MoM: Chris Laslett
DoD: Rich Keir
A no score draw can rarely be described as a thriller. Some things don’t change.
A crisp and beautifully sunny Saturday saw Old Georgians visit Polo Farm. The preceding return fixture offered an excitement filled 2-2 draw in Weybridge, earlier in the season. As captain Dunn explained last week, the 2nd XI played poorly the week prior – being beaten on the road by a distinctly average Epsom team. We all knew, and had reiterated to quash any doubt, that this week had to be a better performance, throughout.
The big difference for Canterbury this week, seemed to be attitude. The captain had asked for all players to work in bursts. With a squad of 14, there is no need to amble in to the game, waiting for chances and opportunities. Skipper Dunn wanted players to bust a gut – run hard for five minutes and then take a break on the side. As such example, the captain decided not to warm up with the team, but to manage bursts and circuits to his car, to the kitchen, and the pitch, then repeat.
Deployed as requested, this was a marked improvement, most welcomed by the skipper and endorsed by the team throughout. A few players took the advise of a sit down a little too freely; Farrer and Alder each with two minute breaks, Gooding with a full five to relax and recover.
This improved effort and energy meant that Canterbury created chances, including short corners, which haven’t offered great success or return in recent weeks. It remains to be seen whether the squad will practise any routines, but moaning and nibbling seems to be the easier way out (for now). No doubt a good sign though, that the home team were creating chances.
Positively, and for the second week in a row, the 2’s didn’t concede any short corners. OG’s are known for having a few ‘big lads’, who are presumably great at set pieces to earn their places in the team (they might just have big cars?). When they weren’t getting corners or much success in attack, their efforts resorted to petty off-the-ball instances, of which Michael Farrer seemed to be prime target for the Georgian’s forwards and sideline ensemble.
Interestingly, Old Georgian’s 1st XI and Great Britain squad member Liam Sandford assisted with the OG’s bench management, as well as their toddler like taunting.
From his resume, we note: “An incredibly brave individual, he can often be found charging down penalty corners and putting in crunching challenges in and around his own circle.” In his free time though, Liam like’s to practice ‘banter’ at 2nd XI away fixtures. He needs more practice.
It’s difficult to report highlights of a 0-0 draw. The few that come to mind: OG’s missed the clearest chance of the game; Tom Richford foiling what was otherwise an open goal. Rich Keir smashed a half-volley 10ft over the fence, towards the croquet and grass tennis courts. Michael Farrer was hit off the ball, for being persistent and better than the OG’s forwards. Chris Laslett nearly missed a tackle, but then didn’t. Some officiating decisions seemed questionable. As such, they were often questioned.
Ultimately, Canterbury will feel frustrated not to have scored from one of their chances, but too many chances were speculative, and the ball was turned over too freely. On the other hand, a missed near-open goal could have ruined the day and the M2’s unbeaten home run. Points shared – on to next week – which offers a slow train trundle down to the south coast, versus Eastbourne.