Match Reports – Saturday 25th November

The 2nd XI secured the team-of-the-week with a third straight win which lifts them free of a relegation slot; there were also good wins for the 1st XI, 4th XI and Vamps while frost took out some other games

Henley 1 Old Cranleighans 5

The Old Cranleighans continued their good start to the season with a convincing 5-1 win at bottom side Henley, a result which sees the old boys one point off the top of the table with two matches to go before the Christmas break.

We travelled with a depleted squad and coach Pettitt was delayed in traffic, with Nathan Hill to blame after deciding to do some family shopping on the way. The atmosphere among the OC squad was relaxed with the majority of the pre-game chat focusing on Dan Rhodes’s love life.

Despite the cold weather and slow build up, OCs started the game at a high intensity with the full press resulting in a number of turnovers high up the pitch. OC’s thought they had taken the lead early on a David Roberts finished from close range, however the goal was adjudged to have been after the short corner was awarded. From the resulting corner, the keeper saved a straight flick from Nathan, but the rebound fell to Hugh Robinson who finished with what can only be described as a top; similar to the majority of OD’s golf shots. OCs continued the pressure and the second goal came in a similar manner, this time with the finish from Laidman with a classy flick over the grounded goalkeeper. OCs play was so expansive that even Davies got into the opposing D. He had two bites of the cherry but unfortunately the keeper easily saved both and the ball was cleared straight into the advanced centre back. Unfortunately, with a 12 man squad OCs were unable to continue to play at this higher pace. With this in mine, we dropped off which allowed Henley to play a bit more freely. It seemed that the skipper was enjoying doing things in twos as he twice decided to dribble past the Henley forward on his own 25-yard line. The second time he was tackled by a fellow Durham alumnus, who advanced forward and finished well into the bottom corner past the helpless Doble.

The 2nd XI celebrate after their third win on the bounce

The 2nd half saw OCs play with renewed energy, which again meant we could press high up the pitch.  OCs won an early corner after some good pressing down the right hand side with the sequential corner being mis-trapped by Pettitt at the top of the D. However, Hill was on hand to restore the two-goal advantage with a reverse stick shot that fired into the backboard. OCs continued full pressing Henley to ensure that the 3 points returned to Thames Ditton. The pressure continued to tell, and OCs won good counter attack ball that was calmly slotted in by Hill at the back post who took his season’s tally to 9. Unfortunately energy levels soon dried up and we dropped back to a 60% press to protect the three-goal advantage. Despite this and some tired legs, OCs managed to add to the score line with Laidman converting a fantastic reverse stick shot into the side netting. At the other end, Doble has a quite second half but it was nonetheless pleasing to see him make his first short corner save of the season.

The result sees OCs 1 point off the top of the table with two games to play until the Christmas break.

MOM Laidman – best looking man in the league and not bad at hockey

DOD Ripley – Jokes, and won’t be playing again

Men’s 2nd XI
Match report to follow.

Men’s 3rd XI
Match report to follow.

Men’s 4th XI 2-1 Purley
Congratulations to all those who played on Saturday in a gritty home win against in-form Purley. We scored early and had them on the back foot for most of the first half and probably should have put the game out of sight. With a two-goal lead, we knew they would come at us hard in the second half and with ten minutes to go, they made it 2-1 to set up a massive rear-guard action to secure the 3 points against determined waves of attacks. It came down to a controversial penalty corner in the dying seconds which we luckily scrambled away. High praise to Si Q for rediscovering his goal-scoring Jedi skills, Seb for having another big game in goal, and Cato for helping out at short notice.

Men’s Hamstrings
Match report to follow.

Men’s Barnstormers
Match report to follow.

Spencer 3 Old Cranleighan Ladies 1st XI 2
The OCs again failed to record back-to-back wins as they went down 3-2 to third-place Spencer. On a chilly morning the match was in doubt but the pitch thawed in time, and Spencer started the stronger although it was the OCs who took the lead when Katie Richards set up Rosanna Hall who scored with a well-placed ball into the corner of the goal. Spencer came back hard and put the OCs under pressure, although their defence worked hard and Michele Rankin in goal made some good saves. A goal down at the break, Spencer again pressed in the second half and levelled from a short corner, although the OCs were unable to capitalise on shorts of their own at the other end. OCs regained their lead with a Richards flick after a foot on the line stopped a goal, but Spencer soon equalised and secured all three points near the end. The OCs pressed hard for an equalisers but failed to break down a stubborn defence.

Ladies 2nd XI
Match report to follow.

Ladies Vamps 3-1 Berrylands
Vamps had a lot to prove, resting a bit too close to the bottom half of the league. Started well and Debbie capitalised on some dodgy defending to score. Berrylands equalised fairly quickly after that and Vamps were unable to score from a few short corners. Eventually Yasmine dribbled the ball from the halfway and scored a dramatic goal single handily. Kim made a third and the oppo were struggling to gain control in the second half. Vamps more than happy to have a win after several disappointing weeks and hoping now that their dry run has ended.

Ladies 3rd XI
Match report to follow.