Match reports – November 9th

University of Bristol 3-3 Men’s 1st XI
After a weekend break, we  embarked on our first long away trip of the season to visit the University of Bristol who were lying mid table. We knew that a tough test lay ahead with a good performance needed to take all three points. We started the game slowly with the university side having the better of the opening exchanges. However, we gained a foothold in the gain after some good turnovers in the midfield. It wasn’t long before the deadlock was broken with the league’s top marksman Matthew Murphy converting from open play in the 9th minute. The lead only lasted 10 minutes after a mistake in our defence was punished to cancel out Murphy’s opener. Bristol had a number of corners in the remainder of the first half with us also generating some good open play opportunities but neither side was able to convert their chances.

The second half started in cagey fashion with both sides turning the ball over cheaply and neither side able to control the tempo of the game. It was the students who made us pay for some sloppy errors with a neatly taken goal after some slack marking in the circle to take a 2-1 advantage in the 43rd minute. We pressed hard for an equaliser and gained it through the veteran Paddy Harman who neatly deflected Will Marshall’s rocket of a cross into the netting. With our tails up, we continued to press Bristol hard and took the lead six minutes later through a reverse stick shot from Murphy. With 13 minutes left of the game, we continued to search for a goal to clinch the affair but could not succeed in doing so despite some good chances. Bristol continued to press hard and were rewarded with an equaliser with less than two minutes left after a tap in on the back post.

Overall the result was probably a fair reflection of the game but we were disappointed with our overall performance. With Richmond also drawing, we remain joint top of the league heading into a big weekend of away fixtures, travelling to ISCA on Saturday and onto Ashmoor on Sunday.

Men’s 2nd XI 4-4 Andover
Date:                Saturday 9th November 2020
Opposition:     Andover 1st XI
Precipitation:  Heavy Rain
Temperature:  8 with highs of 10
Latitude:          51.382597
Longitude:       -0.341482

This had always been a highly anticipated day, two wins on the trott for the OCs with goals galore, the OCs were ready with probably the toughest test of the season yet. It’s of course, the big one, Andover 1s. International commute, Yup completed it JFK! But lateness is not tolerated in Mr Gallyer’s book – FINES. A quick visit to the sacred grounds for a blessing and we were ready for the first whistle.

From the off, it was clear this was always going to come down to the wire, a tense opening period with chances for both teams, eventually ended with Andover taking the lead due to a lapse in concentration and an Andover overload. An equaliser from D Roberts after some silky interlinking play from the front line just before half time gave OCs the momentum going into the half time speech.

The second half started frantically with a goal to the OCs down to some hard pressing from the off from Cookie (D. Roberts again … of all the people to get the goal). Two green cards in the space of three minutes allowed Andover to re group but some skills from Coops when all had given up, ended with a penalty stroke to the OCs.  Now then, the man to step up D. Roberts – you do your best to keep us on edge, three strokes this season and three very unconvincing flicks….

Back to the action, Andover win a short and score one of the luckiest goals, a deflection of Gal’s stick hits the cross bar, bounces back and somehow ends in the back of the net. OC’s bounce back with a short corner, poked in at the back post by Coops. 4-2 to the good. That wasn’t it though – Jay pulled up with cramp and Cookieys hammy went. Andover kept going and with decisions going their way, Andover scored two late on to level and put a huge downer on the day. Who celebrates a draw like that? Shocking music taste – not a hint of Boyzone. See you aboard the Andover Boozey Train in 2020 for one hell of a day out and the sweet sweet nectar of revenge.

Man of the match: D Roberts with the Hat trick.

Dick of the Day: FRJ (Don’t advertise going to the pub on a Friday)

Champagne : Lawson

Post game, Kenty Kenty Kenty – I have nothing to say! Stu did his special – here for a short time not a good time – and stacked it. Coops made his mark on Hinchley wood and lost. Turns out the America don’t play SINK THE BISMARK, lost the touch… @JFK.  The FB 9000 was not required, saved for another day ….. Anyways, Haselbeer next week, we’ll be back fighting.

Men’s 4th XI 1-2 Surbiton 5s
Saturday saw us take on Surbiton at their questionable leasehold establishment. In the word’s of Grizzly “not as nice as our gaff.” My enduring impression of Surbiton’s overall aura is happy happy let’s play hockey, the antithesis of the OC’s mantra of let’s get the job done. After a Knappy warm-up, littered with real estate catch-ups, we entered the fray. It rained, and it rained. This was the best oppo we have played mainly due to the fact that this clearly wasn’t their usual 5s team. After some poor marking, and an excellent finish from Surbiton we went 1-0 down. The OCs then got it together and started to pin this young team back. Some excellent all round team play saw us force several corners aligned with some shots onto their keepers pads. The second half was a tight affair, but again OCs had the upper hand, having about 10 corners, but failing to convert. The young Surbiton team again took advantage and made it 2-0. A goal eventually came from Paddy, nicely finishing ironically in open play to draw the game level. After more sustained pressure from OCs we just didn’t have time to draw level. A missed opportunity but some of the best hockey we have played all season. We go again next week!

Ladies 3rd XI 1-1 Croydon & Old Whitgiftian
After a series of long distance away games, we arrived at this home game with lots of positivity. We felt our luck could change and we would finally get a result to be proud of. The game began and we found ourselves easily entering the oppo’s circle. However, what became immediately clear was that this was going to be a game of near misses and short corners. In a quite unique formation, one I’ve neither seen before, the oppo permanently kept 4 defenders camped in their own circle. Credit to them, this made it extremely hard for us to find a way through as they held strong. So when the there is no way around, just force a shorty right? Well that’s what we thought as we played the ball onto their feet time and time again. I have to admit I lost count of how many shorties we had and I think it’s fair to say we know what’s in store for us at training on Monday. Despite our numerous efforts, not one reached the target – the posts and sides of the goal were getting a battering but unfortunately not the back of the goal!

Half time came and we still felt we could win this one. We had the upper hand and our defence was super strong this week. However, with 15 to 20 mins left on the clock, the oppo out ran us on a counterattack. It was unlucky being against the run of play but they had a strong forward who found our gaps and took the opportunity. Undeterred, we knew we couldn’t let this game slip away, we fought too hard to lose it. So we kept pushing into their circle and getting those short corners. Please just let one of them hit the target!! 1 min left in the game and we had one last chance with a shorty. What are the chances of scoring from this?? I think it’s safe to say we all had our hearts in our mouths. First attempt, we missed the target but calm and collected Eilidh was able to slot in the rebound! Needless to say we celebrated it like we had won the division! 30 secs left in the game and we managed to get a draw.

I think deep down we all know we should have won that game, and we can and must do better but as a consolation we are more than happy to take the draw. Big thanks to Kieran for coaching through the game and helping out with the subbing. And thanks also to the big support from the sidelines – sorry, it must have been agony to watch!

POM – Eilidh for not giving up /DOD (Doughnut of the day) – Anna for swearing over the oppo umpire’s decision after telling the team less than 20 mins before not to argue back at the umpires

Ladies 4th XI 1-2 Old Kingstonian 3s
A soggy Saturday afternoon greeted us for an encounter with top of the table Old Kingstonian 3s.  We knew the match was going to be tough and consequently began with much drive and determination. The game started at a fast pace, with the ball switching sides and ends at every touch.  It eventually settled down, with some consistent passing and possession created by a well disciplined defence and midfield. We were hoping to build on our possession by moving the ball around the pitch.  It eventually made it through to Lily, who had the speed to carry the ball from just over the halfway line, zigzagging this way and that, as she made it through the defenders, until it was just the goalkeeper left. A pull to the left, a turn to the right and the ball made it over the goal line.  We were one nil up.  Half time followed soon after and OKs came out fighting, the ball barely crossing the halfway line in the first fifteen minutes of the second half.  A strong and sustained attack by the opposition soon resulted in their first goal, quickly followed by another.  Despite our best efforts the defence could not keep the ball out of the D, and the final score was 3 – 1 to OKs. Well played everyone, with some great passing and linking throughout the match.

Ladies 5th XI 0-2 London Academicals 2as (Friendly)
This Saturday Ladies 5s played an away friendly match with Accies, London Academicals Ladies 2A. We headed out for our first trip into London on the train to Bermondsey. Whilst waiting for the train at Surbiton station, it started to rain. Playing in the rain was a norm for Ladies 5 as every training session has been in the rain. Nothing would stop us. We kept our OC spirit high.

The opposition dominated the game in the first half and their press was hard to break through. However our defence was strong and several shots at goal by the opposition were deflected and cleared away by our feisty goalie Ailsa so we held them 0-0 to half time. In the second half, Accies kept the pressure up and we soon went a goal down.   Yet again a spirited defence held them to 1-0 until heading into the final quarter another goal snuck through to bring the score 2-0 to Accies. Heroic efforts in the closing minutes were demonstrated by Isa who stopped the ball dead on the goal line to block out what had seemed to be a guaranteed third goal – all parties were suitably impressed.  Final score 2-0 to Accies.

Even though we lost, it was still pitch time for us to up our practice, build and improve on our weaknesses for our league match next week and most importantly, having fun with your mates!  Much deserved players of the match to Ailsa in goal and Inge’s fierce defending.