Lots of running around and a definite improvement in the 'tone of his umpiring disagreements'.
The warm weather and generally pleasant playing conditions could only mean one thing: the end of competitive hockey after what feels like a very short season for Cambridge South 1st XI. This postponed fixture would see recently-safe South take on very-much-unsafe Wapping 4s away.
Having already secured their position in the league for next season, the day got off to a slightly distracted start for South and with some notable absentees. With captain Stu and VC Harry both finding other ways to spend their weekends it was left to third choice captain, Jim, to organise a troop with little to play for. Captain Stu had recently been overheard boasting of his efficient method of sending out the weekly team email, by copying and pasting previous weeks’ information. But this would come back to bite him, as multiple addresses were listed as the setting for the season’s finale. Although the majority of the team managed to use their knowledge of English hockey to find the Lee Valley national stadium, a lonesome Shin decided to revisit the site of a famous 1-1 draw with the soon-to-be-promoted Potters Bar, causing him to lose all hope of a place in the starting line up of the thirteen man squad.
When the conversation did eventually turn to hockey and the day’s game, it was very much with a focus on the disastrous effect an away win would cause the relegation-threatened Wapping rather than any real interest in three points or ending the season in style. Jim produced a rousing speech to emphasise this point, however, while Colin desperately searched his hockey bag for sign of a long lost wedding ring.
Unfortunately for the visitors, the home side really did seem motivated and tried very hard throughout the game. South struggled to find a footing in the contest and came in at half time one-nil down. The message at the interval was to communicate and also attempt attacking down not just one, but both sides of the pitch.
South started the second half strongly with Joel finding time in between umpiring enquiries to switch the play nicely through the middle. Paresh began crashing strong drives up to the forward line at such a consistent rate they could surely be used as a unit of time. An admittedly dribbly midfield pairing of Tom K and Mike began to do their thing at the right end of the pitch, connecting with the hard working forwards.
But none of this came to anything and South conceded three more goals to lose four-nil.
After the game, man of the match and lemon votes were collected while enjoying superb match teas that Bhav summarised well as, ‘Salt with some lasagne sprinkled on top.’ The man of the match contest was dominated by votes for the Toms, with Tom R getting credit for a strong return to defence but narrowly missing out to Tom K for running around lots and, ‘A strong improvement in tone of umpiring disagreements.’ Shin ran away with the lemon vote, managing to reach double figures for his Potters Bar adventure. The surprise of the day though seemed to come with a man of the match vote for Dave for, ‘Just generally being a good guy’…
With that, the season is over and the insanely long summer break begins. Five months before a ball will be hit again in anger but, when it is, South will surely be looking to improve again on the season’s finish and challenge for promotion.