feet touched the ball than hockey sticks in the second half and even though we still managed to get more shots at goal it came without prevail. Unfortunately for Leatherhead were the luck was not with us, it did seem to be with Purley. Purley a team that I don't think managed a single shot on target somehow managed what we couldn't "a goal". One short corner, one moment that seemed to be filmed in slow motion as the Purley Shot going wide of the goal, hits our post man's foot and diverts straight into the bottom corner of the goal.
With frustration settling in for Leatherhead we still had a couple of chances in the final minutes but nothing came of it
Final score 1-0 to Purley.
MENS 2s (Diablos)
Could we keep our stunning home form going? Ten men and no keeper, the signs were good. We lost the toss and the scene was set.
Sunbury started with the ball but we soon pressurised a turn over, maybe we did have a shout if our 11th arrived soon. Sunbury’s first real foray into our D broke invitingly for their unmarked centre forward to roll the ball into the empty goal, this turned out to become a common sight. Sunbury soon slotted a 2nd from a drag flick from a PC.
As we have shown all year, we do not roll over as easily these days, sure enough we broke through Sunbury’s defence and forced a PC and from that a goal mouth scramble resulted in a PF. The stand-in captain shouldered the responsibility, only to see the effort clip the outside of the post. If we could hold them to 2-0 until we had 11 men we had a good chance. The missing man in midfield however meant Sunbury were pouring through our midfield like water through a colander and despite all our defensive heroics, Matt Gumpert clearing 3 from the goal line, we could only hold them to 5-0 by half time. Still our 11th man should arrive any moment.
The second half started in much the same vein, the lead increasing to 6-0 minutes of the restart and shortly after that they were awarded a PF. Matt ‘straight bat’ Gumpert standing between them and goal number 7. He calmly parried the goal bound effort wide of the goal.
This spark seemed to finally ignite the fire and Leatherhead went on the offensive and for the next 15 mins we pinned Sunbury in their half resulting in a string of PC but we just could not find the goal our endeavour deserved. All this pressure could mean just one thing and sure enough a panicked clearance from Sunbury fell to the one player they had anywhere near our goal and he proceeded to run with the ball all the way into our goal.
They added one more before the final whistle and despite all our efforts we went down 8-0, you cannot play this game without a keeper and we are devoid of them too often, a situation we need to remedy soon.
Back to OSVC for salad (Balsamic Dressing), low fat paté, full fat crisps, beer and reflect upon what could have been and plan for what will be next week.
MotM: Matt Gumpert (goal line heroics and saving a flick)
DotD: Paul Campbell (missed flick and almost going to Sunbury for a home game)
With four key players unavailable during the week and Paul Di Pietro our goalkeeper called up to the 1st, it was always going to be an uphill struggle against the league leaders. Paul Mitchell gallantly volunteered to go in goal and I called up a friend to ensure we had 11.
Richard Craig, the stalwart of the defence unfortunately contacted flu overnight on Friday that left us with 10. The rain came down, we could have made sandcastles on the pitch and the opposition informed us that they had brought all their big guns in as they had lost the previous week to a team who had a suspicious number of backstick volleying gazelles.
6-0 down at half time, the rallying call ran out “Let’s keep it in single figures” and we did.
This is a great bunch of players. They turn up to play an hour away in the rain. Yes, we got hammered, but we played with a smile on our face, endlessly encouraged each other and were supportive to the end. Of course, Paul Mitchell was Man Of the match, clapped off the pitch.
The gods may have been against us, but we stuck together.
Yet another wet start for the Ladies 1's, but this week we also had the pleasure of driving an hour and a half to Chiswick. As we watched the raining drizzling against the windows we prepared ourselves for the 15min warm up that the Twickenham Rugby traffic had been so generous to leave us. Needless to say, our warm up involved a brisk walk across two rugby pitches, a quick stretch to counter the 90mins in the back of a car, some runs between the astros and a quick warm up for Jo!
Despite the weather, we were chuffed to see Richmond Ladies 3 left their supporters back in the clubhouse – which was a relief, after our last game against them resulted in us being booed from the sideline for the duration of the game! Instead, we had Captain Kat Stanger's enthusiasm and Sue Ogden's unconditional support keeping subs company on the sideline and lifting spirits throughout the match. With positions sorted, and first hit awarded to us, we lined up and braced ourselves for a big first ten minutes. Sadly, the next 70mins were a bit of a blur but here's what the Ladies 1s could remember during post-match teas:
- We started the game with 11 but were shortly joined by Cathy Laslett who seamlessly ran onto the pitch and gave the first of our forwards a short stop off pitch. These seamless changes continued throughout the game, injecting new energy every 4-5mins and saving further injuries to our spirited centre player Jess Laslett. This rolling couldn't have been possible without the organisation and mega-phone calling from Captain Kat on the sideline - well done boss!
- After conceding one goal to the other team, Megan Smith continued her amazing run of goal scoring and returned the favour with a beautifully executed straight strike from the top of the D in open play. This goal brought the game to a 1-1 and filled the team with the confidence we needed to know we weren't out of the game just yet!
- Despite a handful of chances in the opposition's D, we were 2-1 down at half time. Over our pot of jelly babies we agreed that we needed to turn the game around in our favour and start playing how we play best – wide and high, drawing out the opposition, taking defenders with us and making spaces. Unfortunately, although we started the second half strong, we hadn't quite executed the half-time plan... Ely Tovee had a lot to do with this. Although drawing a player to the right, she was too bloody far away to be of any use to anyone – lesson learnt for next week! This hadn't gone unnoticed and after the opposition were awarded a short corner, Megan called in the remaining troops and gave us a mini-dressing down on pitch (a much needed kick up the butt at a crucial time of the game). She refuelled the fires in our bellies, passionately telling us to pull up our socks before asking us to run our socks off. More movement was key and options to allow us to gain height – not width on the right hand side when the ball was starting in the left hand corner of the pitch...
- Back in business, Jo Parish played a superb second half, keeping our goal goal-free and winning herself the 'shape shifter of the match' award. Not only did she inspire great koala'ing from the defence, she brown bear-ed a poor forward (the opposition player turned into Jo and head butted Jo's helmet with the side of her face) and leapt like a salmon to save a straight strike from the top of the D during a short corner.
- With less than 20 seconds left on the clock, we were awarded a short corner after the ball was kicked by one of Richmond's feet. As the penalty was issued, the final whistle went meaning we had one last chance to secure a draw. Hearts were racing, nerves swept through the team as all 10 of us (Jess fed int the ball) stepped forward and circled the top of Richmond's D. After practicing short corners at training, Megan decided to try the only one we didn't practice, or even attempt, on Wednesday. A simple slip to Cathy, a slip back to Megan.... and then a bloody bulls-eye strike into the left corner of the goal!!!!! This beauty boosted the scoreline up to 2-2 and we came away feeling like the winning team. Never has the saying 'it's not over till it's over' been more appropriate!
- Much to the team's amazement, Debbie Raymond managed to make it through the full 70mins without being pushed, nudged, whistled for 'rough' behaviour or sworn at! She played a nice-stress free game and celebrated with a pint of cider back in the oppositions club house.
- And last but not least, Jess made it into this week's celebratory boomerang! (you can see how excited she was by visiting our Instagram or Facebook page).
It was a cold and drizzly lunchtime at Therfield but this didn't dampen the Ladies 2's spirits as they faced Barnes determined to score their first goal of the season. Captain Frankie Teague had a little shake up on the positions which everyone took to well and then she donned the whistle. There were a number of opportunities at both ends but it was Barnes who took advantage scoring twice before the half time whistle and being denied of a third by some heroic goalkeeping from Tasha Feddery.
Another minor positional shake up at half time and the luxury of a couple of substitutes meant that the ladies continued to battle hard. Finally, the determination paid off and after some calm passing Roanna Thomas slotted the ball into the back of the net - cue overdramatic and jubilant celebrations. Perhaps it was the excitement of the goal but we switched off for a moment and allowed Barnes to gain their two goal advantage back. There were many more opportunities at both ends but it was Barnes who capitalised with the game ending 1-7 a score, which even Barnes said, flattered them.
A lot to be positive about and it's evident how far we have come as a team so onwards and upwards as we face the top of the league somewhere in the depths of London next week.
Huge thanks to our ever supportive captains - Frankie and Sally Hole, and to Paul Campbell and Frankie for excellent whistle blowing!
The Mighty Mixed XI were back in action today, taking on Chertsey TV on their home turf. We started the game with 10 but we fought strong to score the first goal of the game – secured by Shaun Jason after driving it half way up the pitch and through 5 players in the opposition's 25/D. Sadly though, Chertesy scored two in return and at half time we were 2-1 down.
Fortunately, Chertsey very kindly lent us 'Lee' who helped bring our numbers up to 11 – they had just gained an three extra players which brought their team number up to 15... After a little reshuffle, we started a rather enjoyable but competitive second half, with a strictly tribute from Freddie Fields – as he twirled and pivoted around Chertsey's number 41 – setting the tone for the rest of the players. It didn't take long for Mark Powell to join in with his own style of prancing, twirling and passionate interceptions, as he repeatedly moved the ball away from the top of our D and back up the pitch.
The twinkle toes were generally well received from both sides, including Freddie's leap off the backline into the bench. However, his high flying stick in our D and Joseph Bacon's passive-aggressive pass up the sideline, after the whistle had blown, received a few tuts and a quiet word from Chertsey's ref. To Bacon's credit, he did pull off a beautiful switch around the back about 5-minutes before, sending the ball from the left hand corner to Mark on the right, who passed it straight up the wing and on its way to the oppositions D. There were also some brilliant interceptions and tackles from Liv throughout the game – sorry for decapitating you in the team photo...
Overall a well-matched game with some great moments of hockey! Special thanks to Alex Truelove who made some spectacular saves, ensuring the final scoreline didn't go any higher than a 2-1 lose! Great result for the team who, despite the 4 degrees temperature, left the pitch feeling pretty chuffed – if not a little knackered, sweaty and in need of a beer. Let's hope Freddie isn't late home for his roast dinner!
If you fancy getting involved in the Might Mixed team, email Jules and put your name forward! We play on Sundays but we don't play every week it is much more of a social commitment. We're a friendly bunch and look forward to seeing you at the next game, which conveniently happens to be a week today... ;-)