Sublime save in the 1st half.
I woke up today full on optimism, energy and in an overall good mood. After failing to find Mikey at LolaLo’s at 2am last night, I managed to get a well-rested night’s sleep. My leg was all strapped up and ready for another run around on the pitch. Today was going to be a good day. I put my flip flops on and walked over to Long Road for the drive down.
‘Lee Valley,’ they said. ‘The home of England Hockey,’ they said. You’ll love it, playing in the stadium and hearing the roar from the few supporters making the trip. My dreams were becoming reality, to play at Lee Valley and grab myself a couple of goals in front of the many empty seats. Sadly and annoyingly, this was not the case. Please bear with me as there is quite a bit of stuff that turned this glorious day into a day where I questioned my love for this sport.
Firstly, the weather. God almighty, it was cold, windy and raining. I could see Joel was not enjoying his return to South hockey after gallivanting off on his honeymoon. The cold was taking a toll on my leg; this was not a good sign. But I powered through as I could see the worried eyes of Captain Chalk trying to rally together the team in the cold and the last thing he wanted was me complaining about my leg.
Secondly, we were not playing on the main pitch. Someone had forgotten to mention my dream of playing on the main pitch, which meant we were dropped to ‘pitch 2’. A pitch I regard as nothing special with the beautiful skyline of Asda and B&Q in the background. I have to admit this depleted my motivation for the game - complete lies were said about playing at the main stadium - the only upside was there were actual dugouts to protect me from the rain.
The game was upon us. I was starting up front with Chalk Senior. We started quite well, I could see we were controlling the midfield and putting pressure on their players. I was doing my usual stuff upfront…run around for a bit and act like I’m doing a lot of stuff when actually I’m just watching the game and waiting for the break. After two minutes my opportunity came. A bouncing ball managed to find its way past their defenders and to me, open on goal - just me versus the keeper.
I ran to the top of the D and prepared to strike. This was going bottom left corner; I could already see the ball bouncing off the backboard. I made one last step forward and the worst happened.
*Pause for dramatic effect*
My hamstring went again, feeling it tear back up my leg. I was out of the game. My day went from bad to worse. A one and a half hour drive down to London in the freezing cold and rain had ended in two minutes of play. My game was over, I took my shin pads off and put my coat on. The rest of the game was okay, nothing really happened.
I decided to have a shower at half time. I thought I’d take advantage of the Olympic-standard changing rooms for myself. The showers took a while to warm up, which was disappointing, and there were no booths to hang up your match shirt but apart from that they were adequately nice. After getting changed and making a phone call to my physio I limped back to the pitch to find South two-nil down. Apparently we conceded from a short corner and a p-flick. The p-flick was quite spectacular as Bhav managed to get a yellow and a stick to the head, causing an outrageous bulge on his forehead that made me question his ability to still drive and move into Pearson’s car for the drive home.
The third outrageous thing of the day was the teas afterwards… East London play at Lee Valley if you haven’t figured out by now. But their teas were in Whitechapel! Now for anyone who doesn’t know, Whitechapel is basically in the centre of London a couple hundred yards away from the Tower of London, which meant the convoy of South has to travel through the heart of London trying to find this singular pub that supposedly held the match teas. Captain Chalk had made a poor decision. We were going to miss the start of the crucial England v Wales Six Nations match. After debating whether or not to just leave, the reluctant East London captain informed us our teas were on their way. The teas weren’t that bad, it did put Cambridge South’s pizza to shame by the size of them.
Overall I was disappointed about the game, mainly due to only playing two minutes but also because we lost.
M.O.M: Special mention to Pearson to endless running as per usual but Jason got the vote due to his ‘few’ spectacular saves. (I always find it strange that when we lose a defender or the keeper gets M.O.M).
Lemon: Myself, for quite possibly making the worst two minute cameo of the season.