Sparticans Enjoy Festive Fun in the Magic of the Cup
By Simon Fitch
Sparticans 4 – 1 Purley 1s
EH Tier 4 Championships, 18th December
Scorers: Iffland, Crowther, Sutton, Grant
After a comfortable win vs HC Bye in the first round, the Sparticans made their competitive debut in the EH Tier 4 Championship and came out victorious in a great game at Trinity School.
Purley 1s, not to be confused with Purley Walcountians 1s as per the administrator’s initial if unfathomable panic, went to great lengths to find a pitch for the game with Trinity School being fourth choice. Fortunately the team found it to their liking and played some very good hockey in a competitive game, against a team riding high in a South East league featuring many of our old adversaries from Surrey league days. So, as predicted, the teams were well matched for the Saturday showdown.
We started strongly, with multiple chances in the first ten minutes. Having not taken these opportunities, Purley came back strongly and had a number of chances of their own in a very open game. Back and forth we went, until shortly before half time Steve took advantage of an excellent advantage to finish a well-worked goal. Sadly this marked the end of his game due to injury – we are grateful to all 13 of our players from our extended 2021 squad who played, and we were accordingly able to make light of his absence in the second half.
The second half featured some of our best hockey this season. After Matt unfortunately played 1-2 with the keeper, mistaking him for Kev in front of goal, we quickly made amends with a superb team goal, finished with great composure by Toby for his first goal for the team. Matt then made amends with a great goal, before Kev finished one of our few short corners by rifling it into the backboard to make it 4-0. Everyone played their part in this purple patch, with many of the chances starting from the back, orchestrated by Gary and Adam from right and left back respectively. A genuine team effort.
During this time, though, it was far from one way traffic, with Lee pulling off a superb multi-save and our defence generally being busy throughout the half. The new centre midfield combination of Ravvers and Fitchy, supported by youth and experience in Apples and Levi, had to work hard against their best players, and eventually Purley’s pressure paid off when Mr Anderson was adjudged, correctly, to have pushed their forward in the D and the stroke was put away in the corner.
Rather than causing any panic, we continued to take the game to Purley and in the last ten minutes had more chances. We declared at four though, with us down to 11 with Jimmer needing also to withdraw through injury, and were very happy with that.
The only disappointment in an enjoyable day was world events meaning no liquid debrief afterwards, but we discussed much on the pitch afterwards. Many players received nominations this week, but eventually it was Save it Lee winning Moment of the Match, and Fitchy taking home Spartican of The Day to add to the Christmas decorations at home.
Last, and by no means least, we benefited from allocated umpires for this game, and we are thankful to Keith House and Richard Goold for facilitating such a good game in a firm but fair manner. We enjoyed having them in charge, and hope we provided a good afternoon’s entertainment for them. We certainly enjoyed our Championships debut and hope for more of the same in the next round. Merry Christmas to Sparticans past, present and future, and to all our SHC friends and opponents out there.