What a great performance, slick hockey, well drilled attacks, stunning stickwork, pin-point ariels, together with fast attacks down both flanks following strong defending. Yes, we were up against a very good Southgate side.
How did we cope? Although we made a few errors, essentially we did really very well. A two goal deficit at half time was a fair reflection of the half. Southgate, fielding a strong side of ex- national league players, came at us quickly and were soon two ahead, we did well to keep them at bay, once again Gary Atkinson dominated our defence, ably assisted by Jules Hollows. As soon as we realised the quality of the opposition, we re-grouped, changed our line up and ended up playing with three defenders and four mid-fielders. Our young side ran well, didn’t give up, and kept their composure. The opposition captain was impressed with the tenacity and skill of the youngters, something which they can proud of.
We had the luxury of two keepers this week, so we decided to play Xavi, on field, of course he is a brillaint keeper, but showed he is no pushover on pitch also. Pete Walker was in goal for us this week, he played a blinder, making save after save, kicking confidently and purposefully. His glory moment of the game was saving a penalty stroke. He won the man of the match award, gaining 11 of the thirteen votes available.
Rhys and Alfie, both players who last year played fifths hockey, have made the move up the club very well, and are improving with each game, we seem to have come across two very strong teams already this season, and on each occasion, the team has kept together and supported each other very well, we can not ask more than that, we should be proud of the way we play.
We must be honest with ourselves and acknowledge that we made too many passing errors, where we gave away possession at cruial times. We can work on that aspect, but we musn’t beat ourselves up too much, they were better.
The final score of 9-0, I guess must be revealed, on a cold, wet morning the hot potato and beans lunch was a welcome friend as we arrived back at the club. With thanks to two good umpires, Paul Krafft and Tom Walker, for turning out in such miserable weather, their firm but relaxed manner helped to create a well-mannered game of hockey, much appreciated.
We are currently propping up the rest of the league, its early days yet, so lets see what next week brings.
Thanks to the following for playing: Gary Atkinson, Simon Barron, Xavi Bryans, Alfie Gardener, Alex Gilmore, Rhys Hanling, Jules Hollows, Andy Howell, Ben Howell, Tom Irwin, Kyle Purkiss, Pete Walker,and Simon Kaye, who produced another nine minute cameo.