Stu’s call to arms on Saturday morning was immediately answered with a slightly terrifying photo from Tom K (see his current profile picture), but no lack of enthusiasm. Even if some of that enthusiasm was Shin’s keenness for a post-junior training brunch at McDonalds. Four more Saturdays of hockey left, and all of them big games.
South started strong, controlling the play from the outset. Short, sharp passes found purple sticks, as play built nicely from Tom R and Stu at the back, through the midfield to the forwards. Five minutes into the first half, a well-drawn foul in the Norwich City D gave us a short corner, which was dispatched with a strong flick into the back of the net by Tom K.
Two minutes later, Joel found Tom K in space in the middle, whose driving run and reverse stick pass reached Ollie sprinting to the back post from the sub bench, where his first touch of the game put the ball into the backboard to make it two-nil. South immediately resumed the pressure on Norwich from the push-back and it wasn’t long before good passing between Joel and Ollie found Owen in the D, who unselfishly put the ball across the goal for James to tap in.
Further good build-up play put Chris P at the top of the D, who drew his man and slipped the ball to Ollie, once again on the back post behind the keeper, to slot it home. Norwich’s counter-attacks were ably cut out by the long arms of Tom R and Douglas before another good passage of play found Harry L, in space in the D, who skilfully flicked it past the keeper’s shoulder into the top of the net.
The last ten minutes of the half saw South losing the ball with some unsympathetic passing, but Norwich were happy to throw long balls down the pitch and mostly off the backline. The team talk focussed on better balls, getting in front of the posts, and more running. However, within a minute of the half, South’s 5-0 lead was eroded when a simple passing move from the Norwich front line allowed them to tap the ball in behind Darren. Clearly, the opposition didn’t feel the game was lost and weren’t going to go down without a fight.
Norwich had the better possession at the start of the second half, with a lobbed ball over Darren fortunately hitting the bar, and a well-executed short corner putting the ball high and right to make the score 5-2. South weren’t without chances, though, with Pearson hitting the post, and another slipped ball on to the right post found Harry L, who opted to kick the ball into the goal. Dave Aston even had a good strike from the edge of the D, picked off the line by a defender. Some cutting, long diagonal balls from Stu and the back line found our forwards in space, and one more post-bound ball was once again kicked into the goal by Jim, who celebrated with a Harry Chalk-esque axe chop.
South had the final goal of the game, with a driving run from Mike into the corner leading to a good shot on goal. The rebound fell kindly for Ollie to sweep home and finish his hat-trick. The rest of the half was mostly without incident, though James did have to stop for a sit-down after one very young and skilful Norwich player left him dizzy. Ollie also managed to pick up a card for not retreating five metres after a foul.
The game ended 6-2 to South, and results elsewhere put us back up to second in the league. To cap it all off, Aston provided champagne for Stu’s one hundredth game for South (and had clearly had a word with the umpires to also provide a card). Three games to go, and hopefully three more wins!
Saturday saw the visit of Peterborough 6ths to Long Road. Languishing towards the foot of the league table and fielding only a bare eleven, it always threatened to be a tough day at the office for their inexperienced side, and so it proved as they were unfortunate enough to run into the M2s on one of the rare occasions upon which we were able to score goals at regular intervals. That said, there was still the opportunity for Dom Reeve to charge forward to tap in an open goal from a yard out at one stage, only to fall over and sit on the ball instead. Standard.
Mariano did manage to get himself an enforced five minutes sit down early on in the game, interfering with a deeply taken Peterborough free hit, but we managed to negotiate this period without too much difficulty.
After that, we found the back of the net via Jon Mann (firing in from the top of the circle after a nice pass from Shin), Nik Patel (via a nice move down the left flank), Menzies (close range from a short corner), Ash (even closer range from a short corner) and two from Jack Chalk (a solid left post sweep and a Barton-esque reverse stick blader).
As the net bulged continually, those playing in a deeper midfield role were able to sit back and contemplate in greater detail what a bargain £6.50 is for a double gin and tonic at The Junction.
At one stage, I cast my eyes over my shoulder to look at our defensive line, where as usual Tom Anns was playing hockey like a man sketching drowsily from some half-remembered nightmare. There was only one moment of alarm, when our visitors sent a hopeful through-ball into a large expanse of space in front of Matt Gower’s D. Anns, up against a rather sprightly youth, sensed the danger. He readied himself, applied some more deep heat cream from a handy pocket, and set off. Ten seconds and twenty yards later, it was neck and neck, but Tom found another burst of speed from somewhere and seared ahead to snuff out the danger.
Presumably his teenage opponent has since retired from all forms of sport.
Derbies give humanity the opportunity for redemption. They give life, and meaning to living. They are also, however, usually an awful concoction of emotions spilling over and a physicality one normally expects in a Greco-Roman wrestling match.
Score at half time: 1-0 to Cambridge South
Score at full time: 5-1 to Cambridge South
The opposition were notionally more skillful at an individual level, were more experienced by far and, in many ways, the score line didn’t quite reflect the battle on the field that the game transpired to be.
Our depth on the bench, a superb manager on the sideline and excellent finishing from ‘Hat-Trick’ Joe were probably what swung it our way.
MoM Dan Loy was probably given too much credit with his clairvoyant substitution calls as well as his part in the final goal credited to the M3s. He suspects people just got lazy with writing match reports…
LoM Pip thoroughly deserved his votes. Moody, great play on the wings, and too many MoM votes in precious games. With teammates like us, who needs enemies?
Our next match is the REAL derby of the season. M2s…here we come…
So with high hopes, Cambridge South 4ths lined up with what on paper was a strong team against second-positioned St Ives. Hopes that were unfortunately dimmed moments later when a momentary lapse of reason allowed a St Ives forward to collect the ball at the top of the D and, realising that there was no challenge coming, decided to shoot. His mistimed flick that, had it been taken cleanly, would easily have been saved by the well-positioned newly-returned Josh in goal, agonisingly looped across the face of the goal and dropped beyond the readjusting goalkeeper's pads into the goal.
Whilst not being the start Cambridge South were looking for, they rallied to the flag but despite this and some good attacking play, a good move by the St Ives midfield brought them the reward of another goal and a third was to follow for a three-nil deficit at half time. Incisive attacking play that saw the St Ives goalkeeper employed on a number of occasions had once again been repelled without reward.
At half time, South resolved to at least try to win the second half and began well, with more determination to win the ball across the park particularly by Oli S, and this gave dividends in a well worked goal for Rob. Despite this, St Ives scored a further goal to level up the half. Oli W Had another good chance with a one to one against the keeper but was well robbed and the match ended four-one to St Ives.
However, Cambridge South 4ths can take a lot from this game: there were good performances across the team and at no time did their heads go down. Josh acquitted himself well in goal despite the scoreline and the new Dan in midfield on his debut was solid and looked strong, helping to stabilise the centre, finding creative passes and connecting well with MoM Oli S, aiding his efforts in trying to wrest control from the St Ives midfield.
After last week's frustrating encounter with Kettering's 3rd team, the men of Cambridge South 5ths were looking to show our neighbours across the Northamptonshire border what they were made of (although the teas were excellent last match, so it wasn't all bad).
Despite lacking several key players due to athletic commitments elsewhere (resting themselves in advance of the Cambridge half marathon) the M5s put in what can only be described as a valiant and inspired performance. This was helped in part by inspirational WhatsApp messages in the preceding days from skipper Michael Gillingham.
As per usual, there was no shortage of drama, with Cambridge South losing key player Ky up front, as a result of him attempting to tackle another player using his face (all sorted now apparently, although he'll have to keep chat to a minimum next game).
As is so often the case with the M5s, despite heroic commitment to the cause and man-of-the-match performances from all of the remaining ten players, the team weren't able to convert this into goals and sadly finished two-one down.
Well for me the top story really had to be winning the Quiz Night; it was definitely not the expected outcome and we certainly like a success story. We went from the picture round, where identifying different pubs around Cambridge got us reminiscing about the events that had seen us eat match teas and enjoy a tipple or two, into general knowledge, where we certainly thought that there was more underground above ground but hit the nail on the head with our 45% estimate, and were dumbfounded that others had known the longest recorded flight for a chicken. Who knew that George would be able to get that, but not the answer to the amount of goals he has let in over the years he has been at South (harsh!)? We certainly came into our own when we had to name artists and songs during the music round. Top points from us; solid performances by Jason Maraz and Van Morrison. Robs Muzza was upset to loose her George Ezra super-fan title when mis-naming one of his songs, but I am sure she can regain it though the continuous wearing of his T-shirt or revision of his song introductions.
With Alice on the quiz-writing team it could have been said that we had an advantage. Perhaps we knew where her mind would take the questions. We certainly couldn’t have predicted the answers to the cheese pun round, definitely our weakest performing round. However we were bang on with our answers for who else, other than - Pearson and herself! - have scored over 100 goals at the club. Nice job, ‘Spice Girls’ (thanks for the name, Pearson), we deserved that bottle of red!
As we are going backward through the day, it is worth saying that before the quiz my school netball team achieved two great wins as well; beating Felsted school 18-0 and Stamford school 14-8, so the day was going well. And to really top it off the Cambridge South L1s had taken on Newmarket 1s and beaten them three-nil! What a winning day.
Can I remember any of the details… I must try! We scored three times and thanks go to Robyn Mc, Carly and Maddy for getting the ball in the net. There were a number of contenders for Lemon: Maddy for a great run head-first into the goal that was off the pitch, Blythe for nearly falling over the back of the baseline, Robyn for colliding with a player and for running backwards so fast she sat down, Carly for her gin and tonics before training as well as ‘bar nuts’. But sadly only one vote was cast for the ticket machine for being useless and I ended up with votes because I left early (sadly, I have a job) and also made a rather mindless comment about a structure we don’t use! Ooopsy!
Commendations go to Jenny for a great debut: we all loved the successful aerial, winning her MOM. Other mentions go to Alice H for her movement up front, Blythe for her drives which she carefully executed to plan, as well as Louise for great saves and Carly for her goal.
Game eighteen for the L2s was against mid-table Bury - also somewhere in the middle of nowhere which meant a 7am alarm…ON A SATURDAY! Having trekked along the A14 to apparently the greatest school in the world (indoor tennis centre, anyone?), we strolled on to the “walled garden astro” to begin the day’s campaign. Dani KS even did some voluntary extra warm-up sprints: we were ready.
It didn’t take long for goal one-hundred to be netted, courtesy of a straight strike from Jess on the P spot. However, Bury came back at us and a brilliant save from Lydia kept us with a clean sheet. Panic averted, some great passing play through the midfield line of Jess, Sarah and Sam worked the ball back up to our attacking twenty-three. A physics-defying shot from Izzy then wound its way around a defender and into the goal to secure our second.
Continued pressure saw a reverse strike by Sam converted by Dani A, and a textbook box short corner routine put away by Izzy put us four ahead at half time. Eimear and Dani were in some great positions on the posts, but Bury’s keeper had a strong game and made some great saves to prevent the score line increasing. That plus one hundred goal difference will have to wait…
Bury put up a good fight in the second half and their defence proved much harder to get through. However a great round-the-back switch through H, Ellie and Emily was then shelled down the wing to find Alison and we were in. Our fifth goal came from some great play from Sarah, with a sixth from Alison from the left. Bury did put some pressure back on but Aoife and the defensive line prevented them from being able to capitalise and enabled us to keep a clean sheet.
MoM votes went to H, Jess and Sarah, who deservedly took the title. Jess was LOM for talking to the opposition instead of receiving a pass - sly tricks from Bury…?! Izzy ‘almost died’ but thankfully for her we forgot this when voting. Dani A narrowly missed out on lemon for nearly poaching a goal, whilst Dani KS suffered from a ball overload situation during the warm up which saw some votes go her way too.
And in a first for this season from H, this match report is actually factually accurate!
We all arrived at Long Road at 9.30 to give us a good hour for our pre-match talk and warm up to prepare for our game against City. Laurie gave a team talk about how we needed to win this game, as last time we were winning two-nil and near the end they managed to claw back and win. We also needed to stop them gaining points near the end of the season!
The game started at 10.30 and straight from the whistle South were awake and ready to go. Jas immediately made some strong runs on the left. The first goal came from a great run into the D and and excellent goal from Hannah very early on in the half. One-nil to South! The second goal came from a crowded D where Rhi gave a great pass to Zara on the post, who pushed it into the goal. Two-nil to South!
The second half started, following the trend of the first half with our midfield working hard with Erin, Grace, Louisa and Rebecca constantly working the ball up the pitch and this resulted in another goal from Hannah. Three-nil to South! However, it was noticeable that City were fighting back stronger and made some good breaks into our D, where Cassie made some great saves. City's runs were shut down quickly by Emma, Hayley, Jess and Lauren helped by Charlotte and Jas, who made some great tackles. Charlotte carried the ball up the pitch and this resulted in a great goal from just inside the D. Four-nil to South! Annoyingly City retaliated to this with a break up the pitch from a sixteen and slipped it past Cassie: four-one! The last ten minutes had both sides fighting; City to try and get more goals and South to keep on top with some more runs, challenging City’s keeper.
The final score was four-one to South! HOORAY!
Lauren got MoM as she defended everything that came towards our goal and played excellently at centre back, and Emma got a unanimous LoM for her fat lip and attempting to get a bit frisky with the opposition at several points in the match! There were also MoM nominations for Hannah (2) and one each for Jas, Charlotte, Hayley and Louisa, reflecting a brilliant team performance!
A strong team of sixteen plus Lou (who rocked the subbing rota) turned up showing determination and drive after the previous weeks' wins. We knew we had a tough match ahead but weren’t about to give up without a fight.
The game started with some fantastic play from midfield, the ball working its way nicely up the pitch. However the tables quickly turned, resulting in play turning defensive with Ginny and Sarah holding strong with very few balls getting through. Ana made some fantastic saves but unfortunately City managed to get a couple around and into the goal. There were a large number of subs itching to get on the pitch, fresh legged and eager (slightly too eager from Zara, without stick and with jumper). Jess proved this theory and kicked off the scoring with a welcome goal, closing the score and providing a huge boost to South.
With much more attacking play, Hattie and Tabby’s focus on the ball cannot be faulted. However, this focus resulted in them not seeing each other and both ending up on the floor in the D as the ball was hit back out!
At the end of the first half the score was three-one but that wasn’t about to put South down. After a strong team talk from Laura and lots of Percy Pigs at half time we knew we had to make the ball work smarter.
We started the half full of energy and ready to play. Anne kicked off the goals in the second half with a superb first goal and a surprised/amazed reaction to match. After a couple of short corners for South we had a very vital one. While setting up there was a slight confusion as Zara's sneezes sound somewhat like a whistle (many only found out it was in fact a sneeze after teas). Tess injected, Jess received and passed back to Tess, who made a lovely hit straight into the goal behind the keeper bringing the score to four-three.
In the final two minutes Iona managed to score another goal, but in between all of this City managed to pop a few goals in, ending the game five-four to City but with South's spirits high at a fantastic match played by all.
A well deserved MoM went to Anne for her fantastic goal as well as some great defence work, with votes and a special mention going to Ana for some amazing saves. LoM votes mainly ended up with Zara again, mostly for having to sit out the final quarter of the game due to a suspected broken finger (after breaking her nose the night before) but also for a whistle-sounding sneeze (also related to the broken nose), the jumper/stick confusion and, ‘Just so she gets Lemon again.’