Cobras Storm to 10-0 Woking Win
By Jeremy Duffy
Woking Men’s 5s 0 – 10 SHC Cobras
‘Cobras special ops…?’
POM Robbie Trimble
On my way to the next chapter in Cobras history, I was listening to the ‘Winds of Change’ podcast. The premise of the series is that the famous early 90’s anthem ‘The Winds of change’ - you know that tune with the whistle in it – was not in fact written by the gnarly East German rock gods Scorpion, but in fact produced by the CIA as part of covert psychological operations (‘psy-ops’ as they like to call them) to destabilise the Eastern Block and ultimately cause the downfall of the Iron Curtain. This had me wondering whether similar operations are being undertaken in other fields…such as Surrey divisional hockey.
As I showed up in Woking (late again, hence the scribe duties) the warm up was well underway, and the team looked up for it. I was greeted by Simon Sladden – at least that is what he told me his name is. He said he was a pilot. What did this mean? He was excited, I wasn’t sure if this was for the upcoming hockey match or the impending release of Top Gun 2020. With the match about to start there was a sudden air of nervousness – the team expected a debrief and half an hour white board session from the skipper, but nothing was coming – ‘you know your roles’ was the simple call. Just what kind of ‘seasoned professionals’ was I playing with? How well do I know these people? Just what did the Rhino do in the 80’s and who is Robbie?
As the game got underway the Cobras quickly jumped into action, almost scoring within the first minute. Spritely movement up front from the Rhino and ROC, working in tandem like a crack military outfit, was causing trouble for the Woking defence. Combined with the youthful running of Ben, clearly in a rich vein of form, it was only a matter of time before the wall came down. The pressure from the front three was giving the midfield of James, Ollie, Robbie and Julian the chance to impose their control on the game. Much like last week, early dominance led to a volley of short corners being hammered at the keeper. Finally, once ROC got bored of his usual target practice, a more subtle variation unlocked the Woking defence and Mr Schulz was able to open the scoring. Now for that all important second.
We didn’t have to wait long. A slightly loose ball at the top left of the D was latched onto and fired home with ruthless efficiency by ‘the enforcer’ Robbie Trimble. Where did he say he came from again? A third quickly followed before half time with Ben getting some reward for his ranging runs down the right. The Cobras Psy-Ops mission was well on track at this stage.
The second half was a clinical performance. If Robbie’s first goal had me suspicious about his past, his second had me in no doubt about his credentials as he fired one home from an acute angle into the corner with sniper-like precision and confirmed his man of the match award. He must have special forces training.
This led to one of the strongest periods played by the Cobras to date as the next twenty minutes of dominance led to a flurry of goals. The quick movement of the ball, by the team as a collective, was most impressive. Gregor keen to get in on the action, somehow got himself promoted to the front line and sniffed a couple of quick tap ins. Ben (clearly being trained by Robbie) launched a belter from the other side of the D and Ollie jumped onto an exquisite pass and reversed flicked it into the net, whilst piling through one of their defenders in the process. Goals were raining down on the weary looking Woking team and they had nowhere to go.
Cobras 8-0 up and cruising; ordinarily this would leave a skipper very happy, but not Mr Hamper. No, James was suffering with all the FOMO of a teenager missing out on Glastonbury tickets as his mates trotted off with their backpacks. 8-0 and he still hadn’t managed to open his account for the season! And then the hockey gods answered him. The Woking defence failed to clear their area effectively and James pounced on to the tired hit out and drove into the D unchallenged and fired a low flick into the bottom corner, leaving faces of incredulity on both the oppo and his team-mates. Now, I think it’s fair to say that as finishes go, this was more ‘Parcelforce’ than special force – but they count all the same.
All that was left was some acrobatics from Rhino popping the ball over the keeper only from Gregor to poach the tap in on the line, saving Rhino a hat trick jug but earning himself one in the process, and that was it. 10 – 0 and the job was done. We had broken the opposition’s resolve, or so we thought.
Suddenly with last play of the game, Woking broke up field and bursting into the D fired off two shots in rapid succession that on any given Saturday would have scored. They just didn’t expect to come up against sleeper agent Andy Little in goal. Trained from birth to protect the clean sheet at all costs, he leap into action parrying the first away and then blocking the rebound effort while the defence scrambled back to clear the danger. Two shots all game – two wonder saves in the last minute, and the clean sheet maintained – clinical.
Cobras season moves forward after another successful mission. Great hockey players, but just don’t dig too deep as you don’t know what you might find.