Match Report – March 9

A double-header for the 1st XI put them within one win of the title and the same possibly applies for the 3rd XI … and a rousing weekend for the ladies’ sides

Men’s 1st XI 2-2 London Edwardians
Match report to follow.

Henley 1-4 Men’s 1st XI
Match report to follow.

Men’s 2nd XI 1-3 Surbiton 3s
Match report to follow.

Men’s 3rd XI 4-2 Wanderers 5s
A week in which there was huge controversy over the use of VAR and a sure sign that early March temperatures must be higher than the norm due to the palpable effects on certain species. VAR controversy has been rumbling along all season with it coming to a head on Wednesday and very likely to again on the 16th March at TD. Wednesday saw those in our squad, brought up in the South and with a privileged background, who support Manchester Utd because they used to be good when they were at school, eulogising via Whatsap at a Fergy time penalty that never was. The jury is out as to what rules the officials apply. We have had VAR all season at TD with Virge/Villiamson And Robertson and oddly the same conclusion has been reached.

As I prepare for retirement, from work and not hockey, I hasten to add ( I have already done the latter), and my Greenpeace activist role I have started to take far more notice about the change in the habits of our species. One has to conclude that global warming is the reason. During our autumn and winter months we all saw plenty of signs and activities from the genus “Don”. There are 3 types, Don Alex, Don Digby and Don Henry. Normally one would expect them still to be present and visible until late March. There was a report of a sighting of Don Digby two weeks ago but this was unsubstantiated. Worrying times.

Following last week’s hard fought win against London Eds the first squad list sent out by King Arthur was a who’s who of who had not yet played for the 3s this season. This included Timos Phripps who due his name being spelt correctly asked to be replaced 15 minutes later. New dad Jimmy Smith stepped in promising to put in end of nose crosses for the forwards. Jimmy was unaware that Lewi regularly puts in end of the nose crosses. Regrettably these are blown for dangerous play with the need to duck out of their way.

A 16.30 Battersea Park start time could be considered the graveyard slot but by then the grave yard is well and truly shut and not accessible. We made the most of this start time but by the beginning of the second half had already retired to the pub, researching the next holiday destination, booking the following week’s real tennis match or waiting for the Just Eat delivery. Fortunately BJ had struck with 2 rocket drags, Looshman was looking on with starry eyed admiration, JJ with a crisp finish from a shorty and Waning Powers tapped home a goal created and set up by BJ. BJ should have had a hat-trick but their keeper made what was probably the best save of his career. 3 out of 4 short corners has seriously affected our season’s conversion ratio. 20 minutes in we were 4-0 up and as rampant as the sodding Vixen that barks/cries like a murder victim all and every night in the woods near my house.

The remaining 50 minutes was pants. Their 11 to our 14 had the better of the rest and deservedly snuck 2 goals back. Chances were created by us and spurned as we had changed our pattern of play for no discernible reason. As OGs won 9-0 we are now second on goal difference but still 2 points ahead of Barnes 2s. Wins for us and OGs on the 16th will decide the promotion places with a game to go but we still want to win the league. Not fulfilling King Arthur’s wildly inaccurate prophesy at half time of our notching up a double digit final score line may be a telling factor in the final analysis even if for a moment he had convinced the eager Ryan that we had bettered their 9-0 win. What was Ryan’s message all about eh?

D o D could go to many absentees but they are too long to list or to Ryan for his text. I understand that two went off to parties for 98 year old relatives bearing the same gifts, a portable defibrillator. However it has to go for someone who has not yet played for the 3s, Tomz Fillips, for suggesting d o d in a Whatsapp message that was seemingly aimed at Dan O and included the words “slip sliding away” only to be recalled a few moments later. Another message that was curious. M o M goes to Dan M because we want you to play next week before you go off to watch Brentford. A team who you have clearly supported due to liking football rather than because they used to win trophies, a reasoning that us West Ham and Charlton fans know only too well.

With a 10.00 start this Saturday v Oxted at TD we are in danger of burn out playing 2 games in less than a week although as only 5 of the squad will be the same as yesterday’s night out at Battersea Park the effects will be minimal.

Men’s 3A XI 2-2 Merton 1s
Match report to follow.

Men’s 4th XI 0-2 Sunbury & Walton
Sadly, our run of form came to a crashing end on Saturday in Sunbury and our quest for promotion now hangs by a slender thread. To keep up the pressure on Guildford in second place, we needed wins from all remaining games, but we found ourselves up against a youthful Hawks team full of running and skill, hungry for revenge after losing a tight game earlier in the season. The later start time ensured their side was packed with colts and the game got off to a furious start with both sides looking dangerous. Our touch let us down too often and we started losing the 50/50 challenges we needed to win. Their youngsters were given space and time to run at our defence and the pressure told with two well worked goals meaning we needed to dig deep in the second half to get back on terms. We steadied the ship but had few chances to speak of, meaning the second half ending goalless.

So…two fixtures to play, both tough games against Addiscombe (drew 2-2) and Barnes (won 4-3) and we need two wins and Guildford to lose all three of theirs to take second and promotion. You never know, right?! Stranger things have happened.

Ladies 1st XI 2-0  London Wayfarers 3sFocused and motivated the OC’s Ladies 1s XI played the first shift on Saturday morning at home. After a supportive team talk and a intense warm up we got started. Holding our positions with the full-press the Oppo barely had a chance to enter our D. Keeping the ball moving the game got faster and opened up some opportunities for us to enter their D (22 opportunities according to Sam!) Although we had lots of chances in the first half no goals were scored.

We knew our positioning and structure was right and thanks to our halftime talk with our coach Sam, we kept focussed and tried to improve our pressure. We finally got our first goal as Katie Richards did a great job by drawing the ball to the right side in the D, pulling the goalie across, then slipping the ball to Georgie Sangster who then had enough space to score. Awesome goal! The second goal came soon after when Georgie Syms scored from the P-spot after a great pass from Theresa Schott, who received the ball from Jackie Waite after a long corner. The Oppo increased their pressure but with good team work and team spirit, defence held strong and goalie Michele just had contact once with the ball. A great win, with only two more games to go.

Ladies 2nd XI 2-2 Wanderers 5sMatch report to follow.

Ladies Vamps 6-0 Merton 2s
A blustery sunny afternoon and the Vamps were in fighting form. However a slow tentative start, but with Keiran providing support as coach, things began to settle. Then a breakthrough, 2 short corners and 2 goals, first one from Sara and then a smashing shot from Alina. The rest of the half was uneventful and Hannah saved a couple of shots on goal from the oppo. Second half and unfortunately Kate took a hit on the hand and had to retire from the game. Dawn stepped in to Kate’s position and the Vamps then upped their game. Some beautifully crafted play from Amy resulted in a hat trick for her. But we weren’t yet done, Georgina ran virtually the length of the pitch from a hit from Alina, to take the last goal, absolutely superb. Our colts, once again, showing us that they’re integral to the team. Final score 6-0 to the Vamps and putting us in a good position just one point behind second place, giving us a fighting change to gain promotion. Thanks to Keiran for his support.

Ladies 3rd XI 7-0 Richmond 6s
Match report to follow.