We had a strong squad of 15 as we needed to be on top of our game if we weren’t going to be humiliated by the League Leaders Oxford Hawks. This of course meant subs rolling on/off in quarters.
We very much had the best of the first quarter putting a great deal of pressure on the Oxford defence through attacks down both flanks and a few lucky deflections. One deflection led to a one on one with the Oxford Keeper for Sturgess who at full stretch got round the keeper only to be hacked down by a cynical professional foul. (The general consensus in the clubhouse afterwards was that he was lucky to stay on the field!)
With Sturgess still seeing stars it was definitely the wrong decision by Carney to march up to him handing him the ball and insisting in no uncertain terms that he finish it off! Needless to say the hapless Sturgess, (seeing three keepers in the goal) decided to flick the ball at the left hand one, who unfortunately turned out to be the real one and the goal was saved. It is a true measure of our team that no one gave Carney a hard time for his decision, but let’s learn from his mistake and bring forward Windsor Lewis next time (or anyone for that matter).
The second quarter the tide started to turn and Oxford put together some impressive passes testing our defense to its limits. Fortunately Savage, Regan, Winn and Windsor Lewis were up to the challenge and Chalmers made some great saves.
The usual half time talk saw us regroup and we took to the pitch looking rather fresher than the Oxford side. The third quarter again was extremely evenly matched and we got attacks flowing down the left and right flank. They probably had more short corners in the second half than us and we were lucky that these came to nothing. The decider came with 10 minutes to go. Kuhle was on a mission, head down, badger like, dribbling the ball close to his feet and snarling when anyone came close.
Wait a minute he’s suddenly in the D weaving along the dead ball line. Deafening screams from Sturgess, went ignored. Badger had other ideas. He was going to finish it off himself. No…. Yes…. No. the pass finally came but his stick bobbled and skimmed over the ball sending it behind Sturgess. Out of no where came a charging Alec, and in typical no nonsense style it was put it in the back of the neck. Sadly Alec does not play enough for the Gondos because if he did we would be league leaders. He scores every time. A great game of hockey and is exactly why everyone of us continues to play.
Last night as I was looking up at the starry firework display I had flashbacks of three goal keepers and Carney's voice and I drank a toast to (no card) Kuhle and Alec for saving my bacon!
See you next week winners!