Under a baking hot sun Terriers lined up against Fleet and Ewshot on a sticky pitch at the Army Hockey Centre. The plan was to keep the ball from the start and notwithstanding the occasional rusty pass the plan worked and the Terriers had much of the early pressure. They had a series of scrappy chances which the young Fleet keeper saved easily and it was proving to be a particularly frustrating afternoon for Austin Jennings who was making all the right decisions but couldn’t buy a goal. Byron Neave was also positioned well but repeatably denied.
The deadlock was finally broken when the opposition defence was dragged out of shape by the forwards’ runs and Monty Neave cruised through the middle and finished with aplomb. The Terriers also had a couple of short corners but in both cases the injection went only a few inches on the hot sandy pitch. The central spine of Neil Badley, Graham Aldous, Tony Heaver and Ash Stratton dominated the centre of the park in the first half. The only question was would they still be standing at the end? (One wasn’t but who?)
It was more of the same in the second half, but the opposition did start to wilt in the heat. Gregor and Alexander O’Keefe stood out with their running and endeavour. The opposition also squandered their short corners and it was Terriers who finally had success from a short when the injection managed to travel across the circle to Graham Aldous whose shot was blocked off the keepers pads. The ball found its way to Robbie Campion who connected well only for it to hit an opposition players on the leg but Monty Neave was there to pounce on the rebound.
The third goal was the prettiest with Jack Barker grabbing the ball in a crowded circle, showing off his stick skills, finding Robbie Campion on the baseline (where he spent most of the match) who passed it to Monty Neave in front of goal and he calmly claimed his hat-trick. Monty had not finished yet and he continued to spilt the midfield and pick out Austin Jennings who finally had some luck and buried the last two goals much to his relief.
Jack Rouse in goal had only a couple of touches in the match, albeit important ones, so thanks goes to him for keeping switched on through the sweltering conditions. And in case you were wondering it was Graham who didn’t make it to the end, injured shoulder, oh dear, get well soon!