M6 Win Away At Addiscombe
By Tony Haycroft
Men’s 6s 4 – 1 Addiscombe M2
Umpire: George – many thanks as always
Goalscorers: Steve Todd (2, PC), Connor Tinker (F), Dean Mallinson (F)
"A hard rain's a-gonna fall" sang Bob Dylan. He was obviously inspired watching a hockey game at Royal Russell School. The Super 6s Executive Board fell like flies this week with the captain out with yet another hamstring injury and sunning himself with Corney junior in Muscat and player coach Big T succumbing to a virus and pulling out the day before. Vice Captain Todd (that should just be Captain) messaged ‘Am I going to be Eric Carmen?’ (i.e. “All By Myself”) inviting Big T to manage/coach in the expected pouring rain and offering to act as chauffeur. How could he refuse? The weather forecast was bad and Harry enquired via Teamo whether storms would stop the game. Jacko replied that he hoped the game would carry on despite snowflakes and he expected a flurry of activity on the pitch.
The day arrived and the rains came but our humour was not dampened. We like a joker in the pack and we had three – Trevor, Noaksey and “3 cards in one game” Stoner who was called up to redeem himself after his last 6s outing… “But that was so last decade,” he quipped.
A bright start has not been our forte so a three man weave followed by short passing and shooting and shortie routines were order of the day to encourage some muscle activity in the warm up in the driving rain. Addiscombe stood in a cold huddle. Psychology battle won, tick. It paid off - within two minutes we forced a corner and Toddy strode up to hammer the backboard. 1-0. We had a tail wind, which was an advantage, and we dominated possession and chances. A few more corners went close, shots whizzed past the uprights and an overhead Lacrosse effort by Jacko narrowly missed. Half time and still 1-0.
“Give and go. Let the ball do the running – it won’t tire,” (Bill Shankly) was the coach’s exhortation as we now had a strong headwind. Toddy was upset the coach had not referred to coach legend Vince Lombardi but he likes to keep the boys on their toes.
As the weather worsened our game improved, Ben Hanson tirelessly running as always, penetrated the D. On his reverse he chose not to shoot as Alfie assured us he would have in a Colts game, but a wise/adult head on young shoulders rolled it onto a foot. Up strode Toddy again to slot in for number two. We were cruising and should have had more. Jacko was rolling back the years and had a great effort come back off the post to be sat on by the keeper. The ball couldn’t be dug out and to the trained eye he made no effort to roll away. A gentle suggestion by Jacko to that effect fell on deaf umpire ears.
Adam was commanding in goal but a breakaway and a rare slip by the stand-in captain saw the oppo pull one back. In truth the defence looked solid with ever dependable Westie and Dan acting as wing backs and utility Harry standing in for the absent Jack at centre back was his usual terrier enforcer self. In the absence of Capt Corney the mid was run by “Action Man do you like the new scar from last week’s battle?” Campers / Stoner / Alfie in rotation.
After the goal a nervy few minutes ensued. Step up the youngsters having been shown the way by calm and composed Stoner and nippy Noaksey. Three man weaves suddenly appeared here and there. Connor broke free after a good through pass – he will always back himself, and rightly so. Some deft skill in the D saw him lift the ball skywards past the hapless keeper. 3-1.
Dean has been improving game on game and was playing his best game for the side so far. He was due to be subbed by dad Trevor for the last 12 minutes. “You call him off when you want,” was answered with, “Leave him for another five and I will see about the last seven”. The coach pointed out that of course top internationals save themselves for a seven minute burst. Almost immediately a silky interchange between Alfie and Dean saw Dean attacking the D, rinsing the centre back to get onto his reverse – Trevor was anxious he was going to lash at it like that but again the youngster had listened, pulled it back onto his strong side and powered it into the top of the goal. “Leave him on!” said Dad. That sealed the win and a deserved MOM for Dean. Special mention must go to Toddy who bossed the game as usual but entertained us at one point with a slo-mo Gerrard-esque slip to the ground to let Adam show his credentials.
A cold miserable day in Croydon never got the better of us as our spirit grew and soared. Back to theirs for hot showers and teas and more bonne amie. Up to third in the league then but by the end of the day fourth on the same points as the impressive Leatherhead 1s. Our aim this promoted year to the Prem was to stay put – mission already accomplished with 30 points and 10 more than fourth from bottom. Everyone put a shift in today as they do most weeks.
Coach Big T