Derby Day. What can possibly be better than Derby Day? The angst in the air as pushback approaches, the tension in the finely honed, supremely conditioned athletes as they are poised to compete, the roar of the crowd as they bay for blood and vent their most base emotions.
It defines sport; it motivates men; it brings fear to women and children; it defines us as competitors – it’s why we play.
Sadly, none of it was anywhere to be seen on a crap, sand-based pitch at Guildford when 24 ageing has-beens with beer bellies, receding hairlines and aching backs tottered out to attempt to play a game of veterans hockey on late Saturday morning.
The crowd consisted of one former Guildford player who was promptly convinced to referee, meaning that the only things watching were the circling birds; who were probably thinking that there might be some scavenging opportunities if someone keeled over after trying to run more than 3 yards. I expect they had their eye on Guildford’s Carney.
And so it began.
Guildford without any ringers (this time) included a couple of able centre backs (the pie eater and some really old bloke) a bunch of geriatrics, and their tall elegant centre forward Sturgess (his words not mine), who had recovered from the abuse he took against Oxford which lets down both Oxford themselves and the league – oh, and Psycho Kuhle, the man who has been fouled by a stiff wind on many occasions.
The Blues lined up with Lindars in goal, Milne-Holme and the Moose in the middle of defence, a couple of newbies at fullback, some geriatrics in midfield (plus the goal-scoring, glory boy captain, Roy) and Prichard and Lynch up front - both of whom were eager to prove to Roy that they can score goals as well. Typical strikers, it’s all about the glory with that lot.
Early play was with the Blues, Roy playing the pivot in midfield, Sewell, Prichard and Lynch troubling Guildford with their movement. A short corner was expertly dispatched by Prichard. No, sorry that was Lynch. Oops, no such luck, it was Roy – yet again.
No let up from the Blues after the restart, Prichard switching sides and playing an excellent ball into the D where the – yes, you guessed – Roy was waiting to expertly dispatch it and it was 2-0 to the Blues.
Guildford began pressing more and more in midfield and for the remainder of the half controlled the game without threatening. Moose expertly reduced Sturgess to a mere bystander by continually pointing out the quality of the thighs – I mean skills – on display in the women’s match on the adjoining pitch.
Psycho Kuhle put himself about but his most notable contribution was a vicious assault on Moose which went unpunished by the umpires. Or perhaps it was the wind. With a few minutes remaining a ball into the D was deflected to Sturgess who brilliantly controlled it (his words, not mine) before pushing a weak shot towards goal. A deflection, a partial clearance and then some commitment from Guildford’s Tonks resulted in a 2-1 halftime score.
Second half the play was more even, Guildford with more of the possession while the Blues created – and wasted – some good chances up front. One mental lapse from Milne-Holme and Moose let Sturgess in 1 v 1 with Lindars however at the crucial moment a squeal of delight from the women’s game distracted Sturgess and the chance went begging.
More pressure from Guildford and some comical defending by the Blues resulted in the ball falling to Sturgess who calmly rolled it into the goal and it was 2-2 and a probably deserved equaliser.
The game continued along a fairly tortured line; it certainly wasn’t one for the ages, although the birds were probably salivating at this point. Guildford’s build up play along their right was particularly slow and rarely threatened while the Blues seemed unable to get a foothold in midfield with Roy being isolated far too often. It felt like we need another body in there to help keep possession and control the play. Oh for the days of two JR’s.
Thankfully we were capable of the odd attacking moment and from one of these forays a short corner and a Roy mis-hit resulted in Lynch converting and we were up 3-2.
More turgid play from both sides resulted in very little worth commenting on and the game finished with a 3-2 win for the Blues. Haslemere moved up two places, Guildford moved down two places, and once the beer and food had been consumed and pleasantries exchanged in the clubhouse the only disappointment was with the birds.
Having said that, has anyone seen Lindars recently?
Guildford 2-3 Haslemere
Crikey! Knowing that Tom had asked Brent to write a match report I had volunteered to produce a riposte. In the interests of balance? Ying/Yang; Point/Counterpoint; Brexit/Remain and all that stuff.
Having read Brent’s match report and in all honestly losing the will to live.. I mean read it to the end… I’m not sure I need to?
Perhaps he should have referred to Pyscho Prichard (Simon?) who bulldozed me off the ball when I was about to execute a finely timed reverse stick sweep down the touch line? I still have the scars to prove my demise as I was ground cruelly into the (crap – his words not mine) sand-based pitch. Perhaps my skill levels are insufficient to criticise our glorious sand-based pitch? I have never thought it was that bad..
Oh well, back to the real world.
Look forward to seeing my beer-bellied ageing team mates for an early doors game on Saturday.
Pyscho Nick (not Kuhle)