THRILLER AT THE MEADOW FOR "JEKYLL & HYDE" 2s
A roller coaster of a game against the University of Kent saw the 2nd XI almost snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
After what was by all accounts a very positive preseason campaign, the 2s lined up against the Uni of Kent with nothing short of victory on their minds. However, after a delayed start due to the students' tardiness, the game started disastrously for the home side. Mike Benson, with his very first act for the club on his return from South Africa, rolled his attempted aerial straight to a Kent forward, who bundled through the defence and scored with barely 20 seconds on the clock. Almost definitely the first league goal conceded by any hockey club in the country that day, a dubious honour.
But, after a frantic opening 10 minutes where either side could have scored, but neither looked particularly solid, Blackheath got their breakthrough. Joe Allen cleverly found the gap at the near post with a reverse stick strike from the byline, and the 2s started to play hockey. Blackheath debutants Fergus Cadmur and Nick Churlish ran riot down the right side of the pitch and soon Blackheath took the lead. Edd Thorogood opened his account for the season, deflecting a sumptuous ball from Rikesh Patel into the top corner, before Marly Jones wrong-footed the keeper with a blistering shot into the side board.
3-1 at half time, and the nerves were settled. Though a dubious card for Coach Jade Bloomfield for silent chat was a sign of things to come.
Soon after the restart, Benson was handed an opportunity to make amends, but his first drag flick of the game went agonisingly past the post. However, a few minutes later there're would be no mistake. A rocket into the top left gave the keeper little chance, and the game looked beyond Kent. But, the 2s thought better of seeing-off the game, instead opting to give the watching fans a Saturday morning they'd never forget.
Within 5 minutes of their 4th goal, Nathan Bullens was beaten by a reverse stick shot after a Kent short corner had broken down, before Freddie Meier was unfairly sent off for a 'foul' committed by Benson. Allen and Thorogood both had good chances following typically workman-like running from Chris Fowler and some dazzling trickery from Tristan Lacon-Allin, but neither could convert their gilt-edged chances. A fine save from Bullens kept the students at bay, before Thorogood fired in his second, and Blackheath's 5th goal.
Then, in a chaotic 8 minutes, the 2s conceded 2 goals and were again reduced to 10 men when Tristan Lacon-Allen attempted to scythe down his opposite number. In the remaining minutes of the game, last ditch tackles from Robert Hughes and Will Godsiff, and further close-range saves from Bullens saved Blackheath from conceded what would have been an embarrassing equaliser.
As the final whistle blew, College Meadow breathed a sigh of relief, and looked back on a Liverpool-esque display of attacking brilliance, intertwined with occasionally chaotic defending.
Blackheath & Elthamians 2nd XI 5-4 University of Kent 1st XI