Going West brings another win for Valence Vets
Charlie does it again!
Going west brings another win for Valence
Despite the proximity of the Sunbury ground to Twickenham on England v Wales day, the long journey to the western side of London proved relatively uneventful. The day was cold and wet and with Valence having only 10 players, Sunbury agreed to provide the extra player needed. With the absence of regular keeper Dave Britton, Bob Sagrott agreed to take on the role.
The game started with Valence playing some of their best hockey of the season, with Bob Bartlett and Nigel Bardsley having total control of midfield and the home side looking very confused at what had hit them.
After only 5 minutes Valence went into the lead with a decisive shot by Stuart Bates from a short corner. The home umpire initially believed that it had been struck from outside the dee, but the players disagreed and the goal was allowed. Only a few minutes later another shot from Bates found Charles Worsfold at the left-hand post where, for the second week running, he coolly deflected the shot into the goal to make the score 2-0. This elicited shock, surprise and delight from the Valence players. With Valence dominating the opposition, it was only a further 5 minutes before Stuart Bates scored another cracking goal to make it 3-0.
Following their slow start, at this point Sunbury started to get into the game, and the flow of play became more evenly balanced. A contributory factor was that the Valence players appeared to relax after their storming start. Sunbury began to mount some effective attacking moves most of which were safely parried by the Valence defence of Andy McVarish, Hamish Dow and keeper Bob Sagrott. The latter did some good work in goal before an overstretched defence let Sunbury in for a well-taken goal just before the break to make the half-time score 3-1.
Bob Bartlett had to leave the pitch just before half time with a hamstring injury and for the second half Sunbury provided Valence with a second substitute. Initially, this did not seem to affect the Valence prospects when, in an attacking move, Rupert Humphrey’s shot at goal rebounded off the keeper’s pads to Charles Worsfold, who patted it back past the keeper into the Sunbury goal. More elation for Valence, two goals for Worsfold and 4-1 up after only 3 minutes of the second half.
Unfortunately, thereafter Valence completely lost any shape to their play and Sunbury were allowed to take advantage of this and started to look the better side. The absent Bartlett’s input was greatly missed and the substitute proved to be a rather less useful player. Valence attacks were rare and not very effective. Nigel Bardsley continued to work hard in midfield but the Valence players were no longer running onto their passes and their defence, including keeper Sagrott, was starting to have to work very hard. Half way through the second half, it was no surprise when one of Sunbury’s attacks resulted in a goal to make it 4-2.
For the rest of the game, their forwards continued to make scoring opportunities but a combination of missed shots and a battling Valence defence meant that the score remained unchanged at the final whistle.
It was a good win for Valence against a useful side. Full marks to the team for the storming start and to the defence for hanging on in the difficult second half.
MOM – Stuart Bates
Goal scorers: Stuart Bates 2, Charles Worsfold 2.
Team: Bob Sagrott, Andy McVarish, Hamish Dow, Bob Bartlett, Nigel Bardsley, Stuart Bates, Rupert Humphrey, Roger Fermor, Charles Worsfold, Lyndon Davies, plus two players loaned by Sunbury.
The Vets continue their Southern Counties’ Hockey Conference games next week with a home fixture against Kenley.