Match reports - September 27, 2008
We had already been extremely chuffed when we had found out that we would be playing our favourite team (Sanderstead) away for our first league match of the season. Our weekend was made complete when we found out that not only was our favourite forward playing for them but also they had brought our favourite umpire with them.
Due to a great moment of organisation from myself, we managed to start the match initially with only ten men on the field, when I realised that Bruce had not yet turned up. Thankfully Chaz was alert to this and filled the gap up front. Bruce later joined us having attempted to break the Bike world speed record having realised he had got the wrong match start time.
The match started with Sanderstead pushing hard and pressurising all our possession. This continued through the majority of the first half with the defence of Adam, Stuey, Heardy, Tim and Ewan holding steady and being rock solid as usual.
The tide was starting to turn a little when towards the end of the first half Sanderstead were awarded, what is possibly one of the most dubious short corners in history. We are still puzzled as to why Ewan would want to deliberately lift the ball at Adam from a 16 hit out. Nevertheless we are sure our friendly opposition umpire had his reasons for awarding a short corner (even if he did later admit that he didn’t really think that it was deliberate). The fact that he was heard to tell our opposition to ensure that they smashed us in the second half may give some indication.
Anyway from this short corner we did unfortunately concede a goal from a straight hit thus making the score 1 -0 to Sanderstead. This was how things stayed until half time. With a good re-jig at half time which changed our line up to strengthen midfield we started the second half looking a lot more organised side. We also swapped umpires with Heardy taking over from Ollie. Thanks goes to both these two for covering a half in what wasn’t the easiest of matches to umpire.
Throughout the second half we had a great deal more chances with Rich, Chris, Louis and Bruce all having opportunities but not being able to finish them. With us playing a lot better the opposition seemed to be resorting to type with a lot of dodgy chat being had from in particular our friendly forward (a big hello goes to him as we know he likes to read our reports). In addition to the chat they seemed to want to play through us rather than around us at all times.
Anyway despite playing a lot better in the second half we were unable to obtain that elusive goal. With us not conceding in the second half the match ended with a disappointing 1-0 defeat. Thanks to everyone who played.
Ladies XI 1-1 Cheam 1st XI
This weekend saw the Ladies start the new season against Cheam 1s, who having been relegated last season would be definitely up for a good start to their hopes to get back up to the premier league ... but we have ambitions too!
With the luxury of a 15-lady squad of Rewah, Ros, Tux, Mez, Laura, Daisy, Muriel, Manny, Steph, Gayle, May, Smithy M2, Poacher (Caz), Ems and Snoopy we set about taking on the ladies of Cheam. Cheam started hard from the outset, probably as a result of a 30-minute (no joke!) whiteboard briefing session before the start of the game. I had tried desperately to replicate this with the aid of Jax’s notes (in the absence of Dunx of who is swaning around in Singapore!), with a team talk in the stand but with a number of great new players joining this season, we were still trying to gel as a team!
In the first half we spent much of the time defending, putting in some strong tackles and our stand-in keeper Rewah making some blinding one-on-one saves. When we did get the break we got ‘stuck in traffic’ as our confidence to distribute around the pitch was lacking which meant we drove straight into Cheam’s defensive line. Cheam eventually got the upper hand through a well worked short corner which slipped in by the left-hand post.
Half time came as an opportunity to re-group, get our structure sorted and rehydrate from the late summer sun! What ever we had said to each other seemed to work as we came out far more aggressive, taking the game to Cheam and working together as a team. From the off we moved the ball round the pitch giving the mid fielders and forwards the opportunity to find space, driving the ball, at ‘May pace’, to create a number of more opportunities on goal and giving their keeper something to think about.
With depth in our squad we were able to use the extra players to keep the pace of the game high. As Cheam became more frustrated, especially from at not scoring from their five successive short corners, which were sterling defended (if I do say so) we capitalised on this with an equaliser at the other end. Our goal came with five minutes of play left as we pressed forward one final time. Manny took the free hit from just outside the D, rebounding off Muriel’s stick onto the keeper which after a quick scrabble Dora lifted the ball over the keeper and into the goal!!!
We spent the remainder of the game defending strongly, having worked this hard for the point we weren’t going to let Cheam take it away. Eventually the final whistle came and we walked off proud that we had started the league on a good note and gelled as a team with an opportunity to great things this season.
Thanks to Stuart Ripley and Nick Lewis for umpiring … sorry I forgot to get you a beer at the end! And also to girls, including Rewah for stepping into the keeping pads which is never an enviable task!