Match Reports – March 11 2017

The 2nd XI and Vamps stayed on on course for promotion with great wins at home, while the 3rd XI secured the Surrey Premier title (their third in three seasons) at Leatherhead. The 1st XI secured a vital point at Milton Keynes, the Ladies got an agonising 0-0 draw against OKs, the 4th XI lost at Purley and the Barnstomers drew

Milton Keynes 2-2 1st XI
The 11th of March saw Old Cranleighans take on arguably the toughest away trip in the league – Milton Keynes, with the loser surely out of Champions League contention and fighting to avoid the dreaded Europa League. The fixture was made no easier by the decimation of Petit’s ‘Elite Squad’ – skiing, rugby and the opportunity to test dating apps in South America had left the OCs with only 11 for the match. Undeterred, a very strong team made its way up the M1 for what would be a great test of fitness, character and discipline.

The day started like any other; rumours of Ming, T in Clapham, a play by play analysis of a Harman date and discussions as to whether a certain ex OC was still in EHB exile. The focus however quickly shifted; there was no demonstration of our captains new found love for briefs, no Man of the Match from the previous game and no one to discuss MCC membership. A team talk taken in what can only be described as middle earth led to clear objectives for OCs: disrupt, frustrate and dictate the tempo and we would come away with points. David Knapp was even overheard encouraging the infamous Jay Harman flick off the pitch at one point.

The match started at a slow pace, both Old Cranleighans and Milton Keynes were happy to sit back and absorb any pressure without over committing men. After 25 minutes of summer leaguesque hockey the OCs managed to break through with some nifty play down the left (sorry George), a great move involving CZ, Murphy and Knappy was finished cooly by Jay Harman, clearly buoyed by his antics from the previous night. The first half continued without much further drama until a speculative ball into the D ballooned off an OC foot into the air, the combined height of Doble and Sam Way was insufficient and much like Paddy Harman in a pizza express car park the OCs were unable to keep it down, leading to a decent finish from the Milton Keynes forward. OCs, frustrated by conceding and legs tiring from a whole half of hockey, temporarily lost a grip on the game. The first half ended in conspicuous circumstances when our keeper, remembering David Knapp’s words to go down with an injury if legs were going, selflessly threw himself into the line of a marauding MK player, the ensuing injury and umpire discussion break allowed OCs to catch their breath and finish the half strong.

The second half started with much of the same, both teams sitting back and not making much leeway. The OCs created a few chances with Knappy and CZ unlucky not to finish great moves. However, another great pattern down the left produced the short corner OCs desperately needed, and not for the first time this season Matt Murphy beat a helpless keeper to give us the lead. It seemed that the 11 gladiators were heading towards what would arguably the best win of the season until a soft short corner with five minutes to go left Doble looking silly.

Despite the disappointment of letting slip what would have been a fantastic win, the team who travelled can be extremely proud for picking up a point at a place where most top sides struggle. With the next two weeks of the season pitting us against the top two in the league it will be a great opportunity to see how far we have come from the beginning of the season and how ready we are to challenge the ‘big boys next year’.

MoM: David Knapp
DoD: Josh Doble
Josh Doble

2nd XI 7-1 Woking 2s
Match report to follow

Leatherhead 1s 1-7 3rd XI
After last week’s hiccup the 3rd XI returned to winning ways at Leatherhead and in so doing secured their third title in as many seasons in emphatic fashion. A goals off a short corner in the first minute settled nerves and by half time we were five up and the job was done. Many congratulations to Eds and his side.

Purley Walcountians 6-3 4th XI
Match report to follow

Old Kingstonians 1s 0-0 Ladies
Match report to follow

Vamps 3-0 Sunbury and Walton Hawks Ladies 4s
Match report to follow

Barnstormers 3-3 Spencer Men’s Vets
Match report to follow