Match Reports – November 27th 2021

Spencer 0-3 Men’s 2nd XI
With the first half of the season drawing to a close a mid week miracle occurred as messrs stott & Rhodes declared them selves available. The former being referred to as “the return of the king” by captain DR

A windy arctic Saturday evening at Battersea Park awaited the 2nd XI looking to remain in touch of Teddington 2s. Josh Doble stepped up to run the bench. Worrying James Meers about his future in the position as Men’s 1s manager.

OCs started quickly winning a short corner in the opening minutes. The first was defended well but another short resulted. The second swiftly dispatched by Sam Biccarino. A few minutes later, another corner. This time a clean deflection by the omnipresent Dave Roberts. Extending his lead as the leagues top goal scorer. The OCs kept plugging away in the first half but to little avail. Until Evan Morris broke through slipping the ball to Dan Ladd who thumped the ball home on the volley in to the bottom corner.

As the second half began the OCs were slowed by a severe headwind as Spencer upped there press. Leading to a few last ditch tackles and some vital saves from Seb helping keep the clean sheet in tact. OCs weathered the storm and saw out the game 3-0 keeping the pressure on Teddington who we travel to next week.

Mom – Evan
Dod – Stott (Tom Lawson)

Men’s 3rd XI 1-1 Purley Walcountians
The only way my Latin teachers could sell Latin to us was by involving tails from Roman and Greek history involving Hannibal, Hercules and The Trojan Horse. Much to Neg Richardson’s disgust I still managed to fail my Latin O level. The stories however were worth the painful process of sitting in M7 on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

The usual zillions of Whatsapp messages in the week preceding the important and possibly promotion bearing match between us and PWs was hijacked by a series of messages with a firm insistence from the oppo that the wanted their umpire to whistle the match. Initially we refused but it was churlish to continue to do so after receiving reassuring comments such as “we have a high level, qualified umpire who really enjoys travelling with us and umpiring our games” followed by a load of buzz words such as “,,,if there is a way of repurposing one of those umpires…..or in fact holding the cost in credit…” but in the spirit of entente cordiale agreed. Can anyione explain the relevance of “cost in credit” to me in relation to an umpire? Accordingly the Trojan Horse arrived on a cold and wet November morning.

With our best squad of the season including Kenty, who took a train to Essex by mistake but still appeared just as we started, hopes were high. Such is sport as we were fairly poor in the first half and had PWs not been so profligate in front of goal could have wrapped the game up in the first 20 minutes deciding to go solo rather than use better placed team mates. As it was a top drawer tackle by Shep set us on a counter attack down the right that Henners finished with consummate ease on the left hand side of the goal rolling it under the keeper to make it a fortuitous 1 – 0. Other than that we did not really test their keeper as we fell into the trap set by PWs of attacking the top of the D for long periods, being picked off, losing 50/50 balls and finding ourselves under pressure by their fast forwards. Their deserved goal came in the 34th minute of the first half as concerted pressure resulted in a short corner which was slipped right and cracked just inside our right post across Rosko. Fair to say that it seemed very evident that that the injection never left the circle but the bright sunlight behind the umpire’s back must have been in his eyes to prevent this technicality being spotted.

The second half continued in the vein of the last few minutes of the first half with PWs dominating and creating more chances than us but not beating Rosko and our solid defence marshalled by my man of the match Max. As the half wore on we came back into the game and spent the last 10 or so minutes pressing but again targeting the top of the D rather than being patient and looking to exploit the width. Our one corner was dealt with a little fortuitously but well enough. Both sides knew that the next goal would win the match. We did have our chances but an air shot from yours truly and not converting our D penetrations into something more substantial did ultimately hurt.

However cue celebration in the 68th minute as Eds swept home a loose ball a few yards off the base line amongst a throng of players, A dejected PW defence but a jubilant OC team turned for the half way line as the ball was fished out of the goal. At that point and a good few seconds later the whistle went and their umpire signalled that there had been a third party infringement and the goal was disallowed. On reflection he was right as in the bar one of the bar tenders did walk in front of JJ as he was about to hand a pint to one of his customers. Cue utter confusion and apoplectic players as PWs restarted with a 16 and the score remained at 1-1 as it did when the final whistle was blown 2 minutes later. Credit to PWs who apologised for the decision which reminded me of how some prep school umpires whistled their own team to a result.

We all respect the time and effort umpires put in out of the love of the game and we could not play without them so power to their elbow In the heat of the moment we have all said things to umpires that on reflection a few hours later we regretted saying. Thankfully at the the time of the incident and at the end of the game we all kept our thoughts to ourselves but had I uttered what I was thinking and wanted to say I would not, 24 hours later, be regretting the words.

Ultimately PWs did not deserve to lose and even at 1-1 had good reason to feel that they had missed out on 2 points rather than gained 1. Nevertheless the circumstances surrounding the end result will stick in the gullet for some time to come.

My final thought is that Martin could never have anticipated that Neg Richardson and his M7 classroom would ever feature in a hockey match report.

Warriors 2-0 Teddington 6s
The stars were out for this match, in the sky that is with the floodlights on and the freezer door well and truly open. Anyone who was winging about the artic condition earlier in the day should have been at TD for the final game and The match of the day. 1st place Teddington v 2nd place OC Warriors.

With both teams undefeated this was always going to be competitive, however the Warriors kept it clean and moved the ball beautifully around the pitch whilst Teddington played an increasingly dirty style as they became frustrated. In the first half their keeper completely took out Jonty whilst in the second half their Center Back hit a ball full power into his foot from a short distance taking Jonty of the game. One player down but one goal up as Charlie continued his scoring streak with a great chip to put us 1 up.

Next victim was Ed who after being pushed about was then subjected to a vicious stick to the cheek requiring our resident playing Doc Molin to come into service, again.
Two players down, but again Charlie finished a great move from defence to attack to put us two up. Injuries aside it was a good competitive match played in freezing conditions. I’m off to Cayman to warm up!

Surbiton 5s 1-4 Ladies 1st XI
Ladies 1s squad played Surbiton 5s on Saturday. It was flipping freezing! Minus 2 wind chill, blowing a gale, 4pm start and two light bulbs blown… so playing on the far pitch, on the far side was quite difficult at times given we were playing in navy. When it comes to playing our nearest club the rules of engagement are simple … win! Win fairly but win!!! Well that was the basic gist of Lauren’s team chat. I can’t recall much of the match having stopped a shot on goal with my head part way through the second half so this will be short and sweet!

In both halves OCHCs controlled much of the game with plenty of opportunities in the D. The first half ended 2-0. Goals coming from poacher Flo and the second from a well worked short corner scored by Captain Katie Richards (aka Richie). Half time involved getting dressed so as to not to freeze death and reminder of the need to increase our ‘goals scored’ in the league table … it may become the differentiation at the end of season. The second half started slower than the first and we allowed Surbiton a bit more time on the ball. Against the run of play we got our 3rd. A short which Laura Sealy took off the rebound. Surbiton managed to pull one back after a little string of short corners but we responded by going up the far end and making it 4-1. Another short corner saw Alina Mir sneak the forth goal past the keeper on the post.

Frozen and happy we left having won but also finally got some ‘product’ from our short corners. Well played all. We’re still 3rd in the league and two games to go before the break!

Ladies 2nd XI 1-2 Spencer 4s
On a bitterly cold Saturday morning the 2nd XI faced Spencer bright and early. Though we had concerns of the pitch being frozen and the game ultimately cancelled the temperature stayed on our side and the team were raring to go against Spencer’s 4th XI. The team started the game off well by strongly utilising key triangles of play particularly down the right-hand side with Amy and Sylvie managing to work together and play the ball out of danger. We played the ball nicely around the pitch and used the long ball down both sides allowing our strikers to look dangerous.
Frustratingly, though we appeared to be the stronger team playing the best hockey a long pass from Spencer through to their striker allowed the opposition to take the lead. The ball came in to the D then was nicely spun around our defence and slotted in to the goal. 0-1. Annoyingly following some great play, we found ourselves down in the game.

Following an encouraging team talk at half-time we took this inspiration on to the pitch and after some nice skill from Sylvie in the D Kitty was waiting at the back post to slam it into the goal. After our goal we began to play with confidence again and worked the ball well between us all. Spencer however had some key strong players in the middle which Alisa bravely battled against keeping them at bay for as long as possible. Eventually some long balls were making it through to handy strikers for Spencer and due to a few mistakes were awarded several penalty corners. During one penalty corner a strong strike came into the D and unfortunately was deflected up in the air giving Evie no chance of saving.

In the last 10 minutes the sleet began to come down and Spencer were continuously awarded penalty corners, this meant the game slowed up and OC’s were unable to bring any flow back to our play which we enjoyed earlier. Spencer were a strong team but annoyingly in spells we played the better hockey, the game finished 2-1 to Spencer. As we see out the last few games before Xmas the 2nd XI are playing great hockey around the pitch and it is lovely to see, however we are committed to working on short corners and killer shots in the D to capitalise on this strong play.

Ladies 4th XI 3-1 Surbiton 8s

In the first 10 min, on this cold November day, we found ourselves all over local rivals Surbiton 8s, much to everyone’s surprise as they had been 4 divisions above us in the previous Surrey League. Several interceptions and driving forward from the midfield, with Anna dribbling her way through, Megan and Paula piercing the defense with their hard hitting, Holly, Colleen and Jane had several near misses and it seemed only a matter of time before we would find the back of the net.  Then a breakthrough, Megan scored a spectacular goal, but unfortunately Surbiton equalised by half time with a tap in from the  post against the run of play. In the 2nd half we continued as we had begun and Holly managed to put the ball past the keeper whilst running at top speed.

Surbiton came back hard and it was due to our defence and our  keeper Nici, who made so many amazing saves, that we held on to our lead. Paula struck the ball hard into the D and Colleen managed to connect with it just before it went into the back of the net. Thus the game finished with us having a convincing 3-1 win.

It was a solid team effort with a great blend of youngsters in Anna, Erin, Holly, Kirsten and Megan and the experience of the rest of the team with the agility of the POM performance of Nici in goal.