Jokers 5 - 3 Old Kingstonians 1s (H)
By Jim Hey
Team: Haycroft, Draper, Foster, Sayer, Baynton-Williams, Bloxham, Bowen, Hey (Capt), Balbirnie, Mallinson, Hodges, Kuipers, Mills, Barnicoat, Riley, Walbran
Umpires: Parker & Andrew – thank you
A late (4.40pm) start for the Jokers at the home of hockey and an opportunity for us to stop the rot after two successive defeats against the first and second placed sides in the league. We had just witnessed an agonising defeat for the Sparticans against a solid looking OCs side so we wanted to put on a show for the “crowd”. Unfortunately it was a bit of a horror show in the first 10-15 minutes with the Jokers seemingly thinking the game was already in the bag before it had even began, so when OKs went 1-0 up after eight minutes it gave us a bit of a kick up the backside.
It wasn’t long until we strung together four to five passes in a row and fed the ball into Balbirnie who finished well (on 10 minutes) with a reverse stick shot. We did settle into the half as it progressed, but we didn’t look comfortable and gave OKs too much respect across the back and midfield, allowing them easy possession. It was an eventful first half with three more goals, fortunately two of them from the Jokers with Kuipers and Bloxham finishing well on 22 and 30 minutes respectively.
Half time couldn’t come quick enough and with a few tactical matters taken care of, the Jokers started the second half with much more possession and passion. Some really good hockey ensued and pressure was mounting on the OKs goal; on 45 minutes up popped our overseas player (Scotty Walbran) on the far post and he slotted into an empty goal.
OKs were still fighting and looked dangerous on the counter attack so it was important that we kept applying the pressure and get another goal. And so we did with Foster scoring a well worked corner on 55 minutes. This is where the wheels somewhat came off - the last 15 minutes seems to be a problem area for the Jokers. We became very ragged and agitated and made life difficult for ourselves. OKs pulled one back, hit the post and were having a purple patch. However we managed to hang on and secure a 5-3 win. Not the best day at the office for us and especially for me (hence writing the match report)……described as one of the worst left back displays on Jokers record!
Many thanks to the entire Jokers squad for sticking with the rotations – we had 16 which was probably one or two too many, but everyone made an impact when they came on. Onto next week.