The Italians have a phrase - "strappare la sconfitta dalle fauci della vittoria". It loosely translates as "to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory". On Saturday, the Zaks did not so much snatch defeat, as buy it flowers, treat it to dinner and a show before taking it to bed for a night of passion.
Things started badly for the Zaks when star summer signing, Granger "Il Padre" Church declined to actually turn up, leaving us with a 13 man squad including the already-immobile Van Der Gaag in a leg brace and a new joiner, Tom, who essentially couldn't use one hand. To quote Harry Redknapp, the Zaks were truly "down to the bare bones" after a mixed summer transfer window.
Fortunately, Doddsy, the man whose bones are typically accompanied by gravy and potatoes, decided that he would actually save some shots, and with new boy Seb and the ever loquacious Christophe taking control of the middle, we managed to take an early lead. THIS IS HANS and new signing Mark "Rubber" Jubber combined to put the ball past the Southgate keeper, who was noted by the Zaks as having "literally the worst chat in the world". Fortunately he was the one Southgate player who seemed determined for the Zaks to win, allowing Rubber to roll into an empty net.
However, this being the Zaks, catastrophe was only minutes away. Tom "The Trebuchet" Smith underwent a fairly major malfunction with his aerial radar, playing in the Southgate forward for a simple equaliser. He may have prevented the disaster, but his insistence on "holding the pose" meant that the bemused 'Gate striker just walked past him as he castigated himself.
Shortly thereafter, we coughed the ball up again and opted to defend by "running around in circles a bit". Southgate got wise to this tactic by simply passing to each other and then ultimately into the unguarded net, the Zaks having declined to attempt to make a tackle inside their own D.
However, Macca has been working on his drag-flicks almost as hard as he has been working on his personality, as he seeks to convince a member of the Ladies' 5th XI that he is a normal human being. Whilst the latter is probably a lost cause, the drag-flicks are actually quite good now and he levelled us up before the half-time whistle. 2-2.
Stand-in captain Paul Dickson then echoed his idol and favourite Prime Minister with some Churchillian oratory at half-time, though managed to avoid any references to the vital role that Sir Winston played in the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921 because it doesn't fit his or the Guardian's narrative.
Dicko's words actually seemed to do the trick however, as within moments of the second half, we'd scored twice. Rubber took advantage of some generous umpiring and ironically, a lack of protection, to play in Seb for a 3-2 lead, before Nick finally put away one of his 13 chances to provide an excellent cushion for the Zaks.
It was Czech football personality Josef Csaplar that first put forward the theory that "2-0 is a dangerous scoreline", which in the Czech Republic is known as Csaplar's trap (Czech: Csaplárova past). However, if a 2-0 lead is a dangerous scoreline, 4-2 is a positively terminal one for this Zak Hond team, who for the second game in succession fell into the "Pearson Ravine", contriving to blow a two goal lead yet again.
First, Spoony took a stick to the head, or in the words of the strenuously-appealing-and-yet-apparently-magnanimous Southgate forward, he "put his head where my stick was". "Head height" was what most people would call it. Losing our defensive lynch-pin was bad enough, but things went from bad to worse when Nick was slide tackled, Danny Tiatto style, on the edge of the D. Given Nick would have struggled to hit a cow's arse with a banjo on Saturday, it's unclear why Southgate bothered tackling him at all, but his X-rated response to the challenge saw him green-carded.
Southgate took full advantage, scoring once when the Zaks were down to 10, and then shortly after Nick's return. They continued to hammer away as Doddsy made an improbable number of saves, culminating in a last minute short-corner to Southgate. T-Bag wasn't too worried, thinking we were still 4-3 up, but the rest of the team were aware that the game was on the line. Unfortunately, despite a fluffed injection and an initial Doddsy save, the ball was bundled over by the Southgate forward to seal the win, 5-4.
Our day ruined, the Zaks then started trying to ruin it for everyone else. Having secured a large quantity of Beef flavoured Hula Hoops and several rounds of Sambuca, the lads then eventually made their way to New Joiners. Macca, in his role as host for the evening, was unable to speak (or indeed do anything except sweat profusely), Doddsy and T-Bag took on the Men's 3s in a rancorous game of Beer-pong. Doddsy then declined to do a forward roll of any kind, which put a dampener on the evening for most people.
All in all, a fairly classic Zaks day out. Hockey that ranged from the exceptional to the comical, reflected in the post-game performances. We wouldn't have it any other way. Roll on next week.
MoM - Dodds. Busy this week.
DoD - Nick. Truly lamentable finishing.
Result: Hampstead 4 - 5 Southgate
How good can a team be? Not as good as the Mens 2s.
Wimbledon are renowned for being a team that has depth, class and will never be easy beats.
Well, forget that idea as the Magoos of H&W decided to absolutely put on a show.
A home fixture at Bren Cross aka “the depression factory” meant the lads weren’t too impressed. That married with the lack of umpires and the performance from last week meant this game was off to a poor start. Needless to say, first whistle sounded and it changed instantly.
The first half was essentially a training drill for the 2s and if it had not been for an abysmal corner display and a disallowed goal by fan favourite David ‘Judge’ Cooper, this game would have been put to bed within the first 15. Full team display with all 14 men putting on a clinic
Andrew ‘Red Mist-less’ Simpson was controlling the midfield like only a pesky man with small man syndrome could. Aaron ‘The Wall’ Hudson was making easier work of the tripe that Wimbledon served up compared to his trips to church, and Andrew ‘Marathon’ Murie showed that his lack of any recent hockey whatsoever wouldn’t hinder his performance. A tap in for both Josh ‘8.5s, half a pint’ Kelly and Hugh ‘Hesitation’ Bushell with a penalty flick from Neil ‘Tumbler’ Hamilton saw the half time score 3-0.
More comic moments that stood out were both Hammo falling over himself and Wooly getting bowled over by a man/boy who looked like he had been brought up from the U16s. Real captain display.
Oh and the M2s were giving Wimbledon a proper bath. That was probably another highlight.
After another good half time talk by Half-Time Hammo and a delicious batch of Valencia oranges provided by Supreme Leader, the lads went back onto the pitch with maybe a bit too much air in their tyres.
A couple too many touches, a few weak passes and an ever tiring set of legs were the reasons this game didn’t end in a blood bath.
One of the better moments in the 2nd half came when Charlie ‘Krum’ Young decided to put a lovely slide past a bamboozled yet parked Wimbledon bus onto the open stick of our NZ friend Hugo. This put the game out of reach with the score ending 4-2.
The best of the 2s is just unreal.
MoM – ?
DoD – ?
Play of the day – Coops umpiring and the sweet satisfaction he felt by sending off Neil Hamilton.
Result: Hampstead 4 - 2 Wimbledon
Another away game for the Diamonds, who visited tricky West Hampstead 3's with a few absentees. Thank you to Chenoa & Pip for joining us. After a difficult first half that ended goalless, Eefje was ready to give us her words of wisdom and snacks this time! Despite her wise words, Eefje earned dick of the day by managing to achieve the impossible... receiving a green card from our own empire Wendy!
Once again, the Diamonds put on a better performance in the second half and were rewarded with a goal from Anske. Thanks to a defensive effort, Ella's great goalkeeping skills and a last minute top right corner save from Bella, we maintained a clean sheet, resulting in a 1-0 victory.
MOM - Bella
DOD - Eefje
Result: Hampstead 1 - 0 West Hampstead
Following their 5-1 loss in the season’s opener, the 5s had a tough fixture against Wayfarers 3s this weekend. Perhaps more intriguing than the match itself was how Robin could possibly have been so late for the warm up, for the second week running. To avoid such future mishaps, the team have kindly clubbed together to get him a 24-carat (ahem, plastic) Casio for presentation this weekend. Apparently, bets have already been placed that he won’t be able to tell the time, though. Talking clock for Christmas?
But yes, the hockey match itself; it was a somewhat frustrating affair on the Tiger. The 5s started the match positively enough, shifting play around the back well and with Nish picking the forwards out with some juicy aerials. The first real chance of the match came when the Wayfarers left back, with Thunder running at him, lunged in to sweep the ball away. One cheeky dink over the defenders stick and the great locomotive was almost into the oppo’s D. It was at this point that he selflessly slinged the ball across to Gray who was steaming in towards the penalty spot. The resulting connection (somewhat predictably) flashed by the far post; one cannot help but think that if Gray hadn’t been growing out his ridiculous barnet (complete with Elvis-esque side burns) in the Caribbean, the result may have been different and the game could have set off on a different trajectory.
The game ebbed and flowed for the remainder of the first half, with both teams making good progress up the pitch, but failing to be clinical when it mattered within the D. In amongst the play was some strong link up work between Marcus, Gianni and Robin; sadly though, they were often thwarted by equally strong defensive play. Eventually, Wayfarers were the first to score from a penalty corner, which rather annoyingly was anything but special.
After the break Hampstead did string some lovely hockey together, which culminated in an attack that former 5s captain, Dog, would have been proud of. It was the kind of hockey he had always wanted us to play, but sadly never really came to fruition under his leadership. No, I’m joking Dog, we all miss you and your wondrous half time team talks. Out with Callous Caldwell, long live King Dog! Sorry, I digress. Let’s get back to the goal: The 5s essentially caught Wayfarers on the break and zapped the ball up the pitch (via the right wing) to Marcus in the D who reverse hit the ball straight into a Wayfarers defender in line with the goal. Penalty stroke, then. The stroke had to be taken at the other end of the pitch due to the not insubstantial lunar crater that was apparently claiming to be one of the Tiger’s P spots. Nish coolly put the ball into the top corner; never in doubt. Unfortunately, the goal was quickly neutralised by an absolutely stunning undercut into the top corner by the Wayfarers right back. Nothing any GK could have done about that one. Pushing to get back into the match, unfortunately Hampstead conceded a third goal, which pretty much wrapped up the match. 3-1, to the away team, the final score.
Given they were missing two holding midfield players and a recognisable wing back, this was actually quite a promising outing by the 5s, with plenty to look forward to during these early season games. Next week sees an intra-league clash with the 4s at 3PM on the Water. One for the neutrals and quite possibly Robin, if he turns up on time.
Result: Hampstead 1 - 3 Wayfarers
Watching the L1s play before our game really pumped us up to take on Teddington L5s, despite the inevitable plethora of ligament injuries to come from playing on the tiger turf. We were, in fact, so pumped, that Jenny managed to nearly take out our goalie before the game even started! Special mention actually, to MJ, for (on her birthday weekend) being at a game in Southgate for 9 and coming straight to us after, complete with water bottle full of Berocca to help soothe her…dehydration…
It appeared as if we were picking off the oppo as they dropped off one by one with varying age related and Sophie induced injuries, and two bully offs and 2 goals later, we had won against this bizarre mix of quite aggressive senior citizens and ridiculously speedy young forwards, counteracting their game strategy of hitting the ball as hard as they could in any direction with our slick one-twos and great team work.
Louise had a great first game, gallantly stepping in for defence in the second half when it became apparent that Nisrine wasn’t going to grace us with her presence, having forgotten to set her watch back to GMT and turning up 10 minutes before the end of the game, ready to go out. (DOD)
Kim was our MOM, once again managing to be everywhere, without looking tired AT ALL, being a great connection between mid and forward.
With 2 wins in a row, this places us at the top of our league by two points!
Result: Hampstead 2 - 0 Teddington
And so farewell Hans Meurer, we wish you well in your next chapter back in Holland but will miss your passion and hockey skills. Sorry we could n’t deliver a good win to send you off but it was always going to be a tough afternoon with so many regulars unavailable. We did have a serious conversation about conceding the game but thanks to Monk, Esi and Antoinne doubling up from the Hammers we got 11 men out on the field with one reserve. “Who knows”, we thought, “maybe Wimbledon were struggling for numbers as well?”
They weren’t. 15 of them were warming up and they were at full strength. So players were spread out in unfamiliar positions with a plan to clog up the midfield, defend deep and try and catch them on the break. If we could get to half time on equal terms maybe we could snatch a point. And we managed to do this! Wimbledon got ahead first from a fine angled shot, but the defence was holding up well and Patrick and Antoine were creating some openings up front and we managed an equaliser from a deflection off Jay (don’t ask which part of him?) to make it 1 – 1 at half time.
Things were looking good and we even dominated the first five minutes of the second half but as Monk limped towards the dug out injured, the fatigue began to show and we made a few mistakes gifting them a couple of goals and missing the rare chances we created for ourselves.
6 – 1 in the end to last year’s league winners and probably a contender to win again this year. So, despite the loss I felt it was a performance to be proud of – certainly pleased that we turned up and no-one left anything on the field (apart from a bit of skin and some blood).
MOM: Francois. (Monk was close but early retirement robbed him of the accolade)
DoD: A two-way tie between Monk and Ben (the latter for an impressive half time team talk but failure to follow own advice.)
Result: Hampstead 1 - 6 Wimbledon Masters
A pleasant morning for a 10:45 start away at Tring
For some complicated reason on an away fixture we provided both umpires from the GM in order to allow Tring 11 players on the pitch. Thanks GM's
We started with 3 Dick's ,2 Charlie's and 2 Marc's but still managed to get into our stride playing into the Sun and raced to an early 2-0 . Then a bit of a break as we wasted several good opportunities but some credit must go to their keeper who was playing very well
At H-T we turned around at 2-0 and a change of shirts which upset the rhythmic movement of the team. Still we got our third and then relaxed and let in a goal from a dubious decision which will not be dwelt on as our umpire confirmed he wanted to even up the match
Back to cricket club for some beer and then on to St Albans to assist GM's mauling St Albans.
Scorers - RJ , PT and MF
Result: Hampstead 3 - 1 Tring
A poem from the Ladies 1s from the previous week by Lauren Turner
As this match report is a little late, I thought I'd write a poem as a review of Ladies 1s vs Southgate!
With both coaches absent Cress 'manager extraordinaire' stepped in, substitutions printed and prepared for a win!
Our captain AB was also away, not exactly what you want on your first game day!
Nevertheless this team is strong! Three points up for grabs - bring it on!
Two teams on the pitch but Hampstead dominated; I think the stats are at over 40 circle entries created!
Annabelle 'lost my keys' Driver opened the scoring with a classic PC routine that never gets boring!
1-0 it remained for a little too long, the second goal finally coming in minute 61
Slotted away calmly by striker Joyce, as goal scorers come she's like a Rolls Royce!
Credit to their keeper she played very well but two minutes later another goal befell!
This time Hayley from a penalty corner, and a flick awarded minutes later for a foul on Fleur Horner.
Joycey stepped up and top left the ball went! 'Lekker goaltje' you could say - that's a dutch compliment!
4-0 it finished although it could have been more, but 3 points in the bag - the most important thing for sure!
I must also mention Kate got pooed on by a bird! I'm not sure I'd be writing the match report if everyone had heard!!
- Lauren Turner