Match Reports – 15th October 2022

Men’s 1st XI 3-4 Brighton & Hove
This weekend the Mens 1st XI welcomed Brighton to the Fortress at Thames Ditton. After a bumpy start to the regular season the team were feeling invigorated after a strong performance against Teddington last Sunday. The game started with Brighton applying pressure from off with a number of circle entries. OC’s grew into the quarter but struggled to string multiple passes together and come away with an outcome. As the quarter drew to a close OC’s came away with a cheeky goal from Erik Van Kesteren diving to finish after a cobbled together attack from a long corner was poorly dealt with by the Brighton defence.

Another couple of half chances at either end couldn’t see either side adding to their goal tally while OC’s had the best of these opportunities. Brighton then had a slick attack down the right hand side and playing a pass to the shoulder of the D. The resulting quick shot rewarded them a corner and an opportunity to draw level. Unable to Capitalise the score remained 1-0 and the resulting second chance effort fired wide.

In the second quarter Brighton pressed higher putting our men under pressure to play through their press. A scrappy few moments in front of the OC’s goal and Brighton were level 1-1.
This gave the Brighton side some renewed vigour and OC’s had work to do to keep them under wraps. Neither side created a clean cut chance until a hopeful ball forward form the Brighton half back was tapped in from range by the forward, 2-1 Brighton… OC’s weathered a short storm from the away side as they came close again shortly after. Going into halftime it was clear there was plenty more to see from this talented OC’s side.

Both sides came out with intent and the homes side had the better of the opportunities, carving up the Brighton defence on numerous occasions and just lacking the final quality to get level. OC’s were not to be disheartened, as Will Heywood popped up in the 48th minute to slot home for his first of the game. 2-2 Game on! The game opened up from here chances continued to flow for both sides and Brighton were the more fortunate of the two teams scoring clinically to take the game to 3-2. The boys were under the cosh and struggled under the waves of Brighton’s attack until the whistle blew to signal the end of the 3rd quarter.

OC’s we’re not going to lie down easily and brought all they could do the final quarter starting brightly again they couldn’t quite seal the deal in the final 3rd.
A well won short corner proved the breakthrough as the resulting scuffle awarded OC’s a penalty stroke. Will Heywood popping this one past the keeper to make his brace. 3-3 and last minutes became a rampant back and forth between both teams. As OC’s looked to be in the ascendancy the attack broke down in the final 3rd and Brighton broke away to score a fourth. 4-3.

Despite a series of attacks OC’s couldn’t quite take control and the game ended with Brighton taking home the 3 points. A disappointing result but a week off and time to reset will allow the team to regroup, get around each other and come back firing on all cylinders in 2 weeks time.

Mom -Will Heywood
Dod – Ben Roe

Barnes 2s 2-3 Ladies 1st XI
After sweeping aside top of the league, Hampstead and Westminster, last week, we travelled away to Barnes early on Saturday morning with the very same game plan. After playing three and winning three, plus scoring tons of goals, they were also never going to be an easy team to beat. From the start of the first whistle, the game was played with high intensity and vigour from both sides, each trying to set a high pace and tempo from the off.

Our defensive five (well six, with superstar GK Amy) of Hazel, Emma, Molly, Sylvana and Sarah started very well, setting a wall of flat sticks, keeping out waves and waves of Barnes pressure. Transferring the ball brilliantly, they were able to pierce the high press and outlet with power to our super speedy skilful and determined mid and forward lines of Nikki, Jax, Sam, Lauren, Jess, Poppy and Laura. Further up the pitch, they passed and moved brilliantly to space, easing around the Barnes players, often having to dodge some very questionable flying sticks (not to mention elbows too!). Brushing immense pressure aside, we went on to win a few short corners, of which two were swiftly scored back-to-back by Molly, taking us to 2-0 up at half time. A motivated and direct chat from Dave and Ben followed to set us up well for the second half.

However, what happened next was very much a blur, but went along the lines of Jess scoring a cracker of a team goal to make it 3-0 and then as we sat back a bit, a fired up Barnes retaliated to score a quick fire two against us, taking the game to 3-2 within the last 10 minutes. One of their goals was probably the best backhand strike ever scored in this league! But not to be defeated, we soldiered on. Cue Amy making a quality last ditch save, Sylvana losing a diamond earring, Sam saving the ball off the goal line, angry retorts to and from all players, coaches and umpires and the rest was history. A very deserving 3-2 win was registered by OCs over a very strong, physical and talented Barnes side. Skipper Laura was chuffed to bits, especially after being told by the Barnes coach that we were the best team they had played so far. Roll on the rest of the season!

MOM: Molly (who was so that she wore her glittering waistcoat ALL night)
DOD: Sylvie
Scorers: Molly Hanson (2), Jess Pugh

Men’s 2nd XI 8-1 v Teddington 3s 
Early push back at the fortress, a morning’s dumping of rain, the sun comes out for the good lads. Bliss. Captain Biccy sits the lads down, a fairly routine team talk at this point, although perhaps a hint of nervousness creeping in this week. Dropped points from the previous weeks, creeping into the captain’s thoughts, have the board had a word? Push back – the good lads start at a blistering pace, some quick ball pace in the middle between Lawson and Bloomfield, a through ball out to Franny on the wing who threads it to the top of the D to TR who’s back from injury. DR at the back post, not today fella, TR rockets the ball top bins from his reverse. Welcome to the game, TR. 1-0 up after 5 mins, but captain Biccy knows this too well to know that the foot often comes off the gas…

A call of encouragement from the captain, rallying the boys. This time the foot stays well and truly on the gas. Wilson fires an infamous reverse hit out of nothing, followed by the moment that not only he, but the rest of the OCs hockey club have been waiting for… a goal from DR. A second from DR and he finds himself a position he knows too well, back post. Dreamy. 4 – 0 HT.
‘What do you rate ourselves that half’ – a familiar halftime question from the captain. This time with a grin on his face, he’s going to enjoy speaking to the board this time. Biccy gives the boys a 7, nonetheless, a bit harsh, but more in the tank.

A lul from the good lads, 20 minutes into the second half, still 4-0. The good lads keep probing, Simmo as always providing as the bedrock of the team, that after some persistence links up with the forward line. Some quick link up play between Wilson and finished off by Dash on the back post got OCs the second half breakthrough. The flood gates open. A familiar break out between Lawson, Bloomfield and Wilson finds the trio in a 3 v 1 against the keeper. A wayward pass from Wilson breaks down the attack…. Shame. 6-1. This time man of the day DR, proves he’s not just a back of the post goal scorer, but a midfield maestro, threading the ball through to Bloomfield at the top of the D. Having given it the big’un at the beginning of the game, combined with the 2 open goals he had missed, the odds were against Bloomfield the score. Bottom concern, critics silenced.

Man of the moment DR tops off the day with a 3rd. He’s back in business. Controversy came of it however, having heard some of the antics he had had to perform in order to get the hattrick (sorry Dash). The captain wraps it up with a short corner routine that only the 1st team could dream of on the training ground.

MoM – DR
DoD – Bloomfield
Champs – Simmo
Special shoutout to off pitch MoM – Franny

Ladies 3rd XI 3-2 Surbiton 7s
The first 10 mins our ball speed at the back was slow, Surbiton almost took advantage but we held firm and once past this point we dominated the first half with excellent play. Driving the ball up the left and into the D and winning our first short corner, a good injection from Connie C to Manny who stopped and struck the back board before their keeper had moved.
Soon after the ball was passed to Bethan who with her lighten pace ran past a defender along the back line and shot the ball across the D, for Kirsten to just pop it in the goal, classic training. Our third goal, Sophie intercepted the ball from one of their backs and played ping pong with the keeper then decided to keep the ball on the end of her stick, spin and pop the ball in the goal.

We knew the game was not won by half time and tried to keep the moment going in the second half but early in the half, a lapse in concentration combined with rolling subs gave Surbiton a couple of breaks, 2 goals and hope they could salvage a point but undeterred we just stuck to our game plan and continued to dominate the rest of the half. With Jess Q Sophie Y and Kirsten S all at various times giving their centre back the run around and then linking with Bethan a 4th goal was looking likely and with a number of short corners won we could have scored more but this will come as we gel even more as a team. Erin yet again had a great game at the back.

Scorers: Manny, Sophie Y & Kirsten
POM: Erin & Bethan

Reading Rustlers 2-1 Stormers 
Another late afternoon pushback time saw the Stormers take a strong squad to Reading. Impressively and not following recent tradition everyone made it the correct pitch and on time. The local Diwali festival on the field next door was an ample distraction and clearly some were thinking more about dodgems and churros than the game as the Stormers started slowly and allowed Reading lots of possession.

Thanks to dogged and stalwart defending from Matt, Ash, Ports and Heardy, Reading were kept at bay to enable the Stormers to go into half time at 0-0.
After a focused team talk from Goalie, the Stormers came out and played better hockey in the second half.  An attack down the left, lead to a pass finding Rippers free in the D, who calmly slotted the ball into the corner of the goal. Many more chances were created and I’d love to say the Reading goalie was superb but it’s difficult to say when so many chances were going high or wide of the goal. Andy, Will, JJ and Cookie will be all be booking onto the half term masterclass for shooting!

Reading gradually fought back into the game and scored two well worked goals resulting in a 2-1 defeat. Frustrations were high from a game the Stormers really should have won but what is a really good team will pick themselves up and move on together to the next fixture.

MOM – Goalie
DOD – Andy Alderson-Evan

Ladies 5th XI 1-1 Barnes 7s
With thoughts of retaining our lead at the top of the division, we headed off to Chiswick to face Barnes.  Our team wasn’t recognisable from previous games with so many absentees. The Game started well and we were pressuring from the off.  One shot at goal but hit the goalpost, and other opportunities were missed.  Half time and motivating words to try and generate some goals.  Unfortunately following a shambles in our D led to the oppo scoring.  Tilly, our superb goalie, In her debut for the team, had had an excellent game and it was sheer bad luck.  We had a few short corners both ends, but a few minutes from the end and a flurry in Barnes D, gave us a lifeline.  We were awarded a penalty flick and Debbie Maudsley stepped up to the plate and we managed a draw.  1-1.
>MoM Poppy Bartles-Smith

Scorer: Debbie Maudsley

Ladies 6th XI 2-3 Cheam 3s 
It was a mixed outing for the Ladies 6s on Saturday against Cheam. The oppo started strong, playing a quick attacking game but we defended well, with some fantastic saves by Izzy in goal. Determined not to let an early injury for our centre mid Roz knock us, is wasn’t long before Poppy made her way through Cheam’s defence to score, 1-0 to OCs! Cheam continued to push hard and our defence had their work cut out but we managed to keep them out and following a quick turnover of the ball, some gorgeous play up the left hand side of the pitch gave Poppy a one on one opportunity with the keeper, a brief pause to look up and she slotted it easily past the keeper to bring us 2-0 up going into half time.

We went into the second half feeling confident, ready to solidify our win and went on to play a stronger second half than the first but short on subs, we perhaps started to flag a little, enabling Cheam (luxuriating in many subs) to score one, then a second equalising goal. Determined to get a third to take the game, we pushed hard but it wasn’t to be and with only a couple of minutes to go, Cheam snuck in a third goal to win the game. Lots of positives to take away from the game, some fantastic passing into space and running on to the ball and a different day could very easily have given a different outcome, we look forward to the re-match!
Scorer: Poppy Protasiuk (2)

POM: Poppy Protasiuk and Evie Robinson