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Men’s 2s 6 - 3 Wapping 1s (H)

13th February 2023

By WFH (Will Haspel)

Following an extensive, enervating trip down to Oxford last week, the Men’s 2s were back on home turf, in full force (Fulker - “What a team lads”). It was a wonderful day. The sun was blaring hot rays, and clouds lulled above the pitch, traversing the bright blue sky, while a gentle breeze rippled across the astro. “The perfect weather for hockey,” voiced Bean delighting in the warm up, which was one of good intensity. Deaks used his initiative to switch the play in order to avoid the prowling water cannons, leaving some of the 2s (especially Billy), huffing in deep breaths of air. Nevertheless, it was a good warm up, and a good warm up usually means a good start.

Unfortunately, it did not. We defied all odds and had a woeful start, conceding PCs in the first 30 seconds (27.85 seconds according to Deaks’ stats), due to Goughy’s feet, which are usually tremendously sprightly, getting in the way of what I am sure would have been an awe-inspiring clearance. Fortunately, Ore was on it, unlike Goughy, and pulled off some great saves to deny an early dominance by Wapping. This was a significant turning point in Q1 as, almost immediately afterwards, Casper went off on one of his skilful surges, which led to a remarkable rebound from Arj nestling neatly in the back of the net.

Having seen his M1 compeer score, Stevo was raging inside, desperate to match Arj, so decided to dribble past the whole Wapping team including the keeper and place the ball gently over the line.

Following this remarkable goal, in order to regain the goalscoring lead, Arj stepped up for a PS, after an awful challenge by one of the Wapping defenders, and slotted his second into the top bins, leaving the keeper disgruntled, while Deaks gave a motivating speech about the lack of sweat produced by the M2s, to encourage players to work harder. This did not have the effect he had hoped for as we conceded minutes later from an impressive corner routine involving a back-to-the injector deflection, which left Ore wondering where his right blocker was – nowhere to be seen!

The few Wapping fans began to ‘get loud’, although it was rather quiet from their side. This quiet outburst of hope turned into an ominous silence from the opposing fans, as Arj decided that he would like to score another to make it 4-1 at half time and complete a 30 minute hat trick (29.5678 minutes according to Deaks). On balance, after a faltering start, the good warm up did translate into a strong first half.

At half time, Jamma left to lose to OGs, and, as a result there was a slight blip in concentration from the M2s compared to their stunning first half performance. Another impressive stat-padded team talk from Deaks (due to Scotty’s half time pitstop, leaving him absent) involving in-depth knowledge, such as the lack of high transfers (exactly 0), and the want for more people to smile and ‘look happy’ as we were winning, set us up well. On the sideline, Dan began ranting about the behaviour of the Wapping striker, portraying his strong and particular views towards the striker’s mop. On the other hand, Deaks’ rousing words became reality as we began playing like a well-oiled machine, with yet another goal from Arj - a delicate touch to lob the keeper, leaving the keeper staring impassively up to the opening in the sky in disbelief as the ball looped over his head, rather like a celestial body.

Then, Hobkirk missed a deflection as he propelled himself, not so gracefully, along the astro at the back post, missing by a monumental couple of inches. Following this, Wapping countered quickly, against the run of play. Deaks felt bad for Wapping, so decided to assist their striker, by giving him the ball - saying afterwards that he, “could have run faster” if he wanted to get the ball – but he didn’t. Thus, making the score 5-2.

Then, Wapping seemed in control with a couple well strung together attacks, only to be denied by Ore on multiple occasions – apparently just like Shaq was by Tanya on Love Island. Once again Ore’s saves inspired an impressive move by Arj who glided past the Wapping defence and set up Dan Hunt for a tap in, the first, and only regular M2 player to score a goal in this game. Then, in the dying moments of the game, Goughy picked up a yellow card, once again struggling to control his fast legs, when he tripped up an opposing player giving away a corner. Wapping scored again to make it 6-3 to Surbiton after Deaks and Ore got in each other’s way, and the umpires finally blasted their whistles and signalled victory for Surbiton.

The aftermath of the game was eventful and entertaining. During the handshakes between the opposing teams, Scotty bellowed, “Three cheers for Wapping. Hip Hip…” but unfortunately for him there was no hooray, as the majority of the M2 turned off their hearing when they heard him shouting, anticipating a usual rant towards the umpires. Then came the teas, the lovely Surbiton teas, which were gobbled up in a matter of minutes by everyone. A wondrous chicken sauce and rice, bursting with flavours enticed the taste buds of the players. Then came the votes for POM (Lars) and DOD (Will), where Scotty and Bean portrayed their influence on the team. If only they could link up and impact the team that well on the pitch…