Cambridge South 1s travelled to Bury St Edmunds 1s on a windy day at Culford for a top of the table clash with significant ramifications for this year's Div 2N league. Both teams started brightly, with Bury taking a lead after ten mins following some loose play by South. A number of chances were had by both sides, with defenders and keepers working hard at both ends. The score at half time was one-nil.
The momentum swung to South after Chris Pearson was on the end of a dangerous tackle in the D. He put away the resulting penalty stroke confidently in the top left corner. South upped the pace of the game and scored two further goals in quick succession, Mark Williams with a neat reverse stick finish and James Bailey bundling the ball over the line only two minutes later. Bury were reduced to nine players for a few minutes after receiving two yellow cards, and Owen Harrison took advantage of the space at the back post to deflect a fourth goal from a superb pass from the sideline by Tom Kemsley.
South held onto the lead and saw out the game to go back to the top of 2N on goal difference, confirming their promotion to Division 1 for the first time. Stuart Rimmer (captain) commented after the game, "We are thrilled with today's result which confirms our promotion to Division 1 for the first time in Cambridge South's history. The squad have consistently played high paced and energetic hockey throughout the season and fully deserve to move back to the top of the league. It's fantastic for the club which continues to go from strength to strength, with five men's and five ladies' teams and a thriving juniors set-up as well."
An outstanding game played at Long Road between a selection of great blokes on Saturday ended with a two-nil win for the 2s. It wasn’t domination from the 2s, as both sides came to play hockey and do their upmost to win.
Buoyed by watching the L3s give runaway champs the L2s a tough test in the preceding game, the M3s wanted to take that momentum of the underdog with them - however, it was the M2s who came out of the blocks quicker and dominated the early stages.
Capn’ Coops was keen for the game to be taken to the 3s in the early stages - Jack Chalk took the words to heart, and straight from the kick off headed directly for the opposing captain and donked him on the head with his stick. Which would not be exactly what Coops had in mind but no serious harm was done so we carried on.
A couple of chances came and went but it wasn’t long before the first goal came – after a period of sustained pressure where all the midfield chaps were involved, Nik especially causing uncertainly in the visitors’ defence (as the 3s were the away side) with incisive passing. The ball fell to Jack, and I am not sure what he did or how he did it – but the ball bounced up, popped off George’s head, and was going into the goal. Now, depending on your point of view I either a) ensured the ball crossed the line before any on-rushing defender could save it, b) whacked it in from a centimetre out stealing the goal from Mr Chalk, c) didn’t actually score at all as it was already over the line. Those are the opinions of myself, Coops and Jack respectively. In all honesty, option b was the closest to reality.
The game settled into a close encounter with both sides probing without finding a killer blow. The M2s were probably having the better of the chances, but there was not much in it. One particular great moment was a mazy run from Peter Creed as he got the ball on the left on his own twenty-three metre line and beat two or three challenges, waltzing out of trouble before being stopped by an ‘experienced’ tackle from Coops (I realise this is a play from the 3s but it was good to see from the young man).
Another bit of good play from the 3s nearly got them level. Making use of some space they found on the left of the pitch, an attack led to a fantastic opportunity for Ed B – however, he found The Saint in fine form. He wasn’t giving up that clean sheet and ably repelled several shots with the feet and then stood tall to bat away a couple of cheeky lob attempts.
Half time and one-nil to the 2s – an even game and all to play for.
The second half was more of an end to end battle as the conditions and the excitement of the occasion drained the energy levels. Again, the 2s edged it on possession and chances. The 3s were not without chances of their own but MSG was resilient, ably assisted by the defence.
As the half wore on the 2s started to gain a hold on the play – and doubled the lead with a well worked short corner. Who needs training and practising when devising and discussing at the top of the D just before seems to work fine. Back to the injector to tap across for the knock in. Coops to Jack (for his first of the game) - simple but effective.
The opposition goalkeeper did make a couple of great saves, denying both Jack and Manny from adding to the total. Also Kerny did pick out a through ball after a typical slaloming, driving run from Manny, when at the end all the forwards ran to the back post and there was no-one on the P spot for the tap home.
Another short was won at the final whistle for a robust challenge (one I will not give any details to, as it does not deserve any). Determined to make a point, Anns barkingly declared we should be ending on a high, firing the troops up, big push at the end – only to miscontrol the push out and have the game actually end on a bit of an anti-climax.
Three cheers and handshakes – in what was a good game by committed CSHC players.
Cheers to Steve and John for umpiring.
As the result of an intra-club game should be pretty much a foregone conclusion this report is going to focus more on events than outcomes. League scheduling had given us a pair of 2s-versus-3s derbies on the same day. The ladies’ match immediately beforehand had provided us with suitable inspiration, the L3s pushing the L2s all the way and forcing the higher team to come from behind to win by a solitary goal for the tightest result of their season.
Discussion beforehand focused on opportunities to disrupt the M2s: put pressure on Coops, he hates marking; try and get Shin chatting, it puts him off; make Anns run. Unfortunately the wily 2s seemed wise to our nefarious tactics, probably helped by pinching the spine of our team, Dylan, NBM and Oven all called up for the higher side.
Any crafty plans were undone in the first two minutes though, as a surging 2s’ attack resulted in the ball popping up in front of George who tried an unconventional headed save. Unfortunately it only went as far as Jack who batted it back towards goal. Oven claimed he added a touch – just to make sure – a good two or three inches before it crossed the line.
Despite the early setback the 3s steadied the ship and the remainder of the half remained scoreless. As was to be expected, the higher team had the preponderance of possession but the 3s, in the second away strip of green and yellow, battled hard and had several quick breaks down the flanks from Peter and Ed supported by Joe, Dan and Jonny. In the 2s’ goal, MSG was repeatedly forced into action to keep their lead intact while Coops received a warning from the umpire after being turned on the touchline by Peter and catching him from behind as the youngster surged away.
We were still in the game as the second period got underway. Gradually though the 2s began to turn up the pressure and the defence, with Neil and Adam flanked by Sev and Pash, were being forced deeper and into more desperate clearances. From one sixteen hit, Neil got caught dawdling looking for an outlet ball and was robbed by Oven, whose improvised shot flashed just wide of the post. A second goal looked on the cards but when it came it was from a set piece rather than open play, Jack getting in front of George at a short corner to deflect a ball low past the 3s’ keeper and inside the right post.
The result secured, as the game entered its final minutes the 2s were looking to add a gloss to the scoreline while the 3s wanted to maintain respectability in defeat. In this context came the most noteworthy incident of the match. A ball into the 3s’ D turned the defence and was collected by Oven, outside the right post close to the backline. As he shaped to shoot, suddenly he found himself lifted bodily into the air. What had happened? Was it an earthquake? A tornado? A freak tsunami making its way up the valley of the Cam from far-distant King’s Lynn? A moment later and the turncoat forward was sacked to the ground like a rag doll as Neil barrelled through him from behind, full bore. As a tackle it was full-blooded, uncompromising, 100% committed and absolutely, totally illegal. Think Roy Keane and Alf-Inge Håland. The striker was left rolling on the floor in outraged agony, his muscles spasming from Neil’s shock and awe attack, while the defender offered a sheepish apology and muttered something unconvincing about going for the ball. Fortunately, with the game all but over the umpire took an indulgent view and contented himself with awarding a short, which slipped away to end the match.
Defeat leaves the 3s treading water in mid-table; victory leaves the 2s firmly in the chase for promotion. Overall a satisfactory outcome all round then, except maybe for Oven.
IMPORTANT FOOTNOTE FROM ED: Those Cambridge South ultras amongst you will recall my heroic self sacrifice a few games ago. Despite still having one ankle the size of Saturn I felt obliged to turn out for the 3rd team, especially for the chance to stick tackle Coops. However, in order to fully reach my potential and not fall in a crippled heap in the warm-up I required a strong mix of stimulus and depressant alike. Luckily some old contacts from the job finally came in handy. A few pills here, a few pills there and I was running free, bounding in the clouds, dancing through the opposition (no wonder they can't make it into the 1s). It was a glorious sight, "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" the soundtrack to my success playing through my head.
Apart from that my memory of the game is fairly ropey. I'm pretty sure I scored a few and Cambridge News enquired about the rights to my story but others claim all I did was crash my car and eat a lot of pizza.
Judging by the state of my car maybe they are right. Moral of the story, kids: don't do drugs… Unless you're out with George in the pub; in that case, take all that you can get.
This is a tale of joy in the maw of defeat; of kinship under duress; and of laughter in the face of adversity.
Our story begins on a beaming Saturday afternoon. Four friends in the car, speaking of high minded concepts; such as purity, beauty and Jay-Jay’s personal pursuits. We arrive at Wellsborough feeling serene and ready for a spirited challenge against our opponents.
The intrepid captain Jan booms out a gruff and manly speech further emboldening us; followed by a serenade of the famous soprano aria, “Dido and Aeneas”.
Feeling as the Athenians must have done at the Battle of Marathon, facing down a superior force we began, teeth gritted. By the half time whistle we felt more like English football supporters, having been spanked five-nil. After a rousing debate we agreed on a new formation and swung into the second half with that cliche’d nil-nil attitude.
This new approach certainly showed. I’m not completely certain what Pete sprinkled on his cornflakes that morning, but he battled up the pitch from right back, making some excellent passes and positioning himself in the box to score a cracking goal. Feeling pumped, we upped the pressure. Swiftly, two more goals were smashed in by that charming rogue, Jelley.
However, this is where things turn. The young hero James Hayes trips into a player on a short and is given a yellow card; then Fate casts her bitter gaze upon the hazel-eyed, saintly statue of humility, Ollie Scott. Having seen our meek champion’s consistent good humour she pulls out a yellow card and sends him off. This narrator calls it what it is. Life.
With the earth-shattering loss of two deific titans, a p-flick and two further goals are conceded and hope of victory is extinguished.
What is the moral of this painfully accurate story?
You may well ask.
The slightly unusual combination of bright sunshine and storm force winds greeted a full strength M5s team at 'Fortress Long Road'. Fortunately the toss went in our favour for only about the second time this season so the obvious choice was to play with the wind and sun behind us and blind/exhaust our opposition whilst we ran rampant over them. That was the theory anyway!
Making an overdue and welcome return to Long Road was long time CSHC centre back, James 'Sid' Siddorns…but alas, playing for the opposition.
Both teams started confidently with the home team's defence dealing with everything CoP could throw at us, but still requiring an occasional super-human save from keeper, Mikey G. Both teams battled hard but there was little to separate them. Our strategy of playing the wide channels out of defence seemed to be working well but we just couldn't quite finish the job on the occasions we managed to get players into the D.
Shortly before half time the skies darkened and the subsequent torrent mixed with the storm force winds sent players and umpires scurrying for cover, which of course there is very little of at Long Road… When are we going to get those dugouts, John? Fortunately the storm passed as quickly as it had arrived and the first half finished with nothing to separate the two teams.
The second half was played in much the same way as the first, with both teams defending well whilst creating chances on the break. Alas it was the visitors who broke the deadlock with two goals in quick succession that even our super-human keeper couldn't deal with. Undaunted, the home team continued to battle hard for the draw but the clock was against us.
A good spirited and closely fought game, which we were a little unlucky not to come away with a point from.
Jo D was a worthy MoM for some dazzling pace and skill on the right wing.
Despite some (not unexpected) competition from Andy T, JJ was clear LoM winner for pausing the game for what we'd describe in the UK as a 'light shower'… Does it not rain in South Africa or something? ;-)
When we played Alford at the start of the season in Skeggy we lost five-three, so you could say we were out for revenge on Saturday when we took them on at home.
The weather couldn’t decide what it was doing: hot, sunny, windy and raining - to wear or not to wear a thermal, you ask?!
Our pre-match team talk in the changing room was made eventful when poor Maddy Barker arrived with third degree burns on her hands. Turns out she tried to put out a burning jumper with her hands. She didn’t play the match but that didn’t stop her from getting Lemon of the match. She is okay though!
So the game! It took us a little while to get into the match but when we settled we dominated possession for the majority of the first half, which was reflected in the score line as it was four-nil at the break.
Second half, Alford came out strong but we held them out. We scored another three goals but lost our clean sheet when the decision was made to award a P-flick against Loopy… And they scored, making it seven-one.
Of course as we were playing Alford there wasn’t a chance we’d come away from the seventy minutes injury-free: both Robs came out with nasty gashes.
Our goal scorers:
Hat-trick Laura (3)
Got her gash out Robs (2)
Aggy Alice (2)
Multiple good performances on Saturday with the MoM nominations reflecting that, Alice, Carly, Robs all getting votes but hat-trick Laura came out on top!
Three points in the bag and important goal difference points gained!
To celebrate we had a team social - MEXICAN NIGHT. What’s that meme? Oooh, stories. Far too much tequila. piñata smashing.
“I promise I didn’t poo in the piñata, but I did get my gash out.”
We put purple paint on our faces,
And tied our laces.
We thought it was showtime,
But the Threes were winning all the way till half time.
It was brutal and intense,
But our attackers and defence,
Managed to stop them from scoring again.
After a talk with Paul,
We managed to grow some balls,
And then Rebecca scored,
And we prayed to the lord,
That Louise would save the flick.
She’s a cool chick,
She saved the flick so we didn’t throw a fit.
Hannah was the next,
As her goal left everyone perplexed.
MoM went to Sarah and Jess as they played very well,
Izzy and Aoife got LoM as you can tell,
We were forty minutes late,
But please no hate.
We made a rap,
So we can recap, the scary game
Where the Twos nearly got put to shame.
Izzy and Aoife
At the start of the day there were two teams that remained unbeaten in Div 4 NW(S) since Christmas. They were both South teams… and they were due to face each other in the 13.30 pushback: the respective war paints were on. The 2s were playing for the pride of their perfect record, whereas the 3s were playing for some much-needed points to assist their final finish position.
From the first whistle the 3s were putting on the pressure, much to the seeming surprise of our opposition. The reaction took the form of a mis-timed tackle that produced a nice gouge out of Tuffers' right knee (speaking as the person who patched it up multiple times after the blood soaked through!) Our forwards had made a couple forays into the 2s’ defence already at this point. Rhi sent the ball out from our defensive twenty-three for Zara to pick up and carry to near their twenty-three and slip the ball at just the right moment for Kath to sweep one-on-one with the keeper! Everyone loves an underdog? The guttural roar that went up as the first goal was scored by the 3s to go one-nil up was immense! Yay!
Shortly after this, Jas carried the ball through their defence again and was then completely flattened by the keeper to win a flick! Oh, the excitement! Chance of going two-nil up… The 3s’ Achilles’ heel: NO-ONE likes taking flicks… But Rhi boldly steps up and unfortunately it’s saved by the keeper.
The 2s came back a bit towards the tail end of the half. With two minutes left on the clock they had a short corner, but no fear, Lauren is here, to clear wide to the right sideline. Not long after, thankfully the whistle went for half time. One-nil to the 3s!
Surely this cannot be maintained? Or could David truly hold Goliath at bay? Half-time instructions were essentially, ‘Keep being fabulous, ladies!’
The 2s came out firing on all cylinders, scoring shortly into the second half, Rebecca driving a shot from open play from the top of D. One-all. The score remained this way for the majority of the second half. The 2s pressure mounted with a fifteen minute period where they had about a million-and-one short corners, all of which were adsorbed with impressive cool, calm, collective effectiveness by our defence, who had largely not subbed at all! Kudos! Keeper Ana making numerous saves that impressed some of the top goalscorers in the ladies’ side of the club.
The conclusion of this period involved defensive superstar, Lauren, being double-teamed by Izzy and Hannah, with the ball slipped to Hannah to score a second. Damn! We’d been doing so well. Simultaneously, Erin’s knee was hit by a stray stick resulting in her being carried off the pitch. Down to just a single sub now. Following this, there was a lovely example of experience vs youth, a reverse stick block tackle from Louisa halting a speed attack by Izzy E. This triggered a resurgence by the 3s in the final ten minutes, returning it to the competitive game that it had been earlier.
The final whistle went, two-one to the 2s. An absolutely fabulous team performance, to hold the league champions to their most conservative league result all season, just shows how far this team has come since September! We’ve been progressively improving as the season has gone on; the results speak for themselves. Despite being devastated that I couldn’t play this game, especially when we only had three defenders available, I could not be more proud of my team today! Our opposition were disappointed in their performance, but we couldn't have been more pleased with ours!
After a performance like that I decreed that multiple MoM votes were permitted; the ultimate winner being our keeper, Ana (with eight votes), who arguably had her best performance of the season; second was Lauren (with seven votes) for a sterling performance in defence; Rhi, Louisa, Ani and Irina also received two votes each, then Zara, Jas and Kath with one a piece. LoM was Hannah, for a selection of reasons ranging from arriving late coz she was chatting for too long and attempting to sub back onto the pitch without her stick…
Anne Crucefix, Jo Dant, Rhi Davies, Rebecca Frith, Sarah Holland, Alice Hug, Olivia Jinks, Katy Leonard, Harriet Shipley, Juliette Stoop, Louise Walker, Anne Woodman
Zara Bradley, Liz Dunsby, Bex Jackson, Dani Kilsby-Steele, Isla Kotzenburg, Wilma Kotzenburg, Izzy MacDonald-Parry, Robyn McLean, Alex Macpherson, Scarlet Pleasence, Annabel Wilson, Cassie Woodfin