This week's LHC round up character is dedicated to Monk, after his unfortunate choice of positioning on pitch gifted him with a bruise the size of Liechtenstein on his left leg – juicy. Jon Elburn was also sat on by the goalie and Richard from the Mens 2 took a stick to the chin. This week's report has everything, from Eeyore to Bugs Bunny appearances on pitch – Enjoy!
Men's 1's Vs Sunbury, another week, another league match, another couple of new names in the team list. What we lack in consistency of squad we certainly make up for in pulling favours and roping in mates.
Sunbury currently being 2nd in the league (at time of this awesome match report) were going to be no pushovers, however there were a few occasions they were literally trying to push us over. Both teams seemed to be playing with more grit than finesse, and clear chances were hard to come by. Leatherhead's best chance falling to Leatherheads most unlikely player Jon Elburn who we can only presume got a nose bleed from being so high up the pitch. Safe to say the ball went flying in to the netball courts behind.
Sunbury packed their midfield tightly, and probably had the better of the second half, but Leatherhead held their ground, dug in and created a strong defensive performance to keep a clean sheet, unfortunately the Sunbury keeper also kept a clean sheet meaning the match ending in a 0-0 draw. Nothing to be disappointed about against a strong team in the league. Big thanks to all those that helped out, including a stellar performance from Joseph Bacon in goal, afraid as you did so well you're classed as a keeper now – or in Bacon's words: "I didn't do anything, the ball just hit me in the arm!".
MENS 2s (Diablos)
The big question was about to answered, could the Diablos keep their on the road unbeaten run going, for once we had a goalkeeper, an umpire and enough players to be able to boast a substitute, heady days indeed. That was why we started the game with 8 men and no keeper thanks to ridiculous traffic problems and an average speed for me of 10mph (those of you who know me we realise the significance of that statistic alone).
I arrived at the pitch with the game already well underway and worryingly passing our keeper going in the opposite direction still without his kit on. Apparently, from what I ascertained during our post match debrief, Teddington did not adapt well to being faced by such an underwhelming force of just 8 men, especially 8 men without a keeper. My arrival onto the pitch was greeted by news that we should be 2-0 up, which was encouraging. Let the chaos begin.
With eleven men, we quickly exerted our authority, with Olly again breaking free - this time to slot the ball home at the second attempt to give us the lead. Teddington came at us from the restart, possibly shocked to be behind to a keeperless side, but their attacks were easily repelled, until one of our late comers made an almost text book swept clearance; unfortunately straight over the top of the ball leaving their attacker with an open goal to pass into, = 1-1.
The next few minutes were a blur, Teddington having a lot of the ball. This resulted in an air shot at the top of the D, hitting Richard Ashurst in the chin, our first blood break of the day. As he lay prone, our keeper casually strolled onto the pitch so we would still be 11 for the restart. Richard had his chin patched up and an Eeyore style bandage tied around his head, his day complete Hockey wise. A quick re-jig of the team with the captain going from last line of defence to high line of attack.
This change quickly brought us rewards, Shaun Hurman picking up a loose ball and squaring first time for Olly Ruff to grab his 2nd goal of the game. This set a pattern for the rest of the half, Leatherhead dominant just unable to establish a greater margin on the score line. Mainly thanks to their keeper who repelled everything thrown at him although some was due to our profligacy in front of goal.
A buoyant half-time team talk set us up to go out and take the game and try to avoid our rocky 5 minute spell that we usually have directly after half. We got through the first 5 minutes unscathed and more positively, we got our first PC of the game, the reflective strike again being cleared by the keeper with the first of a string of fine saves. Olly was causing their defence untold grief, too much pace for them to deal with but the keeper was always equal to it. Shaun Burchell ran from halfway around the back of their entire defence only for his cross goal effort to be put a couple of inches wide by a defender.
Time for the 2nd blood break, Olly being flattened by a combination of keeper and defender resulting in a bloodied nose. Another penalty corner this time missed by our ineptitude gene, the captain firing well wide with a gaping hole at the near post. The game was becoming an end to end affair with Leatherhead creating the better chances, and more of them, but finding a keeper who was having a great game, no matter what we fired at him.
The pivotal moment occurred about 10 mins from full time, a PC for Teddington, one of a few they were now getting. A strike on goal blocked and from the melee the ball went goal bound. From the people closest to it, the ball did not fully cross the line (please bear in mind the defenders union card here) however their umpire decided it had and blew his whistle, 2-2.
Both teams had chances to score in the last throws of the game, play only broken for a 3rd injury delay, this time to our captain who managed to go down unaided by another player, despite the whaling fleet circling expectantly, he tentatively got back to his feet but alas, due to the nature of the injury, we were forced to play the remainder of the game with 10.5 men and amazingly still would have won the game if not for their keeper.
Final whistle and a draw, a point is a point, but we need to capitalise on these games to propel us up the table.
MotM: Graeme Williamson (a defensive colossus)
DotD: Olly (not scoring 6 and blaming his shirt which he then bled on)
This week our Mens 3 battled against Addiscombe Herons on their home turf and sadly came away with a 3-1 lose. Hopefully our men can return the favour when they play them at home next year.
It was another wet start for the Ladies 1's, with a warm up that involved hurdling puddles and debating amongst ourselves the best time to take off the waterproofs. Because the Mens 1s game overran, our warm up was a little short lived, but it was enough to give the team some touches on the ball before the first whistle went. Due to the weather, the adrenaline, the cookie coma and me talking to Cush on the sideline whilst off the pitch, I thought it better to offer some of the highlights from the game rather than attempt to recall the next 70mins of play – apologies, will pay better attention next week! Here goes:
- Although everyone identified with a position, and mirrored an opposition player because of this, we were all too happy to pick up / chase down players that we hadn't necessarily picked out at the beginning of the game. Without this flexibility, teamwork and communication, we wouldn't have been able to make the advances with did, which gave us a fair few chances on goal – and won us a couple of short corners too.
- Rebecca Riiser is awarded the 'Bugs Bunny' honours after covering every inch of the pitch throughout the game without a moment's hesitation. This included countlessly winning the ball, chasing down the ball, driving the ball the full length of the pitch, ensuring the ball made it to the opposition's D, playing defence, mid and forward and probably killing the battery on her fitbit in the process.
- Although a 0-0 scoreline at half-time, Jess Laslett secured our first goal 10-minutes into the second half! Well....for moving onto the post after a great short corner pass and getting the ball behind the goalie's foot – sending the opposition into a slight panic which caused their goalie and defence player to knock the ball in for us. Congratulations also goes to the short corner team for getting it to Jess in the first place!
- Megan Smith delivered our second goal – a spectacular strike from the top of the D that passed through 3 players and beautifully into the left hand corner of the goal. What a goal indeed!
- Although marginal misses, Liz Carleton and Debbie Raymond had two shots on goal which were truly heart stopping – for us and the opposition! The first saw Debbie pick up the ball and move it round the keeper after the goalie moved off her post. It was sadly not to be but was exhilarating to watch. The second was spectacular. Liz C intercepted a 16-hitout, catching the goalie and the back defence line completely off guard and securing herself a one-on-one with the keeper. Needless to say, her efforts left the opposition feeling a little queasy and the remaining 20 players behind her watching in sheer amazement! We'll get them next time!
- Liz C also gets a second mention for delivering such incredible teas! Homemade tomato soup, homemade bread (two types), homemade cookies (two types of chocolatey cookie-goodness) and two lemon drizzle cakes – Kat is still dreaming about that lemon cake.
Although not everyone has been mentioned by name, it was a brilliant game for everyone. Every single player ploughed 100% energy and drive into both halves, working for each other and securing a well-deserved / well-fought win. In the words of Kat: “L1 nailed a 2-0 win against 2nd in the league Tulse Hill. Storming team performance - confident in defence and flying going forwards. Fantastic hockey, topped off with world famous Liz Carleton teas. Thanks to Linda and Colin for umpiring. Well done everyone xx"
The ladies 2s headed to Wimbledon this weekend. We entered the game determined to score our first league goal of the season with the motivation of donuts from Roanna Thomas, alas the donuts did not materilase and L2 are still searching for that elusive goal.
Wimbledon had a very well worked (but also predectable) short corner routine which contributed to atleast two of their goals. However, we left the game feeling pleased with our efforts, with a possitive attitude having given it our all.
Big thanks to Tasha Feddery in goal who provided some execllent dispays of diving and saved many a goal, thanks also to the legend Franki Teague who donned the whistle.
Final score 6-0 (which broke our run of conceding one less goal each week).
WOTM: Charlotte Pennels (Captain's choice!)
Other exciting news:
The next Committee meeting takes place tomorrow – 13th November. If you fancy getting involved, you can find more details can be found here.
Joe's debut in goal inspired a special mention to this youtube find: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3gbOUXbEHk