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Saturday, 27 March 2010

Match report March 27 2010

The 1st XI gained the point needed to secure the league title, beating Andover 3-2 to give retiring captain Eds Copleston back-to-back promotions to end his tenure. The Ladies bade farewell to Vikki Mottram with a 7-0 drubbing of Tulse Hill & Dulwich, Vikki and Jax Waite both scoring hat-tricks, while the 2nd XI clinched their own league place with a spirited 4-2 win at Oxted. Only the 4th XI spoilt the party, going down 1-5 at Aldershot.

1st XI 3-2 Andover
Click here for match photosEnd of an era at TD with Eds possibly playing his final home game for the 1s and David Cresswell his last as coach before he cuts his Cranleigh links in readiness for the new challenge at Radley but a day that heralded another win and the securing of the league title. Southampton drew so we are now a huge 8 points ahead with a game to play. Eds said just after the break that we had to continue to win as others would drop points but none of could have envisaged Yateley and Southampton dropping so many so quickly.

Although not a vintage performance it was enough to excite Mani Kochar next year's coach watching us for the first time and we did just enough to see off a spirited challenge from struggling Andover. This time round their keeper did not produce the heroics that kept us at bay last game but equally we did not produce as many clear-cut chances. Andover did look dangerous on the break, which is how they caught us out twice in the first half, on each occasion to draw level.

We were a little depleted with Gavin looking and feeling very off colour, Cookiey seemingly unfit but at the 11th hour indicating he could have played and the Woods away in South Africa but still had enough to win the three points on offer. In the first half we were extremely disjointed, but from our first corner Knapp rolled home only for Andover to draw level when we were caught high up the pitch. Rory deflected home Eds off-target shot to put us 2-1 up, but before the break Andover scored the goal of the game finishing off a four-touch move that carved us open.

Having quite rightly been told by DC that we looked like a bunch of spoilt bickering school boys we played with greater patience in the second half, knocking the ball about and eventually scoring via a fierce CV shot from a right slip at our last short - the correct move that had been called ahead of our last three shorts in the first half. Although less troubled by the swift counter in the second period, Andover did have a couple of half chances at 2-2 albeit our squandering a series of chances.

A 10% increase in our fitness levels will more than likely increase our playing ability by 20% and provided we set out a clear plan and strategy from late June onwards we should be confident of being able to challenge the top teams in the league above next season.

Thank you David Cresswell for your coaching that has brought successive promotions but more importantly to Eds who seven years ago took over the captaincy as we slid down the leagues, wore his heart on his sleeve for those seven years and has been rewarded with skippering two promotion sides, and thus far an undefeated side in this season's campaign. A fitting end to his leadership will be to win the last game on April 10 v City of Portsmouth and be the first OC hockey skipper to lead a league side that remains unbeaten for the whole season. David Knapp

Ladies 7-0 Tulse Hill & Dulwich
Click here for match photos
Although there was nothing at stake – we were guaranteed third place before the start – the side was as up for this game as any during the campaign, wanting to round off a superb season with a win as well as give Vikki Mottram, retiring from full-time hockey after two decades (sorry Viks) an appropriate send-off. And that they did, in some style.

Tulse Hill must have wondered what on earth was going on as they found themselves six down within 17 minutes, on the receiving end of some of the best passing hockey seen at TD all year. Jax Waite, pushed up front for the day, scored a hat-trick in four minutes, and either side of that Vikki signed off with a hat-trick of her own. Her third goal was so typical of the skills that had made her such an outstanding player, a mazy dribble that left defenders floundering and then a rifled shot past a bewildered keeper.

Tulse Hill, to their credit, kept fighting and as Goalie made constant changes – only one forced on him when Emma departed with blood flowing freely from what turned out to be a minuscule gash on her nose, another as punishment for Sarah Mann for one reverse flick too many! The defence held firm, Rosie Marriott as utterly commited as she has been all season – she has cuts, scars and black eyes that would leave Knapp wincing – and Helen Hawes determined if slightly hungover. But credit to Hels; with her husband and Zac sent away, she enjoyed a night on the tiles, a 2am fishfinger sandwich, a 4am wake-up having poured water all over herself and her bed, and yet she was still there before almost anyone.

In the second half we again dominated and could have added another dozen, but Tulse Hill’s keeper pulled off some good saves, Snoopy, Hels and Vikki fired wide from close range, and the only addition to the score came from the patched-up Emma, while Tux and May caused constant problems with their running. All in all, a delight to watch.

At the end a tearful Vikki was presented with flowers and was hugged into submission by team-mates. We have to hope her promise to play the odd game if needed will be utilised more than she has planned. She's simply too good to spend Saturdays at Tescos.

A final note. I have umpired close to half the girls’ games this season and I would like to say what a pleasure it always is to do so. Relegated last season, its was always going to be tough, but under Sarah and Goalie they have played some exquisite hockey, the occasional period of horrible stuff as well, but have always been cheerful and friendly, and their commitment to training and socialising puts the men to shame. All in all, they are a real credit to the club. Martin Williamson

Oxted 2-4 2nd XI
We finally cast aside any lingering threat of relegation with a spirited victory away at mid-table Oxted. Aside from the first five minutes in which our customary slow start saw us go one down, we actually turned in one our best performances of the campaign and ended up comfortable winners.

We went into the game with a brand new front line consisting of our youngest OC, 15-year-old Giles and Cooky (welcomed back with open arms from 1s duty), who gave us a real edge in attack. Cooky with a brace and Giles with a calmly taken penalty stroke. Our midfield was also bolstered thanks to new HR-and-recruitment-manager Tom Merry who brought in Tom Quy and the ginger Ferret. Ferret, although short of match fitness, was a clear asset, controlling much of the game either in central or the right side of midfield. He will be kicking himself for not getting on the score sheet himself after a couple of clear chances.
Thankfully we scored immediately after Oxted and were 2-1 up by the break in what was a fairly tight first half. The only other key incident to note in was an awesome hissy fit between myself and Selbs. I’m embarrassed, olive branch offered and accepted, we move on.

It was crucial to score the next goal after the break and we did after, dare I say it, a slickly-taken short corner, deflected in by Ferret. With confidence rising we started to play some pretty attractive stuff in parts and managed to pick up a fourth after a sweeping move through Cooky. To be honest if we had attacked more down the flanks we probably could have had a few more goals given their best defender was doing a fairly good job of blocking us off down the centre, but I am nit-picking. The more pressure we applied the more unstuck Oxted became and their frustration boiled over near the end with their key playmaker receiving his marching orders for sustained petulant chat. Tut tut.

We did concede towards the end which was unfortunate as we defended for the most part pretty well – especially when you factor in the nutter who was playing up front for the oppo – scary stuff I tell you. So once again well done to Jon Heard and the brothers Merry.

All in all a very good display, with our league status confirmed we must now start looking ahead to next season and what we need to do to be more competitive in this league. If we can hold on to some players and bring a few new faces in then I don’t see why we can be in the top half of the league next year.

Men of the match = ferret/giles/cookiey

Dicks – me for the hissy / Nick for getting sent off meaning Tom only got the 10 minutes under his belt. Chris Porter

Aldershot & Farnham 5-1 4th XI
An overcast day in Farnham saw the fourths struggle to find their groove. A tactical change saw Robin "usually central defense" Crumby moved to centre forward to mix things up a bit.

The first half saw the "Shots" score 2 well worked goals on the break. The second half saw injuries to Howard's ankle and Oxo's head (he hit himself in the forehead with the ball leaving a Harry POtteresque scar).

Three more goals on the break followed with only Dom managing to get a consolation goal for us. Not a great day for the fourths but all credit to a well disciplined opposition. We will contemplate our remaining fixtures whilst enjoying an easter egg or two over the break. Back to the defense for Mr Crumby ...

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Saturday, 21 November 2009

Match reports November 21 2009

The 1st XI remained top of Surrey/Hants 2 with a stop-start 4-3 win over Southampton Uni, but the 2nd XI went down 1-4 at Merton. The 3rd XI romped to an 11-0 win over Surrey Old Boys and the 4th XI won at Addiscombe by the only goal of the day. Despite the 3rd XI’s goalfest, the performance of the week came from the Ladies who played some sublime hockey in a 3-0 win over Reigate. The Vets went down 1-4 at Oxted.Chris Valentine fires the 1st XI into the lead against the students
Click here for this week's match photos

1st XI 4-3 Southampton Uni
A cracking game and all credit to Southampton Uni for making it such an entertaining match.

We knew it was going to be a tough one and that the league table did not prove to be an accurate indication of the University's ability.

The early exchanges went in our favour even though we did not create as many chances as we should have with our failing to capitalise on the territorial advantage that we had. However we did take the lead following a good save by the Uni keeper saw the ball come out to CV who just squeezed the ball home for us to take the initiative. The advantage lasted two minutes when the Uni countered and caught us on the break with sloppy marking allowing an unchallenged run into the circle with the resultant cross deflected home on the near post.

Cookiey restored our advantage clipping home the ball after a good move set him up and so it remained until half time following Trickster making a number of good saves.

At this point we should have made our experience count but instead we played ping pong with the vibrant Uni side and were pulled back conceding a well worked short corner 10 minutes into the second half. As the half progressed we did put the oppo's defence under pressure but were thwarted by a super performance by the Uni keeper and our not making the most of the chances we created. Hunter restored our lead with a flicked short but a minute later we were undone by a carbon copy of the second goal with 10 minutes to go. Our short corners were dire in comparison with the Unis that was well drilled.

Marshalled by their skipper at centre half who was outstanding and certainly the man of ther match Southampton looked dangerous each time they broke and at that point the game could have gone either way but as it was a liong aerial from Wobble enabled Rory to dart into the D and finish well with five to go. We held on to run out winners and gain three valuable points in what may prove to be a vital win.

As with all Uni sides they will improve as the season goes on so the next match in March is eagerly awaited. David Knapp

Ladies XI 3-0 Reigate
The Ladies will win games by bigger margins but rarely will they play better. The result against a side level with us in the table was pleasing and the victory was never really in doubt, but the slick passing play, rock-solid defence and two sublime goals will take some bettering.

We were one up in five minutes with a quite superb goal, starting in our own 23 and finishing second later with a cracking strike from May after some lightning-fast one-touch passing. We continued to press hard but the second didn’t come until six minutes into the second half when May tucked home a poorly-defended short corner, and Anna notched a third midway through the half which was almost as good as the first.

It’s almost invidious to single out individuals from such a great display, but Rosie Marriott was quite outstanding, her tackling and distribution almost faultless. Vikki Mottram, who has had a new lease of life since the arrival of Diesel, was also tireless in her running at the opposition, causing no end of panic even if her tackling remains interesting.

The parenting award goes to Helen Hawes who set a fine example to young Zac with a bout of toddler-tantrum stick lobbing when green carded and followed with an “oh f*** there’s no-one there” when she swept a pass from the halfway line towards her own defence only to find nobody keeping Julia company in her own half. In between she was as solid as ever.

Merton 4-1 2nd XI
Report to follow

The 3rd XI after their romp

3rd XI 11-0 Surrey OBs
There are some weeks when the match report pretty much writes itself even though the events were too many for me to be able to remember the sequence I at least have a record. The day started with confusion all over the place with regard to umpires - we had had three potentials laid on the night before but as SOB had stated that they had an umpire we had stood down our two spares. Unfortunately then SOB’s day did not start well as they actually turned up with 10 players and no umpire. Thankfully the umpire for the next match was good enough to stand in for them and they at least didn’t play with nine.

This was not to say that their day was going to improve at any time soon. We were looking to extend a five-match unbeaten run and had recently played so well but without our just desserts and were hungry to grab the advantage and make hay whilst the sun was shining (yes it did appear for five minutes!!). The game started at an unusually frenetic pace and there was some brilliant passing hockey being played with good runs off the ball being made all over the park.

Very soon we were 1-0 up and this was the way that the 1st half was going to progress. During the course of one of the best 1st half displays that I have ever had the pleasure to witness ( being in goal I had plenty of time to watch, especially seeing as I did not touch the ball in the whole half). After an extreme pummelling of SOB we went into halftime at 8-0 up. As you can imagine our halftime talk was mainly about just keep up the good work and let’s not let them score etc, etc. all I asked was that I wanted my team to ensure that I didn’t touch the ball in the 2nd half either. SOB’s halftime talk seemed to be a touch different as I don’t think I have ever heard quite so much grunting, growling and hyping up from an opposition goal in my life.

With us providing SOB’s umpire for the 2nd half we didn’t seem to get anywhere for the first 20 minutes of the 2nd half maybe all of the grunting had worked at half time. It must have been this as it definitely wasn’t because we were missing Armo who was umpiring for 15 minutes. SOB’s did seem to be attacking better and I have to say I was very disappointed in my defence in that I had to touch the ball once in the 2nd half during SOB’s only short corner of the match. Nevertheless we finally got going and managed to put another three goal past them before the end.

The goalscorers during the match (as I said I have no idea what order??) Preston 4 (a great return to prolific goalscoring), Doug 2 (a nifty display from centre Mid), Andy (a great first half and supplier of a number of assists), Ross (solid solo effort with a sweet strike just inside the D), Ed (This is becoming a habit from the new boy), Chris (OMG we can’t believe that he has finally scored – the time taken must attract fines of some sort at the next team drinks) and finally Armo (who now owes Chris drinks and also how do I keep scoring when I should be in defence?).

As I have already covered the goalscorers may I also commend the others who played their part in our epic pummelling Stuey, Tim, CD and Rich (our rocks in defence i.e. a defence which has pretty much stopped conceding goals ); Tissy (with this type of trouncing I can’t believe he didn’t score or get carded) This now put us up to third in the league and only one point off second. With the top two playing each other next Saturday … watch this space! Nigel Hawes

Addiscombe 0-1 4th XI
There were a few team members (esp. Crumby),who were worried about interacting with the Croydon population, so it seemed a poor omen when during our warm up Steve (bless him) asked one of the Addiscombe players to “flash us your top”, then proceeded to carry out some dynamic stretching that didn’t help our manly image (“ponsy” was a comment I heard!).

This aside the match started well, with us forcing five short corners. Nick J managed to convert one of these which was fortunate as this was the only score in the match.

The rest of the time, although there was good build up work, we couldn’t get the final shot lined up or on target. I think Dom was stunned when an Addiscombe 16 hit went across their goal to his stick. His shot on goal was stifled by the onrushing keeper. Dom’s excuse .. “He was so big!”

Addiscombe didn’t put us under sustained pressure, but always looked able to snatch a late opportunist score. So all in all a deserved win but hard fought – we must get the free hit rule clear as many good positions were lost through technical infringements.

Cakes were an issue for me as after dismissing my wife’s help, I made brownies without eggs!! – Flat and sticky. So, ever resourceful, it was down to Waitrose for additional backup. Strangely the team seemed to tuck in to the lot without a care. Anyway after an increasingly high set bar for the cakes there has to be a downturn at sometime.

To Crumby’s and others relief we managed to finish before it got dark and it was back onto the tram (?) before the vampires rose. Kevin Smith

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Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Zac Hawes arrives on the scene

Helen and Nigel Hawes (well, Nigel did the hard bit) are delighted to announce the arrival of an 8lb baby son called Zachariah (Zac) Stanley Hawes. "For those that don't know he arrived at 2.15am on 15th June after 28hrs of labour," said Helen. "A bit tiring for all!"

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Sunday, 23 November 2008

Match reports - November 22, 2008

The weekend the wheels came off, with the 1st XI's unbeaten start to the season ending with a 1-2 loss at HAC, a result which sees us leapfrogged by Wanderers at the top of the league. The 2nd XI came from two down to draw with leaders Old Whits in a feisty game which Whits, not for the first time, tried to keep simmering after the final whistle. The Ladies went down 1-2 to Guildford, while there were also losses for the 3rd and 4th XIs. Click here for this week's match photos

HAC 2-1 1st XI
The unbeaten record has gone in the most frustrating of circumstances. Perhaps this match was the indication we need that the old guard should move on and the younger aspirants in the seconds be given a chance en blok. HAC thoroughly deserved their victory in a game that produced no more than five shots on target in the 70 minutes. At this stage of the season I would say that HAC were by far and away the most organised, fittest and hungriest side we have played against. Of course one defeat in eight games does not herald a crisis and the league is still in our hands. However, if our interpretation of the complicated rules is correct by finishing third we could end up in the league below our seconds next season - bizarre. Last year saw our first defeat rapidly followed by another five loss of points that scuppered our season. No repeat this year however as two of the next three are against our main protagonists.

The first 15 minutes set a pattern for the day - losing the 50/50 balls and on a skiddy and slightly bumpy pitch having inferior basics to the home side. Once again our undoing was a sharp short corner strike that zipped inside the right post - an excellent strike but one that should have been dealt with. Although still struggling we were back in the game from our first short corner and against the run of the play David Knapp popped home a well-worked corner. No more chances for either side before the break.

We knew that big players play well in the big games and so our big players needed to step up to the plate. Sadly they did not - the writer included. Although we spent 80% of the second period encamped in the HAC half we did not have a single shot on target and only won a single short corner. Our play to the 25 was good but after that shocking. Quite why we did not win more short corners and use our now slick routine is something we need to work on. Again, HAC defended resolutely and although not creating much were intent on catching us on the break.

The turning point was when we had a gilt edged chance to go 2 -1 up with Knapp robbing the defence and then consummately failing with the one-on-one against the keeper passing instead of taking on the keeper. Five minutes later we were one down as a poor clearance found its way back to the HAC centre half who slipped the ball goalwards and a swept shot found its way home. Pressed though we did, our naive play created zero. Cato was once again outstanding and fair to say the only bright spot of our day other than the corners.

Well done HAC for playing a game that exposed our weaknesses, something we have to put right in the next three games. David Knapp

2nd XI 3-3 Old Whitgiftians
If their was any pre match hype surrounding the top of the table clash at TD on Saturday between the OCs and Whitgift then the game definitely lived up to it. Both sides were boasting unbeaten records going into the encounter and it was clear from very early on that neither side was going to let their records slip without a scrap. League leaders Whitgift are a good side, full of confidence after winning 6 on the spin and came to TD with high hopes of adding to that tally. After going 3 up in the space of 20 minutes their hopes had turned to expectation but a spirited comeback from the OCs meant that the spoils of this war were ultimately shared. What the game lacked in overall quality it made up for in intensity and aggression with both sides collective tempers simmering on the edge of legality throughout ...

In truth we started woefully and Whitgift rightly made us pay with 2 well taken short corners. It was not as if we hadn't been warned as Whitgift narrowly missed the backboard from their first short of the game. We need to be more streetwise against the top teams, if it looks like they have a slick routine then foul them outside the 25 or at least outside the D...Whitgift's 3rd came after about 20 minutes, a quick break and some non existent marking ensuring that we had a considerable mountain to climb if we wanted to get anything from the game. Finally we switched on and began to settle into the match, making decent headway down the right flank and getting ourselves in decent attacking areas. Our increased intensity paid off as from a short corner Paul slotted home with composure after his initial strike was blocked by the onrushing Whitgift defender: 3-1. With the bit between our teeth we pushed forward for another goal, which thankfully came before the interval after more good work down the right culminated in Rory finishing well past a rattled Whitgift backline: 3-2 game on. As the half drew to a close the opposition were fuming about what they thought was "a foot" in the build up to our second goal. The bruising on my foot is beginning to subside....To give you an indication of their anger I was told by their number 8 that he was going to "knock my f****** head off". Although this made him an instant hit with the majority of our side, I can regretfully inform you that i still have my head, poor chap.

The main directive coming from the half time talk was not to get sent off. This was salient advice given the nature of the game. The fact that we had 9 players on the pitch at one stage tells you all you need to know about our listening skills. Paul (already on a green card) obviously had one eye on Twickenham as he felled one of Whitgift's midfielders with a pretty dire challenge. Whether or not it warranted being stamped on is contentious, however it definitely deserved a yellow and a spell in the bin. Things got worse when Rory couldn't reign in his temper after scoring what looked like a legitimate goal. Their umpire was taking no prisoners even though he sounded like Penfold. So 11 played 9 but such was our resurgence in the second half we rarely came under any concerted pressure. We began to pass the ball shorter, faster and with more accuracy and for extended periods were camped in the opposition's half. Any traces of first half composure evaporated from Whitgift who seemed content to blast the ball into corners in order to try and regain a territorial foothold in the game. Back to 11 a side we applied more pressure and after a cross from Duncan and a deflection from me, the ball was steered in calmly by Mini Mez at the back post. 3-3 - a superb comeback complete!

Both sides had chances to win the game in a frantic finale. A cross from the right evaded everyone. Duncan came close but their keeper saved from yards out. Right at the death Whitgift broke away, Jon Heard shadowed his man for 30 metres and then performed an awesome rendition of "Swan Lake" and fell on his arse. Eventually our keeper Tim made a great save and the ball was cleared first by Rob and then by Duncan. The game finished in an ugly fashion as the usually docile Dodie had a bit of a run in with their striker. Everyone picked up their handbags and shook on it with one eye firmly on the return fixture next year.

In the end a good result given the first 20 minute debacle, and we move on with our unbeaten record intact. In periods in the second half we played extremely well as our passing became more accurate, but we need to ensure those periods last much longer if we are going to win the league and turn these draws into wins. Also we need to cut out uncharacteristic errors in terms of man-marking and keeping 11 men on the pitch. But it was pleasing to see that our heads never went down and we showed real fighting spirit to emerge with the 1 point.

Another hard game against Barnes on Saturday who are now level on points with us - a must win game.

Ladies 1-2 Guildford
A late push back saw us playing Guildford at freezing 4pm at TD. Guildford were flying high leading our league, but had actually lost more matches than we had going into the game. We were missing our usual back line but had Mez back from uni and Rewa stepping out of goal for us instead. We started well and were dominating the first 15 minutes. The defence were doing a sterling job and an unfortunate defensive error against the run of play saw us go 1-0 down. It stayed this way until after half time when an awesome cross from Ems into the Guildford circle saw Dora 1 on 1 with the Goalie. We held our breathe - if anyone could nail this it was Dor and sure enough she did leaving the GK without a chance. We were back in the game. We were passing the ball around well determined to get another goal and knowing we were more than capable of winning the match. But Guildford pressurised us well, forcing our defence to do a grand job and Steph in goal to pull off some outstanding saves. There were several penalty corners either end and the run of play was pretty much end to end. There were close calls in both penalty areas.

A back pass from Vikki to Muriel saw Helen set up a good goal - unfortunately as Muriel plays sweeper it was a Guildford goal and earning her the dick of the day title and Guildford the three points! It was unfortunate and apart from that incident Muriel and the rest of the defence had had an awesome game, Muriel mopping up the loose players and Mez fully fit, Sarah H dropping back and Rewa on the right all doing a sterling job defensively and pushing up to support the midfield. Those missing will have to work hard to regain their places! It was down to a great Guildford defence preventing us scoring and putting us under pressure that lost us the match.

Even though it finished 1-2 to Guildford, it was still a good team performance from the ladies and a lot of positives to take away from the game. Thanks to the umpires for some good fair umpiring. Jackie Waite

Addiscombe 4-1 3rd XI
The 3rd XI’s Groundhog Day season started in its normal fashion again on Saturday, commencing with another enjoyable car ride through the beautiful streets of Croydon. Included within this drive were plenty of enforced stops which allowed us to admire our surroundings, these stops being allowed to us by the sheer volume of our fellow travellers (it still escapes me why so may people choose to come to this part of the country). On finally arriving at another school in Croydon the normal conversation ensued about how poor the Germans had been with their bombing in not taking out more of the area. We had plenty of time on our hands to have this discussion due to the rest of the team being held up in the Croydon traffic until just before push back.

Eventually once almost everyone had turned up (Rich N being top of the Sat Nav for Christmas list) and we had found the correct astro, which we were to play on, the match got started. The first part of the match started pretty well with the back four of Ollie, Tommy, CD and Stefano holding strong whilst playing the ball around the back before supplying the midfield. The ball was being played around nicely all around the field as we had discussed and the plans seemed to be coming together with Armo and Chris linking up well in midfield we definitely seemed to be holding our own.

That was until Addiscombe won a short corner. A seemingly innocuous shot was initially saved but slow reactions led to a goal being scored and we were 1-0 down. Thankfully, though, we have got rid of our habit of giving up the game on going a goal down. Everyone picked themselves up and went straight on the hunt for an equaliser. With the ball being run hard down both wings by Rich and Dom the attacks were relentless for a period of 10 minutes. With Dave and Chris up front making some great runs. This ended with us scoring a great goal when following a great passing move Dom found himself in front goal and calmly slotted it past the Keeper. Just as we thought though that we might go into half-time all even, we were caught by a sucker punch. With a great run down our left Addiscombe got in behind Nige and scored their second to make it 2-1 going into half-time.

The second half started in much the same fashion with honours all even for the first 15 minutes. Unfortunately though we started to chase the game, a little too much. This meant that Addiscombe were starting to catch us on the break. This left us defending against excess numbers and twice in quick succession Nige was left with one on ones, thankfully these were dealt with and the defence were able to get back. We then pushed our luck a touch too much and the third one on one was not repelled and we went 3-1 down. This was followed by a fourth before the end and again our day ended with us believing we should have done better.

Thanks go to Addiscombe for providing both umpires and for being one of the friendlier sides in the league. Its bizarre how two teams who are based so close can be so different? Nigel Hawes

4th XI 1-3 NPL
Report to follow

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Saturday, 4 October 2008

Match reports - October 4, 2008

The 1st XI left it late to secure a 3-2 win over Old Kingstonians, a Pies goal two minutes from time earning us all three points. The 3rd XI drew 1-1 with Purley Walcountians, the 4th XI routed Walton 4-0 while the Ladies came from behind three times to draw 4-4 at Raynes Park. The Vets were the one loser, hammered 6-0 by Surbiton

Pies fires home our late winner

1st XI 3-2 Old Kingstonians
Match photos
A last-gasp win against the recently relegated OK side in what turned out to be a scrappy encounter containing very little good hockey from either side.

The new season always starts with high hopes and perhaps it is too much to expect us to play well in the first league outing with three points being more important than the style played to achieve the win.

Our Achilles heel is our short-corner defence, and so it proved again today, both goals being conceded from shorts. OKs took the lead from their first corner after David Knapp missed the easiest of chances following excellent work from Cato along the base line. Ed B was unluckily penalised for a fine goal-line stop but the umpire felt there was an infringement, awarded a stroke and we were one down. Within 10 minutes we were 2 -1 up, Knapp converting after a well worked move from defence saw Gav Adair on this occasion running along the back line with Knapp on this occasion slotting home. Two minutes later another move along the goaline set up the chance and Adair's shot was stropped on the line by a foot and Knapp put away the ensuing penalty stroke. Instead of continuing to play the short ball game that was causing the opposition problems, we went back to the long ball through the middle and were unpicked when we gave away a short, did not clear the pads and it was 2 - 2.

The first period had been spoilt by an early yellow for a clumsy stick tackle by an OK player which was followed by one for Bruce for a not very malicious tackle, but one that gave Clive no option but to follow his colleague's lead and issue a yellow - only one way for the cards to go after such an early yellow.

The second period was an excellent advert for watching league football as both teams descended into hockey ping-pong with the resultant 60-yard shuttles. Neither side had the nouse to slow the game down and be patient, and it became very stretched. The two attacks both had great chances to take the lead but squandered hosts of opportunity. Robbo made a number of good saves but it was Pies from our last short corner who cracked the ball home with a pin point shot with two minutes remaining that enabled us to run out winners. The main positive from the second half was a much safer looking defensive play and some good runs from Cookiey who looked dangerous when running at the OK defence.

Neither side on today's showing will feature in the top two on this performance but another day, another game and at least we took the points.
A last-gasp win against the recently relegated OK side in what turned out to be a scrappy encounter containing very little good hockey from either side.

The new season always starts with high hopes and perhaps it is too much to expect us to play well in the first league outing with three points being more important than the style played to achieve the win.

Our Achilles heel is our short-corner defence, and so it proved again today, both goals being conceded from shorts. OKs took the lead from their first corner after David Knapp missed the easiest of chances following excellent work from Cato along the base line. Ed B was unluckily penalised for a fine goal-line stop but the umpire felt there was an infringement, awarded a stroke and we were one down. Within 10 minutes we were 2 -1 up, Knapp converting after a well worked move from defence saw Gav Adair on this occasion running along the back line with Knapp on this occasion slotting home. Two minutes later another move along the goaline set up the chance and Adair's shot was stropped on the line by a foot and Knapp put away the ensuing penalty stroke. Instead of continuing to play the short ball game that was causing the opposition problems, we went back to the long ball through the middle and were unpicked when we gave away a short, did not clear the pads and it was 2 - 2.

The first period had been spoilt by an early yellow for a clumsy stick tackle by an OK player which was followed by one for Bruce for a not very malicious tackle, but one that gave Clive no option but to follow his colleague's lead and issue a yellow - only one way for the cards to go after such an early yellow.

The second period was an excellent advert for watching league football as both teams descended into hockey ping-pong with the resultant 60-yard shuttles. Neither side had the nouse to slow the game down and be patient, and it became very stretched. The two attacks both had great chances to take the lead but squandered hosts of opportunity. Robbo made a number of good saves but it was Pies from our last short corner who cracked the ball home with a pin point shot with two minutes remaining that enabled us to run out winners. The main positive from the second half was a much safer looking defensive play and some good runs from Cookiey who looked dangerous when running at the OK defence.

Neither side on today's showing will feature in the top two on this performance but another day, another game and at least we took the points.

Raynes Park 4-4 Ladies XI
For our second league match of the season we were playing Raynes Park Ladies 1's and hoping to secure our first win against the newly-promoted team. We had learned from last season though not to count on promoted teams being an easier match and this was certainly with RP. The whole match ended up being a game of catch up.

With a squad of 15 we knew we could try and keep the match pace high but it didn't seem to happen and for the majority of the first half we didn't settle. We had a couple of good attacksbut it was RP that seemed to have the upper hand with Steph our GK having to pull off a couple of good saves. We conceded several short corners and after defending a couple well, RP eventually managed to convert and took the lead. It was only one goal and we new we were more than capable of winning the match. We seemed to relax more and began playing our game with some good one touch hockey between the midfielders of Manny, Gayle, Steph and Jax, and our forwards of Dora, Snoopy, Liza and May making her usual lightning quick runs. Our equaliser came from a free hit outside the circle taken by Manny passed to an Jax running in unmarked who swept it into the back of the goal. So we went into half time 1-1.

We were determined to keep our momentum up after the break, but it didn't happen. RP piled on the pressure and again we conceded short corners. Our defence of Ros, George, Rosie, Lucy and Daisy did a sterling job of defending them but the inevitable happened. Unfortunately Georgie took a knock to the knee having to go off and RP took advantage of the momentary disarray in the defence to convert their second, well-practised short corner to go 2-1 up. We still didn’t let our heads drop but RP piled on the pressure and scored another off open play within the next 10 minutes to give them a two-goal lead. At 3-1 down though we showed our true OC spirit. RP were begining to tire and we pushed up the pitch, the girls new fitness regimes shining through. After a mêlée in the RP circle, and a few attempts on the goal, Jax eventually managed to score our second. Keeping RP on the back foot we kept the momentum going and within the next 10 minutes had scored an equaliser thought some excellent play coming right from the back with Ros and Rosie distributing the ball wide to and round the back to midfield and eventually into the circle where Dora and Snoops had shots deflected and eventually 'wing back' Helen Hawes found herself in the unusual position of being on the oppo's post to put the finishing touch on our equalising goal (and only her second I believe for OCLHC?!).

We had come back to 3-3. With five minutes to go we still believed we could win the match but did not want to lose the draw. However again we gave away a penalty corner two minutes from time. The first shot was blocked but took an unfortunate deflection into the roof of our goal.

We like to give ourselves a challenge and make life hard for ourselves! And once again, even with so little time left, we were determined not to lose. Some quick play up the pitch passed from Gayle on the left back to Daisy in defence and then to Dora who leveled with less than a minute remaining.

We had hoped for a win but it was a true, determined, gritty team performance, with everyone giving 110% that got us a well earned draw, and saw a team with several new players bonding and growing stronger. Plenty to work on in training, but many positives taken from the match! We look forward to next week, still looking for our first win of the season. Jackie Joyce

4th XI 1-1 Purley Walcountians
When we arrived and looked over at the opposition we were all shocked to find out their average age was only about 14. It made even Chris feel old in comparison. The match got underway, and we started well which makes a change. We exerted some pressure on the opposition with some great distribution from Stu and Rob J linking up well with CD on the left. Some slick passing lead to chances. Then the pressure paid of with Rob J slipping the ball to Chaz. Chaz struck the ball past the keeper into the bottom left of the goal. We were 1-0 up in the first 10 minutes, which is almost unheard of in recent 3rd XI history.

The opposition came straight back at us with the youngsters in their team showing some good skills. Stu held it strong in the centre making some sharp tackles. Tim at the back also holding us strong, although the defence left him the tricky job of marking their quickest player. They started to get a few chances winning a few short corners. With Ollie not seeing eye to eye with Martin. Ollie it’s not a good idea getting on the wrong side of your own umpire. Martin will always win!(isn’t that right Nige)

Unfortunately we could not hold out until half time despite Nige making some fantastic saves! The score was now 1-1. Finally the half-time whistle went we looked like we needed the break rather than them. With a good half time team talk with Stu making some good points we were ready for the second half.

The second half started well With CD making some impact on the left. On the right Tom and Rob J decided it was not worth trying to run round them, as they were a hell of a lot quicker and fitter than us. So they made the ball do the work and played some great hockey.

Andy, Rich and Preston also playing well up front Preston holding the ball up well and distributing it to CD and Tom. Rich had a chance as he took it around the keeper but then in a tussle ended up on the ground. I was sat on the bench and had no idea what went on, but Rich did not look a happy bunny. They also had their fair share of chances but Nige made some fantastic saves and kept them out. In fact at one point the best way to keep them away from our goal was to flatten them. He did ask if the player was OK afterwards (very sporting Nige!). The defence also played well with Ollie, Ewan Stefano making some great challenges and distributing the ball well. Stu worked hard in the centre, in fact so hard he had to sub himself (coming off the pitch he looked absolutely shattered).

In the end we settled for a 1-1 draw a fair result. Well played to all some great teamwork. Thanks go to Martin as well for a very well and fairly umpired game. Chris Bents

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Monday, 7 April 2008

Helen Hawes named man of the year

A very good night for all who attended the dinner on the 5th, with a well timed power cut preventing the satellite link to the veterans and third XI from being activated. Very suspicious that Ed Breton indicated that the power should be back on at 22.00 and at 22.02 the power was back with us. As always votes of thanks go to those who ensured that people like me could just turn up, drink plenty of alcohol, eat well, have a laugh and go home contented. Special thanks to Sarah, Alison and Ed B who did the hard work to make the evening a great success and I am sure that there were others who also had a hand in setting up the club - apologies for not naming you personally.

Well done to Helen Hawes for winning the club captain's award for years of unrecognised work behind the scenes and in ensuring that the ladies club is in such a strong position - the ladies never seem to have any crises experienced by the other teams in the club but if they do they resolve them without involving everyone else. The general consensus was that next year they play in purple.

The first XI players player award went to Rippers - Ed B please find the trophy in one of the cardboard boxes but come back to me if you can't so I can chase Mike N.

Second XI award went to Jon Heard with the ladies giving out a number of awards to various members of their team.

Rob picked up the 4ths award even though he was rude to me when I umpired them in February.

Not sure who won the 3rd XI and Veterans awards as they were presented in China by Robert Mugabe and made reference to Tibet.

Next year I am setting the social committee and myself a target of 100 attendees so to that end a date will be decided on by the end of October so there are many months to sell the tickets and ensure that teams are involved.

Have a good summer, keep recruiting where ever possible.
David Knapp

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Saturday, 10 November 2007

Match reports - November 10, 2007

1st XI 0 Wanderers 2 (Click here for match photos) Today was the day that our problems came home to roost. Having been relegated last season and had a patchy start to their season in our league Wanderers were always going to be a side that were able to play a more pacy and aggressive style of hockey that would find out sides in our league. So it proved to be as we were played off the park in the first 15 to 20 minutes and should have been two goals down, with Wanderers squandering a gilt edged chance in the first three minutes and messing up a three-on-one five minutes later. Robbo made a wonderful save with his left foot before the half was out.

The final half of the first period saw our best period of the match and we could have also scored a couple following some good build up play, the spreading of the ball wide and attacking the back line. We welcomed back Smudger from injury and inSimon Bray made his debut and showed that although ring rusty he has the skill to create danger in the oppo’s 25 and the innate ability to score goals. Adair had a half chance to open the scoring when the ball came quickly off the keepers pads, Bray flashed a shot inches wide and the Wanderers goalie made two difficult saves look easy. When we did force short corners the routine was woeful breaking down as it did at the top of the D. An even score line at half time was about fair on the balance of play but it was always going to be the case that the first 10 minutes of the second half would decide the game.

Having pressed us hard at the beginning of the match and utilising their pace and the space between our forwards and midfield and midfield and defence Wanderers were expected to do the same as the second period commenced. Accordingly we allowed ourselves to be dominated and instead of having the sense to slow the game down and play the ball wide and up the flanks we continually gave the ball away and it was only a matter of time before we conceded the first. A few minutes later it was two as Wanderers showed us the benefit of practising short corners slotting their first one home from a well worked move our conceding an unnecessary corner from a sloppy tackle in the 25. The first was a product of the left hand side of the defence being overloaded and Wanderers queuing up to roll the ball home.

From the point of the second going in there was only going to be one winner and although we had three more short corners we never looked like threatening the goal until Simon Bray popped one home two minutes from the end for the umpire to rule it out for some unknown reason. Even so it would have been too little too late and in any event we did not deserve anything from the game against a side that was better drilled, fitter and faster than us who cracked the ball about at real pace. Wanderers were without a doubt the best side we have faced this tear – not only because we competed for a mere 20 minutes but because of the control they had for 75% of the game, snuffing out most of our offensive play. A switch in the middle towards the end gave us a slightly different impetus and we should now look hard and honestly at ourselves and decide if we wish to coast for the remainder of the season or change our attitude and approach, start training and resurrect our faltering season.

Time and in particular the next two weeks will tell.David Knapp

Tulse Hill 1 Ladies 1 A 9.30am push back meant an early start for the ladies, especially as we were having to travel over to Tulse Hill and Dulwich. The start of the match was fairly eventful in itself as at 9.30 we were short of a goalkeeper an umpire and a striker, all travelling up from Sussex, and the journey taken even longer than anticipated. Luckily by 9.35 they arrived just in time as the game could not be held up any longer than 9.40. So with no warm-up Katy padded up and ran onto the pitch. The game eventually started at 9.40 minus the captain and vice captain as at 9.38 Tulse Hill informed us our cars couldn’t be parked in the centre car park and that the ticketman was on his way round! (tactics….?) Helen and I moved our cars and ran a good ½ mile up the road back to the pitch to discover the game had started. We were obviously on the back foot from the start as the girls moved into some unfamiliar positions to cover myself and Hels, luckily we had two subs! We subbed onto the pitch but the unsettlement of the start left us struggling to find our footing and playing our game. We struggled to get organised for the first 15 minutes, TH pressing us hard and Kety having to make some storming saves (we shall consider not warming her up more often!). But our defence of Ros, Tux, Rosie and the two Helens held strong and they failed to score. As we began to settle into our game we put some pressure back on them and had a couple of good breaks some good crosses into the circle but failed to convert. At half time the score was 0-0.

We went out hard in the second half, determined to have a better start than the first, and within minutes were attacking there goal with a couple a near misses. The midfield of Vikki, Ana, Sarah Hardiman and myself upping the work rate. We won a few short corners but no conversions. The first substitution we had in the second half was unusually the umpire! Poor Nigel wasn’t feeling best and fortunately the umpire for the following match stepped in for him! Tulse Hill kept the pressure on though also winning short corners and eventually managed to score a goal leaving us 1-0 down. We didn’t let our heads go down though and having the advantage of subs this week meant that our forwards of Nina, Dora, May could keep their work rate high and keep putting the TH defense under pressure closing down their free hits and intercepting balls. Our work rate was paying off as we began to dominate possession. Left back Muriel found herself in the usual position of in the oppositions circle by the post and came close to scoring but couldn’t quite convert! Eventually the pressure paid off and from a long corner, and some good crossing throughout the team Dora managed to put the ball beyond the keepers reach! 1-1. We continued to press after levelling with several good chances and 1 1/2 minutes form time had a penaly corner but TH held strong. The match fininshed 1-1 another five minutes and it may just have gone our way! It was a great team effort from the girls who all played really well and did well to keep our heads up and pull it back. An excellent performance to take us into next weeks match at Wimbledon!

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Saturday, 13 October 2007

Match reports - October 13, 2007

1st XI 6 Surrey Old Boys 2 Click here for match photos - Once again the availability – or more to the point the lack of availability – gave the skipper serious headaches until the last minute. As it turned out Knapp became available late on and so there was some flexibility in team selection. We welcomed back Robbo in goal for his first game for some 18 months and it was inspired performance from him that kept us in the hunt throughout the first half. Surrey Old Boys, with some familiar faces from last season’s Surrey University team – including the car park caber tosser from last year - came to us on the back of a good win against our 2006-07 nemesis Bank of Boks. Any thoughts that we were in for an easy afternoon were dispelled in a tight first half that saw us fortuitously winning 2 – 0 at the break. Two early goals from Knapp – set up wonderfully by Adair – and a vintage Copleston short corner strike enabled us to take the lead from two rare forays into the SOC’s half. Robbo in the meantime was dealing very effectively with everything thrown at him including a first-class save from a penalty stroke that in the final analysis turned the game. Indeed, but for a slightly way ward Knapp pass to Adair we would have gone it at the break 3 – 0. Our first half performance was very poor with bad decision making and no imagination when in tight situations going down the right. One of the highlights of the first half was Tony Rowe’s play of the advantage to the attacking side – a rare feature by most umpires at this level.

Within 10 minutes of the restart SOB were level with what appeared to be two lifted balls into the D – a similar one had been blown against us in the first half – not that we could complain after the luck went our way in the first 35-minute period. This seemed to sting us into action and the next 20 minutes saw us play our best hockey of the match with the midfield linking up with defence and attack that enabled us to play some great patterns and score three well-worked tap ins form Adair, Tissy and Knapp. Our sixth goal was the best of the lot with CB playing the ball out of defence quickly when an SOB short broke down, the midfield cracking the ball to Adair who took the ball on the reverse in stride and roofed the ball past the hapless keeper.

As the game wore on we played much better but must be aware of the sluggish start and some key players being off the pace. Bruce, come down next week please and take the warm up. In the final analysis the performance of the keepers decided this match although the defence did mop up most that was thrown at them. Even at this stage the next month promises to be pivotal for the season ahead of us and the hope has to be that the injuries to Smudger and Bruce are on the mend so they will be available together with the returning Cato and Lewis. David Knapp
Barnes 4 2nd XI 1

3rd XI 2 Guildford Shadows 3 After the failing of the opening game of the season, we went down to the A3 to face Guildford Shadows on the notoriously bouncy water base. Starting with the most welcome Preston Rutt back up front, it became very evident in the early stages that Guildford knew their pitch significantly better than we did. They launched some quick balls down our flanks which Adam and Jock handled well and Stu was, as ever, the rock in the centre picking up the runners (its easier than chasing them). Although conceding several short corners, runners CD and Adam neutralised these with excellent panache.

After 15 minutes, we found our feet and started to play its own hockey instead of letting Guildford dominate the game. CD and Adam made an excellent run up the left flank that tear their defence apart, Dave L had a lucky reactionary save followed by a hit that soared over the bar that would have made Jonny Wilkinson proud. The final two minutes came and a short corner was excellently taken by Guildford which flew over the keeper hitting the top inch of the backboard, 1-0 and half time!

The second half started with greater composure and as it progressed, we started to press higher. An occasional break was handled by Stu and Rich L in the central defence. The breakthrough came with a pass to returning captain (last week being useless in Spain) with a textbook dummy. Shot from the top of the D taking a heavy deflection from a guildford defender to open his season's account. Guildford returned the favour only moments later with a well hit shot for the top D after some sloppy defending, 2-1.

Although some excellent runs and attacks from Dave L and Preston as well as a strong right midfield in drafted Rob Jonker, our equaliser came from a short corner with Jock receiving the ball, passing (yes you read that right) to Armo who fired home his second of the day. The game significantly opened up and for five minutes could have swung either way however a short corner in the last two minutes threw the runners and keeper and took away a well fought point.

A good game to come back from last week on a very hard pitch. Both umpires were excellent and although Tim Cook was asked to card Jock, he was more than sporting in not doing so. Man of the Match went to Adam Mcilroy who also announced that he will be a father come April, congratulations Adam. James ‘here one week in three’ Armitage

Ladies 2 Spencer 2nd XI 2 After fighting the Saturday afternoon traffic we eventually made it to Spencer in time for our 3pm push back. We had a strong start and in the first 15 minutes probably held the majority of the possession but could not seem to convert the chances. Spencer piled on the pressure winning several penalty corners in which our defence of Katy, Ros, Muriel, Tux and Rosie held strong. At half time the score was dead locked at 0-0. We went out hard in the second half and before long in open play a cracking cross from Laura set up a goal slammed in the back of the goal from Dora. We were one up with a long way to go and Spencer kept pushing us backwards. We conceded more penalty corners but still held strong. The forwards, Dora, Caz, Nina and Laura were having to track back to cover the Spencer backs pushing forward and then working hard to get forward again when we regained possession. At some point a shout was heard by Ros at the back to the spectators on the side 'Does anyone know the football score?!' Hearing our boys were winning in the Euro 2008 qualifier spurred us on and eventually we won another penalty corner and this time a rebound off the Spencer goalie gave Laura her debut goal for the OC ladies! 2-0 up but still 15 minutes to go.

A reoccurring injury of vice captain Muriel meant our midfield of Sarah Hardiman, Ana and Jax had to reshuffle for a while before Muriel gallantly returned to the pitch and battled on! Spencer pressed us hard and we gave their captain too much space for what has to be said was a great reverse-stick strike to make the score 2-1. We pushed back, winning several more penalty corners but so did they, several of which we only just managed to clear off the line. However, with five minutes to go they managed to converted one of their penalty corners to make it 2-2. The score line finished here a fair reflection of a hard fought evenly matched game. We look forward to the return match! Jackie Joyce

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