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Jokers 6 - 1 Old Kingstonians 1s (A)

10th October 2022

By Tony Haycroft

8th October 2022

SHC scorers: Stone (3), Mallinson, Riley, Anonymous

Team: Tony Haycroft GK, Richard Mills, Roger Kuipers, JJ Draper, James Rumble, Rob Stone, Jon Bowen, Alfie Riley, Jonny Milsted, Jim Hey Capt, Trevor Mallinson, Freddie Lett, Cormack Haspel.

No one understand goalies; as Simon Mason says they make one mistake in ten and they have a 90% success rate yet a forward scores one in ten, only has a 10% success rate but gets POM. Likewise the vote for writing the match report based upon a performance error. That said this being my third report of the season the team has not noticed the deliberate errors to attract the vote. This week it was my error that let the only OK goal in. From that moment in the first half I was writing this in my head. Truth be told the “writing was on the wall” before we started as we played on the Ditton Field pitch with “Haycroft family” scribed in gold in the dug out; an omen.

This was a game of numbers. Having played possibly the first and fourth best teams in the league so far, sad to say OKs are likely to nestle at the other end of the table (now 8th) but we did not raise our game accordingly in the first half. We had 13 players but only nine turned up at the allotted time – please be punctual else warmups and team talks are disrupted. [Perhaps if I promised not to speak would that help?]

The first half saw us realise we were much better and so expected the ball to end up in the net of its own accord. Insufficient work rate and too many touches before passing meant it was a lacklustre effort. We forced seven penalty corners in that first half; our sole goal coming on number three. We were then awarded corner number eight and set up accordingly; only for the umpire to inexplicably reverse the decision and OKs took the 16 immediately with seven of our players still effectively in their D. Despite being overrun the outcome was “only” a short corner. Remonstrations with the umpires about allowing play to resume without letting us take stock and get behind the ball fell on four deaf ears. This was only OK’s second corner; a drag flick which was so bad it looped and dribbled through and into the goal. Note to self, just stand-up next time and remember your School Motto “Fortis nihil difficile.”

Half-time 1-1. Two rousing speeches occupied the interval; JJ extolled everyone to up the work rate and Stoner pinched next week’s coaching tip – “pre-scan” – obvious isn’t it?

It worked; the usual fluid Jokers game returned and we got the rewards deserved. The final count was 12 penalty corners (goals on numbers three, nine and ten) and six long versus three and two.

Mentions in despatches:

Stoner scored a hat-trick of thumping strikes of a kind which is clearly too rough for these umpires; so when he scored another it was disallowed for hitting and imaginary foot and when he dispossessed an attacker later on our baseline and did not cream the ball onto a foot or shin of the oppo and indeed played no shot at all he was blown up for “intimidation”. I remarked afterwards he should have said “But I was born with this face umps.” Jon, the smiling assassin, assured as ever quietly ran the mid with Stoner.

Trevor did his usual marauding around the D earning a goal and an assist and Jonny put a shift in but did not end up on the score sheet (although post-match votes suggested he should have...)

Alfie played his first game for the Jokers and ran and ran, as did Cormack, and Alfie too got on the score sheet. Freddy has great pace and deserved a goal but hopefully next time.

The defence of JJ, Richard, James and Roger looked comfortable throughout with good transfers and all marshalled by JJ but stiffer challenges lie ahead. Captain Jim is back in the groove and ignoring his injury woes. Special mention to stalwart Noaksy who had to sit this out as he tested positive for Covid (“tis but a scratch” for our mighty mid but he did the right thing).

The voting was fairly predictable afterwards but Roger had the best reason for his vote for Stoner which was in failing to offer his wisdom at the start of the match but wait until half time.

A good debrief was not possible as sadly no teas were laid on.

So the final numbers were a 6-1 win and most importantly three points, meaning we have soared up the League Table to sixth out of 11. Upwards and onwards and Wanderers at 10am at home next week.

Big T