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Sages 0 - 4 Herne Bay O45s Invicta
Tier 2, Round 2

8th January 2024

By Sinead Goodden

Unfortunately the Surbiton Sages came to the end of their inaugural cup run succumbing to Herne Bay 4 – 0. However 4 – 0 didn’t reflect the match… it could have been 2 – 0 or 10 – 0… all will be explained.

The Sages turned up, predominantly on time, on a cold but sunny afternoon at Oaken Lane. Much to Coach Spuggie’s annoyance, it was like herding cats as each player disappeared to the loo at different times, when all she wanted to do was give a few quick instructions! There were some discussions about who was playing sweeper – it seemed everyone wanted that position on this particular day!

The astute players amongst us, Ruth Fraser and Fee Fitch, quickly clocked the fact Herne Bay only had 11 players. All we would have to do is move the ball and surely they would run out of steam with no subs – especially after the Christmas festivities! Sadly, it turned out they had a large number of South Eastern Masters representatives and were faster and fitter than us!

We managed to keep them out until the 14th minute when a short corner was conceded and a strange thing occurred. The ball flew to the injector who Sinead closed down and somehow the ball ricocheted off – 50% of those present thought it went in the goal and through a hole in the netting and the other 50% thought it flew wide. But it’s the umpire who counts and a goal was awarded. Herne Bay scored a second goal fairly quickly which put the Sages on the back foot.

Ruth Fraser fired in a cross, which a Herne Bay player deflected into her own mouth, but this didn’t stop her; with the mouth covered in steri-strips she carried on playing! The Sages fought hard and managed to keep it to 2 – 0 at half time. Spuggie gave us three things to do differently 1) a change of formation, 2) more rolling out and 3) mark on the correct side!

The Sages were stronger in the second half, stringing together some nice passes and working hard all the way up the pitch making Herne Bay nervous on several occasions. Unfortunately, Herne Bay broke away on a counter attack and scored a third goal and seven minutes before the end Sinead helped them out with a nicely deflected own goal from a short corner to finish at 4 – 0. As I said at the start….had the first goal not been awarded and without the own goal it would have been 2 – 0, but equally Herne Bay were a talented and experienced bunch and had loads of chances they didn’t take. Herne Bay deserved to win as they were the better team.

It was a good game of hockey which everyone enjoyed (I think!).

  • It was fantastic to see Jo F back on the pitch – she may not have played much over the last few years but she is as classy as ever!
  • Ruth Fraser worked her socks off… I think someone on the side kept shouting at her!
  • It’s safe to say Ruth Banks is the most flexible player we have – she plays defence for her Saturday team but has played up front in all the Sages games due to the number a defenders – a big thanks for that!
  • Val covered an awful lot of ground, took players on, beat them and won repeated free hits.
  • Fee held the middle and worked up and down the pitch in defence and attack.
  • Claire made some fantastic tackles and won some excellent free hits at crucial times and more importantly has improved so much through playing Masters Hockey – well done!
  • Silke, in her first Sages appearance, made some classy and athletic saves.
  • Debs made great use of a low flat stick and her long reach to break down numerous counter attacks.
  • Louise was disciplined and always did enough to disrupt a quick counter attack from the opposition.
  • Ellie jab tackled like there was no tomorrow and made use of those wings to get the ball out of defence.
  • Philippa won the ball back in crucial areas and laid off some lovely passes.

As this is the final Sages match report for the season I have a few thank yous…

Thank you to all the players who had played this season - most of you have had to play out of your usual position or do a job you don’t usually do. I think the majority of players are central defenders or sweepers!

Thanks to all the umpires who have umpired our games and without whom we couldn’t play – I think we were a well behaved team.

Thanks to Spuggie for coaching us in two of the three games, to Chrissie for organising the pitches and entries and Helen for doing umpires. Thanks to all the people who came along to support… I will try and remember you all…Wendy, Jane, Charlotte, Sophie B, Anne, Annie, Courtney, Laura, Sunny, Sarah Bray, Helen, Lisa, Dave. I am really sorry if I have left anyone off!

It’s been fun and we are looking forward to next year….if there is anyone turning 45 on or before 31st December 2024 and fancies giving it a go please get in touch with me.