Surbiton Mixed 2 - 4 Spencer Mixed (A)
By Barney Christopher
A cool and almost dry Sunday afternoon on February 12th played host to the SHC Mixed team against Spencer at Fieldview Sports Ground in Earlsfield. Turning up with 16 players, albeit including six players from the Ladies 4s arriving rosy cheeked from a rearranged fixture in Battersea Park that morning, Surbiton were keen to get running.
Spencer turned up with no keeper and agreed to play 11 outfield. This turned out to their significant advantage as the play remained well and truly in Surbiton's half thanks to the additional player outfield. Spencer opened up the scoring early on and Surbiton responded with an equaliser by Emma Chandler. A through ball from the midfield and a light scrap in the D pitched the ball up for Emma's experience with Epsom CC to shine, displaying a textbook cover drive to hammer the ball over the line. After thorough pressure and multiple attempts on goal shut down by Lee and the SHC defence, Spencer found the backboard and went 2-1 up going into half time.
Surbiton bounded onto the pitch with a new formation and five minutes R&R for the majority of the legs who had played at least one match already that weekend. A crash ball from Barney up the middle of the pitch clipped a foot on the 25 to take it past the defence and towards the back line. While 21 players on the pitch looked around waiting for a whistle or a 16, one Lily Craigen pounced on the live ball as it rebounded off the post and smashed it home for the equaliser.
The match gained intensity with both teams hungry for the win, providing riveting hockey to the pleasure of the four spectators. The tension reached tipping point when a Spencer meatloaf torpedoed his shoulder full speed into Seb Stoner's head from a blind angle. Seb was thankfully uninjured and the Spencer player was reminded that he was far too late to make a Superbowl team.
After continuous back and forth in the midfield, a series of skilled passes tore through Surbiton's defence and a deflection on the back post put Spencer one goal up with 15 still on the clock. Despite great efforts up front by Surbiton's forward line they were unable to equalise once again before a cross-goal pass from Spencer was put home past Lee by his own centre back, giving Spencer the final 4-2 scoreline.
The POM award went to Alex 'Limbs' Richards at centre back for his height and exceptional tackling throughout the match. DOD went to Barney Christopher for putting in Spencer's final goal. Special thanks to Captain Sammy Reed for organising the fixture who unfortunately was unavailable on game day, and to Ian Wyatt for travelling to Earlsfield as an umpire for the mixed team.
The SHC Mixed team will now head to Dartford to progress along the Plate bracket of the competition with the next fixture scheduled for February 19th.