2's SHOW WHAT THEY CAN DO V BURNT ASH 1's
Thursday night lights gives the 2's a real test as the season draws closer
The 2's continued their preseason preparation with a tough test away at Burnt Ash 1's. Having played out a scrappy affair with the Ash 2's last weekend, finishing 4-3, the squad assembled at Avery Hill a fraction apprehensive about the task ahead. They needn't have been as the work rate, desire and commitment that the side showed was absolutely outstanding.
Burnt Ash will play in Kent/Sussex Div 1 this year, 2 above the BEHC 2nd XI. The challenge in front of the lads was a tough one and they rose to the challenge. The evening would also see the return to the line up of Tristan 'I'll speak when I need to' Lacon-Alin who has had a frustrating time with a hamstring injury and also Freddie 'Matthias Sammer' Meier after a long standing knee problem. Both would get through the game unscathed and in good shape.
The match its self was full of quality, the BA side were strong, quick and played some incredibly slick and smart hockey. Their forwards were fast and lead superbly, but BE kept their structure and defended superbly. The summer signing of Riki 'naughty slap' Patel at centre back looks to be a great addition as he and Freddie, along with Gabe 'the rock' Downer, Bertie 'I say less than Gabe & Tristan' Page and Tristan, zipped the ball around the back to allow us to keep the BA defence honest. Good use of the aerial ball would benefit BE, but it was the smart interplay with the midfield that created the best opportunities.
Joe 'I'm pretty good when I try' Allen, Henry 'Its a joke' Baines and Ben 'leave it out mate' Hegarty stepped up their game in the face of a much stronger opposition, as we all did, but these three really showed what they are about with a tireless display in defence and showed glimpses of top quality creativity in attack. If all 3 play like this each week, BE 2's will be pushing for promotion. Couple that with the countless miles covered by Chris 'new blue eyes' Fowler, the midfield looks strong and full of both quality and running.
As you would expect the BA side dominated the corner count as BE defended resolutely, James 'the cat' Craigmyle had a superb game in goal and is really pushing for a 1's spot this year. A string of great saves kept the home side at bay and his command of his goal was an impressive sight. It wasn't all 1 way traffic however as BE carved out 2 top quality opportunities on the counter. Firstly a neat reverse flick by Edd 'I could have looked a plonker' Thorogood and then smart play. Joe Allen and Hegs saw Jade 'I'll get you next time umpire' Bloomfield chip the ball over the on rushing keeper only to see his shot creep wide.
The game saw Jake 'Mr Happy' Lamplough play his final game before a dodgy £17m move to Cambridge, what fun, and he was in a mood to impress. A fine deflected ball from Olly 'I'll bike anywhere' Ivans found Thorogood, who found Lamplough who's reverse across goal just alluded Bloomfield at the far post. 0-0 half time and a great effort all round.
The second half would be much the same. BE we're resolute I defence and fast to break in attack, always keeping the BA defence honest but just not finding their rhythm as much in the 2nd period. There was a passage of play where a number of unfortunate SC's were given as BE felt they won the ball outside the D, the umpires felt differently. Its a testament to the lads that the only goal converted by BA was a deflected, erroneous, short corner that went in off a BE stick that Craggs could do nothing about in goal.
The game was lit up by another summer signing, Rafa 'the gaffa' Castello entered the fray with a raft of silky flick and V drags to excite the crowd of 2! Raf will be a big player for us this year as he bobs and weevez his way through defenders with ease.
Our final new signing of the summer, Rob 'big time' Hughes ran the bench for us as he recovered from a bout of 1's training cancellation. Rob will be vital to our cause if we can just get him to play badly enough for the 1's.
The final 5 minutes yielded a few moments for BE but we, like our opponents had started to tire and the game closed out with little to write home about.
Many stood up to the challenge but it was the overall team effort that stood out. If the 2's can play like this vs BA 1's then we should be in good shape for a go at promotion. We will be our own worst enemy this year but we know we can do it.
Onwards and upwards.