Scorers: Ethan Aitken
MoM: Harry Halle-Smith and Josh Kitson
DoD: We all know who
“Some people are like clouds, when they disappear it’s a beautiful day.”
The league’s draw specialists, The Griffins, travelled to Rochester expecting a physical game, and we weren’t disappointed. We were, however, unprepared for the constant whining and bleating from two of the opposition, which coupled with the foul language more akin to the football field, made this a truly unpleasant experience. That said, our youngsters dealt with the situation with a level of maturity seemingly beyond the grasp of these two “adults” – by ignoring the verbal abuse, dusting themselves off from the physical abuse and playing lovely passing hockey. ‘nuff said.
The Griffins started the game well with plenty of movement. The ball was moved around with some simple short passes that was pleasing to the eye. We had slightly more of the play in the first half and had a couple of final passes or touches come off then we would surely have scored before half time. Dave sharp had dusted off his kit to step in for the poorly Eddie (get well soon Eddie – and that’s no reflection on Dave’s performance!). Dave showed his skill throughout with a couple of great saves and was vocal which helped the back four of Charlie, Harry, Simon and Vaughanie (alphabetically) to stay strong and snuff out most of the opposition’s attacks. We conceded a couple of short corners but dealt with them admirably. Jonathan, Josh and Toby caused constant problems when attacking down the wings with some lightning pace and commanding runs. They were helped in the middle by the endless running and control of Ashley and Guy and the tireless running of Ethan, Sam and Will up front (I know that makes 13 but we had subs ). Some of the play in the final quarter didn’t come off which meant we didn’t trouble their keeper as much as we could have but the intention and desire was clearly there. We won a few short corners but saw these saved by their keeper late on. Just before half time Guy popped off for a 2 minute rest for asking the umpire about a decision. The half time whistle was blown, nil nil was the score and the umpires then had a “stall setting” conversation with the captains.
The second half saw the game continue in the same vein (in all aspects), with some great defending and lots of strong runs down the wings. This pressure lead to a short corner and when Ashley’s shot was saved off of the line by a defender’s foot, we were awarded a penalty stroke. The crowd in the D departed to leave three youngsters trying to decide who would take the flick – no pressure, it was 0-0 after all. Jonathan, then Sam turned away to leave Ethan with the honour (and pressure) of taking the flick. We’ll never know how they made the decision – I didn’t see rock, paper, scissors so maybe it was a case of whose hands were the least frozen. Anyway, Ethan stepped up and although the keeper got a glove to the ball, the special spin that Ethan applied to his flick meant the ball landed and span over the line. A well deserved 1-0 lead. It wasn’t long before the cards came out again – it must be nearly Christmas. Another one for Guy, this time for being throttled (?) and one for the person doing the throttling. It was Old Willies who made the most of this situation and applied enough pressure to win a short corner, which sadly they scored from. Dave made a great initial save but the ball deflected off of his flesh rather than arm pad which changed the trajectory of the ball sending it back to the injector who volleyed the ball into the goal. As the game progressed the frustrations of a few seemed to increase along with their level of physical and verbal unpleasantness. Such a shame that a few can spoil a game for the rest – there were some pleasant verbal exchanges away from those 2 players. There was still time though for Ash to pick up a green card for a slightly mistimed tackle but we soaked up the ensuing pressure well. Once back to a full complement of players, we pushed for the winner through some more commanding runs down the wings and passing into spaces but Old Willies had packed out their defence making it too hard for us to get through. So a 1-1 draw with some lovely hockey and some ugly non-hockey. Full credit to all the youngsters for dealing with the game in the way they did.