Playing away at Winchester is always a match that is highlighted on every Gondoliers calendar, not only because of the desire to once more pit our talents (?) against this familiar foe but also because of the excellent reputation Winchester hold for post-match hospitality. So inspired by the thought of tea and an earlier England victory over the Wallabies (and art work supplied by Sturgess via WhatsApp) the Gondoliers took to the pitch in the glorious autumnal sun.
With Captain Carney was sunning himself on the golf courses of Spain, Sturgess picked up the Captain’s role and lead his team onto the pitch. This was not an although familiar line-up of the Gondoliers with two loans from Andover, Guy and John, and two new Gondolier players, Ted and Ewan.
The play started and Guildford moved steadily up into Winchester’s half taking advantage of an open midfield that allowed them to move the ball to the forwards who pressed for an early advantage. Winchester did make a couple of forays back into the Gondolier’s half which were dispatched by the defence ably supported by the midfield.
With Keith, Nick and Toby pressing from the midfield and passing the opportunities to the forwards, eventually John was rewarded by striking home for a Gondolier goal. As the first half progressed, the pattern of the game continued and again the Gondoliers were rewarded by Toby striking home a miss-placed strike into the D from today’s match reporter.
Hockey, as we all well know, is a game of two halves and so this proved to be with Winchester having found a new pace, the game reversed and the Gondoliers found themselves having to defend one attack after another with only the occasional opportunity to attack.
Craig in his usual style made some brave and match-saving saves before a goal mouth melee of purple attackers and white defenders saw Winchester find the back board and their first goal. This inspired the Winchester side to further attack the Gondoliers who defended admirably before finally a short corner was awarded to Winchester in the last two minutes of the game.
Again the Gondoliers defence rose to the occasion and the final whistle was blown giving Gondoliers a 2-1 victory.
Overall perhaps not the best hockey was played but a very enjoyable and well fought game finishing with a magnificent curry.
And finally a few thank you’s, first to the four Gondolier players who rotated at the quarters through the role of umpire, and thanks to our Andover loans John and Guy and to Mike Fitter for having worked so hard to assemble Saturday’s team.