SOLID WIN FOR DOMINANT 2s
After a hard-fought, but ultimately fruitless outing last week, the 2nd XI kept themselves in the promotion race with a convincing victory against Old Bordenians.
With the harsh South East London winter beginning to wane, and the business end of the hockey season fast approaching, all eyes are well and truly fixed on the top two spots in the fiercely competitive Kent Division 1. Not since the thrilling 2011/12 Premier League season has there been the potential for such a mouthwatering finale, and keeping themselves just within touching distance, are the 2s. Knowing that nothing short of a 100% record will suffice between now and the final game of the season is all the motivation required, and for the 3rd week in a row, the lads delivered a fantastic hockeying display.
However, the run up to the game wasn't quite as smooth as one would hope. Vice Captain Chris Fowler woke up Saturday morning with a severe bout of being under the thumb. He knew the only cure was an emergency trip to Ikea, and so was forced to drop out. It seemed as though a call up for a 3rd XI player, and the relevant chopping and changing down the club would be the only option, until club physio Nick Charlish was handed the opportunity to play with a last minute cancellation at work. Back to a full compliment, match preparations could begin.
But as the 2s began their warm up, something - or more accurately someone - was missing. I imagine their will be precious few gasps of astonishment amongst the readership to learn that the guilty party was James Craigmyle. In the haze of self-satisfaction he was feeling at deciding to turn up early, he failed to distinguish between the meet and pushback times, confidently strolling down to the pitch approximately 13 minutes before the game was due to start. Leopards and their spots...
But anyway, on to the game. There was a palpable feeling of confidence from the home side as they lined up, and at the first whistle a high tempo was set. An open start to the match saw both teams foray forward, but it was Blackheath who would get the first major chance of the game. A short corner gave Mike Benson the opportunity he dreams about on a daily basis, but his powerful effort was parried by the keeper. Encouraged, the 2s continued to press, and soon found an opening. Charlish fired home from 8 yards after what can only be described as a pinball passage of play in the D. 1-0, and thoroughly deserved. Being that they were now camped in the opposition 25, Blackheath were vulnerable to a quick breakaway, and in a momentary lapse of concentration they conceded a goal as such. Although disappointing, heads did not drop, and it was less than 5 minutes before the 2s were back in front. Another loose ball in the D was this time dispatched Jimmy Greaves-esque by Captain Prem Marwaha, and this time the lead would not slip away. A veritable barrage on the Old Bords goal ensued, and it was only a fine stick save and then the crossbar which stopped Benson from getting his goal. A fine open play chance then fell to Jade Bloomfield, but he failed to make contact with his attempted first-time-reverse-stick-back-to-goal shot. At the other end there was another dangerous breakaway, but Craigmyle and Marwaha combined to keep the ball out, and the score remained at 2-1 going into the break.
The half time team talk was in all honesty, an absolute pleasure. Knowing that they were fully in control and with chances galore being created, all that was required was to be clinical in the D and finish the game off. Simple.
The response was almost immediate. Henry Baines' mazy run won the team a short corner, and Benson stood poised. Unselfishly, he opted to fling the ball to the bottom right hand corner, where Charlish was waiting to deflect home for his second of the game (who needs Fowler anyway?!). This opened the floodgates, and wave after wave of attack reigned down on Old Bords' goal. It was surely only a matter of time before Blackheath would get their 4th. And 10 minutes later they had just that, Oli Ivens scoring what by all accounts is the forerunner for 2nd XI goal of the season. A swift move started by Lewis Lawrence in the centre of midfield, went via Sam Little and Marwaha, to Ivens just inside the D. He in turn unleashed an unstoppable strike into the top corner, bringing squeals of delight from the watching crowd. With the game now effectively over as a contest, goal-scoring opportunities were seemingly created at will for the home side. Baines and Little both saw efforts go agonisingly wide, whilst Lawrence and Edd Thorogood brought saves from the keeper, the latter an audacious but poorly-executed lob.
The 5th goal never came for the 2s, but as the final whistle sounded, it was smiles all round. A great display of hockey resulted in a comfortable win, and the race to the top continues.
MoTM: Lewis Lawrence - controlled the midfield with an energetic performance, and showed great skill and judgement in winning Rock Paper Scissors against Oli.
DoTD: James Craigmyle - turned up so late that even Jade and Edd managed to escape the majority of votes.