The first thought for the Satuarday’s game comes on Thursday evening, when the team sheet gets sent out. Hmm who’s in the side, who’s in my defence? I look; oh good, I’ve got five defenders. My mind can now relax.
Friday. Hard day at work plastering a very large ceiling, which my shoulder will not thank me for in the morning. The only benefit of the job is I’ll be finished early.
Home and having a cup of tea at 3.50, the phone rings. It’s Ken (Ken has been a mate for over forty years)
K: What you up to?
M: Not a lot. Cup of tea and chillin’.
K: Fancy a beer?
M: Ken, it’s Friday and I’ve got hockey tomorrow.
K: Just a couple of early ones, we won’t be late.
Right, drinking with Ken is always an early one, that never seems to end (there are loads of stories to be told) and always leads to me being extremely wasted and completely writing off the next day. So after a long conversation we come to an understanding.
M: Ok, two pints and I’m going home.
True to my word, well nearly, two pints and a cup of coffee, then home.
Saturday. As normal, up at six, a bit of breakfast and Netflix. I was right, my shoulder isn’t happy. some tender loving care will sort that out. Get dressed and walk the dog. Back from the walk, my mind turns to hockey. Kit bag sorted, stretching etc. done, I’m ready. 10 o’clock, I’m bored now. Oh, hold on, Sarah is going for breakfast with the Ladies 2s. Hmmm, might gate crash.
12.15. I say my goodbyes and head off. The hour and a half journey up north was a quiet and lonely one. As I was reaching the historic town of King’s Lynn I took a wrong turn and went through a large brick archway that can only be described as King’s Lynn’s answer to the Arc de Triomphe.
I arrive at the complex known as Lynnsport. Now this is an impressive complex that caters for every sport; I believe they even have a pool, darts and dominos centre. Oh, and the changing room had a sauna in it. How good is that? (Just a thought, Long Road)
Oh yeah, we played a game of hockey against the Pelicans. The game was a hard-fought battle with South having the better chances, but unable to finish them off. Everyone worked hard throughout the game, giving 100%. Final score two-all.
There were a few candidates for MoM, notably Mikey - hardworking and tenacious. But the vote went to James for not turning into the Incredible Hulk and getting carded. I even saw him shake someone’s hand during the game. Hmmm…new James! Could be.
LoM was a bit easier. Votes went to Harry C for being so needy, but the winner was Bhav for an awesome aerial that went twenty feet up and five feet forward.
The M2s’ line up was strong and the addition of Paresh and Pearson further strengthened the squad. From the off, South dominated the game. The intensity and pure determination of the M2s could not be matched by Wisbech, who were simply outclassed.
The goal scorers were as follows: Chalky, Pearson and Ash bagged two goals apiece, while Nik and Menzies grabbed one goal each. There was almost another goal for South but this was disallowed. Pearson chested the ball down and fed the ball to Blair, who tucked it away. Blair celebrated like he’d won the Champions League final but this was short lived as the decision had been turned over and a sixteen given.
Moving on, I think that Blair’s attire needs mentioning. The combination of his tucked in shirt with his high-waisted shorts (Lee Cattermole-esque) was somewhat questionable. It’s probably also worth mentioning that we’d found a wild Menzies lying down on his own in the changing room pre-game. The struggle was real. Shout out to the skipper, Coops, for sacking off the M2s to look at wedding venues. Shocking behaviour!
A special mention to Chalky, who took a deflection to the Crown Jewels like a champ, and to Pearson for reaching his 99th goal for the club. South conceded two goals from short corners, which was unfortunate and led to the final score being 8-2. Man of the Match was shared three ways between Nik, Paresh and Puddefoot. Lemon of the match was a close call between Anns and Nik: Anns for bottling to take the penalty flick, but Nik took the deciding vote for losing his shoe mid-run. He needs to learn how to tie his laces. Overall the M2s had a superb game and the battle for promotion continues.
South 3s took on their relegation rivals, City of Peterborough, in a must-win battle for three crucial Division 4NW points. The winner would be guaranteed to be out of the bottom two, with the loser left hoping on other results. After letting a two goal lead slip earlier in the season at Fortress Long Road, it was vital that the focus remained high for the whole seventy minutes this time around.
The early moments were played at a high pace with both sides eager to assert authority. The M3s got off to a great start when Dan Loy found some space in the D to shovel a ball under the CoP Goalie. It would probably have made it over the line but Nev Warren made sure with a delicate jab from two yards out: Ash Dookun may be gone, but his goal stealing exploits are never forgotten.
Determined to outdo Nev, Pip Ho took the goal stealing art to a higher level when Ollie Kenzie single-handedly walked around the CoP defence and goalkeeper to roll the ball goalwards for his first strike of the season. Pip decided that help was required from one yard out. Two-nil to the South.
Rob Hartle then showed that you need to be good when finishing in this team as he casually flicked the ball with speed and accuracy over the outstretched goalie. No chance anyone was nicking that one.
At half time, stand-in captain for the day, Seb Dias, stated some fine points about the delegation of captaincy duties and let the exotic Haribo Oven had procured from foreign climes seep into the tired bloodstreams of the ever-faithful listening team. NBM, George, Oven and Nev tried not to confuse matters but probably did with their not so concise "opinions"!
Peterborough upped their efforts in the second half and it was only the resolute defence of Neil "Kit Man" Sneade, Sev "Grumpy Man" Warren and George "Ladies Man?" Toynton that kept the South goal safe from scoring efforts. George in fact had a great game in goal and secured MoM for his efforts.
Oven turned on a tuppence and flicked a crafty shot to make the score 4-0. Pash wound up and smashed the ball into the top corner only for the Peterborough keeper to pull off an outstanding save. Rob, Pip and NBM then controlled the midfield for the rest of the game as the three points traveled home with the away team.
*Side note - There are times when you have a slight problem that, when assisted by others, snowballs into something massive. When preparing for a match that came after a week's holiday while still suffering the remnants of a chest infection, you would normally congratulate the athlete for a remedial sauna/steam room to promote healthy benefits for the upcoming fixture. Placing your towel on a toasty warm radiator before bedtime, would normally mean that you take the dry towel to the game the next day. The Warren family conspired against Nev Warren. Margaret Warren knocked off the towel in order to dry "more important stuff". Kasper Warren hid said towel on his play cooker out of plain sight. The only alternative was to take the available face towel/flannel when setting off. This was not a decent choice. Particularly when returning from the shower to find Sev Warren had used it first as he had "forgotten to bring his towel". It would have been drier had I had thrown it it a bath! Lemon-worthy indeed!
South 4ths were edged out by Spalding despite taking the lead twice.
The opening goal came early on from a South penalty corner, Jason James sending his flicked shot high to the keeper’s left hand side. South then had a decent amount of pressure but didn’t add to their advantage and were pegged back level, only to rapidly take the lead again when Jo Dant was on hand to knock home a rebound from another penalty corner.
Spalding equalised once more and then took the lead for the first time late on in the match when South overcommitted to the attack on a long corner, giving the hosts space for a decisive counter-attack.
Numbers were never going to be a problem this week with so many keen to repeat our early season victory against Wisbech but on home territory this time. Thanks to those who kindly agreed to step aside this weekend or make the three day round trip to Spalding with the M4s!
Once the usual late afternoon lethargy had been overcome the home team found their groove and started to pressurise the Wisbech defence. Our efforts were soon rewarded with an early short corner which MoM, Simon T, fired into the top corner of the net with deadly precision. The South midfield and forwards continued to press and one such attack ended with Howard S scooping the ball from underneath the grounded Wisbech keeper towards John G, waiting to unleash a very elegant reverse sweep into the unprotected goal. Another skillful strike from Rupert E left the home team with a comfortable three goal lead at half-time.
The second half started with one of the Wisbech players taking a nasty blow to the side of the head from a deflected Simon T shot. After a visit to our on-site A&E department we understand he is absolutely fine and very proud of his wound!
Another Simon T strike found Howard S lurking in front of goal, ready to instinctively deflect the ball into an open net and deprive his fellow midfielder of what would have been a well deserved hat-trick, for which the latter received several well deserved LoM votes!
Despite some opposition adventures into the South D, which were skillfully neutralised by our defence and some instinctive saves from keeper Michael G, the home team continued to dominate for the remainder of the second half with further goals from Simon T and the irrepressible Rob B.
MoM overwhelmingly went to Simon T for an outstanding performance that helped inspire a famous M5s' victory.
LoM went to John G for tying his legs in knots with an opponent's stick and ending up face down on the astro.
Our unbeaten record in 2019 continues!
A request for this match report came from good old Al-Pal Wright herself: 'I'm leaving so I hope I feature heavily in the report.' Basically, Alice Wright - please don't go. It just won't be the same without you. I bet Alice Walker wouldn't have abandoned ship halfway through the season.
Secondly, I would just like to clarify that MoM votes do not cancel out LoM votes. So, despite her cracking play on the forward line, moving well and creating space, Maddy B also won herself joint LoM for saving Alice H's goal…sorry, 'deflecting it into the corner'.
I'm only bitter, Maddy, because now I have to write the match report…
The match was a bit of a tough one, physically and mentally. The Pelicans gave us a good fight and we tried hard to get that silly wee ball into that silly wee goal. But it just wouldn't happen. The first half was nil-all, with a few tumbles - unprovoked but amusingly dramatic - from Alice H and Flo winning the Oscars in that category.
Katie 'It's So Annoying' Gibson on the other hand was uncontested in winning the VMA and LoM for 'Best Female Artist' from amongst the South side. We expect her debut album 'Blackout Rage' to hit the shelves just in time for Christmas 2019, 'Angry Fist' dance move not included. Her musical talents were not wasted however, as I reckon they pushed the girls on to get their one-nil win over the Pelicans.
This is how it went. Some great defence from MoM-nominee Blythe, often found galloping up the wing to create pace and open attacking play. Captain Robyn unfortunately had to withdraw from the event after breaking her thumb in the first half. Alice Wright decided to set the score even and took a flying shot through the air…straight at the height of a Pelican defender - it's not tennis, Alice buddy.
There were a few tense moments when Pelicans got a speedy break, but stopped by Kim (another MoM nominee entitled 'Holding her own at the back with great distribution'). The winner of the overall award of MoM was jointly Robyn Murray and Blythe, Robyn Murray herself scoring the one and only goal of this 70 minute awards season. It came after some hard work with Alice Wright and her exciting play. The ball made it to the D; no-one really knew if South would come away with a goal but silky skills from Robs Murray nipped it past the keeper to win the game.
That's all from the red carpet (green astro) this week. Tune in next time for more from the L1s.
Most of the team started the day feeling fresh: up early, in time for breakfast and to be at the pitch on time. I, on the other hand, woke up to a video of an excited Harley Joe racing around H’s house and what some might call a slight hangover.
We assembled in the changing rooms, discussed tactics, came up with a master plan and had a whole team discussion as to whether it was cold enough for a skin.
We spent the first ten minutes of the game running around with most of the possession but doing very little to create chances. The turning point came when we won a short corner and I scored from a straight strike. We settled into the game after this and converted again after Jenny intercepted the ball, drove into the D, hit the ball to Hannah, who deflected the ball in at waist height. We finished the first half three-nil up after another drive forward by the midfield and a reverse sweep over the keeper by me.
The message from Paul at half time was clear: communication and keep moving the ball around. We had the better of St Ives in terms of fitness and needed to exploit that.
We did as Paul said and the second half came with five more goals. The defensive line of Ellie, H, Nic, Jenny and Lauren held the back to shutdown each of St Ives’s breaks and keep a clean sheet. Louise’s only touch of the ball was collecting it from the corner after it went off. Our fourth goal came from a shot in by Jess which I deflected on the reverse through the keeper’s legs. The fifth was another combination of Jenny taking the ball around four players and crossing it for Hannah to tap in. The sixth came from Dani, who pushed the ball past the keeper. Goal number seven was from another drive by the midfield, a cross in, a bit of a scramble and a slap by me into the goal. Rebecca rounded off the scoring after being set up by Hannah to make it eight-nil.
We put in a strong performance and the score reflects it. Jenny won Man of the Match for her distribution and hard work in the middle. Jess had two Lemon votes for a particularly dramatic fall (flailing legs and all), but the overall Lemon was me, as a result of a number of errors. The first of which was arriving hungover, the second was trying to kick the ball in to the goal instead of using my stick and the third was losing control of my stick and throwing it across the pitch after trying to make an abysmal tackle.
The team headed off for an early start in Bury, to face their closest opponents in the league. The early rise appeared a little too early for Charlotte, who forgot her stick bag in the excitement to get to the pitch on time. However, with the rest of the team raring to go we roared onto the pitch and got off to a strong start.
Very evenly matched, both teams played some great hockey in the first half, but no breakthroughs. On to the second half and Grace took a tumble…over her own feet, Ani hit someone on the floor and Erin had some very near misses on goal.
However disaster struck in the last three minutes when Bury had a rare shot on goal and hit the backboard, despite Ana’s fabulous goalkeeping throughout the game! With minutes to spare, the team shot back up the pitch, some excellent hockey was played, Jas was as awesome as ever at nipping around their players and creating opportunities (earning her a well deserved MoM) and finally Erin struck gold with her debut goal for South and our crucial equaliser! The fans went wild (the team and Charlotte’s mum on the sideline) for the most glorious draw of the season!
The post-match excitement led Charlotte to have her second forgetful moment of the day, leaving her phone at teas, therefore securing herself LoM status.
The weekend really started post-training on Thursday night with a trip to the pub and the creation of Bhav’s Babes - a collaborative Spotify playlist featuring all the cheesiest tunes. On request, I spent my Friday lunch break buying any variation of Percy Pigs that were in the hospital (four bags would be enough, right?) While Harriet’s Saturday started with a trip to Argos to buy a portable Bluetooth speaker, my day started with bacon rolls - therefore saving everyone from my poached egg predictions again (which were just a week early). On meeting at Long Road Harriet very excitedly got out the world’s biggest portable speaker, which on closer inspection we discovered was in fact a bluetooth speaker but definitely not portable - therefore winning her joint LoM.
We arrived at Stevenage full of energy and excitement and with about an hour to warm up. We took carpool karaoke (obviously to the best playlist going) from the car to the pitch with some interesting moves (the boomerangs that didn’t make it on to Insta speak for themselves). The game started strongly with some really good play from both teams, but South’s communication and drive and the buzz from Jess’s first goal keep spirits high, along with the continued singing and chants from the side lines. Stevenage made some good breaks but Ginny, Katie, Eloise and Lydia were always there to stop them. The second goal was scored by Tess, who seems to have found a new position going from defence to forward.
With a quick half time talk, four bags of Percy pigs as well as oranges, we were well fuelled for the second half. We started strong, fired up from the Percy pigs, and with a win in sight we weren’t about to calm down but nor were Stevenage. I narrowly avoided a head injury with my crazy quick reactions taking a stick to the shoulder instead. My biggest achievement of the season was not crying on the pitch (apparently you can’t vote yourself MoM for this). Everyone is now getting daily updates on my arm whether they like it or not. Sorry not sorry. Don’t remember much after this as was still focusing on keeping my tears inside but Jess scored another goal with some great passes from the mids, ending the game 3-1 to us: a very excited, sugar-hyped, and slightly injured team. We proceeded to a very lovely teas in which my tears finally spilled over, resulting in votes for LoM.
All the best things come in twos so we had both joint MoM and LoM this week, with MoM going to Katie for some amazing play, great passes and being an all-round winner and Jess for scoring two of those all important goals. Votes also went to Ellen, Nicole and Tess (apparently mine didn’t count).
A special thank you to Rob for being the timer/phone holder/boomerang taker/Harriet’s MoM (therefore winning her more LoM votes). Apparently you can’t vote for yourself or your significant other as MoM, therefore ending with us as joint LoM.
Calories burned: 1100 (just about enough for Zara to down a bottle of Caribbean Twist before the social)
P.S. We're currently working on an L4s’ montage…watch this space