Match Reports – Saturday 4th November

A mixed bag of results in this weekend. The Men’s 1st XI are back on a winning streak, along with the Men’s 3rd XI who bagged a whopping 12 goals. The Ladies Vamps earned a much needed three points and our Ladies 1st XI had a cracking game with 8 goals scored, their highest ever score. The Men’s 2nd XI had a long journey down to Dorset only to come home with a loss, the Men’s 4th XI, Ladies 2nd and 3rd XI also lost.

Men’s 1st XI 2-1 Spencer
A wet, autumnal day at the Old Cranleighan club provided the setting for the first XI’s attempt to bounce back from last week’s defeat at the hands of London Edwardians, a result that had seen the two clubs draw level on points at the top of the league. The opposition this week was Spencer, fellow league hopefuls and a team with whom the OCs have had an historically well-fought and enjoyable rivalry.

It was with some trepidation, however, that the teams took to the leaf-strewn pitch, uneasy in the knowledge that one of the day’s officials had handed out three red cards to Winchester the week before, during a tense four-all draw that more resembled the last days of Rome than it did an early-season South Prem hockey fixture. It was this trepidation, perhaps, that led to one of the most boring encounters in recent memory. The OCs started fast with a well-worked team goal, finished by ageing forward Chris Wiseman, in the first five minutes, and added to the tally moments later through the free-scoring Nathan Hill. A few chances to extend the lead then went begging, and despite the OC set piece being buoyed by the absence of Matt Murphy, the two early goals were to be the only ones scored by the league leaders that day.

A period of stale, featureless, and wearying boredom ensued for much of the remainder, as Spencer found it impossible to break down the OC press, while the OCs struggled to string more than a couple of passes together without giving the ball away. Punctuated by only a couple of green cards and a late, fortuitous goal for Spencer from the tightest of angles, the game withered on the vine, ending in a 2-1 win for the home side in front of an emptied stand. A win is a win, though, and while the crowd voted with their feet, the OCs marched on to maintain their position at the top of the league. We all look forward to next week at Oxford Hawks for what may prove to be a season-defining fixture. #awaydays

Men’s 2nd XI 5-9 Gillingham (Dorset)
Match report to follow

Men’s 3rd XI 12-0 Royal Holloway
On a cold and wet Autumnal day we spent half the warm up clearing the leaves off the pitch before a lacklustre stretch and team talk. Afternoon starts have historically not produced our best performance as we are usually enjoying afternoon naps by 4pm. However we had a strong side, with Jody Smith and Nick Ripley stepping into midfield to replace the unavailable CB and Grimer. Tommy Cooper also returned from university to play up front.
The first half proved frustrating as we had the majority of possession against a university side that seemed intent on playing half court and trying to catch us on the break. The RH keeper had a blinder of a first half and must have made over a dozen superb saves to keep them in the match. They did manage to break into our D a few times but without success. Goals from Jody and Nick Ripley took us into the half with a 2 – 0 lead and whilst patience was key, we knew the next goal could open the floodgates.

We scored immediately after half time and the rout began as RH had no answer to some great ball speed and finishing. A final scoreline of 12-0 was probably a fair reflection of our dominance. 10 goals in the second half says it all – with 5 for Ben Jamieson and hat tricks for Nick Ripley and Eds Copleston taking him to 15 in 6 games. Things could have been difference if Heardy, Mezz and Cato hadnt snuffed out the RH offences in the first half. We travel to Camberley this weekend, who are one win behind us and will be looking to take our spot at the top of the league. Bring it on!

Men’s 4th XI 2-3 Sunbury Hawks
Another cracking away game on Saturday saw us narrowly lose 2-3 in a well contested match against Sunbury Hawks. They hit us three times on the break to set up two-on-ones and agonising tap-ins. ‘D*ck of the day’ goes to our very own Rob J for blowing the final whistle with ten minutes still to play! Once both sides had shaken hands and commented on what a short second half that felt, hostilities were resumed for a ‘final quarter’ decider, where both sides scored again to leave the result unchanged! This week sees us take on league leaders and undefeated Cranleigh Men’s 1s.

Men’s Barnstormers
Match report to follow

Men’s Hamstrings 
Match report to follow

Ladies 1st XI 8-0 Woking
The OC Ladies were first on the pitch, and we quickly made use of it being free, warming up and practicing short corners. The heavy rain worked in our favour making the ball move quickly. After Woking’s first push back we started strong, turned possession and scored our first goal in the first 5 minutes of the match. Woking made a mistake when transferring the ball around the back that was capitalised on by Amy Mighalls who dribbled into the D, drew the keeper and slipped the ball to Katie Richards who put the first ball in the back of the net. Another 10 minutes went by and although we weren’t really playing our game, we kept the goals coming. Kate Scott crossed the ball in from the right but was saved by the keeper, however Amy Mighalls got the rebound on the reverse and over the line. Woking made a couple of breaks but our goal keeper Michele Rankin had us covered, making some fantastic saves throughout the game, especially when she took an exceptional dive and saved the ball from crossing the line.

The half time chat refocused the team and we started the second half with some fantastic transfers of the ball around the back, keeping possession. We had some more great moments of play, keeping strong in possession and defence. Goals in the second half came from Katie Richard again, some great dribbling skills and shot on target. There was a  slow-mo goal from Rosanna Hall, a left post strike from Alicia Collyear, a cracking strike from Georgie Syms and a rebound picked up by Jackie Waite. The final score was 8-0 to OC’s, a fantastic result for the ladies 1’s. A high goal scoring game is exactly what the team needed to develop confidence and help us progress.

Ladies 2nd XI 0-1 Wayfarers
This weekend’s fixture took the Ladies 2s into the “nightmare to get to that” that is South London (although we probably shouldn’t moan given that the Mens 1s were had to go to Dorset). After a really strong start to the season, this match represented a massively frustrating result and not one that any of us really want to dwell on. But I volunteered to write the match report, so will do my best!

Entering the match 7th in the league, and having won only one game, we were helping to build on our recent good form to get a win and maybe even some decent goal difference out of this match. However complacency has got the better of us in the past and so we were determined to push hard from the first whistle. We dominated possession throughout the first half, thanks to some great passing and movement and the ball barely made it into our half. Spencer were, however, strong in defense, with a good keeper, and so we struggled to convert the possession into goals. Then, close to the end of the first half the Oppo managed to break into our D and – after a scuffle around the goal – were awarded a short corner. They went for the straight strike but chipped the ball about 3 feet in the air and it ended up rebounding off Helen H’s stick and into the goal. Given that she had the stick in front of her face at the time we all thought it would be disallowed (I know Helen is not the tallest person, but still taller than the backboard…), but the umpire awarded it, and after much deliberation, stuck by his decision.

As a result we entered the half time chat in a really downbeat and frustrated frame of mind, and struggled to lift our heads up as we headed into the second half. Despite a run of short corners and continued possession we were unable to get onto the scoreboard, and the game ended with Heather getting taken out by a barreling defender (about 5 minutes after she had passed the ball) – which pretty much summed it up (I hope you are better now, Heather!).

Thanks to everyone for giving it everything for 70 mins, and also to the supporters on the sideline for cheering us on. We will definitely be looking for a win out of the home fixture!

Ladies Vamps
Vamps came out of the blocks blazing and were straight into the attack.  Eventually they were rewarded when Lauren belted a reverse stick hit into the goal.  Second half started well with a couple of short corners, unfortunately not converted, but eventually Debbie, although robbed on a couple of occasions, managed to get one past the goalie to give the Vamps a 2-0 victory.

Ladies 3rd XI
Match report to follow