Match Reports – February 23

An excellent win for a depleted 1st XI at Beckenham leaves us needing a point next weekend for promotion to the National League, but the 2nd XI’s promotion hopes were all but ended with a home loss to Andover. The 3rd XI bounce back to top place with their win, and the 4th XI stay third and in the hunt. The Ladies were (almost all) on the second week of their half-term break

Bromley & Beckenham 2-5 Men’s 1st XI
Coming off the back of a hard fought win against Banbury which saw us pick up a few injuries, the 1st XI travelled to Bromley & Beckenham, arguably the most in-form team in the league. We were without key players Ollie Davies, Jack Smart, Alex Czerniewski and Matt Laidman however were aided by the return of Matt Murphy and a call-up for Tom Gallyer. The game was poised to be a cagey, top of the table affair with both sides vying to win the league.

We flew out the gates and within eight minutes found themselves ahead after Matt Murphy nestled a penalty corner into the side netting. Buoyed by a quick start, we took advantage of a shell-shocked Bromley side and shortly were 2-0 after a smart deflection by Charlie Lamb was slapped into the bottom corner by a Bromley defender. Much to the disbelief of the crowd, we found ourselves 3-0 up after some liquid play down the right resulted in Murphy scoring his second of the day. Bromley managed to claw their way back into the game for the last 15 minutes of the half, however failed to create many clear chances as our half-court press starved the Bromley forwards of the ball. Bromley did eventually manage to pull a goal back before half time with a well taken drag-flick beating Doble.

At the half we regrouped, knowing that the job was not done yet, despite the fast start the boys knew that Bromley are a great side and any sign of complacency would open the game back up. A cagey start to the second half ensued with both teams looking for the crucial goal. Our defence held firm and tremendous credit must go to the outfield players, many of whom were playing out of position due to injuries, who all did their job and executed the press expertly. We eventually managed to get the crucial fourth goal when Jay Harman found himself in space in the D and calmly slotted. This meant that Bromley had to play even more aggressively and through some agricultural at times hockey, and off the back of Tom Gallyer’s big aerial, we stood firm until James Laszlo put the game to bed with a fifth goal. Bromley did manage to pull one back as Josh Doble stood no chance when the final drag-flick rifled into the net.

It was a truly valiant effort from a weakened squad to go away to one of the best teams in the league and completely outplay them whilst playing many key players out of position and operating a new press. Tom Gallyer, Will Phillips and Paddy Harman deserve most of the plaudits for playing well in unfamiliar roles. The OCs welcome Oxford University next weekend which will be a chance to further their title winning credentials. This will be followed by the EH cup quarter final away at Canterbury on the Sunday.

Mom: Paddy Harman, Tom Gallyer

Men’s 2nd XI 1-2 Andover
A disappointing reverse which all but ended our promotion hopes, although a result which we could not really complain too much about.  One down at the break after a scrappy goal, we levelled through a rasping strike from Sam Wilson during our best spell but then lost our way again, and it was with the run out play when the visitors again took the lead ten minutes from time.

Men’s 3rd XI 7-1 Old Reigatians
As the number of remaining league games rapidly reduces so does the number of the 2018/19 seasons D o D decisions. To be precise, four more awards remain after today. There are two contenders this week, Leonardo di Grimes and King Arthur. The facts are as follows and the decision is yours:-

1 Leonardo di Grimes whose out of office reads:- “I am currently on annual leave returning 25 February before going away again 26 March returning 10 April, 23 April returning 5 May and each third week for 10 days for the remaining 32 weeks of the year. If urgent please contact my PA who does do all of my work and deals with all my cr*p and disgruntled clients”

2 King Arthur whose emails and Whatsap messages pre game included:- ” None of the oppo are sticking around for tea so I’m happy to ask JJ for the tokens if anyone is sticking around to watch Wales get pumped by the Grand Slammers. Knappy has promised to write a match report of the rugby if Wales lose by more than 10 points. All future D o D will wear Knappy’s Welsh rugby shirt”
No heed was paid by him to Virge’s remarkable prophesy in his comments at the beginning of the 2018 6 Nations championship that round one contained the likely wooden spoon match. The shirt will be packed for the recipient to proudly wear next Saturday.

With the league as tight as the buttocks of someone who had just contracted Hunter’s virus we had to win especially as the league was even tighter by 15.00. The benefit of the ever burgeoning colts section was called into play with a good number of our squad away, making the post of easy pre Brexit travel ahead of the lockdown and siege due on the 29th March whilst Henry was being stuffed by his brother in the rackets (A Rozier-P & Hector Don bt Henry Don & O Taylor 4/15 15/4 15/8). We were all promised that the colts section would plug the gaps and the prospect of some younger legs to prop up those of Packers was welcomed by all. The clever plan had one major flaw as the average age went up by 10 years as the dad’s were playing. Debuts were handed out to JJ, Gerry and the real deal van Looshman in the form of Jan Adriaan Coebergh. Herdy and Cato pitched in and Shep returned after a break of 16 games challenging Leonardo to the number of missed games in one season.

The 70 minutes of the game were similar to last week save that we converted pressure into goals, had a slick corner routine and only conceded one. JJ nabbed two with two top of the D strikes, Hunts nabbed a hat-trick , each goal struck harder than the last, Lewi 1 and Knappy 1. Our midfield did what we asked of them two weeks ago and came to the goalscoring party. Two-nil at half time became 5-0 11 minutes into the second half before we conceded one sloppy goal, nicked another and spent the last 15 minutes trying but not succeeding in scoring any more. M o M ends up with Hunts.

With Barnes unexpectedly losing the league is now a four-horse race with us back on top on goal difference from OGs (4 goals in it). All to play for as we entertain L. Eds this week, Barnes on the last day of the season and in two weeks time OGs play Barnes. After our game on Saturday let’s all stay to cheer the 1s on v Oxford University as they seek to secure the 1 point they need to guarantee promotion to the National League with 4 games to go. A historic day beckons.

Men’s 4th XI 5-0 Teddington
Match report to follow

Ladies 1st & 2nd XI 2-0 Barnes – Friendly
Match report to follow

Tulse Hill and Dulwich Ladies 1-0 Ladies 3rd XI
Match report to follow