Gondoliers 10 - 1 Oxford Hawks Falcons
Manning, Sturgess (3), Kuhle, Carney, Richards, Howells, Cook, Regan
Yes TEN ONE!
Now that is a score line that none of us taking to the pitch anticipated. Some might say a strange result! Gondoliers passed the ball to each other; good simple hockey. A well balanced side with pace upfront, tenacity in defence and an excellent goal keeper. An all-round team performance.
The talk before the game was all about how we could contain an Oxford side brimming with England talent (well 2 at least). The top of the league side started as we expected, passing the ball well and testing the Guildford defence. James in goal made several great saves and there was some solid tackling by the defence. Early encounters were a little feisty in some quarters and an early chat with the umpires was needed to calm things down!
Having withstood Oxford’s early onslaught the Gondoliers finally managed to venture up the pitch. Great interplay between Sturgess and Manning led to goal number one; Manning’s nonchalant lob on the run past the keeper was sublime.
The goals came thick and fast after that, with Sturgess terrorising the Oxford back line with his pace and skill. I don’t recall the order of the goals so I’ll just have to mention the scorers. Sturgess 3 which could easily have been 6 but he was generous enough to share. Howells benefited on one occasion when having hobbled (injured again) up the pitch he decided to stay and wait for the play to come back to the Oxford D. Sturgess once more attacking the goal drew the goalie and slipped the ball to Howells for a simple goal. Thank you Nigel.
At half time Gondoliers were 6-1 ahead.
The half time talk was not as relaxed as you might expect; a warning message to all that we should treat it as 0-0 and aim to contain for the second half; “Oxford are bound to come back at us.” We were under no illusions that the game was not yet in the bag. The quality of the Oxford side would surely tell as we tired in the second half.
And so it proved, they managed to restrict us to only 4 goals in the second half after all!
Second half goals that I can recall were scored by:
Carney blasting past the keeper from the right of the D.
Kuhle following up another Regan short corner strike and tucking the ball neatly into the corner.
Regan - a firmly struck short corner which was neatly deflected into the goal by one of the Oxford defenders (one for the dubious goals committee?!).
Cook with a sweetly taken shot ….
Also worth a special mention was HP’s performance his usual stick (normally used to good effect) was replaced by a whistle and to equally good effect (I think that’s the first time I've written in praise of an umpire!)
An excellent win and with back to back victories over the top two sides in the league the Gondoliers are probably safe for another season.