The long awaited start to the 2017/18 season was further delayed on Saturday afternoon. One of the freshest faces in the team, goal keeper Jamie Legg, thought it appropriate to strip right down into his pants on the side of the pitch. A strained hamstring was the diagnosis given by the team physio. Sarah, up since the crack of dawn, received a lot more than she bargained for before the game had even commenced. At one stage, overachiever KB7 was even spotted eyeing up Leggy's kit hoping to showcase his all round hockey ability. Had the kit not been 3 sizes too big for the Trinadadian, I feel we may well have played with a fully kitted kicking back making runs from P spot to P spot.
As per usual, the brilliant Brooklands banter was thrown around all over the pitch, with a good portion of it coming from the Brooklands management. England hockey officials had their hands full as they strived to control 2 rather sizeable ginger chaps only metres from the tech table. Steve Kelly and Marc Edwards wore the brunt of the abuse at halftime as the Northerners were apparently targeting them. Nobody was entirely sure where this statement had come from, but if there is one thing we have learned, it is to never question a passionate coach during the half-time chat.
This was not much of an issue though, as the Hampstead boys put on a fine display of passing hockey. Sam French and Rupert Shipperley each bagged themselves a goal, with Banbridge's finest son getting 2. In an attempt to avoid being punished for hattrick avoidance, Stevie Dowds fullmounted the Brooklands fullback just after scoring his second. He was to be denied a third conversion for the day, as his beautiful Bulgarian girlfriend was away on Business.
Final score: Hampstead 4-0 Northeners
Finally the Ladies 2s have found themselves in South Division 2, and the excitement of the first game in said league was palpable all week!
Although some didn't partake in Nina's 'one team, one dream' train journey to East Grinstead, those that did were evidently focussed on the task at hand; the chat centreing around jumbo sausages, all the foods that you can deep fry, and Nina's aversion to Jen's stinky train food choices.
Despite the EG pitch watering system failing, and the Astro being drier than the Zak's chat, we got off to a cracking start, tearing around at high intensity and pulling off some stylish passing sequences.
Alas, we fell to a breakaway goal, but a few minutes later Steph turned it on and cracked in a backhand shot to level the scores! An end to end game, level at half time.
Callum being the trooper he is, managed to come on crutches, and give a fabby half time pep talk.
Unfortunately two quick fire goals from EG halfway through the half meant we had it all to do, but a storming last ten minutes saw Pippa latch onto the rebound of a well worked short corner, before we fell just short at the death. 3-2 to the hosts but so many positives to take away and, with half the team being new faces, champagne hockey is definitely coming soon.
DOD went to Lou for thinking the term 'child-bearing hips' meant having wide enough hips to comfortably balance a child you're carrying on said hip! Notable mentions for Lorna trying to seduce everyone in her presence, and Nina for not knowing where you take a long corner from.
MOM to newbie Sarah for general wonderful tenacity, incisive passing and some surging runs.
One has waffled on quite enough now so, until next week,
Final Score: Hampstead 2 - 3 East Grinstead
XOXO Gossip Dumpling
Shortly before the beginning of the match, the 3’s squad of 13 solid men against Spencer was complete. After a slow start on both sides Spencer scored the first goal of the match. HWHC missed structure and was not able to play simple hockey. HWHC woke up late and was 4:1 done after the first half. Another point to improve on would be discipline. In total the team received 2 green and 3 yellow cards. The team played most of the second half with one or two men down. Hence, the devastating result of 2:7 at the end of the game. Next game will be different.
Final Score: Hampstead 2 - 7 Spencer
The Diamonds were ready to kick off the season looking for more goals and improved organisation. Despite the plan, Bella was late... again. In the wise words of Captain Eefje, "Wearing a home kit does not automatically mean you are playing at home!"
The first half of the match was finely poised and took a last minute goal from Vicky to take a 2-1 lead into the break. The team was looking forward to the snacks, which thanks to Eefje, failed to materialise, but luckily Mother Emma saved the day. After the emergency snacks and greater speed and energy, offensive play improved and four more goals were scored, contributing to a comfortable 6-2 victory. Two of which were scored by Rebecca, who is back, better than ever. Good effort at the back especially from our diamond Lizzie, who sadly will leave us for sunny Manchester. We look forward to seeing you at the end of the season. Special mention to the new players, Rodica, Evie, Anske, Hannah and Lulu!
MOM: Vicky (for not only her hockey skills but also her vocal talents off the pitch)
DOD: Bella ... of course
Final Score: Hampstead 6 - 2 Eastcote
The Hammers’ first two games of the season have been entirely predictable. On seasonality alone, a simple strategy over the past few years has been to bet on the team losing in the early season and then improving as time goes on. Two games in and two losses suggests that trend is indeed your friend. There have been improvements over the two matches. A 5-0 loss to the recently demoted Imperial Medics was hard to take, especially as the team’s healthy “South of France” tans disguised the unhealthy fitness levels. MOM Andrew’s fantastic keeping made the result more reasonable. This weekend saw a mix of new joiners and other teams helping out the Hammers whose core squad members (including Captain, Vice Captain and Slate Captain) coincidentally took holiday at the same time! Going 4-0 down early doors led to some ill tempers but scoring two goals later on gave the Hammers something to build on as the seasonality factor starts to turn in their favour.
Final Score: Hammers 2 - 4 Chiswick
Thirsts make it a hard day at the office and go down 3-2 to Chiswick 4th XI.
Hampstead and Westminster HC Thirst team win six short corners and a penalty stroke, converting none of them, frustratingly leaving the game vs Chiswick without a point despite dominating the game.
Another well delivered strategy session led by captain Dom was followed by a motivating warm up that put the Thirsts into a better starting position vs Chiswick than against the Academical’s. HWHC started strong, the first ten minutes had good passing, communication and strength.
The pressure was broken with a ball into the circle from Carl that was capitalised on by Jamie and Dom who created a goal mouth scramble with Dom ultimately claiming the resulting conversion for the Thirsts. Almost straight from the restart Chiswick bounced back and their CF found himself at the top of our circle, getting a high shot away which GK Paddy saved but a rebound from his glove meant the ball dropped into an awkward footing with the ball finding its way into the bottom corner of our goal making it 1-1.
The Thirsts broke back through the midfield with a controlling performance, winning the first, second and third short corners of the game. However the game started to breakdown when the handbags came out following some verbal taunting in-front of the Chiswick circle, Hammo receiving a particularly bad leg bound handbagging, regardless of this we did get another goal.
Whilst both teams needed to tighten up, Chiswick took advantage of our poor wing play and created an overlap which allowed them to carry the ball from one end of the pitch to the other and score to level the game going into the half time.
Spurred on by the level scoring the Thirsts kept up the good fight. More short corners came and went, during one a shot into the bottom corner was stopped on the line by a foot. Dom stepped up to take the stroke but a mid level flick was easily picked up by the Chiswick keeper to keep the scores level.
Whilst the Thirsts had the majority of possession, the team did get stuck by holding onto the ball too much and not using the width of the wings effectively. This was turned into an advantage by Chiswick who maximised every break opportunity, keeping most of their men behind the ball and then moving fast on the attack. This low press was capitalised on when at one pivot we gave them the ball straight up the middle creating a 2 vs 1 against Paddy with Chiswick making it 3-2.
Passion flowed while trying to get on top of the game for both teams, Arnoud and a Chiswick player took two minutes off the pitch thanks to a jointly shared green card. Regardless of how many times both teams were told to put the ball on the line or in the ‘exact’ place a free was to be taken, the deal was done. The rest of the game played out without us being able to find our opening form, Nicholiin particular worked the hardest to create opportunities, regardless of how many more short corners it was not meant to be.
Thank you to the opposition, our umpires who are developing their experience with the best of our wishes and to Brownie for not being able to play - we need you back next week.
Final Score: Hampstead 2 - 3 Chiswick
A strong and enthusiastic start to the season (of course referring to the post game boozing), oh, and we played some hockey. Thankfully we also aced that part too, going 3-0 up in a cracking first half , with goals from Greasley, Kim and Immy.
The second half was just as energetic, (including the time & effort we made to pose for photos whilst on pitch) with plenty of opportunity in the D but sadly no further conversions. Thankfully that included Tara's gallant attempt on goal .... even though it was our own!
Greasley's old age caught up with her again in the second half, when she managed all of 2 minutes before hobbling off the pitch having aggravated last week's injury. Luckily this allowed her ample time to capture on her phone what can only be described as hockey's most blatant stick tackle. Turns out that Kim had got bored with kicking the ball so had changed tactics for this week's game!
Newbie Rosina played a key role in defence this week, adding to an unbreakable wall of Steph, Sammy, Katie & Tara. Obviously it wouldn't be a OMT game without one of our team being called up by the ump. Big shout out to Steph for keeping that tradition alive!
The previously quiet and unassuming newbie Ella caught us by surprise with a plethora of battle cries at every breakaway opportunity. Not-so-quiet Ella continued this theme onto the dance floor later that night. We can only think she may be using MJ as a role model!?!
Whilst it was Jess Sykes’ last game for HWHC (our picture feature this week), it was Jess Sunderland’s first – only narrowly missing a DOD vote for neglecting to realise she had her number tape stuck to her butt during teas!
Big thanks to Russ for driving all the way out to Northwood to provide much needed & most welcome sideline support. We've yet to lose when he's there so can only presume that beard of his has magical lucky charm powers!
MoM: Jess Sykes – arguably should have been DOD for leaving to go live in the USA
DoD: Tara for her attempt on goal
Final Score: Hampstead 3 - 0 OMT
4 a.m on Saturday morning and it’s not looking good for the Vets. In the background all one can hear are the doleful cries of the injured; a nurse can be seen in the half-light administering treatments to hamstrings, sprained ankles, cracked ribs and other wounds. The skipper bites his nails and frets. This is how Theoden must’ve felt at Helm’s Deep; outnumbered and with nowhere to run, how can 9 men possibly prevail against the might of the Spencer Orks? 14 of them are warming up on the far side of the pitch, they look young, they look fit – they’re doing a co-ordinated warm up. They are on time.
Meanwhile Stutz (Hampstead’s answer to Legolas) is still at Gatwick airport, Hammond is still handing out the answers to next year’s A-levels and Harrington is fishing balls out of the back of the 4’s net.
But then, as the early morning light quietly grows over the mountains, a sight to gladden faint hearts, a figure, silhouetted against the rising sun, hockey stick raised aloft and striding – yes, it’s Adam Gapper! And in his train, Dave Dixon (proof that cryogenics works) and, discovered sleeping rough under a Teddington archway: Chris Hovington.
Buoyed by these reinforcements, 11 Hampstead men finally took to the field and, to our surprise, found ourselves encamped outside the Spencer D and causing chaos. Boudewijn thrusting like a battering ram down the middle, firing off long balls for the forwards to miss and Gapper, making unconventional runs that were confusing everybody! Sadly we had little to show for all this effort – one deflected short corner from Patrick got us ahead only to be cancelled out by a limp equaliser, so 1-1 just before half time.
We went at them hard in the second half and a nicely worked move finished off by Patrick and a deflected short from Boud got us 3-1 ahead and we looked to be cruising. Spencer however refused to give up and took the few chances they created so that, with 10 minutes to go they were back on level terms, 3-3. Fortunately this was n’t going to be ‘one of those days’ and despite cramp and fatigue we won a short corner 5 minutes from time that was smashed home by Boud to put us 4 - 3 ahead and three points on the board.
MOM: Impressive performances all over the pitch with special mentions to Hovvy, and tireless work from Boud, Chunder and Jay in midfield. But anyone who can rock up 10 minutes before a game after an 11 hours overnight flight from Korea and then score 2 goals gets the vote – well done, Patrick.
Final Score: 4 - 3 Spencer
The whistle went, the game started, ageing men ran around, with decreasing speed as time ticked by, and goals were scored (fortunately, more by us than by them).
Beating Spencer is a rare treat and we all felt very pleased with ourselves.
Dick of the day: Jim Jarrett (he IS the London League, so how come he got the time of our match wrong?)
MVP: Jim Jarrett (for not coming on and taking over from Adam Gapper, who was making Herculean saves to ensure we won the day)
Scorers: Gration 2000, Chris Somes-Charlton
Final Score: Hampstead 2 - 1 Spencer