LHC Round-up - 4th Nov

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All five teams braved the soggy weather yesterday. Some saw sunshine, others were left dodging puddles but all were fighting for league points. Here's what the teams had to say: 

MENS 1s

Men's 1's Vs Addiscombe, 11 players, 1 umpire, seemed like a good start. 5 mins before push back, currently 9 players, panic sets in. With a bit of thankful delaying of push back, eventually starting the match with 10 players, we were a little bit lost, a little confused, and a bit of a mess. Addiscombe decided to take full advantage of our dilly-dallying to slot home a scrappy goal to take an early lead. 5 mins later and 11 men on the pitch, Leatherhead switched on. Only one thing standing in our way now, the Addiscombe goalie. I can safely say I have never been so frustrated but impressed at the same time – he was on a one man mission to keep Addiscombe in front.

Half time came, and we didn't really understand what more we could do, but more of the same and hope to get one past this machine in goal. And that's exactly what we did. Chance after chance created before finally we squeezed one past the keeper after he saved what seemed like the initial shot, rebound and other 6 rebounds. 1-1 and now we had momentum. After we got one past the keeper it didn't take long to get the second, and then the 3rd. However, still requiring more shots on goal than we would like to admit. Final score 3-1 to Leatherhead. Man of the match was Addiscombe's keeper, and with sausage and mash for teas, not a bad Saturday afternoon. 

 
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MENS 2s (Diablos)

The dark clouds were gathering as we arrived at the pitch, our home form had not been great, played 3 lost 3 but our spirit is strong and our endeavour high. As such, and knowing we would only have 10 men, did not deter us from talking up a victory, however, when 1 of the 10 decided not to show up, our chances looked less likely against a full 11 from Guildford.

Guildford lost the toss and we had pushback, the 9 blue shirts of Leatherhead resolute to the task at hand. It soon became apparent that we would have to defend like never before to be in with a shout as Guildford played the ball confidently around the pitch.

Just over 5 minutes into the game and our plan began to unravel, Guildford were awarded a penalty corner. We repelled the first attempt only for another to be awarded and from this one they slotted home between right post defender and keeper. We felt aggrieved, as our long suffering umpire will testify (sorry Bav) not at decisions but more at Guildford’s good fortune. Undaunted we set off looking for an equaliser, amazingly our 9 were going toe to toe with their 11 an unbelievably the pressure told and we equalised through Harry Higgs.

I’m not sure which team was the more shocked at the score line, I do know which team were the happier. Our joy was unfortunately short lived as Guildford pressured in a far post deflection, their celebrations were loud and long. Guildford numbers were always going to tell and they had a string on penalty corners but we repelled all attempts including the one the whistled passed the right hand post carefully watched by the captain as it did so.

However, we would not be beaten and always looked menacing on the break. We swapped a couple of positions and started to gain a lot of turnover ball and from one of these Harry broke and the ball ended up with Lewis H-S and he slotted home to get us back on parity, perfectly timed on the stroke of halftime.

9 against 11 and were 2-2 at halftime, positive team talk was in order knowing they would be being berated, and be prepared for an early onslaught for the first five minutes.

The second half proved to be just that, Guildford pushing us further and further back as we fought hard and defended resolutely. We defended a plethora of penalty corners and used every professional method at our disposal to stay in the game only to be undone 10 minutes from time as our keeper was pushed over from behind as he attempted to clear and the ball was pushed passed our prone last line of defence, the push not spotted by the umpire in the melee.

Leatherhead just would not stay down, Harry got a little over zealous and saw Green as did Guildford’s participant in the handbag waving. Down to the last 2 minutes, Harry back on the pitch, we broke and drove up field and with 30 seconds left we were awarded our first penalty corner of the contest. History was there for the making, the scene was set, the was script written, alas we fluffed our lines.

The final whistle went, Guildford celebrated like they has just won the league, our 9 men left the pitch with their heads held high. With 10 men there is no doubt we would have taken something from this game, my respect and admiration to each and every one of you, that is what being a team is all about.

MotM: Lewis H-S (being everywhere and non stop running)
DotD: Harry (getting a card when we only had 9 men)

MENS 3s

Yet another week gone by and the mystery Mens 3's came, played some hockey then went home for the fireworks. With nothing from the team, all we can declare it that sadly the boys walked away with a 3-1 lose against Addiscombe Herons.

LADIES 1s

South Western Railway did LHC proud yesterday, ferrying 7 out of the 13 players set to battle it out on Wanderers’ home pitch in Oval, London. After assembling at Vauxhall station, the squad wandered towards the pitch, sliding through puddles and soggy leaves and bathing in the British weather. We meet the other five at the pitch and proceeded to warm up, striding through the rain and being careful to miss the haribo-sized crocodiles laying int he middle of the astro. Although not our most organised of warmups, we had a great prep talk and promised to run our socks off knowing we had subs on the sideline ready to tag team and do the same. 

The game started fairly slowly for LHC, with many of us not keeping up with the sheer quantity of yellow shirts which seemed to be spreading out across the pitch. Pushing forward with numbers created an overload on our squad, keeping us deeper on our side of the pitch than we wanted to be. Being aware of this tactic, we worked hard to win the ball back, moving it back up the pitch until we moved it through their overload. After 10 mins, we managed to herd in the sea of yellow Wanderers shirts and continued to play a bloody good 25 minutes of hockey. 

With a rain cloud still suspended over the astro-pitch, half time consisted of a quick round of sweets and a “more of the same” speech from Captains Jo and Kat. 

Back on pitch, we did exactly as we were told - more of the same. And boy did we deliver. Everybody (on and off pitch) pulled up their socks, kept calm and ran faster and more committed than the 35mins that proceeded. We met the ball after every pass, injection, and push forward from the Wanderers with energy and grit; regaining possession where lost and keeping hold of it when in our favour. This new lease of life kept the ball moving up through our squad in beautiful diagonals, until eventually Megan picked it up at the top of the D and sent the ball flying past the goalies foot and into the back of the goal with a straight strike. 1-0.

With about 20mins left on the clock, we dug deep, keeping close to the Wanderers to prevent any undefended attacks by their forwards, and winning the ball back further up the pitch to keep it out of our D – and our last quarter where possible. With a win almost in our grasps, the short corner awarded to Wanderers in the last 2 mins made the sideline crew (Cathy, Ely, Kat and Sue) just a tad more nervous then they already were, but they watched on as LHC continued to fight for possession and keep our goal free from shots - sorry Jo for a quiet game! 

All in all, a bloody brilliant game, won through teamwork, determination, grit and a hunger to win! It also saw us go up a few places in the league, sitting us 5th on the table – Not a bad start to the weekend, even with an hour train journey sandwiched either side! In the words of Kat: “L1 pulled off a fantastic 1-0 win against Wanderers. We were up against it to start with, but kept calm and composed, before unleashing some flying hockey in the second half. Brilliant team performance. You played so hard for each other. Well done girls :-)"

LADIES 2s

Get ready to feel the love from the Ladies 2s today. Here's what  Captain Frankie Teague had to say post-game: "So proud of every single person who played in the Ladies 2 game today. Forget the score line as it is nowhere near as important as the attitude, determination and developing team work and spirit. Really am proud of everyone."

 
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Other exciting news:

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. 

More to follow next week...