First and foremost, Happy New Year to all our members – and to everyone else following our match reports over the past couple of months! We're sure you've eaten way too many mince pies and miniature chocolates over the Christmas break and are feeling ever so slightly relieved that training resumed on Wednesday!
As well as training, this week saw three of our teams back on pitch for league games, with two victories pocketed and an Egg and Bacon union secured at long last! Here’s what the teams had to say:
Men's 1's were meant to be facing Team Surrey Spartans Mens 2s but the opposition asked to cancel the game earlier on in the week. This cancellation meant the Mens 1s banked 3 points with a win in their favour. I'm sure they would have preferred to play the game but congratulations to the boys anyway!
MENS 2s (Diablos)
The first game after the season break, a cold but sunny day saw us with 16, yes 16, men, in our midst was a goalkeeper too. This gave us a problem we really haven’t encountered before, how do you play with 16 people? We deliberated over a Spoons breakfast and all the way to the game and thus the starting 11 had the returning Egg and new recruit Jamie amongst the tried and trusted loyal regulars.
We started the match much the same way we had finished the recent encounter, enjoying good possession and territory but Spencer were a stronger outfit in the return fixture. Even so it was a shock when Spencer took the lead, Donny tackling back and winning possession but giving it away with an errant pass in our D and a short pass to an unmarked CF who hit a weak shot which Alex managed to just touch the ball with a flamboyant air kick and we were 1-0 down.
From the restart we pushed forward but struggled to find the killer pass and when we did get shots off, their goalkeeper made sure they kept their noses in front. One mesmeric run from Shaun B who collected the ball on halfway and proceeded to weave his way into their D, the shot unfortunately did not matched the run and was easily saved by the keeper once it reached him.
From one of our penalty corners Spencer cleared the ball and fired an aerial over our centre back Matt bringing into play the old “pretend to be a tree” ploy as his astros snagged the turf and he was felled like a mighty oak. Fortunately Donnie had sensed the danger and with a text steal nicked the ball off the striker as he wound up to shoot. So despite Leatherhead having a majority of possession and a few scares we reached the halt time break 1-0 down.
The second have continued in much the same way as the first had ended with Leatherhead very much on top and with 10 minutes gone another run by Shaun B down the left flank saw him cut inside along the back line before feeding the ball invitingly to the penalty spot where the onrushing Donny fired it first time into the bottom corner, finishing the move with a flamboyant victory roll. 1-1 and all to play for, the game was now simmering nicely, Spencer’s lynchpin CF being the first to boil over getting a Green card, 2 minutes we couldn’t make the most of but our pressure was starting to open cracks in the Spencer defence. With 17 gone Shaun burst through midfield again feeding Stu T on the P spot, back to goal and with 2 players and the keeper between him and the goal he calmly reverse stick flicked it high into the left hand corner of the goal to put Leatherhead 2-1 up with just the last quarter remaining.
Spencer were now having to take the game to us which they did admirably, Andrew “Egg” Egles coming to the rescue on more than one occasion being in the right place at the right time even when outnumbered 2-1. Lewis H-S picked up a green card making things even more interesting, Rory putting in a particularly good shift during this period ensuring we kept our slender advantage. We still looked dangerous on the break having a 3rd goal disallowed for a dangerous pass into the D. Then, in a desperate attempt to run down the clock, Pete, without a thought for his own safety, did the honourable thing and ran at full speed into the fence surrounding the pitch, not even putting up his arms to protect himself. There was a resounding “dong” as he head-butted one of the fence posts followed by vehement claims he had been pushed. The end result being we had to reshuffle our formation for what remained of the game so it was all in vain.
With 2 minutes to go we conceded a penalty corner, surely we weren’t going to give it away right at the death. Sure enough a good save from Alex T saw the threat rebuffed. With time running out we broke again Shaun feeding Stu and his shot with the outside of the goal as the whistle blew for full time.
Back to back wins against a very competitive Spencer outfit and 6 well needed points setting us up nicely for the return fixture against Barnes and Chilli Saturday.
MotM: Andrew Eagles (imperious in defence)
DotD: Pete Stratford (having an natural relationship with the fence)
Our Mens 3s had a home game against NPL Bulldogs. They came second place this week with an 3-0 loose.
What an incredible start to the second half of the season! After listening to the wave of puffing at training on Wednesday, we approached Saturday with a little caution, appreciating that Christmas – and the three weeks off hockey – may have taken its toll on our fitness and edginess.
We also had to factor in a 4:30pm kick off in Battersea Park, with an ice blanket looming over London and a cold breeze that got all our noses streaming. Nevertheless, we rocked up with plenty of time for a thorough warm up and some power words from Kat and Jo!
Having played London Edwardians on multiple occasions, we knew they had some fight in them so our strategy was to close down play at the first opportunity and keep the ball moving back up the pitch, away from our D and into theirs instead!
And it worked! We followed the opposition’s player like shadows, beating them to the ball, winning the ball off them during potential break-aways and changing the direction of play in our favour. The pressure from the defence team rippled all the way up the pitch, and despite London Ed’s having a squad of supporters on the sideline, they were no match for our 5 supporters calling out words of encouragement whilst trying to keep their toes warm!
Oh yes, there was also the small matter of scoring THREE, yes THREE goals in the first half of the game! All came off the back of short corners, which couldn’t have been possible without the determination and energy from the forwards / mid fielders! The first goal was beautifully executed with the ball played to Cathy at the top of the D, who slipped it right to Debbie, who passed it back to Cathy on the P spot, who pushed it past the keeper and into the back of the goal! Textbook perfection!
The second goal was secured after playing another series of slips. The ball was played to Liv at the top of the D who passed it to Jess on the left post. Jess pushed it across the goal to Molly who collected it and knocked it straight in!
The third was like watching goal number one all over again. Cathy right slipped to Liz C who passed is straight back to Cathy who planted it right back into the goal!
Although sadly we didn’t increase the goal difference in the second half, we did keep London Ed’s ball out of our goal which meant the game ended on a 3-0 win to us – extending our run of 6 undefeated weeks to 7!
Moment of the match for me was Sophie who, despite spending the first 50 mins of the game calm and collected – despite some provoking words from the other team – suddenly let out an almighty ‘COME ON’ in the left-hand corner of the pitch, before sending the ball flying back up the wing. It was an amazing burst of energy and certainly woke us up for the remaining minutes of the game.
Great job ladies, can’t wait to get back out on pitch next week!
The Ladies 2s were meant to have a friendly game but sadly this was cancelled last minute. We saw pictures of Surrey walks, lunches and family days out however, so it seemed the team made up for the lack of hockey in their own way!