Brighton & Hove 3-4 Men’s 1st XI
For the last time in what can only be described as an epic season the OC Men’s 1s loaded up the Macai fun bus and headed down to Brighton. Despite a disappointing performance against Sevenoaks in the previous week the lad’s spirits remained high – coach Will Marshall fired up his players by stating that in every league and tournament he played in he always wanted to win the last game, a clear reference to all the cup final success he has enjoyed with Scotland.
The OCs started the game as well as they have all year, dominating possession for the first quarter and barely giving Brighton a sniff of the ball. The OC’s dominance was rewarded in the 14th minute when a well won short corner was calmy tucked away by Will Marshall. Our dominance continued into the second quarter with the boys creating various chances through some fantastic interplay down the right from Dan Rhodes and Callum Holloway. The OCs finally added a second after a bouncing ball off a broken-down short corner landed to Jack Smart who, despite efforts from both Brighton and Callum Holloway to tackle him, eventually put it on his reverse stick and lobbed the oncoming Brighton goalkeeper. Brighton started to look slightly brighter after the second goal and managed to make the score 2-1 just on the stroke of half time with a thunder rocket of a drag flick beating the helpless Doble and Simmo.
The halftime team talk was simple – keep doing what we’re doing and we will run out comfortable winners, the score-line of 2-1 didn’t reflect the dominance OCs had exerted. It didn’t take the OCs long to re-establish their two-goal advantage with Charlie Lamb, playing through the bubonic plague, winning a short corner which was dispatched by the in-form Ben Roe, who has flicked well in the absence of Mohammed Irfan. After this it felt like the OCs would open up an even more comfortable lead. The OCs dominated the next phase of the game playing some liquid hockey with our inside forwards, especially Jack Smart, interlinking with the full backs to wreak havoc on Brighton. In the 55th minute a Dan Rhodes aerial found a charging Will Phillips down the right, who provided a great ball into Tom Roberts who finished expertly on his backhand to score his first of two goals of the day and last goal of the hockey season.
Brighton made the game interesting in the last ten minutes by scoring a scrappy goal courtesy of some serious anti-skill, followed by a short corner in the 65th minute to make the game 4-3. In the dying seconds Brighton then won a short corner which was flicked wide much to the OCs relief. The 4-3 win probably doesn’t reflect the true domination that the boys exerted over Brighton in which was arguably our best performance in the season.
It was a great way for the OCs 1s to finish the season. The lads are very grateful for everyone who has come out to support this year. The home support, especially on Saturday Nights has been absolutely fantastic week in week out and has really made the season as special as it has been. A special shoutout to Macai who have again supported us this season and particularly by funding our bus which has been a huge contributor to our away form which has been excellent since Christmas. We look forward to seeing you all down OCs at the end of season dinner and next year.
Men’s 2nd XI 2-2 Teddington 2s
As the boys entered the penultimate game of the season, the reality that there was in fact somewhere else that Donny would rather be began to dawn and the good guys had to regroup.
Pre-match mind-games were in full flow Teddington’s propaganda team spreading more fake news than the Kremlin, with misleading pre-match intel indicating that the oppo would be requiring 13 proteinous match teas. You would have forgiven the good lads for losing their heads when 16 pink shirts stepped onto the pitch, but it wasn’t to be.
Rallied by a warm-up Alex Don would have been proud of, the people’s team started strongly, absorbing pressure for lengthy periods of time, before Messrs Ladd & Cooper linked up to give OC’s the lead on the counter, against the run of play. Such was the unexpected nature of the OC’s taking the lead that the oppo claimed OC’s had an extra player on the pitch – a claim that was dismissed on the grounds that Cooper’s mum was neither registered as an OC’s player nor on the pitch at the time of play. 1-0 at half time.
With teddington increasing the pressure in the second half, the away team got a deserved equaliser with 20 to go. 10 minutes to go and Stratford decided to show his selfless side and sub himself off to allow others to have more game time. Then, much like he did at the Battle of Helm’s Deep, Gandalf arrived with 5 minutes to go and worked his magic to shatter OC’s promotion chasing dreams, having been subdued of his powers for large periods of the game. But unlike Saruman’s army, OC’s heads did not drop and the good lads embarked on a corner onslaught, led by some of dladd’s wizardry of his own in the opposition D.
2 minutes to go – P Flick won and calmly put away by Lawson to reduce the league winners to only 1 point out of an available 6 against OC’s in the 2021/22 season and take the promotion race down to the final weekend.
Next up: a winner takes all showdown with Hampstead to close out the season. An 11 goal victory or anything but a Hampstead victory will give the people a season to remember.
Ashford 2s 1-7 Men’s 3rd XI
Another week of scrabbling around to field a side with Covid, the cause of last week’s postponement, still causing us issues. 480 Whatsapp messages later, the last timed at our meet time of 12.30 on game day, we had 13. Thank you to Cato for playing and convincing 4 other true club stalwarts, Packers, CB, Gav and Ports, to turn out once The Stormers game v Wimbledon had been conceded by Wimbledon. Their fixture was a classic failure of the use of the double bluff with Wimbledon putting forward a 17.45 push back time to their then being unable to raise a side thus handing The Stormers their league title to go with that won by the ladies 1s later on Saturday.
Nabbing fiver extra players on Friday afternoon to play was key to our emphatic win with Packers and Gav’s experience settling us down, Ports playing as well as I have seen him play, CB fully recovered from his brush with the other side and Cato his usual solid self. All in all this was as complete and as good a squad effort as we could have asked for. Normally I would be looking for my passport and Euros if told we were off to the airport with the promise of sand dunes, tracts of sand, water and open spaces on a sunny day and perhaps it was this combination that suckered the late recruitments. Unfortunately the sand was littered with diggers, the water stagnant and the airport close enough to the pitch to taste the high octane fuel. Ports however was able to note down with unbridled enthusiasm the registration number of the new Whiz Air 747, WZ-6281-A, to add to his collection. “Knappy, worth coming out to industrial Middlesex just for that moment of history”.
A well organised and efficient warm up by the home side was countered by a not so choreographed warm up by us but we still managed to take the game to Ashford in the opening 10 minutes. Packers appeared following his last Deliveroo pizza being offloaded even if it were to a blacked out window Mercedes with surreptitious glances up and down the road from the two drivers as the pizza was hastily thrust through the car window. Buoyed by a successful delivery Packers first touch was to deflect a well worked corner home in the 20th minute to put us one up quickly followed by our second clipped home from the top of the D past the advancing keeper as we countered quickly.
Up until this point Ashford had hardly troubled our defence but with the last touch of the first half a well worked ball into the D was superbly deflected home to bring the oppo back into the game. The balance of play should have seen us further ahead but possession %s mean diddly squat. Lewi reminded us of how in the first game simple hockey in the second half enabled us to win quite convincingly and even though Knappy tried to convince CB to aerial the ball from the restart, a test of CB’s cognitive skills following his mishap a couple of weeks ago, the temptation was ignored. Following his brush with the virus last week Coppers found an aqualung in his kit bag to dominate the midfield and as the game became more stretched we played more simply and ran in 5 unanswered goals with Kenty, Emmers, Coppers and 2 from CG adding their names to the scoresheet.
Coppers was a drag flick from a corner which meant we doubled our short corner tally for the season, breaking virgin ground for a drag flick. The other goals were excellent team goals but the pick were CGs tomahawk that deflected off the keeper’s head onto the underside of the bar before dropping in and his second being a slick break out from a defensive short that hit the backboards following 4 one touch passes and 15 touches from Kenty as he beast the keeper 4 times before setting up CG with a tap in. The time on the Miami nightclub couch following a Tequila liver marinade for CG obviously did the trick. More beneficlal than the detox ordered on Scarney following the intervention of Katy with her questioning her husband’s diet.
Scarney returns this week following a revelation that he was not absent due to being at a wedding in Birmingham but instead at engagement drinks, the revelation being pay back for the lady in the loo story pre Merton.
Old Kingstonian 1s 0-6 Ladies 1st XI
A full match report on this game can be found by clicking here
Ladies 2nd XI 0-1 Kings & Alleyns 2s
This was a grudge match as the first leg was one that was card filled and a full on battle. This game also had its fair share of controversy! With the team being a mish mash of players, we gelled quickly and started well, winning a short corner in the first minute. With a change of personnel, the corners were going to be a challenge, although they have been our Achilles heel of the season. We dominated the first half, linking passes, shots on goal and winning shorts. Unfortunately, a run against play, and the slowest goal known to man, took us into half time 1-0 down.
After a pep talk from Will, who by his own admission, has not been our good luck charm this season, we went back out to battle. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to turn the table, as we had a goal disallowed despite it “crossing the line”.
The final score 1-0. And a team of gutted OCS players. But we move on and don’t they say, always win your last game?! So we go away to Crystal Palace next week to take on league winners Gamblers, ready to upset their apple cart of straight wins!
Ladies 4th XI 0-3 Cheam 2s
With a mixture of glorious sunshine, biting cold wind and a snow flurry or two, we gathered for our game against Cheam. With many of our players mysteriously vanishing this weekend, we fielded an unusual side against a formidable team, as you’d expect from number two in the division.
Cheam managed an early goal and I have no doubt they thought it was the first of many. So with some tightening up of the defence, some great saves by Nici and a couple of lucky misses by Cheam, the half time whistle had us 0-1 down. The second half we came out really strong and looked great on multiple breaks, by both Anna & Holly, but we struggled to convert these into points. Cheam managed to squeeze in 2 more goals before the full time whistle, bringing the final score to 0-3.
Today’s game was well fought by us and it was great to hear the oppo mention how hard they were having to work. A special mention to Selma who played her debut game for us and Michelle, who’s slowly working her way from keeper to forward … I wonder if she’ll volunteer for us again.
Ladies 6th XI 2-1 Merton 2s
Merton 2s paid a return visit to OCs on Saturday and following a very close away encounter in October when we registered our first season win, it was going to be a good-spirited but keenly contested match.
Always a favourite opponent, both teams were hoping for a win to help the end of season league positions. We fielded an experienced team of colts and seniors and started the match with some dominant possession and passing across the midfield and forward lines. An early converted ‘textbook’ short corner was followed up later in the half with a brilliant individual goal from Lucy W, shooting high out of reach of the goalie, adding to her earlier goal.
After dominating possession in the 1st half, an early break by Merton was converted, pegging us back to 2-1. L6s dug deep and with the rotation of fresh legs kept Merton away from their half for long periods of the 2nd half, showing some great periods of play from attack and defence and use of the width. Although we were unable to convert our possession stats, it was a strong display of teamwork. POM was awarded to Connie C for her speed and agility in the midfield.