The weather treated us kindly on this Saturday mid day push back for which all 12/13 Shadows players turned up on time. With a very thorough warm up on an ice rink disguised as a tennis court we were ready for the duel to commence on yet another sandy surface with small areas of astro-turf showing through.
Our pre match team talk led by el captaino, Fraser, reminding us of the basics…ball pace, forwards working back, try not to get carded and no bad language as one of the umps is known for his cards.
Epsom had push back and it was clear that they were a team of skilled individuals who probably don’t get out that much as they moved the ball well across the sand and immediately put pressure on our back 4 and tested our in-form keeper Marcus a few times. The back four of Dave, Gibbo/Gimmo, James & Will rode the waves of attack well with a few of our “inners” helping out from time to time. We struggled to get into their half for a while as they pressed high alongside some inaccurate passing and dribbling that wouldn’t make it into an U10’s blind team.
The Shadows eventually got linking through the inners of Fraser, Duncan, Jordan and Johnny working the ball up to Tom Lyne’s lethal reverse stick but to no avail. The latter part of the first half Epsom through the use of their helpful 12th player were awarded a short. I've seen better short corner routines at a toilet store however it completely bamboozled not only our post man but also our in-form keeper and dinked off the post at approximately 3mph and trickled in. 1-0 Epsom.
The second half we started spritely but we would have had better chance of kicking treacle uphill. However, we persevered and held our shape well and played some good hockey defensively and attackingly with runs from Graham and Connor up top leading to a few chances that were snubbed out by the use of their feet. Then the cards started flowing, the Shadows down to 9 at one point with a naughty green and a harsh yellow. But we stayed strong and kept the deficit to 1.
Match teas weren’t bad either, changing facilities average to poor. Trip Advisor rating 4.8.