Men’s Friars vs Gillingham Anchorians 4s (Away) | 26 Mar 22

Won 3-4

Scorers: John Aikin (2), Jamie Harris

MoM: Hugo Fassum

DoD: Pete Neville (see match report for evidence)


Let’s face it the average Friar is extra large and indeed several Friars are extra extra large though this is down a notch on years gone by when Swan Lake and (name redacted at this point on a legal point-ed) used to grace the green sward . If we are lucky, the XL Friars and the XXL Friars are bolstered by two or three younger, fitter and faster Friars who are of course extra small bringing the average XX down. The point of this pedantic rant is to question how we can possibly be expected to play our best hockey on one of the hottest days of the year squeezed into a lurid yellow, hi-viz, non breathable nylon, universal sized alternative away strip, complete with the throttling neckline. We can’t work in these conditions!

So the yellow shirted Friars had this week travelled to Gillingham to do battle in glorious sunshine with the Anchorians. The midfield (Brian, Tom and Ratty) combined nicely with the younger Friars (Adam, Thomas and Hugo) upfront and took the battle to the opposition. John A opened the scoring with a well struck short corner (our only short of the day) that deflected off an Anchorian stick into the goal. This was followed 15 minutes later by some excellent stickwork by Hugo setting up Jamie who unleashed a blinding shot. 2-0 to the Friars. In fairness this scoreline was somewhat against the run of play and the Anchorians battled fiercely, and certainly did not give up making constant pressure on our defence and dominating the midfield. Two goals came their way and the Friars went into half-time with the score 2-2.

The half-time Jaffas did the trick and two minutes into the second half the Friars took the lead with John A really running (?!) onto a long pass into the D from Jamie and beating the goalie with a first time strike. 3-2 to the Friars and victory in our sights….

But despite the Friars best efforts, the match then started to unravel somewhat. John A found himself nicely set up by Thomas in front of goal but duffed his shot and the chance to take a 4-2 lead. The Friars defence (Mike, Pete, Jamie, Biggles and Dono) battled bravely and faced a succession of over 10 short corners often generously awarded by the home umpires. Frustration in defence reached boiling point and big Pete (XXL Friar) had to have a few minutes rest after expressing his understandable disappointment over repeated dubious decisions which even resulted in a fine from his better half (really is true!) but this does mean he really is one of the lads now! There followed two swift goals for the Anchorians and it was all over. A 4-3 defeat for the Friars who handed back their yellow straight-jackets to Skipper Brian and stomped off for some refreshment… but happy in mid table safety being assured and no promotion in the offing. For the first season ever relegation has never been an issue so something has improved, (possibly something to do with our leading goal score striker fine-tuning his compass I feel- ed).

Squad: Adam McHale, Hugo Fassum, Paul Donovan (GK), Thomas Newell, Pete Neville, John Aikin, Tom Parkin, John Ratcliff, Jamie Harris, Chris Ward, Brian Hurlow (skipper), Mike Barton