The second half of the season is well and truly underway now and this weekend saw some more points in the bag. The Ladies 2nd XI and Vamps managed to get wins and the Ladies 1st XI drew. The Men’s 1st, 3rd and 4th XI all took home their well earned three points, with the 1st XI adding another three on Sunday.
Men’s 1st XI 3-2 London Wayfarers
A cold winter day at Thames Ditton provided the setting for the 1stXI to push on from an encouraging first half of the season and the opportunity to set the precedent for the season ahead. The opposition for the first league game back were the mid table London Wayfarers, a fixture that has always historically had scrappy encounters and one that did not fail to live up to this on the day.
The OC’s were well prepared after a strong couple of weeks of pre-season, that saw record numbers at training, 3 convincing wins in a triangular tournament and league returns for Matthew Murphy and Giles Rozier.
Continuing from the first half of the season the OC’s started well and had most the chances, with Nathan Hill and Dave Roberts finding the opposition keeper in fine form. This trend continued for much of the first half and it wasn’t until 20th minute where Chris Wiseman rolled back the years and rocketed one into the bottom of the corner. Despite taking the deserved lead, the visitors fought valiantly and poached one five minutes before the half time, taking the score into the break at 1-1.
After calls for composure from the management, the OC’s responded poorly after the break and soon found themselves under a barrage of Wayfarer attacks. Josh Doble and the defence did extremely well to deal with these attacks and were unlucky when an opposition forward pounced on a loose ball from close range and put it away neatly in the top right-hand corner. The score remained at 2-1 for some time as the OC’s searched for an answer and it was not until the management implemented a full press that the momentum started to sway.
The Wayfarers boys clearly couldn’t handle the OC press and started to show signs of their festive indulgence with 15 mins to go. Nathan Hill had other ideas and forced to the keeper to make a rash stick challenge after a skilful run into the D. There was no debate from the Wayfarers boys when the P flick was given and Matt Murphy calmly put it away to make it 2-2. The remaining 10 mins saw an OC dominance and even the opportunity for CZ to open his OC account, much to the team’s delight. Ben Wilson, always the selfless player, wanted CZ to have the pleasure of securing an OC win, so put an open goal wide from 4 yards with 10 seconds to go. None the less, the OC’s secured a vital 3-2 win.
Results elsewhere in the league mean that the OC’s remain third in the league. With a top a table clash between the Hawks and Eds next week, the OC’s must feel that soon they will be back on top and up for promotion.
Man of the Match: Josh Doble
Dick of the day: Ben Wilson
Goal Scorers: Chris Wiseman, Matt Murphy, CZ
Men’s 1st XI 1-0 Winchester
Old Cranleighans kicked off the 2018 league with a double header facing Winchester on Sunday in a rearranged game after ice caused a premature end to the pre-Christmas run of fixtures. Instead of being at the usual TD fortress, the game was played at the glorious Cranleigh school with the players meeting in the hallowed Jubilee Pavilion.
With a game in the legs, OCs started slowly conceding a short corner almost straight from the push back. The resulting attempt went wide and whilst Doble cleared up a few half chances for Winchester, OCs built into the came with some strong carries through midfield from Murphy and Hill. Ben Wilson went close, attempting to redeem himself from his open goal miss on Saturday, but was only able to find the post on the pitch located in his back yard. The remainder of the first half was uneventful with OCs the happier side at half time despite being unable to convert a number of short corners in a similar to fashion to before Christmas.
The second half started with both sides knowing that the first goal would be important given the cagey nature of the affair with both sides likely to tire as the previous day and festive period would start to show. OCs continued to generate chances mainly through short corners but the Winchester keeper kept the home side at bay. It was Winchester who went closest, only to be denied by the inform Doble’s helmet. OCs continued to probe and were finally rewarded when Matthew Murphy converted his first drag flick of the season with a Jimmy Anderson-esque in swinger to the bottom left corner with 10 minutes remaining. Winchester had a few chances to draw level including a corner on the final whistle but it was OCs who took all three points winning by the satisfying scoreline of 1-0.
A satisfying start to the year for Old Cranleighans who took a maximum 6 points from the weekend. OCs now face one of the toughest away trips of the season this weekend as they visit Bromley & Beckenham.
Men’s 2nd XI
Men’s 3rd XI 5-3 Spencer Hurricanes
The first game in 2018 at The Fortress went according to plan, eventually…
A good start saw Hunts score 2, one a real belter, and Chris OD score his first goal ever to put us 3 up by half time. Quite an extraordinary jug avoidance trick from Hunts who managed to pass the ball past the post whilst trying to replicate Pele’s skill in the 1970 world cup in Mexico.
At half time Tightsman Ports mentioned goal difference being key and Knappy stated a clean sheet was our objective of the second half which were quite naturally ignored by one and all and not too long elapsed in the second half before we were dragged back to 3-2. Mikey made some crucial saves at that point to save us staring down the barrel at our third consecutive 3-3 draw before Lewi nicked a 4th and Al Packer put one away from the flick spot. To ensure that The Tightsman comments were well and truly rubbed into the plastic turf we then let in one more.
Lewi and OD scoring in the same game is clearly and obviously a first and unlikely to ever be repeated as will the fact that Virge failed to card The Tightsman or indeed even speak to him during the game. I am not sure which of the 3 events is more astonishing.
Horley away this Saturday being a big game as they are convinced that they are better than us. Some lame excuses for being n/a from some quarters, skiing for the skipper, again, and skiing for the vets skipper too. Double header a problem for some although an Anne Summers double header may make being away playing hockey twice a weekend far more palatable for those holding the scrotum.
Just need to keep on grinding out the results to make a 4th promotion a reality
Men’s 4th XI 1-0 Spencer Harlequins
A magnificent, hard-fought 1-0 away win against Spencer Harlequins (featuring a certain Armo!) on Saturday that briefly put us up into 3rd place in the league.
This week sees the return leg against Kenley at Fortress TD. Last time Kenley narrowly beat us 3-2 but they currently sit in the relegation zone.
Ladies 1st XI 3-3 London Edwardians
With it being only the second game back after the Christmas break and it being a pretty cold early start up in Battersea Park. The Ladies 1st X1 started a little sluggish. This gave opportunities to the opposition to make two early breaks in the first half, leading them to secure a 2-0 lead in the first 10 minutes. We fought hard and dominated the oppositions half. We managed to fight back and secure two goals in quick succession of each other, early in the second half. For both of the two goals, Katie Richards drove up the pitch, beating their defender on the top of the D, passing to Rosanna Hall who was poised and ready on the right-hand post to smash them in. The score was now 2-2.
At half time, there was definite relief at evening out the playing field but there was still everything to play for. Coach Dan Osbourne’s pep talk was enough to make the team ramp up the gears and bring their full A game into the second half. Right from the first whilst of the second half, we dominated possession and had numerous attacks on their D with lots of brilliant shots on goal. They had short corner after short corner but failed to convert. Following a brilliant top of the D strike the keeper saved the goal but Jackie Waite managed to convert the rebound into the back of the goal. Three quarters of the way through the second half, we were handed two green cards in quick succession, due to not being 5 yards away. With 2 players down, each player picked up the pace and did everything they could to fight off any attacks from the opposition. They kept the score line the same and quickly went back up to 11 players. Despite a brilliant defence we managed to hold on to possession, the opposition unfortunately had a breakaway goal, leading them to score in the last 5 minutes.
The Ladies 1st XI fought hard to try and score again in those last 5, with lots of attacks on their D but unfortunately nothing was converted – meaning a draw of 3-3. It was a tough result to swallow as the Ladies 1st XI dominated most of the play, however London Edwardians capitalised on a team few errors and we paid the price. Overall, there was some excellent connected play during the game which really shows promise for the rest of the season ahead.
Well done Ladies!
Ladies 2nd XI 4-1 Old Freemans
Saturday saw the mighty twos take on bottom of the table Old Freemans, however we knew it would not be an easy game as from the previous away fixture they are a tough team with some great determined players. They fielded a side of 10 which Coach Nick quickly picked up on and gave some great advice – don’t take on 1v1 – play the ball around the players and wear them down. We all took on this advice and did as Nick said, and as the scoreline reflects he was correct! It was 0-0 at half time but the second half was an eventful one seeing Old Freemans reduced to 9 and as their players tired we capitalized on this and scored some great goals. It was an action packed game with two penalty flicks (one per side) awarded, a yellow card and a head injury to the oppo (she is fine now I am pleased to report) causing plenty of reaction from the side line as our Mens 1s supported us.
We had 16 great players so lots of fresh legs on a cold morning for hockey, it was great to get our co-captain Ele back on the pitch after a short break to have a wee one, and she came back resolute and in style leading by example and scoring the first goal of the match in the second half from a cross from Georgie S.. about the only decent ball I managed to hit on the day! We had the pleasure of a guest appearance from Beth and she was welcome at the back as our usual stalwart Alex was sadly bedridden for the day, also making a guest feature for the day was goalkeeper Nikki as Evie was playing for her school. Last week’s player of the match Sophie Merrett was back enjoying her relocation to the front line (it suits her) and we saw a welcome return from the holidays or injuries for Kara, Penny, Emma and Tash so the team were back together.
The first half was the first half fairly frustrating as we didn’t score but sticking with the game plan and a good pep talk at half time the second half was full of action. The injury took place just before half time after which we had push back and took advantage from the offset with a solid press on their defence we converted our first goal within 5 minutes of the restart. A sign of relief from all..! Old Freemans were determined and had some solid defence, with a cracking smash up the pitch their sweeper found their high hanging forward who was ready to take even the scoreline, Tash had other plans and cleared the ball off the line with her stick, sadly the umpire thought she threw her stick and awarded a p-flick with Old Freemans converted. We kept our heads, played our game and pressed again, quickly winning a short corner which Kara ably converted taking us 2-1 up. Some more great play up the right and the left our mids pressed hard, Lizzie and Helen played high taking advantage of their reduced numbers and we spent most of the half in their 25/D. Their keeper had a great game too and she saved several shots on goal but a cheeky one two from Bernie (on the baseline) to Kara saw another goal go our way. The final goal came from another short corner, again saved by their goalie (damn) but Penny who had stepped up to inject with our regulars off the pitch, got her stick on the clearance and put it in the back of the net just before the end of the half.
So we weren’t on fire but we played our game and got the 3 points in the bag, taking us to second in the league and all to play for for the rest of the season!
Special mention to Lizzie our player of the week – unbeatable she was on fire!! See you all at training…J
Ladies Vamps 3-0 Camberely
The Vamps knew they were in for a toughie vs leaders of the division, who were unbeaten so far and we were therefore glad to have Sophie and Amy on board to wave the flag and hockey sticks. Vamps started the attack and several attempts at goal were dealt with by an experienced Camberley goalie. However after some impressive play with superb passing Lauren banged one home and shortly after Jane struck another one past the goalie. Debbie went on to make it 3 and that was before half time. Second half Vamps expected Camberley to wreak revenge and there was end to end play, but no further goals despite several short corners by Camberley, but the Vamps defence were solid throughout the game. Vamps won 3-0.
Ladies 3rd XI0-8 Mitcham