The Under 18 Boys were off to Merchant Taylor's School early this morning to take on OMT in Round 2 of the England Hockey National Tier 1 Championships....
Having beat Woking 4-0 in Round 1, the boys stayed in Tier 1 of the competition which is knockout from this round onwards (Woking continue in Tier 2 having lost their first match).
After a good team talk with Tylo in the above average OMT clubhouse (understatement!), the boys took to the pitch and never looked back.
From the start we were pressing and attacking while OMT seeemed content to sit back and defend. Three missed chances in the first 5 minutes (here we go again?) came and went until Elliot got hold of a ball and lifted it neatly over the keeper for 1-0.
From there the GHC spectators might have thought it would be straightforward since we controlled most of the play and dominated possession with OMT continuing to play a defensive game.
But we could not convert our many chances and much credit to the OMT defence and keeper for keeping the scoreline at 1-0 for the entire first half.
The game started to look somewhat repetitive with GHC attacking, OMT defending (with the occasional break) - until a swan looking, no doubt, for the grassy area near the beautiful, big pond on the MTS grounds happened to come in for a landing on the astro, aiming what looked like straight for our keeper!
Play continued with her hanging about in our defensive end since the action was all up the other end. But as the swan starting to march towards the action, the umpires had to stop the match and send her off. She watched from the sidelines for a few minutes but coudn't resist the action and stepped back onto the pitch where the boys deftly played around her!
Half time couldn't come soon enough and a group of parents armed with hockey sticks shepherded her off the pitch to safety during the team talks.
The first half of the second half continued much the same as the the first half had ended - a goal drought despite loads of attacking chances.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, a well worked short corner had a few players involved and Will T smashing in for 2-0.
From there the floodgates opened, three minutes later Nick beat the keeper for 3-0. Four minutes later Josh did a skilly movement to pass the ball under the approaching keeper for 4-0 and then scored again five minutes later for 5-0.
With 3 minutes to go Isaac got on the score sheet after already having come close just earlier for 6-0. And a minute before time Nick got his brace for 7-0.
Credit to the OMT defence and keeper who did their best but fatigue likely played a role as 6 of our 7 goals came in the last 20 minutes.
Credit also to all the GHC players for taking on board Tylo's messages and playing like a team. Going from strength to strength after a tough start in the league v Marlow.
The next round of the knockout Cup competition sees us back at Marlow on Sunday 3 February.
Thanks to all of the spectators who made the journey and to Tylo for leading the guys through this strong win.