Match Reports – Saturday 28th October

The season is well and truly underway, despite a league break for half term for the ladies (why this still happens, no one knows!) The Men’s 1st XI saw their first loss of the season, and the Men’s 2nd XI, Hamstrings and Vamps also suffered loses. The Men’s 3rd XI, 4th XI and Barnstormers all saw good results in. 

Men’s 1st XI 2-3 London Edwardians
The OC’s travelled to South London for what would prove to be an entertaining top of the table clash but a clash that would see the side lose their 100% record for the season. In the opening stages the London side had the majority of the play; dominating the first 10 minutes. However, having sustained early pressure the OC’s fought back with Chris Wiseman and Jay Harman going close. Against the rhythm of the half, Edwardians took an undeserved lead following a mistake from the usually reliable Josh Doble between the sticks. Despite this set back, the visitors pushed hard for an equaliser with Rhodes and Hill linking well with the forward line. But as OC’s searched for an equaliser they looked vulnerable on the counter with the defensive line of Pettitt and Davies called into action to keep the deficit to one. With the half drawing to a close, the OC’s forward line manufactured a short corner to which Matt Murphy won a penalty stroke. The Irishman then converted the penalty to give OC’s a deserved goal before the break. 1-1.

The OC’s came flying out the traps in the second half and mounted pressure on the goal with Ben Wilson and Nathan Hill forcing the Edwardians goalkeeper into fine saves. In the 50th minute, OC’s were awarded another Penalty Corner to which Matt Murphy converted following a slick move from Hill at the top of the circle. 2-1. OC’s pushed hard for a game-sealing third goal but the Edwardians defence and their goalkeeper stood firm. The game then turned following a contentious umpiring decision; the OC’s felt aggrieved not to have been awarded a free hit and then to concede a penalty corner. The home side finished the short corner with a drag-flick into the bottom right hand corner. The home side then reverted to a half-court press in hope of securing a point against the Surrey outfit. Following the equaliser, countless chances and short corners went begging for the league leaders. As they grew frustrated and longed for a winner, they were dealt a huge blow as in the 63rd minute, Skipper, Ollie Davies was dispossessed in defence to give Edwardians an easy finish against a stranded Doble. OC’s fought hard for an equalising goal to maintain their unbeaten start but to no avail as 6 short corners in the last 7 minutes were missed. As the final whistle blew, the OC’s were handed their first loss of the season. Manager, Nick Ripley, will be encouraged by what was a positive second half display against a strong opposition who will undoubtedly be title rivals this year. OC’s remain top on goal difference and welcome Spencer to Thames Ditton at 1pm this Saturday.

Men’s 2nd XI 3-4 London Edwardians
Match report to follow.

Men’s 3rd XI 5-3 Merton 1s
If we do go on to achieve something special this season, this match will not feature in the highlights package. It was always going to be a potential banana skin as we had dire availability, the pitch is like a beach and Merton are a physical, verbal side. A few of us watched the 1stXI lose their first game of the season in the morning, having looked much the better side for most of it. After a lacklustre warm up we started poorly, the basics escaping us and generally half asleep. Despite this a packham shot from the right was half saved and Eds pounced on the rebound to give a lead. This was probably the worst possible start (!) as we poured forward assuming merton would crumble and they broke away to equalize. This was a set back, but 5minutes later they were ahead as we again got caught on the break. We havent been behind this season, and it didnt sit well with the side as Digby Don took frustration out on Martin- receiving a green for verbals. However we didnt implode and began to settle on a pitch that made flowing hockey difficult. Grimes and CB began to take control of the midfield and a flick was won as Farqs had a shot saved on the line by a merton foot. Packham stepped up and calmly scored the equalizer, before we broke again through Paddy and Farqs finished calmly to score his first goal of this years campaign.

3-2 up at the half, frustrated but ahead. It was time to calm down, let the ball do the work and stop appealing. We did and frankly murdered Merton in the second half with new signing Hugh Jolly bedding in well in midfield. We scored the 4th as Jolly broke into the merton D and passed to Eds for his second. At this stage we lost CB with a groin strain and 12 became 11. This didnt halt us however Grimes smashed a missile into to D which allowed Eds to score his 12th goal in 5 games and the contest was over. We had time however for Rob Merry to participate in some charitable passes at the back, giving the Merton forward line the ball in our D three times, the last of which they capitalised on. In the last minute of the game Ports was rugby tackled to leave him irate and squaring up with the Merton skipper. Both players received yellow cards and the argument continued after the game! 5-3 final score with us maintaining top spot in the new league. A dreadful performance and the definition of an “ugly but vital win” as we entertain in form Royal Holloway University next saturday at Fortress TD

Men’s 4th XI 3-1 Epsom 5s
Well done to everyone who played in our 3-1 home win against Epsom on Saturday. After a slow first half, we dominated possession and probably should have won by five or six in the end. We now sit 4th in the league (above the Beavers!) but with four tough upcoming games against the best sides in our league, we’ll need a strong squad and good availability.

Men’s Hamstrings 2-6 Tring Supervets
Match report to follow.

Men’s Barnstormers 3-0 Richmond Vets
Match report to follow.

Ladies Vamps 2-4 Reigate Priory
The Vamps travelled to Reigate for a friendly.  An energetic, fit and younger Reigate team kept the Vamps on their toes, but Vamps following a brilliant cross banged in by Dawn, guesting from Aces, had us take the lead. Reigate managed to even up the score before Sara had a superb shot  to make it 2-1.  Unfortunately Reigate again evened up the score and overtook us to finish 4-2.  It was end to end play and could have gone either way.  Hannah from the Colts debuted for us in goal and gave a good account and Dad, Chris, umpired, so a good family effort.