Another week of hapless dropouts, one on the Friday and one on the Saturday, we nearly lost another, when Alfie realised he didn’t have any kit to wear, with the threat of playing in his vest and pants, he cobbled together his Dad’s swimmers and a sort of white shirt straight out of the dressing up box, when he arrived we asked “What have you come as?” for he looked like a cross between Tom Daly and Coco the clown.
He was not detered, and went on to play another great game, earning himself two man of the match nominations.
So with the dropouts, we elected to ustilise the Iqbal brothers, Waleed and Dawood, Dawood having previously played for us, but Waleed turning out for us for the first time. So began a wonderful display of hockey. Waleed is a fast running, silky player, who would not look out of place in the higher teams of the club. The first goal came after a thirty yard sprint beating two defenders and finally flicking the ball past a helpless keeper, a classy goal, brilliantly taken. We found oursleves in a strange position, one-nil up and the scored remained like this till half time, though not before there were a couple more attempts on goal by Doobi and Waleed. Rhys took a nasty knock on the leg and rested for a few minutes. Our energies were restored when Junior (our oldest playing member ) produced some delicious brownies for our half time talk, courtesy of Mrs. Cake. Nice.
We elected to produce more of the same, with Alfie, Doobi and Waleed playing up front, we were not short of speed, there were many through balls from Dawood and Charlie, for the sprinters to pick up, Doobi having three good attempts at beating their keeper, but the Hertford defence stood firm. It was not all one way. For a good period of the second half, Hertford dominated, and we were on the back foot, Pete was forced into a volley of reaction saves to keep our lead, which fortunately we did. We defended well, James, Brett, Nick and David as strong on the ball as ever, bringing a calmness to the back line. We had a couple of penalty corners which didn’t amount to much, then our luck changed once more, a good interjection by Rhys, was taken by Dawood who struck firmly towards the goal, the keeper saved it, only for the rebound to fall for Dawood who neatly flicked it into the net. Two-nil, crash! Bang! thank you man!
The substitutions worked well, with players resting and returning with renewed energies. Our third and final goal was again the result of Waleed’s brilliance, a good passing move by the three up front, ended with some tricky stick work and one of those fancy reverse hit things, that no-one did 30 years ago, but seem all the rage now.
Hertford are not a team to give up, and they took advantage of being awarded a penalty corner to open their account with us, a hard shot at goal was deflected over Pete’s head into the net, it was unfortunate, but we had been under pressure for some time. There was to be one last piece of excitment, when Waleed opened up his firepower, the ball went like a rocket from the top of the D, the keeper never saw it, but happened to be standing in the right palce as the ball glanced off his helmet over the bar. So there we have it, the three points take us back to zero. We have gone from scoring six goals in 19 games to nine goals in 20.
The man of the match award was shared between Dawood and Charlie, with other notable nominations going to Junior, Doobi. Alfie and Waleed. With two more games this season, will our winning streak last? Lets hope so.