1s & 3s win, 2s held at Oxted but Ladies suffer double defeat

Another mixed weekend saw the men’s 1stXI edge past Oxford University 4-3, 3rdXI thump Barnes 7-0 a 2-2 draw for the 2ndXI but both ladies teams lose by one goal.

Reports from all the weekends action below, firstly Jay Harman reports on the 1stXI win over Oxford Uni….

Fresh off the bus, the fresh faces of the Oxford Uni freshers were not looking so fresh, and it seemed clear that with freshers week taking its toll, the OCs wouldn’t be subjected to the fresher pressure that the visitors were hoping to exert. The game started much as was expected, with the OCs taking the early initiative, passing it between themselves with measure and control, and giving the freshers a right royal run around. Our first goal started, with some Wizzer magic down the left hand side, beating two, drawing two more and then slipping to Jay leading across the D. After running the base line and kicking two sticks away – two more than any normal umpire would have allowed – the ball found its way to Harry, who deftly finished. The second goal came shortly after, a well taken and well worked short corner. In the interest of being able to use the short corner again, I won’t divulge details here, but Hugh Rob and Jay executed well to see the ball buried in the back of the net. The third goal really summed up the freshers’ defence, who looked more comfortable without the ball than they did with it. Trying to work it round the back and out of the OC full press, the Oxford centre back passed it straight to Jay, who passed it straight to Harry, who passed it straight into the goal. Ne’er an easier goal was scored. 3-0 and the hosts were looking dominant, and though Oxford pulled one back just before the half after a ball was crashed in from the right flank, halftime was a happy time.

 With the score at 3-1 going into the second half, both sides knew how important the next goal was, and it was Oxford who grabbed the initiative, scoring from somewhere in the D no doubt, but I can’t quite remember how. Anyway, 3-2 and the OCs were under the cosh. An incredibly frustrating 20 minutes followed during which we seemed content to give the ball away constantly despite having the lion’s share of the possession. Fortunately for us, the freshers were caught at the back once again, and after a ball was played through to Jay in the D, he gave a simple reverse pass around the keeper to Wizzer who finished with aplomb. Another gift. Our rash and frantic play continued even after the goal, and with 10 minutes left we conceded again (and again I can’t remember how). Happily though, the students began to fade and we were able to limp over the finish line as worthy 4-3 winners.

A dicey performance from the boys and ultimately we were fortunate to run into such undercooked undergraduates. But whilst the score may have been a fair reflection on the day’s performance, it was not reflective of the gulf in quality between the two teams, and the OCs will be hoping to stuff them at their patch early next year.

A (not entirely sober) Sam Carne reports on the 2ndXI draw at Oxted….

Saturday the 10th October saw the Old Cranleighans 2XI return to their bogey ground in Oxted. The past two years have seen underserved last minute defeats, after failing to capitalise on numerous chances. With a renewed passion generated by the all inspiring captain (and stronger side) they took the 1 hour long commute in their stride. Firstly, a warning. This match report may not be completely accurate or factual.
As we arrived at the ground the atmosphere was tense, probably due to the fact we had a completely new side and no one knew each others name, or it was the tension of performing in front of the 7 man crowd that had assembled on the hill. Regardless, we were either going to explode out of the blocks or fall flat on our faces.
The Goldenfox bravely lost the toss on purpose to lull the opposition into a false sense of security…. It almost worked… OC’s mugged their midfield of the ball and new comer Max Avison surged through into an almost one on one situation. Sadly, and very un Carthusian esq, he bottled it. The first half continued in a similar fashion, OC’s attacked and attacked but time after time failed to produce any end product. Oxted continued to look to hit us on the counter attack; but our all star defence managed to keep them at bay…. Until a freak moment of poor concentration all over the pitch saw Oxted scramble in a scrappy goal. The less said the better. The half continued in a similar fashion, Hugh Jolly had the keeper scrambling around on the floor like a fat kid who had dropped a sweet, but time after time we failed to convert. Finally after the keeper been rounded for the 4th time Ollie Taylor finished of a terrific move from close range. 1-1. The momentum was firmly with the OC’s and besides a few terrific saves from short corners Oxted could/should have been at least 3-1 down… some would say 8-1. But ill conservatively say 3-1. The umpires blew for half time and captain fantastic gave a speech reminiscent of Henry the V on St Crispins day.
We started the second half on fire, dominating the game completely. But then, they scored. 2-1. Let’s not dwell on it. OC’s quickly took complete control again, rattling the post at least once/several times. Rounding the keeper at least 9 more times, each time failing to produce an end product. It was only when we started to play some average hockey that we managed to equalise. Jolly once again made their defence look amateur before Charlie Alston took it upon him self to ping a half volley from the top of the D on the turn through the back board. Once the goal had been replaced, the OC’s continued their push goalward, but to no avail. With frustration high we threw everything forward once more looking for the winner… Instead of getting the winner we gave away a short corner…. The final whistle blows. Instantly the veterans of the side had flashback to last season when an after the whistle short corner saw a 1-0 defeat. Not this time. As we roared off the line Oxted bottled it and Dan Marshall, who had been sensational all day slapped the ball away to end the game. On reflection we would take the point, but will feel very hard done by not to walk away with 3 points.
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A solid performance from Neil Grimes in the 3rdXI 7-0 hammering of Barnes

Eds Copleston reports from the 3rdXI 7-0 victory over Barnes….
“After a scrappy win away to Reigate we returned for our first league match at fortress TD. Given the honour of playing the first game with the new goals, the squad warmed up well. Dan Osborne stepped up in goal for what he described as one of the biggest games of his hockey career! From the start we took control of the game with good ball speed and movement. Barnes were camped in their own half for the first quarter but it took a reverse stick finish from Eds to break the deadlock after 25minutes.

We moved the ball well through CB, Grimer, Packham and Jonker in midfield as Charlie Packham scored an exquisite top left finish to put us 2 up at the half. We maintained the pace in the second half and ripped Barnes apart with 2 more goals from Eds, one from Rob Jonker, a deft CB finish and Chris Bents with a delightful solo goal from the half way line. Thanks to Martin Williamson as always for officiating although he is yet to break his league “Green Card Sinbin Virginity.” 7-0 a fair reflection on a one sided contest, but bigger challenges ahead as we travel to sunny Croydon next weekend.”

Sophie Merrett reports from the ladies 3-2 defeat at Woking….
“Arrival at the Woking ground saw our squad shrink by 1 to make us 12 as a player found it tricky to make it from Newcastle for a 1.30 push back (apparently there is some rugby tournament on at the moment with Scotland playing Samoa at St James’s Park). Luckily we had the magical words of Taylor Swift blaring in the car park to “Shake It Off” to focus on the match in hand. After a few words of wisdom from Coach Dan we set up to take on an unbeaten Woking side with no goals conceded.

From the first whistle the OC Ladies took control and quickly won the ball back from a Woking push back to drive down to the opposition 25. A strong Woking defence denied an early lead for the OCs and the ball worked its way down the field as the home side led a counter attack. Before long Woking were 3 goals up through two successful short corner routines  and a skilled attack in open play. The OC ladies let their heads drop after the third goal however a crucial attack before half time saw Jackie Waite bring the score to 3-1 at the 35 minute whistle. In the second half the OC Ladies turned up a gear after a half time kick up the butt from Coach Dan and managed to keep the ball in the opposition half for the majority of the play culminating in a well worked goal finished by Heather Jackson to bring it to 3-2 at full time. Man of the match went to Nikki Springett for an excellent performance in defence, with mentions also going to Heather, Caz in goal and Sophie de Haast. A great team effort all round despite the result. Bring on a home game next week, 11.30 pushback and support is most welcome!”

Jane Taylor reports from the Vamps first league defeat….

“Faced with a team half our age, fitter and quite vocal, Vamps had to rely on experience. The game could have gone either way but the first half was goalless. We lost Fiona at half time due to a back strain, leaving a gap in midfield. Although the Vamps had a couple of close chances cleared off the line we were unable to take the lead. With 5 minutes left we conceded a short corner and gamblers scored. A draw would have been a fair result but this is one of the stronger teams in the league so we move on and next week try to reclaim top spot!”