Finally! A weekend of sunny British weather, although a little slippery in places thanks to the blanket of frost left over from the night before. This is what the teams had to say:
Men's 1's Vs Croydon. A frosty morning, starting to feel a little more festive, and an email to say we now have 1 sub to utilise hoorah. We had a strong squad, and it was needed against top of the league who from previous seasons had always been a tough team to break down.
But as usual that is where good fortune ends. That one extra player became essential as we had lost a different player to Google maps, who had been very close by before the match but spent a half trying to find the pitch.
First half was a fairly even affair, both teams having only a couple of clear chances, however, fate does not seem to be with Leatherhead as another scrappy short corner ended with Croydon getting the ball in the goal without really knowing how.
First half ended with Croydon 1-0 up but everything still to play for. And Leatherhead finally had a full squad. And plan A could finally be implemented. However, we could just not break down a solid squad with their 3 subs and continual fresh legs.
Moments of skill, teamwork, grit, determination along with other moments of sloppy play and minor mistakes meant the match finished 1-0 with Croydon taking the win. Definitely one of the stronger teams we've faced this season.
MENS 2s (Diablos)
My apologies for the tardy reporting but having 9 men (which became 8 two minutes into the 2nd half), freezing cold weather and goals galore we were all a tad deflated..
We started well enough but did concede an early goal but again we responded well quickly gaining parity and almost going ahead.
That was the end of our good fortune and come half-time time we were 8-1 down.
This became 9 shortly after halftime, then we went down to 8 men and an accord was reached with both captains to call the game quits, a very magnanimous gesture on CROWS part.
My respect and admiration to all who participated, especially to those who have soldiered on despite being short handed on more than one occasion this year.
Our Mens 3s had a home game against Old Reigatian Men's 3s. They sadly left the pitch with a 9-2 lose, but looked to be enjoying the sunshine during their warm up!
What can I say. The Ladies 1's had a blinder of week! Yes, it was freezing. Yes, the opposition did some weird stuff to try and throw us off our game at the beginning. Yes, we had about 10mins in each half where we panicked a little. But boy, when we turned it around, we properly turned it around!
We were 13 strong and playing at home – which was a godsend after last week's horror story of a commute! We know that having extra players is a luxury, especially for a smaller club, so we make sure these extra players are driving new energy into the game and keeping the other team on their toes. Which seemed to work in our favour this week! I think the biggest surprise for us is that we never really know how we're going to play on the day. We're pretty good at mirroring what we play, which is what makes our results so versatile throughout the season. But this week we led.
We pulled together as a team and repeatedly beat the opposition to the ball. This effort, drive and persistence meant we were 2-0 up at half time. Having spent most our previous matches fighting for a draw / win in the closing minutes of play, this was a good feeling, but we were advised not to get too ahead of ourselves – we did have another 35-minutes to go after all... This, mixed with the opposition's sudden hungry for a goal, meant we went back on the pitch a little disorganised and hasty on the ball. After realising we didn't need to panic and played better when we drove forward as a team, we switched back to our style of playing and secured our third and final goal!
Goals (in more detail – correction made to first goal!):
We secured our first goal after Sophie and Liz Carleton pulled off some great teamwork in the D! Sophie moved the ball to the right hand edge, passing it back in to Liz who picked it up and walloped it behind the goalie. Beautiful! The next two came from short corners – both Megan Smith's, although Jess Laslett could claim last touch on the second ;-) We almost had a fourth after Cathy Laslett slipped the ball to Debbie Raymond, past the goalie, but the proceeding strike was sadly blocked by a defender's stick. We'll get it next time.
Oh, and special mention to Jo Parish for keeping a clean slate this week! There were a couple of close calls, but Jo and her expendable padded arms managed to keep any attempts at bay – keeper to keep! We finished the game 3-0 and celebrated our run of 5 undefeated weeks with a victory team boomerang (visited Instagram!).
The odds were pretty much stacked against us for this week’s battle. We were missing our inspirational and fearless leader Frankie.....we had 10....or maybe 11....or maybe even 12 players. We were playing the top of the league THD and I couldn’t get hold of their captain for a pitch report! So, we soldiered on! When we arrived half of the pitch was still white.....not a good sign, but lo and behold, who should I spy in the dugout?! Mel and Michelle! They weren’t even on my list! Things were looking up! By the time 11 push back arrived it was clear we would be a merry 10. Spirits were high, with the aim to keep the score line below double figures. Martin was on the sideline with his helpful hints and encouragement and we were away! An early goal off an LHC stick in our goal was frustrating but hey, we were holding them!! 2 more from THD and a fantastic set of passes up from Lucy Dorrington to Sarah Sumpter and on to Roanna Thomas stick and she was in the D and smashed out a blinder!! We had scored!!! Hooray! Half time was 3-1 - and we were pumped! Calm and working for each other and generally giving ourselves a pat on the back we went in to the second half. THD were a bit angry and that just made us step up even more! Lynda Berry’s hitouts were clean and Sarah Hands-Clarke was pretty much undefeated in her amazingly speedy run outs at their crazy amount of short corners. We were close to a goal in our one and only short of the match and THD only managed one more in to our goal. Tasha Feddery was amazing in goal and seriously, what a fantastic team effort from everyone! Final score 4-1. Celebrated with cake and a rather long drive home.
Sadly our game was called off this week due to the opposition not being able to field a team, so....we can pretend that we were awesome and ran away with the game. 12-0 to LHC! And Bacon left the pitch with only a green card ;-)
If you fancy getting involved in the Might Mixed team (when we do get to play next), email Jules and put your name forward! We play on Sundays, but we don't play every week so it is much more of a social commitment with a bunch of fun hockey-loving people :)