2s win first game of 2017 with Six of the best!
By Ed Watson
Dry January brings plenty of ice.
After two postponed matches, and minimal training at the start of 2017 due to the weather, it was great to finally get onto the pitch and play a game of hockey. The 2’s were without their Captain, Ed Watson, who had a far more important engagement with a Vicar somewhere in Northamptonshire. If you are not aware, Ed finally proposed to Charlotte in Switzerland over Christmas and thankfully received a positive response! On behalf of everyone , MASSIVE CONGRATULATIONS to ED and CHARLOTTE from the 2nd Team !!
A large and illustrious squad (including Mark Ramage, Charlie Ponder and Debutant Toby Sampson) was assembled by the skipper... don’t worry Justin, you may get a mention later!. Ed ensured that we had enough substitutes to make up for any lack of fitness and the few extra pies consumed over Christmas. (Smart move!). Andy Davidson was leading the team today and handed the warm up duties to Dan Crossman, who unbeknownst to us all, has started training for a triathlon !! Enough said, great warm up ...... Rob & Keith have volunteered to lead next week’s warm up ! Next week we also look forward to Alex Davies demonstrating to us all how to play hockey .......without a stick! (See Moment of the Match)
So to the game itself. A 6-1 win was a great start to the year and it made up for the miserable 1-1 draw that we experienced at Yate earlier in the season. 6-1 was a reflection of: the strength of the team, the quality of the hockey we played at times, great team goals, good use of the substitutes (high intensity or lack of fitness – you chose!) After we won the toss (for the record), Marlborough started strongly and with every intention to maximise the width and depth of the pitch, as we failed to do this in our previous game against Yate. This tactic immediately brought about the first two goals and from then on we never looked like losing. So a summary of the key moments of the match are:
1-0. Justin Metcalfe scores after great work done the LEFT by Dan Crossman. The ball was switched to the left, and pushed down the wide channel to be picked up by the “super fit Tri-man” Dan, who took it to the by-line near the edge of the D, turned on a sixpence, and fired it across the D to the P-spot, where Justin Metcalfe was waiting to expertly glance the ball into the net.
2-0. Justin Metcalfe scores after great work down the RIGHT by Dan Crossman. This time the ball went wide down the right. Rob Hues inside to Mark Ramage out to Dan Crossman who took it wide down the right to the corner, skinned the defender, drove along the byline, cut it back to Justin who again was in the right place to smartly slap it home. Great team goal and the tactics working perfectly.
3-0. Mark Ramage scores from our first short corner. Marlborough continued to dominate the game, and eventually we won and scored from our first short corner (how times have changed – moving short corner practise to the “Green Dragon” is paying dividends! Dan injected, Nick Jephson trapped, Keith (wished the call was a straight strike!), but no, slip to Mark Ramage , who found himself in acres of space and flicked fiercely past the keeper high into the right hand side of the net.
3-1 Sloppy, Lazy ! Yate scored from nowhere, near the end of the first half, against the run of play. We switched off briefly, were outnumbered at the back, and they scored. For the record, our effort in tackling, harassing and willingness to win the 50:50's was excellent throughout the game. Yate players commented as much after the game, and also implied that too many of our tackles were “a bit too edgy”. Our tackling was great, but on many occasions we did not get the rub of the green. From one such occasion in midfield – we thought we won the free hit. They did, took it quick, the ball bounced high across the D from the left and they had someone at the back post to put it away. This was a real wake up call as we had just switched off for a few minutes and were way below the standard set in the first 30mins of the game.
Half Time. Andy Davidson decided to start the HT team talk with a few, carefully-chosen words about the last 5 mins (not for publication!). Then we got back to all the positive things we were doing.
In the second half we played some great hockey (kept possession, used width, pressed high) and Rich Newton had very little to do in the 2nd half and I don’t recall us giving away a single short corner in the second half.
4-1. Toby Sampson Scores on Debut. Again some excellent build up play. Justin drove the ball passed out to Nick who crossed it into Toby near the P spot and Toby “smashed” the ball .....through the keeper.....and the ball finally trickled over the line! The muted celebrations by Toby may have told another story, but a goal is a goal! The muted celebrations were in complete contrast to the next goal.
5-1 Nick Jephson scores, shrieks and howls ....his first goal of the season! If you were in Marlborough town when the hail fell on Saturday afternoon, blame Nick! The build up is worthy of mention. The ball went quickly from left to right across the halfway from Ryan, to Keith to Rob H pushing up. Rob Hues smashed the ball into the D and Nick was perfectly placed to put a glance on the ball (from high in the D), and it flashed past the keeper. The shriek of joy was so loud and powerful, that many believe it was responsible for breaking the dark clouds above the pitch and showering us with hailstones, which ultimately stopped play for a few minutes. We are all looking forward to the next goal !
6-1 Mark Ramage scores again showing off his “keepy-uppy” skills. Marlborough domination continued and the final goal was a combination of good team build up finished off with great individual skill. Mark found himself beating a couple of defenders on the right side of the D and drove towards the by-line. The ball bounced up off a defenders stick and just when you thought all was lost, Mark plucked it out the air, about knee height, tapped it in the air, still running forward now cutting in towards the goal, kept it in the air again with a second tap (now at waist height) and just as the keeper advanced to shut it out, 3rd tap from waist height he calmly flicked it past the rushing keeper high into the net. Great goal to watch !
The score finished 6-1 despite many other chances that we created. The important thing was that we won, the team played well and we scored a variety of good goals. The defence was extremely solid again.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH – During the second half, Mark Salvidge started suffering from cramp and could not move (to be fair Mark was often seen surging forward ahead of the halfway line!). Keith R was shouting to the sideline “Alex, Allexxxx, AAALLLEEXXX”, for Alex Davies to come on quickly and replace Mark. Alex was clearly highly alert to the situation, and not in the least distracted “by-the-things-that-occupy-the-minds-of-the-youth-of-today”, sprinted onto the pitch and almost into position when Keith reminded him that he would need his stick !! And to his credit, once in position, he played extremely well in an his unnatural position. Class can play anywhere right !
Marlborough News Online MAN OF THE MATCH – This could have gone to many people today from front to back across the whole team. Dan Crossman for basically being at the heart of everything that was good about our game today.