Boys U14 Seals Get Back to Gameplay
By Will Hayes
Boys U14 Seals 5 - 1 Canterbury U14
After a freeze-out the previous week the BU14 Seals were keen to get back to match play against Canterbury U14.
Coach Frankie was back at the helm and instructed the boys to warm up in the well-appointed Reeds School setting. Skipper Olly found a discarded rugby ball and parents feared the worse as Dexter, sporting a knock-off pair of Beats headphones, suggested a game of non-touch touch-rugby to get the heart rate pumping. Thankfully no injuries followed and the team was quickly into their stride passing the ball around confidently in the opening five minutes. Ben B popped up at the far post and got a neat deflection to take a one nil lead.
It was great to see Fordy support his team mates. Whilst some may struggle with the journey down to Reeds, it's actually a stone's throw from chez Ford: end of the road, past the Tuchels', right at the double-fronted property with the fountain, and left at the Redknapps'.
The Seals flipped between strong passing hockey and over-dribbling. Thankfully Wabi had read Coach Frankie's script and reckoned that a smart first touch and early pass was the way to make headway and it was a clever interchange between him and Louis that lead to Dexter scoring for a 2-0 lead. Canterbury were posing some threat on the break particularly from their skilful centre forward and his clever use of 3D skills allowed Canterbury to pull one back.
The rugby-inspired warm up pitched the unstoppable force of Dexter against the immovable object of Sammie which proved to be great preparation for stopping any threatening Canterbury attacks well short of Surbiton's 25 yard-line. The combo of Olly, Coxy and Sammie – old heads on young shoulders – successfully repelled Canterbury’s attacking threat for the remainder of the game after some cries of "shape" from Coach Frankie.
Again, half time saw Coach Frankie, rather than chuck the tea-cups a la Ferguson, inspire his charges as they quickly responded to his hockey-jedi messaging by scoring a third goal through Cowling after some clever link up play by Louis down the left wing.
Surbiton scored a fourth goal shorty afterwards: whilst some aspiring hockey players upload footage of themselves on their social media accounts staring eyes-down at the ball dribbling around a set of cones (#notgoingtohelpyoumuchmateinamatch), young Toby does his talking on the pitch – driving the ball strongly into the D, skilling up two players with super-fast hands and then flicking powerfully into the corner. In the last knockings Dexter secured his brace with a trademark one touch finish and a trademark war-cry celebration. Whatever he is on, someone bottle it.
And so, as the season reaches the half way point, the Seals have much to play for; the Harcourts look forward to exchanging unwanted Christmas gifts at Westfield whilst running a cursory eye over another indoor tournament at the Copper Box, the Geerings look forward to a home-away quarter final trip to play Old Georgians on 6th February, and all players keeping their fingers crossed that Covid doesn't put the kibosh on an U14 team representing Surbiton in the ABN AMRO European Hockey League U14 championships in the Netherlands on the 16th and 17th April 2022.