Jokers 3 - 2 Barnes 2s
By Tony Haycroft
Jokers Win At Barnes in Final Pre Season Game
Team: Haycroft (Capt), Foster, Newton, Hardy, Mills, Balbirnie, Hodges, Bowen, Westcott, Mallinson, Ward, Barnicoat
Umpires: Tom and John from Barnes, thank you.
The cobwebs were cleared away and apart from some rusty moments leading to stick tackles (that excuse only works for a game or two note), the Jokers quickly settled into its usual fluid champagne hockey. A good effort by everyone, played in a good spirit and no cards – note to Stoner. We welcomed into the side the midfield duo that is Jon (silent assassin) Bowen and Phil (the power) Balbirnie. They ran the show with other newbies Richard Mills, playing well although out of position at centre back. (We will get you into mid Richard). The other newbies were Colts Dan and Levi who both put a great shift in, didn’t look out of place in adult hockey and as will be explained Dan scored an excellent goal. We also had Jeremy Westcott guest for us and he ran tirelessly for us.
We conceded a lot of years to Barnes with for example the Barnes goalie being a third of the age of Big T minus 8 more years... We won the psychological battle with us winning the toss, getting to choose the “best end” and get push back as it was a friendly.
We moved the ball well but Barnes were quick up front and scored the opener with two players left unmarked, due, no doubt to the fact Jason had to mark someone else. The Jokers responded within two minutes as Trevor finished a flowing movement slotting home his first goal.
Barnes had a short corner and got a strike off which was kicked away to the sideline with contempt (it wasn’t hit very hard so even Big T got it). The only other Barnes moment in the first half came with a wayward pass, which missed Foster and Big T stopped going for a long corner. In the absence of TBW to make the game interesting, Big T then passed to Jason with two players in close proximity. Obviously Jason cleared the ball with aplomb.
Trevor’s next goal came just over midway through the first half in open play. Barnes thought he had overrun it but flicking it up he then overhead struck it into the far corner. He spent the rest of the game dominating Barnes and exercised great jug avoidance skills, being sated with his brace. Half time came and we were 2-1 up.
In the absence of my co-capitano Jim (and TBW of course) Foster gave to the team his pearls of wisdom (oh yes they were) and we played even better second half with more play switching which Foster, Mills and Newton did effortlessly. We again dominated. Pre-match when told he was playing sweeper Foster said, “No, forward please.” This fell on deaf ears so second half he decided to risk the nose bleed that high up and went on a rampage down the right, eluding tackles, passing into the D for an onward pass to the P spot in classic style for Dan to confidently strike into the corner to take it to 3-1.
During the game we had seven short corners, none of which we converted – bring back Stoner; but it kept Barnes in it. Likewise “to make things interesting” as Foster said post-match, and as it was a “friendly”, we stopped a pass into the D for the same Barnes attacker to put in at the back post (again) from two metres. At 3-2 up we stopped being obliging and took the win.
A good opening effort although I suspect Barnes 2s may be one of the weaker sides in our league (unless like us they had players missing – they only played with 11.) Next week Purley 2s – a wholly different kettle of fish and who will pose a much stiffer challenge.