2nd XI vs Epsom 1st XI (Away) | 11 Jan 20

Lost 1-2

Scorers: Ollie Ridge

MoM: Ollie RIdge

DoD: Andrew Dunn

Craig Alder celebrated his 23rd birthday on Saturday, but that was all there was to celebrate as Canterbury’s struggles on the road continued.
Saturday’s result was really disappointing. We should have won and the only thing that makes me fond of the 140 mile round trip to Epsom was the vindication of the “do as I say and when it’s clear you’re not doing as I say, do as I do” approach*.
With the firm belief that I had DOD in the bank (another correct call), I had license to wield all my worldly advice, like I was the best thing ever to grace a hockey pitch (I am not). If it didn’t come off, I was still likely to be DOD, but if it did come off, I would be the DOD who knew what he was talking about.
Chris Laslett confessed after the game that he wasn’t tired and it was easy to see why. Epsom didn’t really threaten, run hard or put our defence under much pressure, however, they scored two goals from two opportunities and that is incredibly annoying.
We on the other hand had plenty of chances, including half a dozen penalty corners (we need at least ten to return a goal) and didn’t make our dominance count. In fairness, the Epsom goalkeeper had a good game but we played into their hands a bit.
Two-nil down at half time, there was no cause for alarm. Tom Richford was having a good game in the middle of the pitch and Ollie Ridge looked lively upfront. I suggested we tweaked a couple of things and received the usual nods of approval and agreeing mumbles, but there was an underlying suspicion that this may just have been lip service of the worst kind. Sure enough, we didn’t really do anything different, until the skipper took it upon himself to go upfront, demonstrate the lead he was talking about at half time and set up our man of the match Ridge for a back post tap in. Knowing it wasn’t going to get any better than that, I withdrew from the game to see if it was now clear what we should be doing. Unfortunately, although we continued to knock at the door, Epsom managed the game by a combination of drawing free hits and releasing pressure with aerial balls. The equaliser didn’t materialise and a 2-1 defeat was the final score.
As is common with a lot of the teams we face, a short drive back to the clubhouse for showers and teas was required after the match. Given our profligacy during the game, I feared that we might round off the day by looking rude – we couldn’t finish our chances, could we finish our tea? The resounding answer was yes, with the only exception being J-Tritz who left most of his, probably because of the high vegetable content and the fact kids don’t eat vegetables.
Upon reflection, Canterbury played fairly well except for when it counted. On the balance of play they should have had all three points.
From a personal perspective I ended the day feeling less like Captain Dunn and more like Captain Bligh. With a justified strength in my convictions, yes, my style can be classified as tyrannical at times, but I warn you my beloved team, rebel at your peril! One way or another the Bounty mutineers paid for their crime and the only real difference between me and Captain Bligh is that whereas he could prepare for months of voyaging at sea, I couldn’t remember the match shirts for an away trip to Epsom.

*It wasn’t the only thing that I enjoyed:
• ‘Changing rooms’ which were actually small shipping containers on a building site • Charlie Lloyd Hughes’ warm up route
• The efforts made for the day’s dress code as chosen by Nick Buckingham
• Nick Buckingham offering everyone sweets at half time – only the naïve accepted
• Craig Alder downing a horrible birthday pint and not being allowed to put it down until he’d eaten the celery in the bottom of it. For the record Craig turned 23, which comes as a shock to most
• The one shower head that produced very cold water, which was mercilessly splashed on those happily enjoying the nice warm showers

Squad: N. Redman, C. Laslett, C.Lloyd Hughes, A. Dunn (c), W. Giltrow, T. Richford, R. Keir, S. Keir, N. Buckingham, O. Ridge, J. Tritton, J. Gooding, Z. Williams, C. Alder