For some of us, Halton has been a haunting place recently. We have been shipping more than Folkestone on a busy weekday (pre-Brexit at least). So when better than the Halloween fixture to play hockey, mix some metaphors and banish the ghosts of past pummellings.
That was the plan.
This was a new line up for the mens 3s: half term absences and some new blood from the embattled 4ths (Alex, Jackson, Tom and two Howells) welcomed by more regular faces (Simon, Steve, Hugo, Paul, Nigel, Dubi, Nick). Touchline guidance from an injured Ed and on-pitch captaincy from Simon.
Today’s ghouls were Hertford 3s, a civilised bunch to be fair, with some good (and quick) young players.
The first period was competitive. Some close efforts from Hugo and Tom on the Hertford goal. But some nervy moments at our end too, very well handled by Nick in the pads and our back two of Paul and Nigel, supported by Simon at centre half (all excellent throughout).
One short corner effort was deflected off the right post, and we were caught on the break a few times, but the spell held. A goalless first half.
Hertford had just 11, so talk at half time was all about making our greater fitness (and subs) count in the second half. Good idea, but sadly not true.
As the filthy weather descended, we had a bright start. A quick move upfield and Alex, with the precision skills one can only acquire from weeks working on continuous pushbacks from the centre spot, directed a firm shot through the Hertford defence to secure a 1-0 lead.
But eventually the gremlins started to creep in. Sustained pressure from Hertford, your reporter lost his man, and a flick past Nick brought us level. The goal line charm was broken. Soon after, a shot from the top of the D crept in at the right post. And one more, on the break, as one of Hertford’s young players bewitched an isolated Nick for a third.
Man of the match to Alex for goal scoring wizardry and a tireless display. But some great hockey too from the younger folk: Jackson, Ben and Tom.
A good game and one to raise the spirits; just not defeat them. Final score: 3 ghouls to 1. (Sorry.)