Mid table clash vs. Kenley today, and first obstacle being the closure of the A22, allegedly for flooding, but yet there is no flooding in Kenley? Later discovered roads closed to allow over-ground pipework along the main A22 Godstone Road which in true 4’s quiz style could be due to (a) removing flooding from adjacent areas, or (b) to get larger broadband to Maj’s house in readiness of his email usage.
And despite this cunning plan by Kenley to derail the Epsom team, we arrived in good time (all at the correct venue this time) and had the usual Captain Email warm up speech. Must win game, tight battle, they are one place behind us, but we lost to them earlier in the season, will be an agricultural game (again) etc etc.
Nevertheless we started well and in true Epsom fashion we owned up to some early mistakes which the umpires missed, and were thanked by Kenley. I would like to say this fair play was reciprocated; but then again I would like to say, but regrettably can’t – so it seemed many of their players were working to the – if the umpire does not see it, and you can get away with it, lets go with the advantage. As we often see in Div 1, a close and competitive game followed and the mid-table clash did not disappoint. Kenley took the early lead which I can’t remember how they scored, so I assume it was a lucky break and we were unfortunate to be losing (again).
Good pressure from Epsom and we continued to press their defence, eventually rewarded when we found Jamie Perkins on the far post who swept the ball in for 1-1 at half time.
Into the second half, and much of the same, with end to end hockey played, and for me our star of the show today was Jamie Gould who was awesome at the back in his bespoke (extra material) shorts, and despite recovering from serious tooth surgery earlier in the week. As Syd mentioned afterwards our failure was that we defended too deep and in too many numbers resulting in soaking up pressure more than we applied it at the other end. Jamie broke from defence a number of times and helped to start the charge further up the field, but we failed to hit the net.
Not to let the game pass without some controversy, there was then a very strange sequence of events when Simon was totally barged off the ball in true agricultural style, and yet the decision was this was a fair 50/50 tackle, but which let Kenley through on goal and able to score again to make it 2-1. We did not expect any favours from their umpire, and Syd was too far away to overrule or contribute so the goal stood. But at least we did not mention this to Syd many times at the quiz night later. So these interesting Kenley challenges continued, with their rather large defender deciding it was good to shove Jack R, but again was not noticed.
A number of short corners won, but we failed to convert. Finally and literally with the final touch of the game, higher powers intervened to ensure a fair result was obtained, when a missed short corner came back out to Rob Maslin at the top of the D who smashed it back in for a fully deserved 2-2 draw. So 1 point it was to be, and at least we maintained our position in what is now becoming a lonesome 6th place.