Men’s Friars vs New Beccehamians 3 (Home) | 05 Mar 22

Won 5-2

Scorers: Thomas Newell (3), John Aikin (2)

MoM: Thomas Newell

The Unofficial Official match report courtesy of new Journo Mr Paul ‘Dono’ Donovan of @Kent Sports Images (free plug)…

…….Another Saturday at the home of Hockey that is Polo Farm saw a League clash of the Titans, the likes of which has not been seen since in a Colliseum in Roman Days. The long awaited game between The Friars and New Beccs.

Both sides made their way to the AW2 pitch on time to start their intensive warm ups 2 minutes before push back, where extensive drills of one mis-hit shot were carried out before retiring back to the dug out to strip off to start. The team was rallied by the stand-in Skipper now known as Brian the Lionheart – who detailed his team and specialist positions to his dedicated followers and lead them into battle.

Officiating this Hockey Carnival was none other than Friars stalwart Geordie, who looking like he was dressed for battle in the Ukraine and wearing more specialist watches than a commercial deep sea diver, the game was declared to begin though not before protracted negotiations had been undertaken to decide the colour of the ball – white, orange or yellow, even pink was mentioned. A compromise was reached that satisfied the various ophthalmological (eye-ed) conditions that affect ageing hockey players (and umpires) that had excluded normal skipper Corproal JOnes from playing today.

Both teams looked to be fielding a much more sporting affair with a mixture of the more ‘mature’ players and youth in equal numbers.
In a moment of defiance Brian the Lionheart had already won the Friars the toss in which they’d elected to take the push back. Big John ‘Boy’ Aikin, our club top scoring striker, in a ritual that no one can understand that dates back to the Neolithic era, calmly hit the ball to the opposition. From the off the Friars defence were put under a stern test having to dig in to their trenches from a barrage of vicious attacks. Lead by David guesting from the Squires, him, Jamie, Biggles and our skipper fielded the defensive effort and soaked up the pressure.

Unfortunately due to official shortages (the covid curse) Geordie was having to umpire the game alone which meant covering the whole pitch which was a shock to many of the Friars team as he’d never been seen in our own half before when he’d been playing – so it was proof that he can do it.
The game continued with hard fought battles two-ing and fro-ing with a Gladiatorial veracity.

Around the ten minute mark a ball was lofted across the packed goal which connected with a Friars wind-milling stick on its fourth rotation round, and like a 1980’s John McEnroe serve was planted into the top corner of the New Becs net. The pitch of AW2 fell silent in surprise and then in euphoria as the huge crowd of 2 shrieked with delight. The stunned Friars forwards embraced and high fived as it was true – The Friars were leading one nil.
What followed was a very friendly game of mixed ability. New Becs had some strong players and again and again the Friars defence was called into action and marshalled the opposition number 7 like border colllies herding a lost sheep. Time and time again they were denied entry. Big shifts were put in by all the back four but especially Biggles who’s control of the left side left little room for the New Becs attack.
John Aikin took his chances well and with a couple of goals of his own under his belt he then decided to marshall the young Friars Lion Cubs of Hugo, Sam and Thomas, all of whom had outstanding games. The three cubs worked together, occasionally taking pity on the much slower Aikin and gifting him a pass to keep him involved.
Half time saw Brian the Lionheart step up to speak to his followers giving a speech, the like has not been heard since Churchill’s ‘We’ll Fight them on the beaches’. After which he handed out Jaffa Cakes like they were Victoria Crosses for his warriors.

Between Aikin and his three cubs they managed to get the outstanding Thomas a well deserved hat trick. Deep into the second half the Friars took their first blow. The slightly stiff and cold Friars keeper left a gap only big enough to fit a mosquito’s eyebrow in at his near post and was beaten by a mis hit shot that was meant to be a cross. Shortly after that the energetic Biggles with his new lease of his long life, did his best Bobby Moore impression in the middle of the D, trapping the ball under his left foot before carrying out the most exquisite turn on a 6 pence and foot drag in a move in which many thought he was going to volley it into the top of the net to complete his World Cup bid. A short corner followed (obvs), the first two were charged down with connecting feet and reset short corners but the third was struck cleanly, saved by the sprawling Friars keeper. However the follow-up shot crept between the gap between his boobs and belly (B&B) and cruised over the goal line.

As the match drew to a close there was another bizarre moment when the Friars’ goalie appeared on the right wing and cleared the ball into his own face and promptly fell over – strange times!

The final score was a 5-2 victory for the Friars.

Some great natured hockey seen and played in some dismal conditions. Very special mention also to Pete Bowell for his sterling efforts at right half and with little evidence of his normal “chatting” he was always involved. The Friars team were triumphant as Brian the Lionheart gathered his men in a huddle for a final team talk – a voice was heard to whisper from somewhere near the rear – ‘Will Tony be back next week?’,……… Brian the Lionheart took a huge step forward and with a glint in his eye replied – ‘Tony WHO??’.

Squad: Paul Donovan (GK), David Smith, Samual Schuuring, Hugo Fassam, Thomas Newell, John Aikin, Tom Parkin, Jamie Harris, Chris Ward, Brian Hurlow (C)