LHC Round-up - 3rd February

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This week saw six (yep, six!) of our teams battling it out in the soggy British weather. Some bagged the three league points whilst others had a week of defence practice. Here's what the teams had to say: 

MENS 1s

Men's 1's Vs Old Kingstonians. It was a week that had promise of some well deserved revenge in the home fixture against my old club. We had a strong squad, and were in good spirits after a good win the weekend before. However that was where the positives ended this time round. OK's turned up to the match and looked like a team that wanted to win, Leatherhead unfortunately lacked the poise, skill and first touch that we have seen in previous week's. That being said OK's did get lucky a couple of times to sneak in two of their goals, but 3-0 down at half time put a downer on Leatherhead spirits, and whilst we performed better in the second half we still conceded one more goal to end the match 4-0 in Old Kingstonians favour. We need to turn it around this coming weekend in a match we know we can win if we turn up positive and play the way we know we can.

MENS 2s (Diablos)

It was a bitterly cold windswept morning as our intrepid band of brothers met in the depths of the Surrey countryside at the 1970s architectural abomination that is Charterhouse. That being said they did have a lovely couple of Astro pitches, so every cloud.

We were there to take on table topping Cranleigh and the welcome late recruits from the 3s in Greg, Ian and John P even gave us the luxury of a couple of subs to help us fight the good fight and Joe had volunteered to go in goal with our lovely new shiny kit.

The game started as suspected with Cranleigh monopolising possession but not creating chances. Two minutes in and our umpire’s son was shown a green card for his attribute to a hooking of sticks, who said “Like father like son?”. To his testament young Ben took his 2 minutes off the pitch and played like a dervish when he rejoined the affray.

Our resistance was coming under increasing pressure and on 10 minutes we were undone, albeit of our own doing. A 16 was intercepted on the 25 and two passes later the ball was nestled in our goal even though it took a slightly fortuitous first time deflection to put it there. We were showing a real fighting spirit and starting to put some useful attacks together but we were undone again on 15 minutes when a speculative free hit made its way into the D and was converted by an even more speculative finish as it was hit first time by the Cranleigh striker between his own legs, 2-0. 

We recovered our composure after the restart and stood toe to toe with the runaway league leaders and with more luck and more composure we could have got a goal back. Alas it was not to be but we had steadied the ship and we navigated our way to half time just 2-0 down.

Half time saw the arrival of Stu T to bolster our attack and we started the 2nd half in buoyant mood, we were actually having the upper hand - we just couldn’t get that elusive goal. Then, from an interesting period of play that saw Ian A get a dubious green card, the 2nd green card of the match, we conceded a penalty corner. The shot from the corner hit a foot on the lined and a flick was awarded. The flick was buried in the bottom left hand corner but Cranleigh celebrations were short lived as it had been taken before our keeper was ready. The retake hit the outside of the left hand post, well played Joe B.

After the reprieve we finally hit top gear and with 15 minutes to go the unbelievable happened, we scored. From a free hit 5 metres from their D Shaun B played an aerial square to Simon who nonchalantly half volleyed a reverse stick pass into the area where it was collected by Stu T who spun and slid a shot under the keeper, 2-1.

Cranleigh were clearly rattled with Leatherhead having the upper hand, particularly at the back, but our period of dominance proved fruitless. With 5 minutes left Cranleigh were awarded a PC and from the the ensuing routine the strike ballooned into the air where Cranleigh reacted fastest swiping the ball down into the goal to restore the two goal cushion and with time running out and Leatherhead pushing forward a Cranleigh break saw them steal a 4th goal.

A result which was not a true reflection of the game, Leatherhead stepping up and performing magnificently against the runaway leaders of the division,

MotM: Joe our stand in keeper
DotD: I think he knows.

MENS 3s

Our Mens 3s brought the bacon home this weekend, securing a 5-0 win against Old Kingstonian Men's 3s on home turf. Great work lads! 

LADIES 1s

Back on home soil, we welcomed Wanderers to a rematch after only narrowly stealing a 1-0 victory last time we played them. Despite our win against them, the Wanderers were looking strong and hungry for second place. They had pretty much mirrored our results throughout the league and sat only three points behind us in the table, hoping to close the gap.

As always, our team meet was 45mins ahead of the game – enough time to squeeze in a warm up, team talk (which included welcomed pearls of wisdom from Maddie Hinch) and a quick run through our positions. No one likes an injury, and sadly after a mental week of sports it was Molly’s week to take some time off the pitch after sustaining an injury during the warm up. We truly missed her energy on pitch, but like the trooper and true team player she is, she remained on the sideline in the wind and rain cheering us on!

Come 11am we were ready to rock and roll. The first whistle went and within sub-two minutes, the entire team had pushed up as one strong unit, got the ball to Sarah Cusition (Cush) hollering in the D who didn’t need a second invitation. Positioned somewhere between the P spot and top D, she picked up the ball and drove it to left of the goalie, pocketing the first goal of the game! 1-0

And then, give or take another 90 seconds, Cush only went and did it again! The ball moved back up the pitch on the right wing, stopped for a free hit, worked its way through the defence to Cush who drove it behind the keeper and back into the goal to claim the second goal of the match! 2-0. A strong start to the game really does make the difference!

After this we ran, and just kept on running – or it certainly felt that way! The Wanderers fought back with a successful short corner (2-1) but with lots of talking in defence, man marking, careful passes and nifty stick skills we answered that short with another goal of our own. Delivered by our guest forward Chrissie Georgiou, this goal secured the final goal of the game and the win we were all working so hard for! (3-1)

Special mentions this week go to Chrissie and Jess Laslett who pretty much spent the entire game battling through the defence line, sometimes taking on three players at once! To Megan Smith who rocked up with her thumb wrapped in bandages and played as strong as she also does in midfield. To Rebecca Riiser who, although sad because her bruise from last week had made no attempt of colour, put her sadness to one side for the game To Liv Treverton-Jones, whose bruise did colour – beautifully – and took up most of her lower arm. And last but not least, to Sophie Dungeon who not only attempted to catch the ball with her hand as it flew above head height in a short corner but also because she spent most of the match smiling which certainly gave me the energy to keep going! :D

LADIES 2s

Ladies 2s came a very close second today, narrowly missing out on a point with a 3-2 defeat against Reigate. Well done to everyone, players, Martin and spectators for coming out on such a foul day and not having a duvet day instead! Great game to watch with a number of players stepping up and playing out of position. Just hold on to the fact that we won the second half 1-0!! 😁

LADIES 3s

Don't worry, you did read it right. This weekend saw us field a third ladies team, consisting of a mix of juniors, new faces and some players who doubled up after exhausting league matches. With blue shirts on and white socks pulled up high, we took on Reigate with energy, lots of running some fantastic displays of team work – despite being a team who had never played together.

At half time we were down to ten players and Reigate had pocketed three goals against us. Keen to give their goalie some practice – and for Ely to get out of the kit that had taken much longer to put on than it should have – Reigate kindly lent us their 'proper' goalie which meant we started the second half eleven strong. Although we were unable to catch up with Reigate's goals (now at four), we did put away two and left the pitch tired, wet but smiling! Great effort from everyone on pitch, with some beautiful displays of hockey and team spirit throughout. It was also a really proud moment to see so many ladies playing hockey over the weekend. Let's hope the numbers continue and we can get a third team out next season!

Other exciting news:

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Dinner dance tickets are now available!! Taking place March 24th, the annual LHC Dinner Dance promises to be an evening fun of dancing, eating and generally being merry! It is a great chance to celebrate the season with not only your team but the club as a whole and, if you're extra lucky, to take home a trophy for your contribution to the club! 

All the information you need about the night and who to get your money to can be found here: https://www.leatherheadhockeyclub.co.uk/new-events/2018/3/24/end-of-season-dinner-dance

More to follow next week...