Magnets Win at Indian Gymkhana for First Time in a Decade
By Mark Waller
Magnets 5 – 2 Indian Gymkhana
Scorers: Richard Beaney 3, Steve Hardy 1, Ian Sharpe 1
POM: Richard Beaney
After two players withdrew on Friday there was a sense of déjà vu as the team secretary was left worrying how we might persuade anyone to travel through the Twickenham rugby traffic for a late away match at Indian Gymkhana, not the most enticing prospect at the best of times.
Fortunately, Suresh – who was planning to come along to watch – agreed to bring his kit and make up the numbers, so we ended up with a team of 11. The next issue was how to negotiate the Twickenham traffic. Thankfully, we timed our journeys well and arrived at Osterley in good time, although some spent quite a while seeking a place to park as the Gymkhana car-park was full due to a function taking place in the clubhouse.
Once the match got underway we quickly found a good rhythm, despite fielding several unfamiliar players. Everyone played well; passes found their intended recipients and we created a handful of decent chances through good movement and passing. On balance, we had the better of the half, but Gymkhana’s skilful and experienced players always posed an attacking threat. However, Frosty had another great match in goal, commanding his D and dealing with any shots that came his way, well-supported by his defenders.
Just before half time an unfortunate and accidental clash floored Bobby, leaving him in a heap on the floor. Having taken a nasty blow to the head, he was soon sporting a good bump and cut just above his eyebrow. With just a minute or so left, both sides agreed that we should call a premature halt to the half to allow Bobby to rest and get treatment. Happily, after declaring himself unaffected, Bobby was able to rejoin the team for the start of the second half and went on to put in a good performance.
The second half started off well and we quickly scored a couple of well-taken goals. However, two of Gymkhana’s flair players took it upon themselves to try and claw their side back into it and the scores were quickly levelled at 2-2. Things then turned as the Magnets seemed to find an extra gear and began to really stretch the tiring Gymkhana defence. Chances started to come as we took control, scoring three more to leave the final score at 5-2. Richard’s hat trick apart, other highlights were Noaksy’s first goal of the season, Ian’s first goal for the Magnets, and we could even afford the luxury of a PS miss.
This was our first away win at Gymkhana for almost a decade and one that we savoured. The deserved player of the match was Richard Beaney who scored a fine hat trick. But above all, this was a great team performance in which everyone played a key part. Although invidious to single people out, James Orbell deserves a special mention for his tireless running and doing all that we wanted him to. Likewise Suresh; playing high up the pitch he created space for the midfield and other forwards to move into, which was a great service. It was fantastic to see him play the whole match alongside (much) younger teammates and to enjoy being part of this historical win. He might have got his name on the scoresheet, but the ball was cruelly poached by a fellow forward when all that was left to do was push it in from inches out. Finally, Noaksy, on loan from the Jokers, showed what an influential a player he can be. He controlled the midfield, keeping Gymkhana’s most threatening players at bay with his tracking back and strong tackling; his passing was instrumental in creating most of our attacking moves – a pleasure to play alongside.
Ray also had an excellent game umpiring, helping to ensure that matters never boiled over to the extent that they sometimes can in these fixtures (although one newcomer to this match was still a little surprised at how feisty the game was). Particularly enjoyable was Ray's polite explanation of some new(ish) rules to 'a qualified umpire' who had had the temerity to dispute a decision.
Afterwards, Gymkhana were generous hosts and fulsome in their praise of our performance. It just made the usual post-match curry taste all the better and even made Suresh's whisky-fuelled ramblings on the journey home tolerable. So, a very satisfying end to a good day. And, to cap it all, after a run of six away fixtures we can look forward to a home match next week.