Men’s 1st XI 3 – 3 Sevenoaks 1st XI
After a long winter break, the good lads returned to the fortress to play against Sevenoaks who had finally decided that they wanted to play the previously cancelled fixture.
Reviewing the strong team sheet set out by the masterful duo of Matthews and Meers, it appeared the good lads had been exceptionally good last year as we got a new number 8 for Christmas. Ben Tibble, an indoor expert who has now converted to outdoor hockey due to his love of drilling, made his way straight in to the team for a highly anticipated return.
In true good lad fashion, the stands were filled by the home support, including S. Hislop jr, who was sat in the stands with the artist formerly known as Achillesstone. Suffering from several injuries, the home support told tales of their woes (that not even a couple of weeks of training at 60% could fix) while looking out at the boys in the Dave Matthews Band who started the match.
The home side got off to the perfect start to the game. Utilising The Space Between the lines, the ball was played by in to Heywood (after a crucial touch from Mawbinny) who produced his usual trademark finish™️ to put the boys ahead after just the second minute.
The remainder of Q1 saw the OCs dominate the game, in a manner which has not been seen since J. Roberts’ Q1 of 2023 in healthcare sales. Borrmann and Richardson sprayed the ball around the back line and left the opposition scrambling to cover the space down the wings.
This led to a second goal for the OCs as D. Mawhinney topped a nice pass in to J. Jamieson who produced an excellent finish over the keeper to add to the tally of Car Goals.
The quarter finished with no other significant events or chances created at the back post from a good ball played in from Tibbs, and the boys went in at the quarter 2-0 up.
The second quarter saw a slight dip in tempo which could only be explained by the lack of training from the pitch being frozen off midweek. This allowed Sevenoaks back in to the game as a misdirected Drawbridge (which resembled Van Kesteren et al 2022) fell to the Sevenoaks centre forward, who happens to be preparing for his 100m heats in an upcoming trip to Paris this summer. The pace managed to get the better of the back line and resulted in the away team getting one goal back.
Fuelled by this goal, the OCs improved the performance for the remainder of the quarter, with chances created from good midfield play from Rhodes and Holloway. Despite mounting pressure applied through attacks from Roe and Surrey-Robberts, the OCs were unable to find another goal and went in at the half 2-1 to the good.
Following a surprisingly positive halftime team-talk, the OCs continued to dominate in Q3. While the back line produced some important tackles, Doble was called in to action to produce some fine saves which he must have learned under Wardy’s tenure of the 7 man indoor team. The quarter ended with a penalty stroke awarded after a short corner attempt was saved off of one of the white lines on the pitch, which the Seventrees converted.
The fourth quarter saw further drama as the OCs continued to look for a winner. Then, showing why he has been entrusted with the armband, none other than Captain Phillips (no relation) stepped up to score what can only be described as a worldie in to the roof of the net.
However, seemingly unshaken by the level of skill that they had just witnessed, Sevenoaks took just 2 minutes to find their less impressive reply, and levelled the score to 3-3.
For the remainder of the quarter, both Ladd and Lankfer looked like scoring as they got on the end of some long range passes from the midfield, however Sevenoaks managed to defend their advances.
In the dying seconds, Sevenoaks’ GB sprinter appeared to have broken through after another burst of pace, however some clever defending from Jamieson caused the attacker to lose balance and the shot went wide. Despite what was clearly a good tackle with his right leg, the umpire did not appreciate the level of skill and awarded a yellow card.
The game ended 3-3 with a point earned following a difficult return after the winter break. While disappointed with the result, the good lads can take comfort in the performance which will surely produce a return in their next outing against Brighton at home, where Doble will have another chance to play against one of his best friends in the league.
POM – Matt Richardson
Goal Scorers – Heywood, Jamieson, Phillips
Written by Jack Jamieson
Ladies 3s 0 – 1 Barnes 5s
Saturday saw the Ladies 3s take on Barnes at a very hard pitch at Oaken Lane. There was debate over whether the match would even take place due to the plummeting temperatures, but the pitch thawed and we were keen to crack on. We started off a bit wobbly and took us 10 minutes to get our head into the game, sadly this was when Barnes made a breakaway and scored a lucky goal whilst we were still finding our feet. This didn’t get us down as we knew we had everything to play for. We kept possession for most of the first half, getting some excellent breakaways but just not being able to get a shot at goal. We were awarded a short corner for a deliberate trip outside of the D which resulted in the Barnes player being carded. Despite this we could not convert and this was the theme of the rest of the match. We dug deep, fought hard, and Erin decided she wanted to play keeper as she incredibly saved a goal off the line and saved us from going 2-0 down. Michelle was a stalwart throughout despite being poorly she gave 150% and made some incredible saves. We kept possession and kept pushing, but the goals sadly didn’t materialise. An A for team effort but sadly no cigars for us.
Final score 1-0.P
POM – Erin Hickman
Warriors 4 – 1 Cheam
The first result of the day was that the match survived the big freeze and a trip to Nonsuch school astro versus Cheam’s high flying Mens 2s team.
Samurais 2 – 5 Barnes Beavers
EPISODE XII – THE BATTLE OF BARNES
The Rebel Alliance sent forth the OC Samurai to Richmond Park Academy, still reminding themselves that they did beat Surbiton a few weeks back.
The battle commenced with Barnes setting their twin ion engines to full afterburner, getting in two early goals – despite some skilful ‘goaling’ from Chewbacca (Ian). PS Chewie: that one-on-one save, in the second half, when you ran out and used your gravity boots and then your light sabre was simply awesome. With the steady hand of Admiral Ackbar (JC) feeding the ball from the Colonies to the Expansion Region, the Samurai were able to breach the perimeter of the Death Star by sending in the young Padawan (Will H) for a decisive strike after the eleventh minute (pew, pew, pew).
Not to be outdone by the student, Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Matt H) entered the fray. Linking up with The Mandalorian (Owen) and Lando Calrissian (Molin), many an attack were launched into the Outer Rim region but somehow failed to land that vital death blow. However, during one such attack, from Planet Short Corner, Obi-Wan slotted in a powerful shot between the defences of the Empire.
Despite losing 5-2 at full time, it must never be forgotten how the below contributed:
Luke Skywalker (Ed C) who fought tirelessly throughout, winning the honour of Man of the Match.
Han Solo (Luke B) for flying the Millennium Falcon at super speeds through the Asteroid belts (and for almost having been Sumo-wrestled off the pitch).
Jango Fett (Harrison M) for his marksmanship passing.
Jar Jar Binks (Stephen) for adding certain comedy elements into the match.
“Stay on target.”
Rebel fighter Gold Five during the climactic Battle of Yavin
Goal Scores Will Heslop and Matt Heslop
POM – Ed Carruthers
Match Report – Stephen Lee
Barnstormers 3 – 2 Hampstead and Westminster Supervets
Who’d be a captain eh! With the Barnstomers scheduled to embark upon an epic quest to the extreme North (of London), availability was proving even more of a conundrum than usual. Via the usual combination of threats, bribery, begging and never to be fulfilled promises, by Saturday morning Skipper Yongey had assembled 11 willing victims to travel to the strange and faraway lands of West Hampstead. Jack Frost unfortunately had the better of both the Stormers and Hamstrings fixtures, but their loss was our gain as a few more victims were rounded up to swell the numbers to a solid 14. Special thanks go to Paddy (just wanted to be out of the house), Rosco (anything to spend time with Poen in the pub afterwards) and CB (will play for anyone, anywhere as long as it counts towards golden stick).
Starting line up and rolling subs policy pretty much writing itself, the pre-game chat was all about quashing our overly sporting tendency to have a nap for the first 5 minutes allowing the oppo to take an early lead. Ball speed would also be particularly important having established in the warm up the pitch made Oaken Lane look like a world class playing surface.
Having listened carefully to Captain Yongey’s instructions to not concede in the first 5 minutes we carried out our orders as directed, waiting until around the 10 minute mark to let the oppo get off the mark. A solid (but on another day stoppable) first time strike from a short corner strike putting us 1 down. Having done the sporting thing and let the oppo get on the score sheet first, we began to get the pace of the pitch and started to move the ball around with a bit more fluency, but as we pushed for the equalizer H&W were wise to our higher press creating a 2 on 2 for them. We don’t need to go in to the minutiae of who did what at that point, but they scored a second and your scribe for today was unanimously appointed.
Although 2 – 0 down we were still very much in the game, and as we approached half time a slick move saw Dazzler drive up the right wing and with possibly our first foray into their D a short corner was secured. Yours truly is far too far away from the huddle to hear what was planned – I’m assuming it’s along the lines of “let’s improvise this one lads”, and after the injection a silky bit of bish bash bosh gave Gracey the opportunity to get us off the mark. 2 – 1. GAME ON.
Half time came and went. Haribo was eaten. Words were said. Cramp made an appearance, but we got stuck in to the second half with renewed vigour and a desire to carry less and pass more on the worlds slowest and bumpiest pitch. We conceded a fair few short corners, but thanks to a combination of solid defense, a massive DoD moment for one of their chaps in front of an unguarded back post and an absolute worldie of a clearance off the line (take a bow Dazzler) we remained only one down.
More good movement of the ball around a slightly tiring H&W resulted in another short. The brief for this shorty was more precise. No improvised nonsense this time. Cunning plan issued, and boy was it executed perfectly. In order to lure them in to a false sense of security Poen fluffed the injection, precisely bobbling it out to about 2 metres in front of him. CB (obviously having been briefed on the plan) swooped in to gather the ball and dribbled it out of the D, moved it smoothly back around the top of the D, at which point some other stuff happened then the Skipper bagged the all important equalizer. 2-2.
Had there been a crowd gathered, they would have been on their feet for the grandstand finale that ensued. The minutes ticked down. The tension ramped up. Both teams had chances but the deadlock remained. If you’re still reading at this point well done – thanks for sticking with it. Before we get to the grand finale some special mentions:
POM – Gracey. First goal. Amazing work-rate. No cards….not even a “quiet conversation” with the umpires.
Powelly and Poen. Great work rate. Both covered a ton of ground.
Tongy. Didn’t get carded.
Dazzler. Goal line clearance. No significant injury this week.
Ed. No idea. Something about their second goal.
Poen. Missed an open goal.
Dazzler. Self promotion of MoM credentials.
And so it came to pass…… for the second week in a row we entered the 69th minute with the scores level and a short corner secured. Surely we couldn’t burgle all three points at the death again…….could we.
Having strategically fluffed the previous injection to lure the oppo into a false sense of security, Poen fired a laser out to Dazzler who crisply stopped, Chris “I’ll definitely hit this one first time” Tong then slipped it somewhere else. At this point CB decided he’d had enough of this nonsense and having only made the trek up north to bolster his golden stick credentials took control and bagged the winner. The umpires cruelly insisted on H&W restarting, only to blow the whistle literally 2 seconds afterwards. 3 points secured.
Dare we dream of an escape from the comfort of mid-table mediocrity to the Champions League places and beyond. Six Nations spectating and Ski Season usually take their toll on our already inconsistent availability, but who am I to tell you to not dare to dream!
Puritans 8 – 1 Southgate
A trip to probably the best clubhouses and hockey facilities in the country is a treat even on a cold windy January day and after a tortuous trip around the M25. Should one ever need inspiration as to how a perfect hockey facility should look go not further than Southgate Hockey Centre. A rich history of top class hockey and a very friendly bunch of members finishes off an unbeatable experience.
Well, nearly finishes it off whilst an 8 – 1 win certainly does.
Victories against the mighty Southgate have been far and few between in my many years of playing club hockey but as near a perfect performance as one could seek gave us one of those rare tastes.
13 players including a loaned Southgate keeper were too much for the home side as the game was killed off in the first 15 minutes with 4 quick fore goals. A lull in the goal scoring in the next 2 quarters and the concession of a top individual goal pegged us back slightly only for another 4 to be added in the last quarter. We set out to play the same type of hockey as last week in the stuffing of IG and managed it for large parts of the game during which all 8 goals were excellent team efforts.
Although just below mid table at the moment we can challenge for the top two spots if we continue to play with the same verve and attitude.
Goalscorers – Leach (3) Knapp (3) Sanders (2)
MOM – Howie Cruthers.
Ladies 7s v Ladies 6s
All set, both teams raring to go for the Clash of the Titans, with both squads being close to capacity, with everyone dying to see if the 7s could pull of a third consecutive win!
Unfortunately this epic was derailed by a frozen pitch. Anticlimax all around…