Vets put out to grass
Grasshopppers grab 6 without reply
After two weeks without hockey there was some nervousness about whether the game on grass at the Nevill Ground would be possible and, as late as on the Friday, whether transferring it to the astro pitch would be a safer bet. However the thaw set in pretty positively and the decision was made to stick with the grass.
For the first time at an away match this season, Valence Vets were able to find enough players for a full team. However, the Vets always have problems on grass, at least for the first half, and those without studs certainly found their footing uncertain. However, despite some considerable pressure from the Grasshoppers, supplemented by John and Murray from Black Knights, the Vets’ defence was effective in curtailing most of their attempts and only late in the half did they manage to score a scrappy goal from open play. This was despite a tendency by Valence Vets to keep giving them the ball back through problems with stopping, miss-hits or just inaccurate passing.
The half-time chat pinpointed these errors and sought more careful passing and retention, but in the event the control of the game passed almost immediately into Grasshoppers’ hands with a good strike from a short corner to go 2 : 0 up. Thereafter Valence were really only on a damage limitation exercise, with no real breakthroughs to threaten ‘Hoppers’ goal and increasing failure to cut out some well drilled Grasshoppers’ approach play and finishing. With memories of the last meeting on astro at Sutton Valence, when Valence won 8 : 0 the home team were clearly aiming to match or go beyond that. Fortunately for Valence Vets, although something of a drubbing, this attempt fell short by just two goals.
The next meeting will be interesting, as it will again be at Tunbridge Wells on March 18th. Valence can only hope for an extremely wet week prior that necessitates the game being moved to the Hawkenbury astro, or work on their grass play in their games away at Purley and Kenley in the meantime!
Man of the Match: Nigel Bardsley
Team: Dave Britton (keeper); Bob Sagrott; Geoff Bell; Hamish Dow (capt); Andrew McVarish, Nigel Bardsley; Mike Nettle; Rupert Humphrey; Paul Linaker; Julian Mills; Roger Fermor; Charles Worsfold.
Umpire: Nick Willson
The Vets play Black Knights at home on the Prep School astro at 11.15 next week.