Two March Match Reports from the Men’s 6s…
By Nick Sait
Apologies for those who enjoy the light-hearted read of the match report as I didn’t quite get last week’s 6s report in on time. So this week you have the joys of reading through two match reports!
Men’s 6s 3 – 2 Teddington 4s
March 5th 2022
Last week, after a long unplanned mid-season break (coincided well with the 6 Nations and half term) the mighty 6s were back in action in the long-awaited top of the table clash with Teddington. For those following the league, the home fixture provided the only loss of the season for 6s, and whilst we sat pretty at the top of the league, this was a crucial game to remove Teddington’s game in hand advantage.
Having negotiated the lack of parking at their ground a lot of the pre-game chat was centred on how it had started to get a bit cold and apart from Toby and Harry everyone else was concerned about keeping warm... JJ gave a rousing team talk, and we all lined up focused on getting payback from the defeat earlier in the season.
We started well and had the lion’s share of possession early on. Some very good build up play from front to back culminated in a number of short corners, one of which Stoner got hold of to blast it down the middle and through the keeper’s legs to give a deserved lead.
The lead however didn’t last long, as a quick breakaway resulted in a three on two and the man over was found to score past a helpless Tony.
This goal slightly against the run of play didn’t cause the 6s to panic and we continued to probe to regain the lead, where again good build up play from Trevor lead to a short corner where we used our new corner routine which involved Jason (he’s happy to offer his own special short corner sessions during school holidays) through his subtle flinch making not one but two of the defenders to run out early. They took a break on the half way line whilst we used our numerical advantage to play the ball around which eventually fell to Jason who slotted in with his reverse to take back the lead.
And not long later another short corner lead to another slick routine (looked like something that had been practised!) which saw Jason pop up on the far post to slot in and give us a two goal cushion. At this point the Richmond players’ heads dropped and the game got a bit niggly, Stoner did well to channel all his inner zen to avoid self-combusting at the player who was determined to wind him up, and this wasn’t the only time things got a bit heated. Noaksy also took offence to some unnecessary shoving and casually squared up to his opposite number to give him some advice on how to play hockey.
Whilst we still managed to control the majority of play, with six minutes to go they managed to get their first short corner of the game, which lead to a drag flick just evading Tony’s outstretched hand to bring them back into the game. This suddenly spurred them on and we found ourselves under pressure as those who had a few minutes earlier having seemingly thrown in the towel had a new lease of life. With a minute left Saity dived in and the forward calmly found his foot in the D to give them a short corner right at the death. Thankfully the push out was poor and their routine was quickly broken down. We advanced up the pitch and kept the ball to see out the clock for a well-earned win.
This stretched our lead at the top of the table and leaves the league in our hands – simply win the remaining games and we top the table.
Men’s 6s 6 – 1 Richmond Deerstalkers
March 12th 2022
Onto this weekend and the visit of our old foe Richmond. Tony had to manage some last minute haggling and did well to get a squad of 12 together. This however quickly turned to 11 as after five minutes (having been challenged to last ten minutes on the pitch) Tommy hobbled off massively disappointed (and it wasn’t unfortunately a cunning plan to be able to sneak off and watch the rugby).
With our skipper out watching the rugby (sure he wished he’d played!) a new face in young Tom stepped in to centre of defence and played an absolute stormer being solid throughout and giving the old guard a lesson in stepping in front which he did time and time again and then always found a pass out to a white shirt.
Whilst Richmond clearly had a much lower average age than the mighty 6s (albeit Toby and Tom helped to bring this down ever so slightly) the guile and skill that we showed belied our aching bodies and Trevor caused the Richmond defence no end of issues and down the right between Stoner, Toby and Trevor they carved them open time and time again. It wasn’t long before we had a short corner that was put away by Stoner to give a deserved lead (another Exocet down the middle through the keeper’s legs).
Richmond didn’t seem to have much of a game plan and their long hopeful balls were ably dealt with by the defence who then released the midfield to drive at Richmond. We quickly found another goal from Trevor who unleashed an unstoppable shot from an acute angle.
Having been in control, a bit of déjà vu from last week where a quick breakaway and a failed clearance saw their winger pop up on the back post and score.
But we knew we had more to give, and another short corner was put away by Stoner, before a PS was awarded and comfortably slotted bottom left by Ravers. Sterling work by Trevor down the right then saw a cross evade everyone and reach Wingers at the back post to slot in (with his slightly dodgy hamstring he wasn’t doing much running and his goal hanging clearly paid off!).
This notched up five goals, but we weren’t quite finished and Stoner put away another short corner well won by Toby to bag his hat trick (yes he did buy a jug after the game) to get our sixth.
Wingers had a couple of chances to add to this, where a short corner at the final whistle saw the team surround the D and after the ball pinging around it fell to Wingers who much to his frustration could only push it wide with an almost open goal in front.
So a comfortable 6-1 win means we stay top of the league with three more games to win to make it a very successful season before our return into the Vets league…
Thank you to Bloxy for coming to support and also taking on the role as official photographer where he managed to get some good videos of a number of our goals which I’m sure will find their way onto Sky Sports (plus a photo of a dejected Tommy sitting on the bench where I thought it a bit cruel to include this in the report).
DOD unfortunately went to Saity for not submitting last week’s match report with Tommy a close second for his cameo role. POM was close as there were a lot of standout performances, but I would vote for young Tom for his outstanding performance having been told he hasn’t really played men’s hockey before.