This was the week that Berkhamsted Hockey Club decided to launch the latest in its range of Goodwyns, with the newer W & T class versions going well, and the ever reliable K class, the E class was starting to suffer a bit, it had always been a bit noisy & temperamental, but was now not starting & was liable to regular breakdowns, so it was time for the C class.
Due to circumstances beyond our control, we had already forfeited our game against Stevenage 5s, but they very generously agreed to complete the fixture as a friendly & a very friendly match it was too.
Our umpires Jo & Liz (on her third game of the day) handled a game more prone to mistakes than maliciousness very well.
We welcomed Charlie Goodwyn to the fold for his first game & we had Alfie Gardener back helping us out, otherwise it was that usual mix of age & inexperience for the 5s. Despite the cold, we started well, moving the ball around nicely getting everybody involved, but creating few clear-cut chances, it was the same for Stevenage, some good control in the middle of the park, but nothing clear-cut to show for it. We got to half time with hardly a chance being created, the only in D melee ended with Colin Izzard using that seldom seen hockey shot, the reverse upright chop-chop-swish, the outcome being the ball remained untouched & they got it away.
There was a quick turn-around at half time, it was getting colder, so nobody complained. The second half opened up a bit, they had some short corners, all dealt with well by those defending them, mention must go to a spectacular save by Brett Kelley from one, getting his left paw down to one heading for the bottom corner to push it wide, magnificent. We had some short corners too, but decided to play short corner roulette, who was it going to go to this time, which meant, though we did manage to get a couple of shots away, we came away empty handed. As the game wore on, more space became available & our young bucks (no not you Nick!) were able to run with the ball, Deven, Alfie & Charlie all getting forward with pace & working well to get the ball towards the D, but once again there was no end product.
Full time arrived & we had encountered one of those rarities, a 5th XI 0-0 draw. Both teams agreed it was one of the nicest games they had played for quite a while.
Man-of-the-Match was heavily loaded in youth’s favour (no not you Nick!), with Alfie & Charlie taking 11 votes between them, but it was debutant Charlie who took the spoils. Well done & I am looking forward to Charlie having a long & prosperous hockey career at the club.
Thanks to everyone this week, that’s the sort of game that hockey should be all about (at our level at least), great fun yet still very competitive.