We turned up on a hot and muggy afternoon in Tring, reeling from a poor performance last week.  With 13 men, we felt positive that we could get a result today.

We were met with a strong Bishops Stortford team missing experience with youth and pace.  We were immediately on the back foot, struggling to mark their young fast forwards who were running across the top of the D at pace, losing their markers.  Despite this, the defence rose to the challenged manfully and after 10 minutes we started to find our feet.  Nigel, Rick and Dawood were strong at the back, starting to pull the ball round the back and releasing the halves. Richard (new back) Peachey started seeing more ball and spreading it well. Redman, Hanwell and Moorhouse working hard forward and back, trying not to be pulled into too a defensive formation and at the same time trying to release Wellsy, Robbo, Toby and Dubi who were tirelessly seeking the ball, living off scraps. We repelled numerous attacks with Mark between the sticks doing the business as usual.  Nil all at half time. We changed our formation – 4 across the centre and only 2 up front as we knew we were up against it. Short corner won and converted by birthday boy Nigel, we went 1-0 up! It was then all hands to the pumps in defence.  Perhaps too many long balls; too many aerials; too many times lost possession in the pass;  and not enough moving off the ball in support when going forward. Ricky K had a stormer but withstood some very physical hockey from the oppo for which he suffered in more than one way. The game entered its 69th minute; some thought it was all over at 1-0 but fate is a cruel Mistress sometimes, and as there was a deliberate foul, a short corner was correctly given in dying seconds and despite 2 saves, the 3rd strike dribbled over the line: 1-1. Gutted.
A game we should have won; a game we would have been lucky to have won; a game that ended a good point for us, perhaps.
MoM:  The Old Man Between the Sticks – Mr Mark Johnson