Match Reports – Saturday 27th October

With the Ladies still on their half-term break, bar the Vamps who played a friendly, it was up to the Men’s teams to get some points in at the weekend. Most bagged a win, with a smattering of draws gained too.

Men’s 1st XI 6-2 Winchester
On Saturday the 27th of November the Old Cranleighans were looking to bounce back from a tough home defeat to bottom of the league Henley. The fixture against a good Winchester side was a chance to prove that the OCs were not as overrated as Virat Kohli’s international one day record. The OCs were at almost full strength, although missing their inspirational ex captain Paddy Harman and club stalwart Giles Rozier-Pamplin.

The match started well for the home side who were happy to allow Winchester early possession whilst absorbing pressure through their new look back four. The Ocs were rewarded for their patience when arguably the most in-form man in the country, Matt Murphy, gave them an early lead through a well worked short corner. This lead was doubled by James Laszlo short after with a slick counter attack producing the goods. OCs kept their foot on the gas and were rewarded with a 4-0 half time lead due to two further Matt Murphy strikes.

The home side were keen to take the same energy into the second half – remembering the lead which was quickly eroded the previous week. A cagey start was followed by a Winchester goal from a short corner. Quick to react the OCs went back to 5-1 thanks to yet another Matt Murphy goal, taking his tally to 12 for the season. A first short corner goal for Matthew Laidman made the score 6-1 before Winchester pulled back a late consolation through a sublime strike.

The Old Cranleighans will face a tough test with an early start away at the newly promoted Banbury next week, a game which they will be keen to get 3 points in before a tricky run of fixtures will see them play Bromley and Beckenham, Spencer and London Edwardians in a short space of time. For now the OCs are top of the league and look like getting better each week.

Men’s 2nd XI 3-2 Wanderers
It was a sunny start with a very bitter wind chill blowing through Battersea Park for our 2nd week in row away from home. This weekend we played Wanderers 1st XI (shouldn’t it be 2nd XI?) and, following an excellent result and clean sheet last week, spirits were high and everyone was looking forward to continuing our winning form.

The first 5-10 minutes were pretty even, we pressed & the opposition pressed back but we quickly built phases of possession and there was plenty of energy on show. We won our first short corner after 15 minutes, with Jimmy Smith injecting the ball to Rippers to set up JJ for a strike on goal – a little dummy from JJ forced Wanders to flinch and leave space for a super strike straight into the backboard. 1-0.

Wanderers came back quick and hard and put the pressure back on. We had Gal back in the team and he worked with Rippers to formidably defend our space. Goalie made some outstanding saves but a firm strike from the opposition landed directly on his inside knee – man down – the game was stopped, the lads hearts stopped – Goalie was hurt, however after a few reassuring expletives he walked it off. Goalie was ok, the man is an absolute tank.

However, Wanderers kept the press on and won a cheap short corner. Despite Goalie fearlessly attempting a save, the haunting crack of the backboard rang out across the pitch. 1-1.

We bounced back, quickly pressing back into their half again and we won a short corner at the 25 minute mark. Cookiey injected the ball to Rippers to set up Webbs with a lovely flick into the bottom left backboard, magic. 2-1.

The momentum was back with us and a sublime first-time line ball from Sheps on the spin allowed for a dainty play with some fluid passing in the middle followed with a swift cross into the D, Henners had an open goal but the pace on the ball was too much and just got away from him.

The wintry breeze expedited the half-time break and the second half was upon us and we were back in play. Despite the somewhat confusing gap between the Wanderers 1s & 2s form, the 1s (who should probably be called the 2s) were clearly still in the game and putting on the pressure. Tighter marking and pressure from both teams meant the game was fierce in parts of the second half.

We won a short corner, Jimmy Smith injected the ball to Rippers to set up JJ for a cracking shot on goal. 3-1.

It was soon 3-2 from another short corner and we conceded a couple more, but testament to our hard working backs and Goalie’s valiant saves we managed to keep Wanderers at bay. At one point Rippers went down with what looked like a bothersome hamstring – thankfully someone came in and dutifully stretched him out on the pitch, hopefully not taking too much of a dent out of the remaining game time. Final whistle blew and we won 3-2.

Despite the gritty second half it was an all-round good performance from the team and a well-deserved 3 points, everyone worked hard and sprits are high. Roll on next week when we are back at home after 2 weeks on the road.

Goals: John Jauncey (2), Webber
MoM: Goalie
Champagne Moment: H Shephard
Other: H Emery / B Marchant

Men’s 3rd XI 1-1 Old Georgians
“Old Georgie Porgies pudding and pies
All consumed by their forward
Having regard to his size.

Our 100% record has gone and we are in the unaccustomed situation of being second in the league behind Barnes 2s. Matters could have been worse as we were in grave danger of losing our unbeaten record in a game that was undoubtedly close to being the worst advert for league hockey that one could wish to watch and in which to participate.

We were as guilty as the oppo in becoming embroiled in pathetic chat. Whatever happens on the pitch it is inexcusable that anyone from either side should confront an umpire in the bar afterwards in any way that is clearly aggressive and offensive as happened on Saturday. Maybe the OG player who did was late for an audition for the new range of Cabbage Patch dolls due to the delayed start of the match. I have found a photo from his modelling portfolio.

I do not recollect being involved in a game with such a testy chat filled opposition before. Actually I do, December 12th 2015 when coaching the 1st XI. I wonder who the opposition were? Ah yes, I remember, OGs 1s after we went 3-0 up.

We were out manoeuvred for the first 55 minutes of the game against a faster, better drilled and hungrier side which made the continual commentary from the team in white even more surprising. Had they just played hockey they would probably have been home and hosed by the time we entered the last quarter. Yes we had the bulk of possession but were snuffed out by the OG defence and were fortunate to only be 1-0 down going into the last 15 minutes, the goal a very well taken one with an excellent reverse stick strike from their centre forward. We are not used to being dominated and this was evidenced by our chatting away and becoming involved in the verbals.

As it was Eds struck our equalizer with 12 to go and from that point there was only one winner as we camped in their 25, had a series of shorts and a stroke with 3 minutes to go. After a discussion of the rules about substituting at a stroke we failed to capitalise. 2 corners in the final 2 minutes went begging and oddly and having dominated vast parts of the game OGs were celebrating the draw like a victory.

I am sure OGs have a different view on the match and we can doubtless read that on their web site. Perhaps their player who was doing a live commentary on the match for 70 minutes will précis his commentary into an unbiased report. He was constantly asking for cards to be issued for chat probably to make up for the lack of cards he receives at Christmas and on his birthday. Anyway 6 aside would not have been much fun had Martin and Neil complied with the request.

Thank you Martin and Neil for keeping the lid on a most unsavoury match. Dick of the day is a tricky one.

I had not realised the sensitivity of this award but Hunts drew this to my attention with his comment on last week’s award of “why me I was not even there”. To call his new dog “Flo” after my wife is a little cheap but he did go to the wrong school. To avoid receiving a suspicious envelope through the post I shall avoid giving a successive award to Hunts. Our new boy Charlie Fletcher has to be close as he was elevated to the 3s due to having an appointment at the time the 4s game started. Making his debut for the 3s he promptly disappeared at some point in the first half for another appointment. I hope that the rates for male escorts is worth it.

However the award goes to Clarke Kent for his message responding my asking him if he wanted a lift to the game “yes please but not sure where I am sleeping on Friday night”. The benefits of youth and being single or perhaps another escort? On collecting Clarkey from Guildford station and stopping for sandwiches, red bull and litre of water all became clear. He also left his earphones in my car for the second successive trip to TD.

MoM goes to Ports as he showed us how to get stuck in with a real desire to win just about keeping on the right side of the rules, according to Arsene Wenger.

Barnes 3 away at 15.15 on Saturday so competing with England at Twickenham and for a parking space on the A316 will be fun.

Men’s 4th XI 1-1 Leatherhead
A hard-earned away point on Saturday to a determined Leatherhead sees us climb into the top 5 in a tight league table. On paper, we had a strong (even youthful?!) side out and conceded early to a questionable umpiring interpretation of an aerial which saw them take the lead in a tight game. Nick Lewis evened things up and some determined last-ditch defending ensured things stayed that way with few chances at either end. With two minutes to go, we just about defended two short corners to see out a deserved draw.

Men’s Barnstormers 3-2 Old Kingstonians
A stressful game for Barnstormers on Saturday, with a few away for half term many were playing out of position and there were first starts of the season for Stu Heiden, Si Quinton and debutant, Kirky.

From the off you could be forgiven for thinking the team had been playing together all season as the passing and movement was slick and accurate despite new old timer Si Quinton forgetting vets pushback etiquette. Old Kingstonians couldn’t live without the ball and a lengthy period of sustained pressure eventually turned into a brace for Mike Newton. In homage to the absent Rocco, Mike scored both with tomahawk shots, surprising as not only did no-one know Mike had that in his locker (let alone two in one game) but it also required two hands on his reverse stick – a skill Mike hasn’t employed since 1986.

Shout out to Kirky on debut who slotted in nicely with Poen and Si Q up front as Stormers were largely in control throughout the first half with a series of goal line clearances, a disallowed penalty corner and a penalty stroke saved keeping the scoreline in check.

Whilst our lungs needed a half time break it broke our rhythm somewhat and making much more of a game of it than should have been the case for large parts of the second half performance fell apart. We managed to lose shape and possession with equal ease and place unnecessary pressure on ourselves.

Not content with some great saves Nigel also managed to pick a fight seemingly with himself and narrowly avoided a spell on (Eastie’s) bench. Not to be outdone, the day’s headline hogger, Mike, earned the green card Nigel was denied for a much more innocuous offence. It was just what we didn’t need and slow substitutions meant we played under pressure with 9 on the field at one point, adding to the stress.

Although Kingstonians capitalised in errors to score two, the game should have been beyond doubt as we remained threatening in, albeit sporadic, attack. Si Q was frustrated by among others, the post so it was left to Poen to grab the third – let’s just say they all count.

A scrappy and rather desparate end to the match took the gloss off somewhat but lots of positives, not least of which is another W in the book – and the train stayed on the rails…..just.

Men’s Hamstrings – Richmond Rogues
Match report to follow.

Vamps 0-8 Reigate
Vamps had a friendly vs Reigate 4’s (just out of nappies) who play in a higher division and a depleted Vamps side struggled first half to keep Reigate away from the goal. Lesley, a retired field player took one for the team and kitted up but couldn’t stop the barrage and we were 6 goals down going into second half. Sophie was a no-show due to flat tyre and then flat battery, bit like I felt! Second half much better and we only gave 2 goals away. Final score 8-0 to our extremely fantastic and youthful oppo. Just as well it was a friendl