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Saturday, 13 December 2008

Match reports - December 13, 2008

The 1st XI finished the first half of the season with a gutsy 3-2 win over Old Midwhitgiftians at a cold and sodden TD, David Knapp’s strike midway through the second half securing us the points despite a spirited late assault by the side we now leapfrog into second place. The 2nd XI game at Epsom was called off because of a flooded astroturf, while the Ladies ended the year with a 0-1 defeat at Woking, a result which leaves us embroiled in a real relegation scrap in the New Year.

Click here for this week's match photos

David Knapp surges from the back leaving an OMW attacker in his wake1st XI 3-2 Old Midwhitgiftians At last we have won a crunch game against an uncompromising Mid Whits side who were not going to take any prisoners. In fact some of their comments were quite laughable but we knew what to expect and were not disappointed.

In atrocious weather conditions but with the pitch playing the best I have played on at TD OMWs were off to a flyer scoring in the first minute with a shot that Trickster would have been disappointed at conceding. The next 20 minutes saw us play our best hockey of the match as we created a great deal down the right without being in total domination. Gavin finished off a move when Rory set him up and Knapp picked up a stray ball and had the simplest of tap ins to make it 2 -1 after 15 minutes.

Although we continued to press OMW also had their moments but Trickster atoned for his earlier lapse with a number of excellent saves mirrored by their keeper who dealy well with all that was thrown at him. There was a very genuine call for his to have received a yellow card on taking ball and man outside the D but the cards were saved for later when OMWs fabled disciplinary problems handed us the game. At the end of the first half OMWs had the better of the game but we always looked dangerous on the break.

We found ourselves under pressure during the opening exchanges of the second half and OMWs made it difficult for us to release the pressure, pressing us very well. We lacked the bite of Ed B who was indisposed when picking up a nasty finger injury as did Duffy who manfully struggled on. Thankfully the consummate professional Will Stephens was on hand to give us some back up following the postponement of the second's game so we had some defensive back up.

The game turned when OMWs picked up yet another 2 yellow cards to add to their seasons total with our converting a short when having the numerical advantage, Knapp forcing the ball home just inside the post. The key to our game was getting behind the oppo's defence on the right hand side and along the bye line and we should have made more of the 3 chances we created and once again looked dangerous on the break as OMWs were excellent coming forward but very suspect on the break. We then received our first yellow with Eds C chopping from behind and cue Will to wrap up the left hand side. A lifeline was handed to OMWs 7 minutes from the end as we gifted them a goal to set up a frantic last few minutes. Trickster again came to our rescue whilst we squandered a short corner 3 from time.

Rory then went off with a yellow for the last exchanges but our experience saw us take the ball into the corners and along the side lines drawing out a repertoire from a Kendo training session from a couple of their players and bearing in mind we were winning 3 -2 some extraordinarily crass comments. The last throw of the dice saw a crude tackle from Duffy and a short corner awarded against us but fittingly Cato made a superb tackle and we ran the ball out of defence to allow the clock to run down for the last few seconds.

Not a pretty result with the OMW's match report likely to give a different view and probably blaming it on the umpiring - something they did continuously as evidenced by the frequent advancement of 10 yards up the pitch at our free hits.

Second at Christmas and a point behind Wanderers so all to play for with OMWs close behind and Bank and HAC not far behind.

Cato clears off the line

Ladies 0-1 Woking Another cold wet Saturday saw us playing Woking 2’s away. Woking came down from Prem last season and knew they would want to take three points from us to help their promotion campaign. The miserable weather and Christmas season hangovers were affecting our team motivation and we only had 11 players so knew we were in for a toughie. Lucy had donned the keepers pads for the day and we had a couple of midfielders stepping back into the defence. Even so we were up for the match and determined to give Woking a run for their money. The first half started pretty well with some end to end play, with us managing to play quite high and pressurise the Woking defence, winning our selves a shorty fairly early on in the first half but a good save by the Woking Keeper deflected Dora’s strike. Woking were a fit team and made us defend hard too, but with no real close calls for us and Lucy only really having to make one save in the first half. We did manage to get the ball into the back of the Woking goal following a free hit out side the circle and thought we had scored but our joy was short lived as we were not awarded a goal as we had failed

to get a touch on the ball in the circle and it had deflected off a Woking player to win us a long rather than a goal. A few Woking players were beginning to get riled and there was much appealing to the umpires by both the players and their coach, but it wasn’t getting them any where. The first half was pretty even and ended 0-0.

After a half time team huddle to try to keep our selves warm, sprints and determination was high. We were confident we could get something from this. However Woking came out and pretty much dominated most of the first 15 minutes. We defended well but couldn’t really seem to get the ball up our end. Woking's goal came after a spate of penalty corners which we bravely defended and narrowly avoided a penalty flick, with Lucy having to make some superb saves to keep us level, but eventually Woking converted from an excellent straight strike. We kept our heads up but once again it wasn’t to be our day. We managed to put Woking under a bit of pressure and managed with some slick play to get the ball back up their end into their circle but couldn’t quite get a finish on anything.

The score finished 1-0 to Woking and will see us enter the second half of the season in the bottom half of the table. We are more than capable of staying in this league we just need to find whatever is missing from our play at the moment. So ladies have a good break and come back refreshed after Christmas raedy to kick @rse the second part of the season! Thanks also to Goalie who umpired in the pouring rain! Jackie Waite

Veterans 2-0 Cheam I think 10.00 am home games suit the OC Vets. We had three subs, an umpire and 11 men on the pitch all huddled in the leaking stand watching the rain fall debating with the oppo whether we should flip a coin and go to the bar. After a little debate, it was felt that 10.30 am in the bar was even a little early for us so four volunteers were sent out to move the goal posts and take an early cold shower. Maybe John Beck ex of Cambridge United now of Histon FC had a thing there with a cold shower before the game because it works with us. Not that this will be part of the pre-match routine unless forced!

I don't think it stopped raining all day but at least the game was on and so all bar the aformentioned four stripped of and hit the pitch and after a little short-corner practice, the game started immediately.

Plenty of decent possession hockey was on show in the early exchanges with noteworthy efforts from the three musketeers on the right side, Dave, Miles and Jon who played amongst themselves for long periods while everone stopped and watched. With an average age over 55 the Cheam defence were soon under pressure and despite a few breakaway efforts from the Cheam attack, it wasn't long before Dave Burtles struck a sweet volley from 12 yards out and we were one up.

The Cheam strength is their attack but with Shanks and his boys in front of him , Matt and Andy Loades who seemed to vary regularly with both Andy Eve and Wade having a go at full back, the door remained shut. Numerous short corners were repelled by the valiant home guard keeping the score to 1-0 at the break which was taken under the shelter of the leaky stand.

It was agreed that we had to score a second goal early as letting the Cheam boys back in would have got their dander up. This was to be avoided as their attack has been known to rip us apart in the past. The second goal duly arrived via a short corner. I make this point because this is a rare noteworthy event for the Vets. No doubt the practice of hitting out and stopping pre game helped in dealing with these basic functions. The ball was stopped and slipped to Miles who drilled the ball home into the bottom corner.

The rest of the game was about keeping what we had although we were helped by the weather in that 2-0 down in the cold constantly poring rain feels a lot worse that 2-0 up. The final whistle brought relief as we had secured 3 points and we could go and have a hot shower and a beer. Special thanks should go to judge Stuart Sleeman for umpiring the whole game in that weather. Tommy Trinder

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Saturday, 6 December 2008

Match reports - December 6, 2008

The 1st XI's see-saw occupation of the top spot lasted a week after they squandered a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to new leaders Wanderers, but the 2nd XI remained unbeaten after a feisty 1-1 draw with Reigate Priory. The 3rd XI will go into the New Year without a win after a 0-7 drubbing at Reigate, the 4th XI enjoyed their day out at Cranleigh with a 6-1 over Aldershot, and the Ladies drew 1-1 with Wimbledon.

Click here for this week's match photos

Wanderers 3-2 1st XI
Another big game lost and in the most frustrating of circumstances but a sign that we are not at this stage promotion material.

We said the game would be won in the first five minutes by our imposing our authority on the match and so at 2-0 up after 10 minutes it all looked good. Rippers slotted from a tight angle from our first short corner and five minutes later Ed Breton was on hand to roll the ball home after Gavin had set him up following some excellent work down the left. At this stage Wanderers looked very ordinary but we then made a few changes and let them back in the game. However for 15 minutes or so they did not create anything but exerted more and more pressure on our midfield. An incisive move down the left cut us open and a sharp shot from the top of the D found its way home. We then missed a good chance to make it 3-1 but two minutes from the break a failure to clear from defence handed another to the home side and we were level.

The second half saw neither side creating any clear cut chances with Wanderers winning the two short corners of the half with which we dealt comfortably. The game began to stretch out with Duffy and Brewer clearing up everything they had to do and Cato his usual tireless self in his new centre-back role. The chance to win the game came our way just before the end with a deft deflection by Chris Valentine from a superb ball in by Chris Brewer was hit first time by Gavin who saw his shot go narrowly wide. As a draw looked a certainty we played the ball from top left corner back to the defence, made a complete Horlicks of possession and gave the two Wanderers forwards the simplest of 2-on-1s against Tricky. There was insufficient time to restart and so we now slip to third in the table.

To be completely frank and having watched the last two UCL homes games neither of the teams on today's showing would be able to keep up with the standard of the league above. There is no coincidence in the fact that we have conceded the last goal in a game more often than we have scored the last goal and so a number of us need to take a harsh look at their levels of fitness. There is one more game before a four-week break so plenty of time to put in a great deal of hard physical work - if the desire is there. David Knapp

2nd XI 1-1 Reigate Priory
After playing two of the top three sides in the league (us being the other) over the last two consecutive weekends it was back to HQ against fifth-placed Reigate Priory - no rest for the wicked, and so it proved...

The side changed yet again (I'm not sure we have had the same side out once this season!) as the Wood brothers left for South Africa, and Andy Selby was also away. The skipper returned from his working weekend (playing golf in Spain), and we welcomed Jamie Brough and Tim Durant to the fold.

The game started well enough with us launching some concerted attacks and looking generally solid. We converted this early pressure when Paul Acutt made it nine goals in 10 matches by rifling a short-corner strike just inside the right post. We continued to dominate, forcing them to hit targetless long balls from their 16s. Having failed to pass it out from their 25 and hit it out, they launched an aerial bombardment. This was similarly targetless, but a missed forward defensive by Tom Merry (work to be done before his liniment cricket tour to Southern Africa) after the ball had gone over Dodie left their quick striker one on one with Heardy. A missed tackle and a decent finish and they had levelled.

A hard core of their players seemed to decide that they missed the autumn internationals and rugby should be the order of the day. Both umpires (or should that be referees) seemed content with this approach and the game therefore got unnecessarily feisty. At half time the discussion was around finding the acres of space, rather than trying to continually press down one channel - not that this changed much in the second half.

The second half continued in much the same fashion. At one point the skippers were asked to talk to both sets of players about the increasingly physical nature of the game. This had been triggered by one of their player's objection that we had shot at goal... In truth the second half was probably fairly even in terms of territory and possession but I suspect that it was us that were the more disappointed at the final whistle.

If we can clear a potential banana skin away against Epsom, who are currently propping up the table, then we will remain unbeaten this side of Christmas - which after last seasons trials and tribulations would be a commendable effort. A bit of consistency around availability should see us well placed to continue this form in the New Year and mount our charge for the top of the table. Rob Merry

Reigate Priory 7-0 3rd XI
Nigel Hawes announced last week that he was refusing to submit match reports until the 3rd XI win a game. Or score a goal. Or he keeps a clean sheet. Even against ladies.

4th XI 6-1 Aldershot
Report to follow.

Ladies 1-1 Wimbledon
Saturday saw us playing a struggling Wimbledon at 10am at home. We started the first of our 2 matches for the day well, moving the ball around easily and dominating the game. We had a few near missing with a shot going just wide of the goal and a few balls whizzing past the goal but with noone quite being able to get on the end of them! We won a couple of penalty corners too but failed to convert. Wimbledon weren’t really in the game although eventually won themselves a penalty corner just as the whistle indicating the end of the first half was blown. They pushed all their players up and although we valently defended they managed to hammer the ball into the goal leaving us 1-0 down at half time completely against the run of play.

We knew we deserved better and were determined to settle the score in the second half. However the goal had obviously given Wimbledon some much needed confidence and they pressurised us well. We weren’t the dominate side we had been in the first half. Again we conceded penalty corners but thankfully defended them successfully, Steph in goal making some awesome saves. We kept fighting on and soon won ourselves a penalty corner. This time a quick slip back to Vikki from the top of the circle was intercepted by Gayle who swept the ball beyond the keeper into the goal. We had levelled the score. Although we continued to fight hard for another goal it was not to be our day for three points. The score ended 1-1 and leaves the ladies without a win in seven matches. Jackie Waite

Ladies 1-2 School
Saturday afternoon saw the OC Ladies play the girls school team and having won last year the OC ladies were ready to retain the title...

With the school lacking a keeper it was decided that Goalie and Nigel H would don the pads at either end. Which given they were lying in the Hawes marital bed together only hours before sipping their morning coffee seemed appropriate as their sexuality had been called into question - for the record I legged it to my morning match and left them to it!

The game nearly started on time but some underhanded tactics from Beardy Hawes meant the oppo had clearly been told who to mark and who to put under pressure - where is you allegiance Hawes! As the game started both teams seemed to be lacking some pace and structure, probably the cold winter air and a couple of sneaky beers hadn't helped. Oh and the fact that the OC ladies had already put in one game that morning!

Eventually the game flowed with both sides making strong advances on their oppos other halves. It was the school girls that opened the score following a strong drive down the right and eventually the cross was put in for one of their players to sneak it past Goalie! Now he is Mens National League standard keeper, the goal scorer an 18 year old school girl! However in his defence (and I could tell from the sideline!?!) there appeared to be an infringement before the goal which was not blown but many of the girls (and the one she-man) stopped to watch!

The OC ladies then decided to wake up for 10 minutes and following a sustained period of pressure a run from mini Mezz down the right meant her cross allowed OCLHC to pull back the equaliser before half time. Dora picked up the ball and with her silky skills slotted the ball past Nigel (superman dive) Hawes! 1-1.

As the second half started the tension showed with the odd niggling tackle going in here and there. Rob and Duncan obviously needed to control the game and to get a closer look at young ladies they kept pulling them to one side for a quick chat! Finally with 15 mins to go before the end the support on the sideline obviously spurred on the school girls as they made another break from mid field down their right and promptly put the defence under pressure! The ball eventually squeezed between Goalster nether regions as he hadn't quite managed to do the splits in time! You see girls can get balls into small places! Final score 1-2 - oops! Well we will get the victory next year!

Thank you to Dunx and Big Mez for umpiring. Also to Nigel and Goalie for keeping or should they be thanking us after they reconfirmed their love of women by watching 10 fit young ladies running around in front of them! There were also another 10 fit ladies there but apparently we are past it! Goalster given your recent drought I thought you would be up for anything! Helen Hawes

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Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Tissy gets engaged

And another one’s gone … another engagement with the news that Chris Tissanaygam, aka Tissy, got engaged to Sarah at the weekend. Congratulations all round.


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