Midfield play as smooth as the finest Belgian chocolate
As the club’s twitter account said, "Hockey after Easter feels a bit weird". Why were we playing, then? Well, a re-arranged match against fellow mid-table side, CoP 6ths, couldn’t be fitted in prior to the holidays due to a combination of March snow and an early fall for the spring renewal festival in 2018. So after Easter it was, despite the risk that, "All the chocolate eggs we’ve eaten in the last week prob aren’t going to help our game much." Speak for yourself, sir!
There wasn’t an awful lot riding on the outcome as neither side could gain or lose any places in the table, with South locked in for sixth and our visitors eighth. Pride in your own performance can be a good motivator though, the game being played at a good lick and intensity throughout. It was still identifiably a league game rather than a friendly in its mode. And that despite some tactical freestyling from v-c Nev, which had such absurdities as George on the wing and Jan in midfield. Though, actually, both did OK in their unfamiliar roles…
Even wilder experimentation had been planned for the second-half, carefully laid out on Nev's usual laminated tactics sheet (the ability to wipe clean is essential). However this got quietly abandoned as we found ourselves turning around a goal down following a misplaced pass in defence, a flat stick being beaten and a reverse stick shot taken early that dribbled agonisingly in off the far post.
The second half saw us dominating territory and possession as the visitors relied on their strong and experienced defence to see them home for a win. We needed to try and take advantage when they were out of position by doing things like not dawdling over setting up for free-hits and sideline balls. Or (see Lemon) attempting to hurl the ball back and skewing it miles right, off the pitch and into the Football net. And then, in a desperate rush to retrieve the situation, getting one’s stick caught in the net, abandoning it, rolling the ball back and then heading back off the pitch to try and untangle the blasted thing. So yeah, that wasn’t great.
On the occasions when we weren’t trying to re-enact Keystone Cops’ comedy routines and did manage to move the ball around quickly enough to bypass rather than go through Peterborough players, we discovered they also had a very handy bloke behind them in the pads! Despicable. Short corners were the way forward, then. And it was from one such that we finally drew level with just over two minutes to play, Dom’s straight strike beating the keeper then taking a couple of deflections but ending up in the net. Ollie tried to claim one of the touches on the way was his, but the goal seems to have been given to Dom, so that’s what I’m going with.
The M3s’ season in numbers, with Dom’s goal responsible for ensuring three of the following stats are true:
More wins (9) than defeats (8)
More goals scored (50) than conceded (47)
More teams below us (6) than above (5)
Scored in every game
Took at least one point off every other team in the division
|St. Ives 2nds||1 - 2||4 - 2||3|
|Wisbech Town 2nds||1 - 4||3 - 3||1|
|Long Sutton 2nds||1 - 0||4 - 3||6|
|M2s||1 - 4||1 - 1||1|
|Cambridge City 5ths||1 - 6||4 - 1||3|
|Bourne Deeping 3rds||3 - 4||3 - 2||3|
|City of Peterborough 6ths||1 - 1||1 - 2||1|
|Cambridge Nomads 2nds||1 - 2||1 - 1||1|
|Alford & District 1sts||8 - 1||1 - 3||3|
|Bourne Deeping 4ths||2 - 2||2 - 1||4|
|St. Neots 2nds||4 - 1||2 - 1||6|
Not bad for a newly promoted side operating as high up the leagues as it has ever done. The table above does highlight something unusual with scope for improvement, though: if the home record (3-2-6) had come close to matching the away one (6-3-2, unbeaten on the road against the top 5) then it would have been an even more successful season! Next year, eh?