With numerous games called off due to sub-zero temperatures in the morning, coupled with a thirsty squad looking forward to the team's Christmas Curry in the evening, we were hoping for a cancellation in order to have a cheeky warm up session at the clubhouse, but it was not to be.
So 15 of us trudged out in freezing temperatures with no one wanting to be sitting on the bench, knowing we had a tough game ahead against Broxbourne who were one above us in the league. Unbeknown to us, this is the team where Hollows received a stick in the mouth a few years ago, resulting in him receiving 18 stitches without anaesthetic from a vet in Broxbourne's' changing rooms. So not his favourite team...remarkably he stayed on the pitch. Unfortunately the stitches from his mouth were removed.
During the team pre-game warm up, Whitby Senior (not one familiar with silence) would bestow his words of wisdom and strategic game plan to the team. Upon completion he asked skipper Carlisle if he had anything to add to which Jimmy said 'no not really'. Clearly the ever hopeful trainee apprentice skipper Twitters had covered everything. Or had he?
So the game began with ringer Payton Sr on the side-lines and within 10 minutes Broxbourne had scored due to Berko's attacking nature leaving us a little open at the back. Another 10 minutes and Broxbourne slotted a short against us leaving us 2-0 down. We were completely undeterred and our confidence remained high, 'bovvad?' and 'bring it on' seemed to be the order of the day.
Wellsy sent that many airials from his 16's into nigh on their 'D' that it would make the skies over Heathrow sound like a confession box in the Sahara. The teams spirits were lifted as we began to attack a lot more and the obtained a couple of shorts. The tupper rocket shots seemed to unusually not quite be doing the trick so we brought the Wellsy up and sure enough a drag flick did the trick.
So at half time and 2-1 down, Carlisle's leadership skills came to the fore with an intelligently thought out script encouraging us to pass accurately to each other. Never in all my years of hockey have I ever experienced such a high degree of observational scrutiny.
The 2nd half was a completely different kettle of fish. Richard Korn decided he had had enough of standing up and was literally throwing his all into every tackle, spending that much time on the deck you'd think he was practicing Friday prayers in a Moroccan mosque. Complaints ensued from Broxbourne to umpire Holderness who simply informed them that as long as he wasn't putting anyone in danger then it was perfectly legal. We are currently seeking an appropriate institution to re-house Richard.
With wave after wave of attack and Broxbourne spending less than 10 minutes in our half, confidence was high. So much so that Payton Junior told the whingeing Payton Senior to shut up !! Very brave indeed, one can only assume that he only gets away with this on the hockey pitch.
There was great distribution from Jon Below, Tupper senior and the workhorse Tupper junior (Will) in mid-field...affording a continuous onslaught from Whitby, Tupper and ringer Payton at Broxbournes goal mouth. We we're ripping them apart that much, it was like shooting trout in a pond, and a goal was inevitable.
Pauls Ball missed that many goals you'd wish it was somebody else's ball. Step in Payton Senior and he missed nearly as many... the 5ths are beaconing.
We secured a number of attacking shorts with various tactical changes to no avail. Then we brought in the infamous Wellsy, and sure enough another goal was had. Spookily enough, that went in via the net as opposed to the backboard.
With a 2-2 draw we were slightly disappointed however there was some great hockey, a lot of good runs, awesome passing (the half time delivery of our strategic direction adhered to), coupled with the usual supportive and highly positive team spirit.
The well deserved Man of the Match award went to David Air-miles Wells for playing out of his skin. A most enjoyable game followed by an even more enjoyable Cobra tasting session.