Vets - Owls swoop......
but Vets win the second half!
Southern Counties’ Hockey Conference
Sutton Valence Vets 4 : 7 Camberley Owls
There was discussion with Camberley during the week about their short numbers, which were only 6 plus an Umpire. At the time Valence Vets looked like being a bare 11, but this reduced to 10 with confirmation from key goal scorer Charlie Worsfold that he was not available. On the basis of their Umpire playing and Valence sharing out and providing both Umpires, the game was able to go ahead. On the morning of the game Nick Willson was able to persuade his son Simon to stay on after the 2nd Xl game to make up the numbers to allow 9 a side. Initially Simon Willson and Andy McVarish were the loaned two – maybe a rash decision!
Playing short-handed inevitably brings a rather lop-sided formation, with some people playing out of position. Valence Vets commenced the game in an attacking frame of mind, with all but Hamish Dow and keeper Britton in the opposition half. This proved to be a suspect approach as the Owls played on their defensive strength to cut out the initial sortie and on the break, with just two forwards, by-pass Hamish and score inside the first two minutes. They repeated the same operation a few minutes later but the ‘goal’ was disallowed as a lifted ball had come off the attacker’s shoulder. Meantime Lyndon Davies went close at the other end, before scoring to level, only for Owls to yet again find acres of space to cut out the Valence defender and score again, despite Dave Britton’s best efforts.
One might have expected Valence to have heeded the warnings that their approach was not exactly working, but, despite some sound work around mid-field from Bob Bartlett, Bob Sagrott and Julian Mills, and the considerable efforts of Hamish Dow, they continued to leave themselves too exposed at the back, allowing Owls to convert three more very similar goals, before half-time, alternating the scorer. The chief architect, and scorer, was Owl’s Captain, Doug Sykes, who had originally been intending to be their Umpire. Although Valence did win some short corners, they failed to convert any. Half-time 1 : 5 to Owls.
At half-time it was agreed that Dave Ewen should play for Owls and Andy McVarish should move to bolster the Valence defence. Owls immediately proved the necessity for this by scoring their sixth goal within the first minute of the restart. Then the Valence midfield and forwards began to string some better play together with less wasteful passing, leading to Rupert Humphrey cracking one in after ten minutes, followed by another from Lyndon Davies six minutes later. Owls had not given up however, and Dave Ewens was getting in some good work for them down the right wing. Indeed, it was from one of his crosses that Owls picked up their final, seventh, goal.
Valence were running out of time to have any chance of catching up, but this did not stop some strong running from Julian Mills and Roger Fermor and some silky approach play and lay-offs from Bob Bartlett. They did manage one more cracking shot from open play from Rupert Humphrey, after another chance from a short corner was struck wide.
So, Valence could comfort themselves slightly by pointing out they had won the second half.
Team: Dave Britton; Bob Sagrott; Hamish Dow; Andy McVarish; Julian Mills; Bob Bartlett; Roger Fermor; Lyndon Davies; Rupert Humphrey; Dave Ewens; Simon Willson.
Umpire: Nick Willson and Paul Linaker
The Vets continue their Southern Counties’ Hockey Conference games next week with an away game against Teddington Tigers at 12.30.