ALL SYSTEMS GOAN FOR 2018-2019
By tim walters
Highwaymen get back in the groove … eventually!
Goan 3 BEHC Highwaymen 7
There can be no resting on their laurels for BEHC's elder statesmen following last year's promotion to Kent Open Division 2, so the team management's concentrated pre-season programme of three games in three weeks is a smart move indeed. The good news definitely outweighed the bad, as the team included the core of last season's successful squad, with Tom Conway happily still available between the sticks for the foreseeable future. But a bit like a dusty old 78 rpm record, the team were not exactly in tune with each other for much of the first 45 minutes, the dust and crackles more in evidence than the flowing music from 2017-2018, but eventually it all came together on side two so the team finished in perfect harmony.
It was never quite as comfortable as it sounded, however, as the men in red scored the first goal and the last five in an entertaining encounter, where the visitors had to twice come from behind and spent a good third of proceedings in arrears. The two senior members of the squad, Mssrs. Maltman and Gilbert, both made telling contributions, the former in a blistering first-half cameo where his break on the right led to Ravi Wickramasuriya crashing the ball past his son in the Goan goal to make it 1-0 to the men from BEHC, the latter in a second-half melée in the home D, where his assist enabled Andy Cooke to complete a well-deserved hat-trick.
In between a brace each for Wickramasuriya and the excellent Greg Dowse completed the scoring, whilst the usual suspects filled their customary berths in defence, with Phil Kinch slotting in alongside Matt Wilde and just behind Richard Cleall, in midfield, where Chris Bernard and Andy Rose were back in action, and in attack, where Matt Robinson completed the offensive triumvirate.
Stiffer challenges await in the shape of BEHC 5s and Burnt Ash, but this was a useful work-out against welcoming and talented hosts, who might just be the only team the Highwaymen meet this season with a higher average age than their own!
Tom Conway, tim walters, Matt Wilde, Phil Kinch, Richard Cleall, Ravi Wickramasuriya, Chris Bernard, Andy Cooke, Greg Dowse, Matt Robinson, David Maltman, Andy Rose and Stephen Gilbert (C).
Andy Cooke … a great second-half hat-trick - once the radar warmed up a bit.
Both supplied by the home team, and both very good indeed in a highly enjoyable game played in exactly the right spirit.