Before the game even started, we knew we had a challenging game ahead. Away to Surbiton on an unfamiliar water based pitch, and with players dropping like flies, or just being blatantly nicked by the 3’s. It was going to be a test. Even the email traffic from Captain Email had slowed.
Let’s not forget our relative positions, we were moving towards the top half of the league, and Surbiton hanging around the bottom (that’s of the league, before we start to spread rumours). But we all know that early days, the league can look strange, and you can only play the team in front of you and anything can and usually does happen
Over to the game. We had drafted in the services of new additions Matt Breese, Dan Green, and a welcome return for Caggers back into the 4’s. Not to forget Chris Breese as our one umpire. I say one, because Surbiton turned up with 3-4 subs, at least 12 umpires, and a guy with a whistle who had very little to do himself – it was clearly a self-umpired game in Surbiton, and bit like a bring-your-own at one of the classier Epsom curry houses. Anyway this caused a bit of friction at times – OK so the game was like playing against Grange Hill U14’s (for those of you under 30, please note Grange Hill is now I believe called Waterloo Road), and Breesey had to stop the game and suggest they all stopped appealing and left the refereeing to perhaps the ref. Their captain, opted to ignore this advice, and did not tell his players of this new concept (let the ref referee, and the players perhaps play hockey) so there was a number of disputes in an otherwise good game.
When, we decided to return to the game, there was some good flurry’s of hockey, and from both sides – OK more on Surbiton side, but we had some chances and most notable was a great run down the wing from new boy Dan, a good cross into the D, and a wonderful sweeping strike by (well OK it was me) Steve and in for a sure goal of the season and 1-0 up. However, and whilst the many photographers and GB talent scouts waited with baited breath for the net to get rippled, we all heard the familiar ping of a post and out the ball came. Doh.
Just for the record, I do need to talk up this shot, as other shots by myself were less successful and I am trying badly to balance it out. Anyway, we played OK with a new look team but if honest gave the ball away too cheaply, and often to their young, fit and quite skilful midfield. Think we may have been 2-0 down at half time, but we were doing alright.
OK – so the second half was much of the same, and whilst we did look good in places, and Rob Maslin managed to fly through their defence with his usual beep-beeping noise, and get one back, Surbiton were quick and effective on the break (twice) and brought the score back to 4-1. Nick Cheyne got our second (sure it was great) and 4-2 looking more respectable until Surbiton finished the day off and came away as worthy winners (just need to play Hockey more and not challenge the ref) winning 5-2.
Breesey as ref, had the final word and Tom was voted a very worthy Man of the Match for some great saves and keeping the score down to just 5, and I was saved TFC by Maj for passing the ball straight to their centre-forward. Despite the BBC weather forecast stating it would be overcast, a few specks of rain, and some definite cloud cover for the whole game (the weather man was correct it seemed, and we are in October), Maj managed to find the one shard of sunshine which was hanging over from a couple of months ago, and which seemingly blinded him and was the reason for this unfortunate mishap – “the sun was in my eyes”?. Let’s move on, we are holding our own in Division 1, and a far better start than we had 2 years ago. Next week Wanderers at home, and if we get some of our squad back, we can return to winning ways.