Great shins (out-shinned his brother, and everyone else according to one vote)
Despite kindly offering to umpire on a Sunday morning, Neil was stitched up by his team mates. Apparently, a whiskey-heavy social led to his late arrival and emergency coffee.
On a sunny Sunday morning, the new mixed captains were looking to start the season well (no, not the one with all the leagues, but the one where all the teams from the club gather together) with a match to determine who would be captain and who would be vice. Following in the footsteps of successful captains Colin and Sophie would be hard to do, so a draft was essential to ensure a fair spread between the teams. Harry Lewis beat the bookies’ odds for a solid #17 pick. Sub plans were drawn up in secret (or as secret as it gets when both captains are sat next to each other over breakfast).
Umpires Ollie, Hannah, Chalk #1 and Chalk #2 (doing a quarter each) were all on the pitch, but umpire Neil turned up one minute before the start, nursing a coffee and definitely not a hangover. Janette didn’t turn up at all, immediately ruining Ollie’s sub plan and forcing Whittaker into a Joe-nette role at left back. Insubordination began early, as Harry Lewis and Tom Rosselli decided to take the coin toss for the captains. Fortunately, Harry won the choice of ends, and Rosselli won the choice of pushback, so no one was sacked.
The match started evenly. In a ploy to confuse the opposition and make sure that the first line of defence really started from the front, Hannah put Rosselli (M1 left-back) as centre forward for the starting line-up. However, some nice passing from Seb, Tom S and Harry C on the Oranges (Ollie’s team) eventually moved the ball around the purple defenders for Harry L to tap home past Lou.
Some equally nice passing all the way from defence though midfield dynamo Owen to Robyn by the Hats (Hannah’s team) found Jack ready to pass round George for an equaliser. However, stalwart defenders Pete and Steve were unable to cope with Rosselli’s introduction into their ranks, and Harry L scored again to make it 2-1. To spice things up, Harry Lewis’ brother Ed was brought on, who was sold as having never played hockey before and just there to support, but instead showed up his brother with his flair up front.
After half time, Hannah took up umpiring duties and New James had to change sticks, due to leaving most of his other stick in Luca Modric/Ollie’s leg just before the previous whistle. With their captain temporarily impartial, the Hats suffered a crisis of confidence, leading to a flurry of goals. Andy T finished off a fantastic team goal, with Katie G making good use of space on the wing and consistent passing from Jo D. Harry Chalk slapped a goal home. Rebecca found a hole in the defence for another. Harry Lewis knocked a wayward ball into the net to complete his hat trick (expect a petition for intra-club mixed match friendly goals to count towards Goal King in the committee meeting on Monday). Harry Chalk tapped another home before swapping with Hannah to take up the umpiring mantle.
Being so comfortably in the lead, Joe-nette decided to keep George warm in goal and play several one-twos with the keeper. After a few of these, George felt too involved and allowed one to ‘deliberately’ roll off for a long corner. Fortunately, the impenetrable Roisin and Laurie cleared things up at the back.
With Hannah back on the pitch, the Hats rallied. A long pass from JJ found Emily one-on-one on goal, who was then viciously attacked by the on-rushing Toynton. After awarding a stroke, the temporarily umpiring Harry C had to consult the rule book/the on-pitch Chalk for guidance on where to stand. The delay obviously threw off the flicker’s timing, allowing George to get a kicker to the ball.
The purple team never gave up. Robyn Murray made lots of driving runs, which led to good passing between her, Andi, Rhiannon, and Emma-Rose finding Jack Chalk on the baseline, who slipped it under the keeper for new boy James to slap home (thus winning the game 2-7, as it was 'next goal wins' at this point).
The game came to a close with a short corner for the Hats. The erstwhile captain Hannah stepped up for a drag-flick, but the ball was cleared off the line and the game ended. Pizzas eventually found their way from the Long Road car park to Cantabs to feed the hungry teams.