Fairytale Win for Cobras
By Gregor Falck
SHC Cobras 4 – 0 Walton Hawks Men’s 5s
Cobras’ interpretation of Disney
POM Ben White
(Skipper’s note: You might need to do some Disney character research while reading this – I certainly had to. Gregor has clearly been watching too much children’s TV in lockdown!)
Saturday’s fixture was against the kids of Walton and so it is only fitting that this week’s match report channels the Disney hits "Beauty and the Beast" and "101 Dalmatians", with a sprinkling of "Frozen" thrown in for good measure.
There was a relaxed air to the team as we were walked through our positional play by “Gaston” (James Hamper) and his whiteboard. Gaston called us to action with the rousing lyrics of the ‘Mob song’: "So, it is time to take some action, boys. It is time to follow me!”
The match started well with some early chances and we played some surprisingly disciplined hockey down the left and central channels. It was clear that we had the upper hand against the dalmatians, who were running about everywhere but threatening no one, and the mood remained positive through the first quarter.
However, the puppies had "Horace Badun" in defence, "Mr Skinner" in midfield and "Roger" playing up front and they kept us honest, making sure that we didn’t get too overconfident. And certainly doing enough to keep us from scoring! After a few opportunities up front and some easy misses, Ben decided to take things into his own hands and powered into the D and launched a screaming back stick shot into the goal. The dalmatians’ faces dropped like Cruella had entered the room.
"Mr Lumière" (Craig Schultz) then linked up with Ben to put us 2-0 up and we were in control of the first half. The dalmatians weren’t enjoying the Cobra dominance and were starting to get a little feisty which led to an incident between Gaston and a 12-year old trying to assert himself against James “Bullet” Dalton of Cobras hockey (apologies, couldn’t resist the SA rugby reference!). Needless to say, there was a lesson learnt in what happens when a very light force meets an immovable object. At least someone learnt something from the skipper on the day (who we will now refer to as “Beast” for the rest of this short story).
Mr Lumière was popping up all over the show and creating a lot of havoc in the attacking line, however he seemed to be running on only two candles and some of the wax had clearly got stuck on the ball as “LeFou” (Jeremy Duffy) seemed unable to pass and kept waltzing up the left flank with “Stanley” (Oli Stacey) dancing alongside leaving the defensive duties for someone else, much to the horror of the Beast. Half time arrived just in time to refocus the team that the game wasn’t yet in the bag.
After oranges, we then made a few adjustments. For the first time the team discovered the right side of the field and I was re-introduced to the Beast and some of the other Disney characters from our midfield. We started attacking up the right and then rapidly switching around to the left channel with some spectacular passing. “Mrs Potts” (Robbie Trimble) even managed to step it up a notch and picked me out at right back from our left wing with a massive cross-field pass, that left us all wondering why he doesn’t hit it like that at the goal?
At this point, I heard the Beast oddly singing the theme tune from Frozen…
"Let it flow, let it flow
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it flow, let it flow
Turn away and slam them to the floor
I don't care what they're going to say
Let the attack rage on
The ref never bothered me anyway"
After a few easy misses in the second half, Ben decided he was going to be the "Belle" of the ball and started some devastating runs into the last third, with one special move taking the ball to the baseline and threading it through the defence into the goal whilst the rest of the forwards were leaning on their sticks on the P spot.
The rest of the half was pretty uneventful. The Beast struggled to relax into the three-goal lead and kept driving the team to do better. At one stage "Maestro Cadenza" (ROC) received the ball in a very good field position with several options available and chose the route one option that the Beast did not agree with and was provided with crisp motivation along the lines of, ‘this is not the brand of hockey we play.’
Fortunately our colts had read the playbook and stepped up to support one of the best performances of the season so far. Special mention to Harry for controlling the defence, Ollie Neal for putting in a big shift in the midfield, and Ben and Alfie always creating chances up front.
It is a bit of a cliché, but it was a fine team effort, with everyone producing a solid performance. We played some of the best hockey we have ever played as a team. Good passing, strong discipline and our composure was at a new level. Ben "Belle" played like a beauty and was the unanimous choice for POM.
Finally, in the dying moments, Mr Lumière fired a shot hip high at the corner flag, heading for umpire Alex, but a kind defender went to protect him only to deflect it past the keeper into the goal. This brought the crowd to their feet and Mrs Potts burst into song with a final rendition of ‘The Beauty and the Beast (Finale)’:
"Winter turns to spring
Famine turns to feast
Nature points the way
Nothing left to say
Beauty and the Beast"
With that the dalmatians scattered and we were left to have a few beers with Horace Badun, Mr Skinner and Roger, while enjoying a quality chicken braai from the Hockey Teas crew.
Roll credits –
Craig Schultz (Lumière): 2 goals
Ben White (Belle): 2 goals + POM
James Hamper: 2 small children flattened
William Tsolo: 22 tackles
Alfie “so nearly” goals: 3
ROC “Garmin long distance award”: 8.2km
Ollie Jr: 7.2 km
Oli Snr: 6.2 km
Harry “let the ball do the work” award: passing over 2km
Andrew Little # of ball touches: 1.5 times
Robbie Trimble “most ball passes over 25m”: 21
Jeremy Duffy: 4 waltzes along the side line
Gregor # of times stood on ball: 2