Jokers Back in Action with Wimbledon Win
By Steve Hardy (Noaksy)
Jokers 3 - 2 Wimbledon Masters 1s
N.B. The following match report may not provide a truly accurate depiction of events on the pitch!
A combination of first game back excitement, and senility, has rendered many of the participants completely unable to recall the events from most of the game and the score! But who needs any facts to get in the way of a good story? A WhatsApp enquiry has concluded the score was a rather splendid 3-2 victory (although Luke optimistically swears we scored six, three in each half). This nicely leads us to the story of the game.
Both teams started brightly. Slick passing moves between Jason, Jim, Newton and Stone led to some openings down the right. A couple of half chances were created but alas a couple of untimely interventions from the Wimbledon keeper thwarted the Jokers. To provide balance, Wimbledon had some nice possession to ensure Surbiton needed to stay sharp. Some strong defending prevented an early Wimbledon goal.
After about 10-20 minutes (I didn’t have a stopwatch recounting the time) a Surbiton move started down the left and spread all over the pitch. Perhaps about 10 - 12 passes. Wimbledon were mere spectators as the slick move culminated in a finish by Newton.
Wimbledon continued to maintain a good tempo to avoid domination from the Jokers. Wimbledon had some speed up front but it was countered by some good defending by JJ and Jason and Bloxham. Frost was thrust into action a couple of times and prevented any breach.
As the half grew older the play became a little less fluent. The battle in midfield was hotly contested. One of the forced errors led to a speedy breakaway levelling the score.
At half-time Surbiton interrogated the first half performance. A reasonable performance (to briefly summarise) but more intelligent off the ball running would be required to breach the Wimbledon defence on a more regular basis.
The second half started with a renewed frenetic pace. Ravers was dynamic in midfield and providing a number of passes to the forward line. Wimbledon continued to battle hard and created moments of danger. The game was in the balance.
Quincey and Burns threatened Wimbledon throughout the game. Both intercepted passes out of the Wimbledon defence on several occasions. One such occasion led to a good passing move (I have no recollection of the players involved). The ball was passed to Burns at the edge of the circle, just to the left of the goal. Burns smashed a first time shot, arriving at his feet with speed, towards the corner of the goal. The Wimbledon keeper hadn’t even flinched as the ball rocketed into the backboard.
The game remained keenly contested in midfield. Forced mistakes increased in numeracy throughout the pitch. Not helped by Noaksy inexplicably jab tackling JJ has he guided the ball out of defence. Noaksy’s ‘best tackle’ of the game provided another attack for Wimbledon. Thankfully the attack was thwarted to save ‘some’ of the embarrassment and ridicule that Noakes would suffer after the game.
Surbiton continued to defend well but another Wimbledon goal was achieved through some speedy work from their attackers.
The last 15 minutes seemed to pass by in a flash. This may be because I was on the sideline chatting to the oppo (socially distanced of course!). With a few minutes left both teams could have scored. Frost saved with his shoulder. Luke had a couple of nice moments up front although the ball didn’t end in the net. As I was popping my stick into my bag, from the corner of my eye, in a flash of brilliance, a fast move culminated in another strong shot by Burns breaching the Wimbledon goal. Both Stone and Luke may have got the last touch (judging by the WhatsApp debate afterwards). Calvin timed the goal with only 38 seconds left. Nice!
A good win. We look forward to some more hockey soon. Thanks to JJ and all the SHC organisers for allowing us to get back on the pitch.