Following a solid pre season, Old Cranleighans headed into the first game of the season with high hopes against a strong and experienced Sevenoaks side. With a deeper squad than previous years, Old Cranleighans had almost full availability for the fixture at Thames Ditton despite unfortunately loosing Boote late on to illness.
The game was evenly balanced at first, with Richmond making some concerted entries into our D and looking dangerous at times. GK Amy pulled off a remarkable one on one save to keep us in the game. We responded with some driving play down the right hand side and a near miss off the left post close to the end of the first half.
We needed a rethink at half time as we’d begun to lose our shape and were finding ourselves in need of inspiration. Coach Ben provided just that, with a reshuffle and the help of his whiteboard. We did our jobs brilliantly in the second half, Richmond failed to get the ball into our 25 and we peppered them with decent attempts on goal. Laura and Sam linked beautifully, and Poppy and Ellie ran rings around their tiring defence. But it was Moz who drove the play forward relentlessly, rightfully earning her girl of the game title. It’s amazing what a bit of marathon training does for ones fitness! Ultimately it wasn’t a scoring day, which is a pity particularly given how we dominated the second half. But a solid start, and plenty of promise for a successful season in our new league.
Dame of the Game – Sarah Morris
DOD – Molly Hanson
24/09/22 – Brombeck 3s (A)
Saturday ushered in the start of the season for OC’s 2nd XI. The campaign begins during one of the most turbulent times in British history – a time where milk in the fridges of many households has not only seen personnel changes at no.10 Downing Street and Buckingham palace, but also, more significantly, the overthrowing of the bloody and violent Roberts dictatorship at Portsmouth Road (that’s the home pitch address by the way Dash). The incumbent tyrant is replaced by the more liberal Sam Biccarino who forcibly displaced Roberts from the captains group just moments after breaching its perimeter. There are also rumours that Tom Stratford, Roberts’ right hand man and trusted confident, has fled the area to avoid potential war crime charges for his role within the regime.
Such regime changes and political uncertainty have ravaged markets causing British investors and indeed sterling itself to capitulate. Even our own Donny (derivatives trader and OC’s Chief Markets Analyst), has turned away from the oil indexes and towards marriage in order to lock in some stability during the current economic whirlwind – an investment strategy that has exponentially grown in popularity over the summer months at OCs.
Spiralling speculation was however put to bed on Saturday as Biccarino’s new outfit put stick to ball. The first ten minutes were slow but the team began to build into the game, slowly knitting together the team chemistry that is always a little frayed in the season opener. As the engine warmed up, it wasn’t long before a passage of open play presented the ball to new recruit Danger Dash near the outskirts of the D. Having only arrived at the pitch 120 seconds before the start of the game and still unaware of what day it was, whether he was holding a hockey club or golf stick, if playing home or away or whether it was all just a dream, reflexes kicked in and Dash dispatched the ball into the top right corner of the net giving the OCs the lead.
More hockey was played with Oli Clift showing some serious flair on the left sideline, Simmo commanding the defence, Teo showing how age is just a number and Liam letting the opposition score just before the close of the half. 1-1.
Then came Biccarino’s inaugural half time talk where he described the first ten minutes as a ‘3/10 performance’, sparking flashbacks of his search for the g spot the night before. Unscathed by the disappointed glare of his mrs and fuelled by the uplifting naïveté of his new office, Biccarino brought about a more positive tone of encouragement to the team in order to rally everyone for the second half.
The second half was started well with OCs widening the gap between their counterparts as Ajay secured a second goal. Astonished that he had managed to steer the ball into the narrow opening between the keepers hand pad and the left post, all whilst fending off two defenders, the young striker was reminded of Freddie freshers week motto; ‘it’s amazing what you can do with a couple of inches and an opportunity’. 2-1.
The remainder of the match was plagued by umpiring decisions that finally allowed Dash to realise he was definitely playing away. After converting an unjust PC, Brombecks tied the game 2-2 and despite the unrelenting OCs counterattacking efforts of the final 5 minutes, the game finished with a point each.
The Ladies 2s played Cheam 1s at Thames Ditton in the first league match of the season on a warm September afternoon. Cheam came second in the league last season so it was always going to be a tough game to kick off with.
OCs came out strongly in the first quarter and made several pushes on goal but sadly were not able to convert any of their chances into a goal. Cheam defended well and throughout the first half made moves into the OC circle which were rebuffed. Just before half time on one of these breaks, a mis-hit from one of the Cheam players looped high into the goal and squeezed over the top of the keeper to leave the score-line 0-1 at the break.
Cheam came back with even more energy after half time and continued to push OCs hard. Both sides had chances on goal and several short corner opportunities but the scoreline stayed unchanged until the last five minutes when one of the Cheam breaks was converted into a second goal to leave the final scoreline at 0-2.
Whilst this was a disappointing scoreline, OCs played lots of good hockey against an impressive opposition. The performance at offensive penalty corners sadly continued on from last season as a weak spot and leaves the team’s conversion rate on a parr with the England Ladies team. The team as a whole are gelling well though, and there were some good chances created from accurate passing and good running. The new Junior players look to be settling in well and there were several displays of blistering pace from them which created some exciting chances.
If the team can find their goal scoring mojo then they look set to have an exciting season ahead.
PoM was Ele Lunn for her sterling defence…..DoD was the Georgie Sangster for only bothering to turn up as the match was about to start.
Final Score 0-2
The Stormers’ title defence started with a tricky opening fixture against Spencer, one of the toughest opponents from last season. After an impressive fixture negotiation, our 21/22 captain’s player award winner announcing that his ‘legs are not made for hockey’, and a pep talk from new skipper Goalie, we were ready to start our season.
Now I was told to ‘forget the first half’ however there were some rumours it included a stray pass to ensure Goalie didn’t start with a clean sheet, a failed diving challenge resulting in a green, and our sweeper tackling himself – ending up on the floor with no player anywhere nearby. While the DotD result was all but decided, the game was far from over with a goal from JJ taking the half-time score to 1-1. The second half saw the evenly matched game continue with Spencer creating chances, but unable to beat Goalie securing him the MotM vote. At the other end, Stormers were clinical with goals from CB (never shoot from there), Will’s deflection and another for JJ.
4-1 doesn’t really show how close this game was against a strong side, but another W for Stormers who welcome newly promoted Tulse Hill & Dulwich Artillery to Fortress TD next week.