After last week’s downpour, Thames Ditton saw positively balmy conditions at the weekend, with numerous teams battling it out for those all important three points.
Men’s 1st XI 3-1 London Wayfarers
Having enjoyed a strong start to the season, Saturday provided what was to be the sternest test so far against a Wayfarers side in good form. The match started slowly with little to excite the spectators before a well-oiled short corner routine broke the deadlock. Slipped left off the top, Hugh Robinson produced a text book topspin delivery to the far post which was bravely deflected into the side netting by the diving Ben Wilson. 1-0. Moments later, the lead was doubled. Another slip left off from a short corner, this time perfectly disguised to the near post, left the keeper looking particularly foolish as Matt Laidman deflected the goal-bound effort into the roof of the net to steal the credit. 2-0.
Shortly after the break, with the OCs seemingly in control, the home side stole a short corner and clawed one back to set up an exciting second half. 2-1.
What followed however was a controlled and intelligent performance which never saw the result in doubt. The OCs played some free flowing, attacking hockey and closed out the game with 8 minutes remaining. The goal came from a short corner slipped left. Shock. The rest of the match was dominated by the OCs and this win solidified their place on top of the league. There were some notable performances from Ollie Davies, Alex Czerniewski and Matt Murphy but the MOM award went to Giles Rozier for his silky skills down the left hand side.
Next week sees the OCs take on Henley at TD with the team looking to extend their unbeaten run to 4 games
Men’s 2nd XI 2-3 Wanderers 2s
A tough loss for the 2s against a top-of-the-table side, after looking in control for much of the game.
OCs made a strong start and the game’s first goal deservedly came from John Jauncey (JJ) at the 20 minute mark after a Wanderers infringement outside their D – the ball moved quickly to Sam Franklin on the right from a long corner who confidently picked out JJ inside the D, making a lovely turn and strong reverse stick shot into the top right, giving the opposition keeper no chance.
Wanderers reacted and played nicely as they settled into some patterns, picking up a goal from a short-corner before half-time. After half-time, Wanderers came out kicking and were unforgiving with their man-on-man pressure and maintained a high press, but that didn’t stop our play and we responded with a break and winning a short corner. Jimmy Smith injecting the ball into Rippers, Dave Wilson with a textbook fast and low drag flick into the bottom corner to go 2-1 up.
With OCs looking in complete control and playing their best hockey of the season, another green card and short corner against the run of play was awarded to Wanderers, who put it away again to tie the game with less than 10 minutes to go. Tensions and emotions reached fever pitch and two more green cards left OCs with 8 on the pitch. Eventually the pressure told. Goalie made a heroic first diving save and amongst confusion as to how another Wanderers player rounded him on the follow-up, the ball spilled out of the melee and trickled over the line for the winner. Lessons learnt, but the quality of hockey is there. The team will reflect and bounce back stronger. Two away games on the bounce coming up.
Goals: John Jauncey; Dave Wilson
MoM: Ben Marchant
Other: Tom Phillips
Men’s 3rd XI 4-1 Wanderers 4s
Another unseasonably hot mid October day heralded the sight of some butterflies at TD. In a vain attempt to take over the mantle left unattended by Dodie it was time for someone to step up to the plate. Cue Heardy who decided to take one in the face pre game but instead of a face reconstruction it was merely 2 butterfly stitches. Dodie, your immortality reigns.
Wanderers showed us how to take a ball in the chops, man up, stand up and carry on. No drama, just true Souffffff Lundun grit. They do not play at Kennington without good reason.
We continued our 100% run with a 4-1 win flattering us big time. Eds nicked one off the keeper, Hunts drilled one into the top corner and somehow we were two up after 10 minutes, our only 2 shots on target in the first half. 2 parts of the Knackherd team should have put another 2 on target to make it 4-0 but that would have been flatly unfair. Wanderers played good hockey but lacked that required poise in the last 25 and our pace up front, yes, pace up front, the oppo were sloth like at the back, caused them issues.
The second half was a rerun of the first after we allowed them back in the game with a deserved and well worked goal after 40 minutes but having eventually worked some short corners two were converted with an Eds bobbler and the infamous loosh being exposed for the first time in Surrey Division 2 league hockey from CB Looshman making it 4-1. Clarke caused all sorts of problems for Wanderers with quick sticks skills and ultra spins, that confused us too, earning him man of the match.
Difficult though it is for me to put this in print the difference between the two sides was Goalster as he had nothing to do and so was not able to replicate his opposite number’s display more than once, in the 40th minute.
Still very tight at the top with 3 unbeaten sides and our old adversaries Barnes also on 100% after 3 games with Ports licking his lips, his favourite oppo.
Dick of the day our butterfly man and as said above man of the match our twirling Clarke.
South of the M25 next week v Reigate Priory 2s on a pitch that is marginally nearer their club than TD.
Men’s 4th XI 1-2 Guildford
Well played to everyone who made the trek down to Guildford for a hard-fought game against a young Guildford side. At 1-1 we pushed them all the way and probably did enough to secure a draw, with plentiful chances at both ends. Seb kept us in the game but in the end pressure told and they scored in the last ten to set up a frantic finish at 2-1. A breakaway from Charlie and a short corner in the dying seconds weren’t enough to salvage a point, but great debuts for Grant, Charlie and Kirky.
Men’s Barnstormers 13-1 Wimbledon Masters
A glorious sunny day saw a strong Barnstormers squad dominate the match from beginning to end although the ultimate scoreline really tells the tale of a team that took its chances and executed ruthlessly, rarely emerging from the opposition 16 without a goal.
We also defended resolutely when called upon, with guest keeper Moz showing remarkable pace to engage the occasional Wimbledon lone striker’s foray – one suspects as much to relieve his boredom as he was otherwise untroubled.
It would be harsh to dwell on the one goal conceded (our first of the season) when we netted 13 times at the other end, but the umpire later admitted it was given after the penalty corner was awarded more out of sympathy.
Focussing more on our own game, as well as dominating possession and moving the ball confidently and quickly around the park, credit must (reluctantly) go to the front three of Rocco, Poen and Gerry who bagged 12 goals between them, with only the skipper’s lightning reactions in slotting a rebound off the post spreading the glory beyond the forward line.
Non-playing manager, Ross, looked on in awe as wave after wave of breaking Stormers created havok with the Wimbledon defence. There will be games when we have less time on the ball and fewer options available but it is important to take opportunities when they arise and we were excellent in that regard.
Men’s Hamstrings 7-1
Match report to follow.
Ladies 1st XI 4-1 Sunbury & WaltonOn Saturday the 13th of October, the sun came out and the OC Ladies 1’s prepared for a sweaty game! After a couple of loses and a draw, we where ready to put everything we have learned into practice and get a win ourselves three points.
The OC’s quickly gained possession of Sunbury & Walton 1’s push back and within the first three minutes of play, won a short which was pushed out by Katie Richards and slammed into the bottom left corner by Georgie Syms. 1-0 up, the OC’s kept their cool and continued to keep possession, reacting quickly to the breaks that Sunbury made. Eight minutes of play in, and Georgia Watson ran the ball down the right, crossing it in to Georgie Sangster who put it in the back of the net. Fitness was tested in the heat but the OC ladies continued to put their new formation into practice. Before the half was up Katie Richards ran the ball up the pitch and nailed a straight strike into bottom left. Shortly after this Sunbury made a break, clearing through our attacking formation – luckily our trusty goalie Michele Rankin quickly shut down the 1 on 1, diving for the shot with ease and saving the ball from the back of the net.
Both teams were full of determination at the start of the second half and Sunbury converted a penalty flick. OC’s came back from this with Olivia Cook driving it into to the D crossing it to Georgie Syms who took the reverse shot into under the keepers foot. The game finished 4-1 to OC ladies 1, which was the win they needed to move forward into the rest of the league. Really well played both teams!
Ladies 2nd XI 2-2 Barnes 4sOn a high from last week’s cracking 3-0 win at home, this week’s challenge was Barnes ladies’ 4s, who were also promoted this season with us. Last season’s match history was two very tight draws so the pressure was on to come away with a win.
The first half started with strong tempo, both teams asserting themselves on the pitch and making leads. Our strong and persistent attacking won us time in their D and two shorts in quick succession. The first short about 15 mins in was a straight strike from Sophie which just went right of the goal. More persistent attacking won us our second shortly after, this time Kara stepping up for a straight strike which just went left of the goal. Keeping the intensity up and all round strong play with lovely team work round the back, Penny sweeping to the left and Bernie filling in to cover. Barnes ladies secured one short which was hit wide from the top of the D. Another short for us shortly after, a left slip to Amy, narrowly missed the goal. Frustration at the narrow misses and our continuous attacking saw our tempo drop slightly in the last ten minutes. Half time and 0-0 we were in need of some rehydration and a motivational team talk to get our heads back in the game.
The second half started fast with our push back and lots of strong leads into the D. Some lovely skill from Kara around the defence and a pass to Ellen in the D who slotted it in left corner of the goal. 1-0 to us. Our heads up, we won two shorts quickly after. The first, a powerful straight strike from Rachel, saved by the keeper. The second was a slip to the left, a strike into keeper, picked up by Georgie and then slotted in by Ellie. Boom, 2-0 to us. The pressure was on to keep this lead, but Barnes kept up a strong fight with two narrow misses from shorts. Similar to the first half our tempo dropped slightly and two quick breaks from Barnes in the last 10 minutes resulted in two goals. 2-2. In spite of the last minute equalisers, we fought to the end and the final score was 2-2. A great game all round with some lovely team work in all areas of the pitch, special mention goes to our player of the match, Emma for an absolute stormer of a game.
We are very much looking forward to our rematch at the fortress next season
Ladies Vamps 5-1 Epsom 5s
Match report to follow.
Ladies 3rd XI 4-0 Old Kingstonian 4s
Match report to follow.