Boys U14 Seals Take On Girls U14 Wrens
By Will Hayes
Boys U14 Seals 3 – 6 Girls U14 Wrens
A keeperless Boys U14 Seal team were handed a lesson by a free-flowing Girls U14 Wrens team who left the boys wandering around like spare parts at a junior disco. The girls’ skills and strength in midfield trumped the boys who reverted to an U10 Quicksticks game.
A number of the Seals had received the call from Coach Frankie to help the Boys U16 out. Olly's organisational knowledge (honed by interactive whiteboard sessions by his dad running his family through the Oxted 1996-1997 season) was sadly lacking. It took the boys the whole of the first half to realise that if the opposition had an extra player in midfield it might make sense for a defender to step through and mark that player. The girls made good use of the overload and passed the ball around and rightly took the lead. Cowling, operating at right midfield, invoked his party piece of holding the ball strongly on the open stick and then putting on the afterburners: even a number of the girls’ speedsters struggled to keep up.
The first half belonged to the girls who showed both great skill and strength on the ball. Some of the boys’ players seemed to specialise in dribbling the ball into tackle after tackle, which led to turnover after turnover. Jude and Fordy, thankfully, did not fall into this category and with some simple two touch hockey starting moving the ball into spaces and the less congested areas of the pitch. Barnicoat junior, the youngest but (for some time now) the tallest member of the (whole) Barnicoat clan, showed some of the Year 9 players how to play - moving the ball around neatly with very good vision.
The second half saw an improved Seals performance. Cowling and James worked a nice PC routine with James making a deflection. The goalscoring was all the more impressive given that the grip had come loose from James's stick and he spent most of the second half re-enacting the nursery classic of "Wind the Bobbin up". Some stick tape and a chamois grip for that lad's xmas stocking. Toby B showed good distribution skills with effective use of striking the ball on the reverse and on the open side. Ieuan showed some strength in the tackle and good use of a flat low tackling technique.
The girls continued to move the ball well, and more effectively than the boys into the free channels. And so the girls, irrespective of the keeper situation, were well-deserved winners. Final score 6-3 (I think). Like an exiled football manager, Coach Frankie had been sent to the Teddington hockey festival and asked for an update from Coach Fulker who had promised a detailed debrief: only when a "Mate, you were battered" message popped up on the coaches' Whatsapp group did Coach Frankie start to rethink his Christmas card list.