Ladies 1-1 Leatherhead
Leatherhead Ladies started strong, however we hassled their attack and kept the pressure on forcing the ball to turn over in our favour. We were particularly good and cutting out all of their options on their long corners, not allowing them into the circle. As a result our opposition didn’t really get given a chance to try for any short corners.
Our goal was scored towards the end of the first half from our first short corner. It was from a hard straight strike making that wonderful sound when the ball hits the board at the back of the goal. Leatherhead Ladies scored a good goal right at the end of the first half from a free pass that was smacked into the circle and found a stick that deflected into the goal mouth.
Our spirit and energy seemed to lift throughout the game, we became more aware of the space available which gave us more time to lift our heads and improve our passing. There were more attempts on goal in the second half. There were a few occasions when the oppositions keeper’s pads were being hounded by OCs. We were also given another two short corners in the second half.
Overall a great team effort which we can also learn a lot from.
1stXI 0-3 Havant
Despite a spirited and high quality performance, the OCs were unfortunately defeated 3-0 by a strong Havant. A flattering scoreline not reflecting a competitive and free-flowing match in which goals were scored in the 3rd, 65th and 68th minutes. It won’t come as much condolence, but the OCs can take a lot of heart from this match. We played good hockey, created chances, won short-corners and dominated large passages of play. Make no mistake, we are up there with the best in this league.
Still, those chances need to be converted and the OCs will be disappointed not to have scored from one of four shorties in addition to an open play goal. Chris Wiseman and Harry Thomas were the key architects of our attack, confusing opponents like Saeed Ajmal on a turning wicket. It was great to see Harry playing in his preferred forward position. Jody Smith also played well; a great addition to the squad.
Again our defence performed admirably. With Dan Osborne injured – hip sprain after a fall in the bathroom – Ross Kingsnorth took charge at the back and was very solid throughout; he did not make a mistake in the entire game. Stewart Laing and Justin Taylor 😉 were also at their best and proved more of an obstacle than Younis Khan on a flat deck.
The first goal came from a scramble in our D, the second from a short corner drag flick (courtesy of a bottle-job on the line by JT ;)), and the third from a deflection when we were caught slightly out of position. Perhaps our best opportunity fell to Jay Harman who created an opening after catching Havant’s centre back in possession. Unfortunately Jay’s finely struck reverse was well saved.
A disappointing day but a game full of promise. From a personal view, I love playing with and for this team – a great bunch of lads and a great culture. This season will no doubt be tough, but it’s going to be a lot of fun.
On a more negative note: the dick of the day nominations were plentiful. Jimmy’s shower gel, Jody’s ignorance of a very well established hockey rule, Knappy’s white-shirt fiasco and of course the bottle job from News Just In. However, the votes stacked up against me – for having too much sweet bant!
3XI 9-1 Old Reigatians 2
Whilst I am a perturbed about being in Abu Dabhi with imminent ISIS terror warnings, my attention was more focused on the quest to continue this winning start to our league campaign. On friday we had 8 players, but 45 begging emails later we had amassed 12 for this top of the table clash. Thanks to the returning Andy Farquhar, Foxy, Ollie & Darren showing club spirit and stepping in to help. Similar to the Iraqi army assembled, we had a couple of experienced yet unconventional generals – Davies & Hawes – presiding over tactics. Neither man likes to warm up outside a bar. Ladbrokes would have given incredible odds on those 2 being at the ground first, but there they were an hour before pushback ready to take a warm up! Thanks guys. After his late-in-the-game card antics last week Judge Williamson was residing again and eager to punish any ill discipline.
I’ve received various accounts of the game. The most helpful being the following 4 –
Chris Bents “we clearly don’t need you skipper”
Darren “we were brilliant”
Tommy “we played as a team”
But I will role with General Davies account of the game……
“For the majority of the first half we kept our composure with short controlled passes retaining possession and rarely letting OR’s into the game. However, towards the end of the half legs tired and over-confidence crept in – we reverted to playing the long ball and our composure suffered. As a result at half time we were only 2-0 up and it’s fair to say we all felt we should have been further ahead.
Nonetheless, firm words by Grimes at half time put a stop to the long ball and we recomposed ourselves scoring quickly to build up our lead. OR’s never gave up though. A slack few minutes of play by OC’s let OR’s through. Kept out by some spectacular saves by Nige the pressure continued. With Nige on the deck, OR’s pulled it out and what looked to be a certain goal was kept at bay by Foxy. Unfortunately, clipping the wrong side of his stick a PF was conceded and OR’s converted. OC’s regrouped kept to the game plan of controlled passing and worked tirelessly for one another.
From the back Crumby and Tommy controlled the game directed by the ever vocal Nige which allowed Grimes and Ollie to hold centre who linked up well with up front school days duo Lewis and Farquhar. This coupled with width and interchangeability down the left (bents, bish and Foxy) and right (Darren and CD) resulted in what can only be described as the best performance this season to date. As OR’s put it “we pulled them apart and simply didn’t let them into the game”. The end result of 9-1. Truly an outstanding, non-arrogant display playing for each other.”
It’s been a good start and still a long way to go but we are slowly gathering momentum to keep the dream alive…..As is the trend after a week of poor availability we have 19 available right now for Saturday! Eds