Mens 5's bounce back to winning ways
Storm Ben Rides In – Literally
It was truly a turbulent week. Storm Ophelia obviously caused more damage than first thought, with many of the club members being struck by falling debris, causing temporary amnesia. “Sorry I am not available, though I had updated pitcher” was the phrase of the week and it left teams 2 – 7 all having the bare 11 players on Friday night !!!! Not ideal.
But somehow, in the true spirit of Blackheath and Elthamians, umpires were sorted, teams organised and to the field of play, we advanced.
“Storm Brian” threatened, but it was “Storm Ben” that rode into Marden to make the difference.
So it was late Friday night, an umpire finally in place (many many thanks, Richard Cleall) and 11 worthy soldiers ready to take to the field.
Sgt Whitney's phone bings.
It’s a message from one of the squad, Ben Eve
“As you know I am not available tomorrow but…………………..”
Sgt Whitney sits forward in his chair, anticipation building before he can read the rest of the message
“you are playing in Tonbridge right?? I can cycle there and bench warm for you if you like seeing that you only have 11”
Never look a gift horse in the mouth
Sgt Whitney replies instantly
“yes yes yes. That would be awesome mate. See you there”
Obviously assuming that Ben must be in a location near to the field of play
Forward wind to the end of the game, while eating sausage and beans in the clubhouse
“ so ben, how far did you cycle to get here??”
“oh. Hmmm. Not sure exactly. About 45 miles I think “
“Say What ????!!!!!.................How far”
“yeah. About 45 miles”
So my friends. Our Ben swops his army training to cycle 45 miles to play a game of hockey. For his team. For his club!!!
Others take note !!!
Rewind. – After all there was a game of hockey !!
So the fives took to the pitch, which according to Stu h was a lot more sandy than Saudi !!! the boys were warming up, doing drills, stretching. Intent in their eyes. Sgt Whitney was on the touchline gurgling with Listerine, still trying to remove the bitter taste of defeat from his mouth.
The defeat is in the past
It’s how we react
Let’s dust ourselves off and move forward
Learn from it but don’t dwell on it
A different team started the game. A slick, determined, calm and well drilled outfit. We kept our shape. We passed early, with intent. We swept the ball from side to side, not panicking, looking for the opening. Marden were there, but not on our level. They passed well to each other but seemed to get nowhere. They were missing the spark. Lacking intent. When they did break through we were not troubled. Morton was a rock, saving well and kicking cleanly and accurately out. The back four were a wall, David Leverton especially with his anticipation and interception
It was a different story when the Fives attacked. We had the spark. We had intent. We looked dangerous, and Marden looked troubled. They were often overwhelmed and panicky, giving the ball cheaply back to us. Surely they would pay???
And it came. Goal 1 – Stu H. a few passes in the D and Stu sweeps home. 0-1 to the fives.
The second half was more of the same. Great team play, desire, determination, passion.
Goal 2 – Stu H. short corner comes out and is stopped on the top of the D. Harry goes for the drag flick, dummies it, leaves the runner for dead, slides across the D, flicks at goal and Stu takes the honours and deflects home. Beautiful.
But Marden did not give in. their kept their heads up, kept pressing, kept trying, thwarted every time by the super Fives.
Then came the final blow. Stu H delivering the “coup de gras”
And it was a thing of beauty. Pure class. All the training ground teachings in one move. The coaches would have been proud.
Marden were in our 25, pressuring.
The tackle goes in, the ball is won
It is passed backward
Transferred across the pitch to the empty channel
A swift one two
A striker makes a lead to the corner
The ball is moved down the line
The striker receives and hits the base line
He drives in and slips the ball to the P spot
The last and only defender is drawn and the ball slipped left
10 seconds from turnover and the ball is in the back of the net
Stu h – hattrick
Now that is how you dust yourselves off !!
The whole team were outstanding, 100% to a man. Special mentions go to Josh for his constant running, Harry for his slippery skills, Dave Leverton for his interception and anticipation, Zac for his outstanding performance (on any other day that was MOM mate) Ben – enough said and finally MOM Stu H (desert storm) for a super hattrick.
Umpiring by Richard Cleall and the Marden guy (I do apologise for not remembering your name sir) was outstanding. Thank you gentlemen.
Finally I will end this week with the words from GK Morton to his captain
“Paul, I love you mate but you are walking………………RUN!!!!”
That is team spirit and motivation right there
Fives Style !!