This week whilst we await the distilled thoughts of Chris Gould (on last week's game) we are privileged to receive two spontaneous accounts (thank you Geoff and Brent) and whilst they are clearly written by a maths teacher and a statistician, therefore devoid of literary references, they are closer to reality...
The portents were not good. The M3 was closed causing long queues on the A3, Savage had deserted his post at a café opposite the Ship and Kuhle had a new and over zealous haircut. However, everyone bar Gould eventually arrived at Amersham's new venue at the Masonic School for Girls. This was a substantial improvement on their normal dilapidated hut and hard sloping astro. Instead we were greeted by a warm changing room and an excellent recently installed pitch. With the bare eleven players and no goalie we took to the pitch. Savage heroically took on the responsibility of playing kicking back/sweeper yet again and skilfully marshalled by Asdell the Gondoliers embarked on a very hard fought match.
Eventually a cross to the left post by Sturgess was met by a surging Richards who scored a goal of which Sturredge, Kane or Vardy would have been proud. Unfortunately, booting the ball into the net is not condoned in hockey and the goal was disallowed. However, Kuhle then showed Richards how it was done with a powerful strike past the keeper and we were one-nil up. Regrettably a few minutes later Kuhle decided that he had contributed enough to the result and limped off with a quad injury leaving the Gondoliers with only ten men and most of the game still to play. A significant part of the match was played in the midfield with Regan, Basey and Bottoms all making key interceptions to thwart Amersham. Meanwhile HP caused his usual havoc with skilful runs down the right whilst Sturgess and Richards made several penetrating runs. In defence Asdell, Barnard and Tonks formed a sturdy barrier and Savage was on hand to come to the rescue whenever any of the opposing forwards broke through. Despite their pressure Amersham did not win a single short corner let alone score an equalising goal.
Alternatively it could be that the real reason why Amersham did not score was that Savage had cunningly left his white shirt at the bottom of his bag marinating in the sweat he generated in the Windsor game two weeks earlier and that garment then produced an invisible shield which none of man, stick nor ball could penetrate. In the final minutes of the game we could have gone two up when Richards, who had finally realised that he was playing hockey not football or rugby, let loose with a strike on goal of which Hall, Fordham or Jennings would have been proud. With the Amersham keeper rooted to the centre of his goal and the ball rocketing at waist height to just inside the post Richards was only denied by an amazing save by Sturgess (on the feeble pretext of protecting himself). This left Sturgess with a goal record in the match of minus one as he drove back to Woking to join Carney in helping Havant to thwart Woking. He thus missed the highlight of the day when we joined Amersham at their excellent pub to sample fine ales and a spread of quiches, hot dogs and pork pies.
An unsolicited commentary on the match, please can everyone feel free to respond with their views. Better than a boring old match report, I think.
Amersham had one very mobile player up front, one very good player in midfield and two very capable defenders and 11 players overall including a keeper.
Gondos had one very good striker, 10 capable players, no keeper and a chap kicking back who wore a shirt that could melt steel such was its aroma.
Kuhle scored a goal, because Alistair was too gentlemanly to tap it in, and then did a drama queen 'I'm too injured to play' thing. Bottoms suffered a horrendous injury but in true Canadian style manned up and played on, and in midfield no less.
HP wins the 'most stick tackles without receiving a short' award. Perhaps we might have been better had we not endlessly tried our luck down the right where Amersham had positioned pretty much all their players.
So a decent Amersham team who have had some good results were beaten by 10 Gondos with no keeper. A good result all around and by the end of the day the aforementioned shirt had received a good airing out and Stinky Savage was no more.
Amersham 0-1 Gondos