December brought with it a new chapter in the club’s history. We fielded two junior teams in the London League Indoor Hockey Competition and the Men’s 1s played their first indoor game in 30 years … fortunately with some younger players than those that graced the pitch that long ago!
Both our U16s and U18s girls played against well drilled oppositions but that didn’t deter the enthusiasm. Inexperience of playing with the indoor rules and nerves were a factor in the negative score lines, for both teams in their early games, but as the tournament progressed so did their confidence. Quick stick work, use of the walls and low into the tackles became second nature but it wasn’t enough to turn around OCs fortunes. Both teams walked away all smiles and a new love of the indoor game. It is a start into the world of Indoor Hockey for our Junior section something which we’re keen to build on next season.
The following week the Men’s 1s played in their competition. It was supposed to be at least 5 teams: Croydon & Old Whitgiftian, London Academicals, Richmond & Wapping and a strong OC Men’s 1st XI indoor squad, but a combination of the Christmas break & Covid/Omicron thought differently. Mass unavailability followed but it was a great chance to pull upon our younger aspiring club members who were able combine with our experienced players. Wapping & London Academicals also pulled out leaving it a 3-way round-robin.
OC’s first game was a win against Richmond, ending 6-3. 4 goals coming from short corners conversions from Will Marshall and Muhammad Irfan. The final goal coming from an assist from Alexander Adair, passing across the goal with paint-pot finish from Ajay Welsh.
With Richmond knocked out, having also lost their first round game, it meant the final game was now the tournament decider – OC vs Croydon. OC’s needed a win whilst Croydon needed at least a draw to go through to next round. Despite OCs best efforts it was obvious from the start that Croydon had had more time on the training pitch! They took their opportunities early on and a little chit chat to the umpire combined with a lack of understanding of the rules meant OCs had a couple less players on the pitch that Croydon!!! OCs made a late charge but couldn’t claw back the deficit and eventually lost 7-3.