Men's 2s Grind Out Win at Henley
By Tom Beaumont
Men’s 2s 3 – 1 Henley M1s
‘Another yellow card for Evans as the Men’s 2s journey to the Home of Rowing’
The Men’s 2s followed a top of the table victory at home last week with a tough away trip to a town better known for its rowing pedigree than its hockey: Henley. This week there were twice as many players at training than last week, unfortunately we were not twice as good.
The game was due to start at 1.30pm. At 1.25pm there were ten players and one member of LMFAO at Henley, four of us having been caught out by a closure on the M4. Two of the late party had the excuse of working in the morning, a third not believing that British roads don’t run like the Autobahn. Rhys unfortunately can only blame a very poor round of golf and several lost balls before an electric toothbrush crisis delayed his departure even further.
We got underway at 1.30 despite cold conditions, a short-handed warm up, and the opposition trying to claim the points for a no show as a result of a motorway closure. We started well. By the time your correspondent got onto the pitch, Josh “I’ve played for the first team so I can go out the night before a 2s game” Redstone had nearly run off his hangover. Nearly. The first goal came from a pinpoint overhead from Beaumont, which a Bartram mistrap deflected perfectly on to Evans (J)’s forehand. Bang, goal, 1-0.
The second goal was less glamorous, Evans J passed the ball across the face of goal and the keeper kicked it into his own net. Scarcely able to believe our luck we were 2-0 up and cruising in to half time. Until Linnell thought he would make matters more interesting. Claiming deafness Rhys was sent off for playing the ball after the whistle, the other 21 players on the pitch had all stopped and accepted that Rhys had kicked it therefore the umpire blew the whistle. Alas we defended the last two minutes with ten men, conceded a corner which was flicked so slowly Haycroft thought he would give the flicker a second chance, and he buried it in the top corner. 2-1.
If we were searching for an adjective to describe the second half it would have to be ugly. Ugly umpiring, ugly outletting, ugly defending, ugly Max Anderson. There’s no getting away from the fact that for five minutes Beaumont had a 100% pass completion rate to Henley. Habbel, and Tinker were third to the ball, White was still on the day job (fighting), Bartram reverted to type – mistrapping everything. We were saved by a few outstanding performances. Haycroft kept us in the game with some good saves and Billy Winter consistently covered up for other people’s mistakes. The only thing that could have made it worse was going down to ten men. Up stepped Evans J again, realising that Evans S wasn’t playing this week, he took it upon himself to guarantee a yellow card by screaming at the umpire. Only scramble defence, character, and Max Anderson’s cheekbone kept Henley out of our goal. Max had had enough of people being behind their man and bravely stepped in front to contest a delivery into the circle, the ball was hit hard, took a deflection and hit Max in the face. We are all hoping that the doctors managed to patch Max up in time for his party tonight.
The game finished 3-1 to the 2s, Redders finally sobered up and found the goal. Not a pretty performance but a crucial one. MOM was Haycroft – he always delivers when the rest of us don’t. Tom Smith was also very good. DOD was shared between Henley’s 12th man (Beaumont) and Evans J for the yellow card.