1st XI 4-2 Barnes
After last season’s antics and success, OCHC had become a team of not just friends, but superstars; their ‘rickety old stand’ was internationally feared, and the fences around our great pitch had come to resemble the walls of Troy (before the city fell, just ignore that bit of history). The summer break was spent relaxing and enjoying the success of beating Barnes, over and over again and winning the league in spectacular style (contrary to incorrect information found on their website. This being said when you get thumped twice in 1 season you’re moral does tend to need lifting). Anyway where was I…? Oh yeah October the 5th had finally arrived and with it, not only the start of the new season, but our first encounter of our old rivals Barnes.
Spirits were high as we ushered in a new season with an OCHC and hockey legend at the helm, David Knapp. Our preparation was flawless as ever and pushback was due to commence at 3pm. As had become a custom in the 1st XI we were taken on a lengthy and intense warm up by Stu and Jay, our body and minds were ready. Even our chatty, charming, funny, witty and incredibly good looking centre back ‘The Golden Fox’ was quieter than normal.
3pm arrived and as we clapped off a successful OCHC 3rd XI side. It was game time. The rickety stand was packed. Even our old mentor and club friend Coach Gary ‘Bombay’ Boucher turned up to roam the stand and watch what was likely to be another thumping of Barnes.
Some would say that the game started nervously and that both sides were wary of making a mistake. However, these people would have no idea what they are talking about. OCHC started confidently making very few mistakes and in found themselves in complete control of the game, coming close several time. Barnes, as usual when playing OC’s, were well and truly on the back foot… And before they knew it found themselves 1-0 down. Paddy Harman (aptly named ‘P’) had expertly push home a goal mouth scramble after Chris ‘Wizzer’ Wiseman walked through 99% of the Barnes starting XI as if they weren’t even there. This goal was followed by further dominance form the home side, who were demonstrating the quality that it takes to win a league, rather than come second. During the infamous season 2012-2013 the OC’s had proven their short corner threat, so when Barnes were foolish enough to give one away it seemed nothing more than a routine to put it in the back of the net. As remembered by the scorer “Rippers junior hit a thunderbolt at the goalie from our first short corner of 2013. The ball bouncing a yard of the pads, Rippers senior, following his perfect injection, followed up with lightning reflects and courageously dived away from the goal and with an impossible angle and managed to ‘sweep’ the ball into the goal past numerous defenders”. This being said ‘Rippers senior’ is getting old so the details may have been slightly exaggerated. Needless to say it was a goal of the highest quality and Barnes were starting get a little emotional.
Queue the tissues. 10 minutes after half time Jay Harman (again aptly named ‘J’), who had looked lively and threatening all game, linking up with the Graywolf and George C found a whole in their defence, slotting the ball home. 3-0. It was starting to look all over.
Sadly, Barnes decided to opt for the age old ‘if you can’t win, cheat’ tactic. Their first goal in the attempted Istanbul esq come back came from a dubious decision outside the 23 that completely and utterly luckily found itself against the backboard of the OC goal. Barnes striker Calum Milne had attempted to stop a poorly hit pass from the Barnes centre-half. His clear lack of quality meant that he was unable to stop it dead and instead clipped his outstretched stick and little to his knowledge found its way into the goal. 3-1. It was clear this act of god unnerved the OC’s and passes started to go wayward as Barnes tried to use the momentum in their favour. Little did we know a hospital pass from Justin Bieber would soon put the agile Golden Fox in hospital. Bravely and heroically the Golden Fox tried to make up for the mistake, however even as agile, quick, intelligent and brilliant that he is, he wasn’t agile enough to get to the ball in time. Instead he sacrificed himself. Even though the fox was clearly outside of the D, as he hadn’t moved after the impact, the umpire saw fit to give a penalty flick and a yellow card. With the fox paralysed and resembling a recent bit of road kill on the A3, Barnes converted the flick to make it 3-2.
For all those reading this report you must be thinking oh no the OC’s are in trouble… 2 of their 4 defenders are now injured and it looks like the momentum is with Barnes…. You’d be wrong. OC’s reacted this goal in phenomenal fashion, showing their determination and clear friendship bond by taking complete control of the game yet again. A series of chances went missing in True OCHC fashion, but it was clear another goal was on the horizon. Enter stage left our player of the season (2012-2013) Jay. 4-2. It was all over bar one last piece of controversy. Jay Harman once again after a beautiful bit of OCHC play had found his way through on goal, there were 2 defenders sprinting after him and failing miserable to keep up. They decided to take him out from behind. If the challenge made by our heroic centre-back the Golden Fox was a flick this was worth 5 flicks and worthy of sending off the whole team. However, wisely… The umpires decided that it was a long corner.
Anyway game, set and match to OCHC. I would say it’s getting boring beating Barnes…. But you know what… It really isn’t!
Well played everyone and let’s continue the momentum forwards… And for those who are counting that makes it 26 games unbeaten. Tune in next week to see how we fare against a tough Marlow side.
London Edwardians 4-0 Ladies XI
After the long drive to Battersea Park (for some) and inevitable afternoon push-back delay we set to against a tough London Edwardians team, with 12 players. We battled hard against the opponents and the bumpy pitch which at times gave rise to an almost lacrosse style of play (Fletch must have taken tips from Sophie DH!).
Unfortunately the first half ended with us having conceded and in need of really taking the game to them. However, today wasn’t our day – they seemed to have a bit more fire in their belly so although it was an incredibly tough game on all sides and we had a few chances in the D we couldn’t get it across the line.
An early season defeat of 4-0 to London Edwardians leaves us itching to get back out there and come out fighting next time.
3rd XI 2-0 Sunbury and Walton Hawks
This was a fresh season, a new start for a third team that lost their skipper last season and had Nathan “Man Up” and take over a team that was clearly talented but had not produced the goods to date. Comically, Skips wasn’t even there for the warmup, he was busy creating a masterpiece of a whiteboard that would ensure we knew our structure and were mentally prepared for a season that he wants to be glorious. Its great to be back in England and experience the wonderful rain that seems to fall even when the forecast was for sun and no clouds. We had a few motivational words from skips after the whiteboard was put down…then it was time for pushback and the beginning of what we believe is going to be a monumental 3rd XI season.
We dominated the first half and should have had a few more than just the edge of Eds’s stick that their keeper mysteriously let go into the goal….what was he thinking….The back line held firm throughout and was the reason for us being up at half time. Nigel had a few too many words with the umpire. I have never seen a keeper complain about a decision that went in our favor – so passionate he is that it almost resulted in a sin bin.
Early in the second half we began to dominate the game and despite the loss of Jock Vickers (quite an extraordinary injury that when questioned he claimed he was trying to “change direction”). The half time team talk was listened to and we began to move the ball wider and use the speed we had against what was an ageing opposition back line. We did need a second goal however, and it took a long time to come. A seriously selfish Chris Bents had 5 open players when he decided to shoot from the sideline. We still await his penalty jug. Eventually a short corner routine that has taken years to evolve after training resulted in Eds finishing the game off and the crowd were chanting OC’s forevermore.
It looks like a good season ahead and a victorious one now that we have Jock on the sidelines serving Pimms and taking pictures. Well done to Nathan for incredible organization and a white board that leaves Alex Ferguson pondering where he went wrong…..