South Berks 3's vs Sonning 3's - Saturday 10th February
It was a bright cold day in February, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Kav, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the fresh air that was making him feel a little bit uneasy in his hungover state, slipped through gates of Birch Hill Recreation Ground and joined the rest of us for the start of the game.
About 20 minutes earlier we were looking around as our goalkeeper still hadn't turned up… Would Tom make it in time for the start of the game… Would Kav finally get his wish and get to put the pads on? We had our answer shortly afterwards as Tom arrived in time for us to smash balls at him in the warm up.
After Captain Mike had abandoned us to go on a jolly to Devon and Cornwall, Bear stepped up once again. He gave us a rousing team talk reminding us that Sonning don't have very much to threaten us and that we had beaten them twice already this season.
It was a bit of a cagey start to the game with Sonning playing the better hockey. We were just not getting to the 50/50s first and not able to string passes together. Once again, the curse of the first 15 minutes of the game seemed to be taking hold. Then, the inevitable happened. Sonning opening the scoring from a short corner. This seemed to give us the kick up the arse we needed and we immediately fought back and started creating chances with a high press.
One of Sonning centre backs tried to take a hit-out quickly and mis-timed his pass to their right back and Chris picked up the ball just inside the 23 metre line with the goal beckoning. But, as Chris took the ball into the D he decided to go against his usual caveman-esque instincts to just whack the shit out of it and opted for a tame slap that the keeper was able to slide across and intercept. We went into half time 0-1 down.
Des did a really nice pass at the start of the second half but forgot what colour our shirts were and gave it straight to their striker. Shortly afterwards, Tom E made a good interception only to take a nasty stick to the right knee. It didn't look good. He got the once over from physio Kav and was helped off the pitch by Shaggy. (I think we are still waiting on those old match reports? Tick tock…)
We thought we had lost our star midfielder. But, Tom made a remarkable recovery and was able to carry on like nothing had happened! Was it the classic football "magic sponge"? Was he even injured in the first place and acting like a footballer? Or, more likely, some of the fumes permeating from Kav gave him sufficient pain relief!
Meanwhile from LB and RB Ollie, Ben and Jamie were putting in the miles up and down the wings and playing good balls up to the forwards! Jamie in particular took his game from a negative to a positive and today wanted to enjoy life. For some reason he also kept asking us to take a picture of him with a Kodak?
Sonning managed to score another goal from a short corner to make it 2-0 (Not sure if Bailey or Kav gave them that one). This actually kicked us into gear and we scored 2 good goals in a 10 minute period to bring the game back to 2-2. The first came after Aaron was found down the left wing after a good long ball from Chris. (Don't remember why I was at LB though?) He took the ball to the base line and drove it across to Bear at the back post for an easy tap in. The second was very similar. This time Des took the ball down the left and found Chris unmarked at P spot who slapped it home.
This set up a very nervy final 10 minutes, but unfortunately Sonning managed to score a breakaway goal to make it 3-2 to them.
MOM = Des
DOD = Chris
Coach Ryan had this to say about our performance:
"Basic hockey needs to be worked on. Going 2-0 down meant heads dropped and sloppy mistakes were getting made. Although 10 minutes of good hockey for the comeback was good to see and the match could have gone either way with 10 minutes to go. Tired legs got the best of us in the end"
Mr Worldwide ( Jamie) had number 195 on his shirt. Bit of a missed opportunity as it definitely SHOULD have been 305!
Richie W had a lovely little tantrum in the middle of the pitch where he dropped his stick after telling everyone to stop being grumpy. - Something else highlighted to me was him stealing the ball off their really good young midfielder (Toby) but… Richie decided not to pass it to any of us and Toby took the ball back off him and Sonning went up the other end of the pitch and scored the winning goal on the break.
Des managed not to get a card today!
Even though Mike wasn't with us, he was there in spirit in the form of Ryans vest.
Defensive shorts - Bailey and Kav were very keen to give the opposition as many chances as possible although, some of the decisions were contentious to say the least! - Their routines took our runners out of the game and they hit the gaps well.
Attacking short corners - Aaron did very well with the injections today. We just didn't seem to have a plan once we got the ball at the top of the D (Much like myself with the 1:1…) Kav got one good flick away, only to be foiled by the Sonning post man.
That ball was definitely grounded and should have been a try! Scotland were robbed!