With an early start for the Canterbury Friars and a request to field 2 SVHC umpires, Canterbury arrived to find SVS Prep School Pitch a very bleak, windy location. Winds were above 20 mph at pitch side, everyone (both sides) welcomed the shelter offered by the dugouts from the elements (Rain, Wind and low cloud.)
The game commenced with SVHC playing into the wind, picking up their normal game of passing the ball around, using the width and looking to get an early goal. Friars’ keeper had obviously had his Weetabix and discarded any fears to produce some excellent saves against the SVHC attack when it started to fire!
Now the SVHC attack, Duncan Wills and Rob Cockayne (currently top goal score leader this season) were having a poor morning, Duncan was too chilled by the weather, having arrived late, and Rob obviously had a stiff back, neither was able to get their sticks on the ground when receiving the ball, nor to keep the ball on the end of the stick! Frequent mis-hits were witnessed, a succession of close misses passing either side of the goal posts, which highlighted both were possibly suffering from ails that affect co-ordination!!
Meanwhile Valence mid-field was getting higher and higher in their eagerness to score, this was combatted by Friars’ defensive efforts getting better and better as they used their experience with Jonesy ( age 76 , still playing and a member of England Over 70’s ) calling the shots, he becoming the blocker on many of the SVHC attacks with great skills, covering the middle part of the pitch around Friar’s 23. The half ended 0-0.
Team talk was simple, use the ball, pass around the opposition and keep the passes shorter, use the triangle.
The pressure from SVHC increased with a considerable part of the game now played in Friars’ half, Friars defended excellently, with their keeper continuing to prevent Rob Cockayne from scoring. Duncan Wills, having benched himself complaining tiredness after a hectic week. (DW got heavily fined for this excuse)
As SVHC were frustrated more and more, Tom Morgan took more control in the mid-field, encouraging all to push higher and higher, by now SVHC are camped within Friars' 23, repeatedly trying to get the ball in goal. Tom was demanding more and more from the players ahead of him, plus pushing Nick Hall and Andrew Wishart (LB/RB respectively) higher hoping to get more SVHC players into the D. It was Nick Hall’s first venture of the season into the opposition’s 23, there was a risk he might enter their D!!
Sadly, SVHC ran out of time, Friars managed to keep a clean sheet, and all retired to the Queen’s Head for a beer and Team Tea (Sausage, Beans and Chips) in front of a warming fire.
MOM: Tom Morgan
Team: Ryan Robinson, Nick Hall, Rob Harrison, Andrew Wishart, Adrian Gander, Tom Morgan, Duncan Field, Rueben Collingwood, Darren Thompson, Chris Jackson, Rob Cockayne, Duncan Wills