Gondoliers v Haslemere second weekend in a row...your match reporter wondered whether a cut and paste match report would suffice? The facts needed to be examined...
Gondos v Haslemere Nov
23rd 30th Won 6- 2 3-1
Groundhog Day? Déjà vu? Another Saturday on Broadwater Pitch 2; another Haslemere side (who knew that they had more than one vets side?). Would it be a repeat? Well in part!
The previous Saturday the Gondos had won against the Haslemere ‘A’ team. Where was their ‘Hannibal’ Smith, ‘The Face’ or BA Baracus we asked? Did they have a plan that would come together? We were assured that their ‘B’ team were vastly inferior and we would win 10-0.
The rain Gods who had thrown torrents of rain on the Gondos in recent weeks seemed to have taken a break or been appeased. A sunny, frosty pitch, twinkling in the late Autumn sun (officially the last day of the meteorological Autumn for any weather geeks), enticed the teams onto the pitch.
Chris G assumed with the benefit of his many lengthy years playing hockey, that the game would be ‘frozen off’ and turned up after the game had started. Fashionably late (again)?
The Gondos were suspicious of being cast in the role of the favourites and started nervously. Team manager (I will refrain from using the title ‘captain’) had a cunning plan. Tim’s aerials from the 16 yard hits had caused havoc the previous week and Toby and myself were entrusted with by-passing the midfield from defence with aerials.
One of mine gained sufficient height to gather snow according to the watching Tim (injured in the previous encounter) briefly emulating the planet Venus in its arc across the blue sky.
The Gondos pressed hard but a resilient Haslemere defence led by Brent refused to cave in. Nigel declined to get close to him as he allegedly looked rather clammy and sniffly. The pre-match Haslemere tactic to deal with the “tall skinny Gondo’s forward” - the aforementioned Nigel – was to be as physical as possible.
Despite the pressure, Haslemere held the game at 0-0 until later in the half when Toby slotted the ball home – please forgive me Toby but as I was playing at sweeper I didn’t get a good view. Perhaps you can fill in the details?
Nigel added to the score with a ‘reverse stick scoop’ (his words) from an assist by Mark Howells. Nigel/Mark: please add your own words. Embellish as necessary! The forward line of Gordon and Nigel caused the Haslemere defence problems, supported by the ever present Mark H.
Haslemere made various forays into our D with Craig pulling off some spectacular saves. Diving to either side; kicking the ball clear or getting his over-sized mitts on the ball. Craig’s performance kept us in the game and continued in the second half causing Haslemere great frustration.
A post-match discussion resulted in Craig unanimously being awarded ‘Man of the Match’.
Guesting Mark Connor made some timely interceptions and cooly brought the ball of defence showing great composure. Andy Roberts made a welcome return to playing and showed no rustiness, making a great contribution at left half. We waited anxiously as he got back to his feet after a nasty fall.
The second half continued in much the same pattern. Haslemere made more forays into our D, led by Iain Lynch who tactically stayed high up the pitch. A tactic or an inability to run back!!?? A 3rd goal late in the game sealed the victory. Gordon received a fizzing pass from Mark Howells and decided to stop the ball and slot the ball home rather than attempting a first time sweep? Our England over 60s squad member kept his cool under pressure. Mark H must be leading the ‘Assists’ for the team?
From a personal perspective my second-half highlight was colliding with Simon thereby preventing a shot on goal. He was suitably incensed but we kissed and made up after the game… The clumsy tackle could have led to a P-flick but the confident umpiring of Paul Kirkham only yielded a shorty.
Various scuffed errors in defence resulted in shorties for Haslemere. These were either slotted wide or dealt with by the defence with Craig once again showing his prowess. Must be his new kickers and pads?
So all in all not the assured victory that we were hoping for but a relief to get another win under our collective belt.
Post-match banter included the suggestion that Steve ‘Run like the Wind’ W-L’s sobriquet should be changed to Steve ‘Gone with the Wind’ W-L ! A chance encounter with one of his Welsh team-mates had suggested that Steve had been drug running in the Caribbean. His continued absence would suggest that he has been incarcerated!?
Please add your own comments and refinements to this match report!