This Saturday saw our 2017/18 league come to an end. With 98 league games played across the five teams and 146 goals scored, it was about time we raised a glass or two! Here's what the teams had to say:
The Mens 1s may not have been sporting Leatherhead blue this weekend, however, we did spot a handful of the squad embracing their twinkle toes on the dinner dance dance-floor.
MENS 2s (Diablos)
The mighty diablos sporting what can only be described as a stumble into paradise. Not only did they clutch Sunbury's almost-promotion status with a 1-0 smash and grab result, they were the life and soul of the dinner dance – showing in full colour why Leatherhead Hockey Club is the cat's pyjamas.
Our Mens 3s finished a respectable second place after Saturday's match but what they lacked in goals they certainly made up with their feast back at teas! Cheers boys!
With a squad of 13 in Leatherhead colours and emotions running high, we huddled together on the pitch for our final pre-game team brief. Knowing we didn’t need to win to secure second place, but equally wanting the win to end on a high (and boasting rights to say we’d beaten every team in the league at least once – Gamblers aside) we tried to bury our excitement and nerves as we faced Richmond, a tricky opponent who we only just drew with on our last game.
Not wishing to beat around the bush, the next 70mins were a challenge. All our efforts were met head on with mirrored efforts from Richmond. We were quick of the ball, chasing every pass, intercepting hit outs, hounding Richmond and stealing the ball back into our possession. The problem was, so was Richmond. They were on our tail the entire game and quite frankly, it was exhausting.
Luckily for us, we come out fighting stronger against stronger teams and this ability to keep our nerve and attack with the same energy meant we were going to put on a good show for our spectators. And we didn’t disappoint. After securing a short corner our forwards took their places around the edge of the D. The ball was played into Megan Smith at the top who, with one straight strike, delivered the sound we’d all been desperate to hear – the ball hitting the back board of the goal. 1-0 to LHC.
Richmond didn’t take too kindly to this and within minutes secured their own short corner. Although we did manage to successfully defend seven shorts after this one, Rebecca Riiser’s stick was at just the wrong angle that when it intercepted Richmond’s shot, she created a marvellous donkey drop over the top of Jo’s head, hitting the back board perfectly and bringing the score up to 1-1. Spectacular to watch, even if it was at the wrong end of the pitch.
Back at the halfway line, our centres and forwards worked hard to push the ball up, creating pressure on Richmond’s defence and working hard to win back balls that in our eyes were heading the wrong way down the pitch. This pressure saw Richmond try to manoeuvre the ball out of their D but instead knocked it forward onto Eloisa Tovee’s stick. Moving it slightly to the right of a defender’s attack, Ely gave the ball a quick hit and sent it through a line of defenders and past the keeper, securing our second goal of the game. 2-1 to LHC.
And it didn’t stop there. Determined to prove she knew which goal belonged to the opposition, Rebecca moved her way up from right wing to Richmond’s D, picked up the ball and – in her own words – delivered a pathetic shot that seemed to somehow (slowly) bypass everyone. Well, slow or not, it did the trick and boosted the score line to 3-1 in our favour.
With a few minutes left on the clock, we pushed up yet again, fighting our way back into the D where Debbie Raymond was waiting, eager to add herself to the goal scoring list. With the ball in possession, she took a shot on goal to find her efforts rebounded off the keeper’s pads. So she hit the ball again. Harder. Much harder – bypassing the goalie and her pads and securing our 4th and final goal of the game.
It would be fair to say we were a little on cloud 9 during the half time talks. But we all know hockey is a game of two halves. Especially Jo Parish who cautioned us to keep our heads in the game as Richmond were likely to get a kick up the arse during their half time talk.
And Jo’s wise words were not unwarranted. We kept Richmond at bay for a good ten minutes then boom, two goals in with 15minutes left on the clock. 4-3.
As you can imagine, this claw back put us slightly on edge, especially with about seven short corners awarded in Richmond’s favour (one disqualified for them taking too long to discuss tactics). Although most of this report has been about goal scoring, this game was won from both ends of the pitch. Hats off go to our defence who just wouldn’t give up. They not only defended against those corners, they remained calm when things were not-so-calm in our D and redistributed the ball effectively which gave our centres half a chance of keeping it out of our danger zone and back up the other end. Jo pulled off some absolutely beauties with special mention to a stick save that sent a fast-moving on-target ball complete off course with its tail between its legs and a little slap on the bum.
I watched the last four minutes from the side of the pitch, heartbeat in throat and one eye open. But they bloody did it. For those crucial countdown minutes our line of defence was impenetrable. And then came the final whistle. We had done it. For 70mins we fought as a team, securing a 4-3 victory over an incredibly challenging team and an excuse to celebrate even harder at the end of season dinner dance that evening.
What a game. What a season.
Smiles all round for the ladies 2s as we limped our way through the last game! It has been a pleasure watching you all gel together and improve in both skill and confidence! 😁
Other exciting news:
Save the date!
It's that time of year again. Our club AGM will be held on Saturday 21st April, 1:30pm at the North Leatherhead Community Centre, Kingston Road, KT22 7PX – please note change to usual venue. This is opposite Dilston Road (which is road to Therfield School). There will be refreshments, and there is a bar.
We do hope to see as many of you there as possible - it is YOUR club and decisions made at the AGM will effect how the club is run over the coming season. The agenda can be found here.
As usual we will hold our annual Charlies match prior to this at 11am at Therfield followed by teas and the AGM at North Leatherhead Community Centre. Please let Megan know by the 14TH APRIL if you will be attending Charlies and/or AGM so we can cater for the right numbers.
In preparation of the AGM, the committee have pulled together a super short survey which we'd like to encourage all members to complete. Leatherhead Hockey Club is only as good as its people. It is its people, and it's your thoughts we want to hear. Good or bad, your thoughts matter! You can find the survey here:
The following positions are vacant, we need volunteers to fill these to make running teams, playing matches viable. Please consider if you can give up the time, some are not onerous at all! Please do ask if you would like more information on what each role entails:
- Mens Fixture Secretary
- Ladies Fixture Secretary
- Ladies 2XI Captain/Vice
At previous years AGM it was requested that any proposal to review match fees or membership subscriptions is circulated prior to the AGM so that members have the opportunity to review and make considered views / proposals at the AGM. Please note the committee is not proposing any increase in fees this year.