The first "South Berkshire derby" of the season saw the points shared, as the Terriers came from behind to secure a well earned draw against the South Berkshire 4s at a decidedly chilly Cantley Park. A makeshift team, again impacted by school half term, saw three debuts for the Terriers as well as some welcome experience at the back courtesy of "Gee". Ollie Clayson added some guile to the midfield, whilst father and son Monty and Byron Neave slotted effortlessly into the Terriers approach to hockey. Monty became the first South Berkshire u14 to make his league debut for the Terriers this season, and was not fazed by the step up to adult hockey. His direct running and confident link up play was nearly (but not quite!) eclipsed by his Dad, who slotted home the equaliser to become the second player to score on his debut this season for the Terriers.
The Terriers started brightly, and the first 15mins was one of the strongest displays they have given this season. Excellent movement and fast balls down the channel created chances for the Terriers, but despite a good spell of pressure the team couldn't find the net. As the half progressed, the 4s came back into the game, as the Terriers began to lose shape as they started to chase a goal, and at times, lapse into forgetting to stick to the simple but effective passes. A driven ball from the sidelines then evaded a number of Terriers sticks, and was deflected into the goal to give the 4s the lead with one of their first forays into the D.
The second half brought plenty of chances for the Terriers as they continued to play good attacking hockey, although the 4's also threatened on the break a number of times as the Terriers midfield at times pushed too high and failed to give the defensive line the cover they needed. Paul Harvey saw a deflected shot well saved by the 4's keeper, whilst Dominic Harvey had two chances, slapping wide when one on one with the keeper before drilling a second shot minutes later which was well cleared off the line. Up front, James Romain was a constant menace, running hard and posting up effectively in what was his strongest game of the season. However, goal scoring honours were to go to Bryon Neave, who had proved an effective target man throughout the game, and took his chance well, slotting a cross from the left in low to the keeper's left to bring the Terriers level.
All in all, a fair result, but more importantly, another demonstration from the youngsters in the Terriers that they continue to grow and develop game by game. A willingness to stick to the Terriers hockey ethos combined with their growing confidence on the ball means that whilst they sit perfectly midtable, the Terriers are continuing to grow as a team that can comfortable hold their own at this level. Next week sees the Wallingford 4s visit, in what should prove an exciting game. Both fixtures were close last season with a win apiece, and the Terriers will be looking to extend their unbeaten home record into November.