10th February 2018
It was a fine Saturday morning when we initially set off to towards Slough. A selection of cars packed full with the usual 7’s merriment, off-key singing and shocking navigational skills, made their way down the motorway towards our game with Ashford. As the dark clouds began to loom, and the air became icy, little did we know the Gods were trying to pre-warn us of what was to come!
Having had a slip week, the excitement of seeing each other (despite the 14 socials we’d managed to squeeze in since our prior game) was almost too much to bare! MJ had taken the excitement to another level and mistaken the game for another social, turning up three sheets to the wind (we can only hope from the night before?!) Once she’d adjusted her shorts to contain one leg in each side, the more standard approach to goalkeeping, the team started warming up. Tara, Greasley and Katie, being far too accomplished to require any practice, took a slightly different approach to the warm up and had a bit of a gossip on the sideline instead. #Priorities!
Whistle blown and a few passes later, Ashford managed to get an early goal past the keeper. We are convinced fairly sure that MJ being smashed was not the reason. Having stormed every game so far, letting the oppo go ahead was just a ploy to lure them into a false sense of security. Sadly, at this early stage we weren’t to know that a couple of their players had different ideas about how they were going to conduct the game-flow. Poor Evie took a ball to the face from Peter’s former-friend ‘Cray Cray’ with not a hint of an apology or even a check if she was still alive. Emma tried to retaliate by lifting the ball into Cray Cray’s face but she was too engrossed in her angry thoughts to notice! ( Ahh, so many ball in the face jokes, so little time…! )
Greasley, thoroughly unimpressed with the thought of losing a game, popped an equaliser past the keeper to get things back on track, but this may have been the red flag to the bull the oppo needed. (a worryingly appropriate metaphor!) We continued to inadvertently anger the vast majority of Ashford by just being present on the pitch. Ella, having been put in her place for, no joke, ‘‘hand-ball’’ tried to stifle her chuckles long enough to crack out a volley of brilliant 16 hits one after the other.
Our tremendous defence stepped things up to take on a barrage of power hits, not letting anything past despite the oppo’s frustrations. Things then escalated to an all new irrational level, the oppo scoring a couple more having left H&W too fearful of taking a stick to the face. (…hold on, there’s another joke in there somewhere!) Niz, one of our two very glamorous Belgian waffle’s, tried to detract from all the tension by pretending to slip on a banana skin, only to upstaged a mere 5 minutes later by our other glamorous Belgian waffle Sophie who dramatically threw herself to the floor despite not being in play or within the vicinity of anyone else.
Chenoa was agonisingly close to scoring a couple of times in an effort to bring us back into the game, but sadly her attempts fell just shy, and the oppo’s defence remained triumphant. One attempt pin-balling from pillar to post lead to a penalty flick (we don’t really know why but thought best not to ask!). After much debate about what constitutes a flick, who should take it, what time shall we go to the pub and does my bum look big in this skort, Jenny stepped up to have a go. A fabulous effort saw the ball flying towards the top corner, just missing out by a whisker.
The highlight of the game for all (when I say all, I just mean HWHC) was the complete and utter meltdown of Ashford’s most ‘enthusiastic’ player. Having been (correctly) blown up for a distance foul, twice, a 10 decibel tirade at her own umpire ensued to the point she stormed off only to then storm back on to continue the verbal onslaught. Peterrrrrrrrrrrrrrr bravely held his ground but was lucky not to fall physically foul of cray cray’s temper as had the majority of the HWHC team!
Thankfully the game ended shortly after. A rare loss for the ladies 7’s but we were just happy to be going home!
Result: Hampstead 1 – 4 BA Ladies 2s
( for Captains of Industry, Gig workers and people who don't gave a )
We won 6-2
Goals Fernandes 2, Oz, Ben, Marc Graysham and somebody else
Loughton are a good side in the division above us but were missing a couple of key players. We blitzed them early 2-0 up in 10 mins and 4-0 after 20. 4-0 at HT. We fought out a 2-2 draw in the second half. They got back to 5-2 and a comeback looked possible if not probable before Graysham settled the issue.
( for retires, employees and people who generally should have more interesting things to do with their sad lives )
Our sojourn into the cultural backwater known as Essex was not a particularly pleasant one, it being wet, cold, Loughton and Essex. Our fortunes started to change when we were moved onto the " Show Pitch " after a general lack of interest in hockey by anyone at their club.
Somehow the cold and rainy day did not stop us making an unusually fast start. " Brooksey " ( hmmn ) started as he didn't finish by driving hard down the right, into the D and slipping what should have been a simple pass to Fernandes who managed to reach behind him pull the ball back and calmly slide home from a yard ( old money ) making the priceless art of goal scoring look easy.
The second came from a messed up short corner. The ball somehow came to " Brooksey " who shot possibly wide and high but Fernandes managed to assuage any doubts by touching home on the volley from another yard, 2-0.
The third came from quite possibly a drive through the middle by someone in our dominant midfield of Charlie, Convict 2 ( Greg ), Ben and " Brooksey ". The final pass was again messed up and the ball ran aimlessly through to the goalkeeper who was about to kick when Fernandes pounced like an Indian Tiger to jab the ball off the goalkeeper's toe. The ball ran loose to Oz in front of an empty goal but on his reverse stick. No you say! Yes yes Oz calmly slipped the ball into an empty net on his reverse stick!
More short corners followed from a synchronised midfield and attack with Convict 2, "Brooksey and Ben actually looking quite good with able support from Charlie and Greg. Ben rifled a shot from a short corner and the game looked over. Oz was particularly excellent as a target man even though he has lost a stone. He held the ball well, distributed and forced short corners. Ed did his Gallic best down the right combining with " Brooksey " . The back " four " of Dixon, Charles and Jon Mason looked imperious if somewhat cold. Charles did not shout at anybody.
At this stage the 5th Columnist and camp follower made his move. CSC, Christopher Soames-Charlton ( hmmn ) decided to take off the world class goal scorer in a pique of jealousy an no doubt reflective inadequacy. I mean Alexis Sanchez gets £350,000 a week after Tax but I get pulled off three times by CSC during the game. Admittedly all I got at Anchorians was an orange so I should be grateful but really? The half petered out.
The half time talk was a hoot. The Captain may have saved us from defeat by telling our England International defender not to make any more stupid passes across the D to their center forward from the 16. It is quite possible that Dicko didn't think he made a stupid pass across the D but was just unlucky and so to prove the case he would continue to make stupid passed across the D in the second half ( hmmn NO I don't think so! ) but is it likely that Charles' intervention saved Dicko and our defence some embarrassment? ( hmmn ).
The second half continued in inclement weather. As Charles pointed out after the game the slope started to talk. We were fighting an uphill battle ( hmmn ). Loughton made some tactical changes and as we backed off, their midfield started to challenge our supremacy in that area. Not knowing whether to stick or twist we did give them the space they needed to play some decent hockey. They broke from their own half worked it down a previously shackled right hand side, down the the corner, passed into the box and struck well to give Ingrate-Marriott no chance.
We fought back immediately and somebody scored our fifth. I should apologise to that nameless man for my lack of interest. Louts came back strongly again and made it 5-2. We were under the cosh at this stage and looking vunerable to an unlikely comeback. John IaM made a kwality save stopping a shot heading for his top right. The portents were dark.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Unfairly in this man's view denied the man of the match award " Brooksey " made another of his trademark runs down the right crashing through numerous stick tackles, cutting along the goal line, manoeuvering to shoot whilst playing through more stick tackles and just as he was about to take his second shot at glory Convict 1 ( Mark Graysham ) stole the ball off his stick ( well what would you expect from an Australian, it's in the blood ) and fumbled it into the net. 6-2 relief all round and that remained it.
Well I say that remained it but Charles' shouting reached new crescendo's of entertainment. Told by their good umpire that he would be sent off if he showed us all why he is Captain.....because he has intelligence. He stopped complaining to the umpire and instead started shouting at us. Insisting our right winger mark their left winger ( hmmn ) but the best shout was saved for Ingrate-Marriot who was only doing his best to encourage and stiffen our teams resolve. It wasn't even a shut up John. It was a straight, loud, imperious, Ceasaric SHUT UP ( hmmn )! It may have ashley been a shut up John but I was so stunned I cannot remember. In Gillingham if you talk to somebody like that loins will be girded!
The indefatigueable " Brooksey " started to fatigue and he got pulled off too. Convict 1 ( Mark G ) showed some impressive horticulture and no doubt would have been sent off in the 20th century if he had been playing any standard of hockey above bad, but the committment was impressive.
Ben was combative and earned his Man of the match award for his all round work all over the pitch.
Dicko again won the Dick of the day nomination, however, there may be a Stewards into the result as voting for yourself in this category is unsportsmanlike.
I would like to add that the hospitality showed by Loughton was impressive. They left us to watch the rugby on our own and buy our own beer. That is ashley fine by me. The tea was baked potato, cheese and beans, which, was a master stroke on a cold wet day.
Special mention to Charles in trying to get us all an invite Donna's 40th Birthday Party, which, would have been full of peroxide Essex girls.
Also a thank you to Andy for kindly allowing us to watch the end of the rugby at his house and generously supplying the vin rouge and crisps! The RSPCA have been informed we were not allowed to talk to the dog.
Finally it was noted that that the mighty may have fallen from previous physical peaks but their tongues remain sharp and brains functional. Asked to simply name their M.o.M and D.o.D nominations some wrote epistles, some wrote theses and some pure jealous bile. In the spirit of this admission that we are indeed undead. I am suggesting that next weeks nomination to be made cryptically without the name of the nominee but perhaps a brief description why and an appointed jury of no less than 3 wise men to rule on who the vote was intended for?
The events in this match report are loosely based on events that happened in the match played on 10th February at Old Loughtonians but remember we never let the truth get in the way of a good story!
Result: Hampstead 6 – 2 Old Loughtonians
Zaks, 3rd February 2018
Decline is inevitable in life. Whatever immense summits you may reach, whatever successes you may enjoy, eventually, you will lose to the one opponent that catches us all – time. But enough about Dicko, let’s talk about Saturday.
The Zak Hond, still very much in the hunt for a play-off place, faced off against the Men’s 3rd XI, who were not. Despite some pre-game kidology from Ben, who claimed to have no players before turning up with 15, the Zaks were in a confident mood. With a strong, battle-hardened squad and the most prolific Zaks attack in history, we had every reason to fancy our chances against a Men’s 3s who were experienced something of a title hangover. And for those who think 9 months is a long time to be hungover, try spending a season with James McCarthy.
Was it overconfidence, hubris, arrogance even? Why did the Zaks make such a shaky start? Was it because skipper Mikey had not started? Was it the miserable weather? Macca attributed it to Dicko and Jonny being in bad moods. Jonny attributed it to Doddsy making him hit balls and jog a little bit in the warm-up. Doddsy blamed the absence of a Go-Pro to show off for. Jacob blamed the umpires. And Dicko blamed Winston Churchill and the Tories. Either way, the 3s dominated the early exchanges. Kingo made a nuisance of himself as per, and the 3s’ midfield were able to find a huge amount of space in behind.
The plucky underdogs soon took the lead, capitalising on their early dominance by winning an early short corner. However, by their own admission, the 3s lacked much of an option from the top of the D, so the Zaks back five were confident of seeing them off. Now, this author is not one to unfairly attribute blame, or to single people out for criticism. But most people have a pretty clear definition of what “inside the post” looks like. Specifically, if you are standing on the right post, your feet, and more importantly, your stick, should be inside the post. Not in the middle of the goal, not “feet outside the right post, stick dangled outside left foot whilst on the reverse”, but just inside. Unfortunately, Jonny Witt, as he often does, saw things slightly differently. The “left slip” option spotted our hapless right back, drilled the ball hard at Jonny’s prone left foot (which to re-iterate was outside the right post) which deflected it past a blameless Doddsy. 1-0.
Thankfully, this version of the Zaks are a resilient bunch. The early setback might have winded lesser teams, but this team of warriors are made of sterner stuff. “Samoan Joe” Spoony and Goodsey took control of the defensive situation to party like it was 2006 and the Zaks were soon back on top. With the 3s pushing up, looking for a killer second goal, they left too many spaces in behind their slightly makeshift defence. First it was the skipper’s turn to get on the scoresheet, a smart long ball forward from George caught several defenders out of position and Mikey and Liam combined to help the captain equalise. 1-1.
Liam, looking every inch the predator (particularly that monstrosity on his top lip) took full advantage of a similar defensive lapse to put the Zaks into the lead (2-1), before a short corner from George gave the Zaks some breathing space (3-1 at half-time).
With a two goal cushion and the early storm weathered, Mikey decided to let his Cavaliers off the leash and play some liquid hockey. Soon, Liam was scoring again, once again exposing the inexperienced 3s defence as he slotted past the blameless Vijay “Max” Pawar (more on him later) to make it 4-1. Shortly thereafter, the 3s broke into the D for one last push, only to see their last real chance to save the game extinguished by the save of the season, predictably not made by Dodds. With Mark Ramprakash’s younger twin stationed on the line, the young Surrey batsman effortlessly mastered the “reverse upright backward defensive” as the ball dropped to square leg, a safe distance from the goal, as the massive crowd marvelled at shades of Atherton at Johannesburg.
One could see the M3s visibly deflate at such an extraordinary display of technical defiance, and the Zaks were ready to finish the job. Mikey and Liam both added further goals 5-1; 6-1), with the latter completing his hat-trick. However, the young Australian’s hat-trick was almost derailed by VJ – a man so enraged by being left exposed by his team that he charged 25 metres up the field, Cardigan-esque, intercepted Rubber and illegally cleared the ball with his feet some 10m outside the D. Despite the Zaks finishing the chance and despite Doddsy’s plea for clemency, Arnie had no choice but to yellow card the valiant M3s keeper for the second time in 5 “Gran Clasicos”. Filth.
The Zaks took full advantage, with Mikey sending a final chance goalbound – or so he thought, as the Baron Gottfried Von Hanscke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-via-Accra The Third spied a chance to steal a goal of his own, cruelly denying the skipper a richly deserved hat-trick. 7-1. There was still time for Macca to miss an open goal after going for a Hollywood slide, before Arnie called time on the game.
Post-game was predictably messy, exacerbated by a slight administrative mix-up on Doddsy’s part. Suffice to say “14 people to watch the rugby” is not the same as “enough seating for 8, with only 4 being able to see the screen” and as per usual the Zaks ‘keeper really couldn’t be held accountable.
Bring on next week.
Result: Hampstead Zaks 7 – 1 Hampstead Mens 3s