Captain's nomination for the massive effort displayed throughout the game! There were no lemon-worthy contributions.
24th January 2010 was the date the last time that a Veterans' team from Cambridge South HC played, in a five-two defeat against their Newmarket HC counterparts. Fast forward 3,185 days and the Vets were back. Liniment and deep heat were again in heavy effect and use in a game a against a very strong Saffron Walden side containing ex-national league experience and a former GB international.
With Coops in a man-flu pickle and JJ travelling down to London to congratulate his sister-in-law on the birth of their new little girl, South Vets were down to eight before proceedings started. Darren's son Bailey was given some cobbled together kit and two players from Saffron Walden, Charles Nash and Duncan, were loaned to be "honourary greens" for the day.
New captain, Nev Warren, won the toss and decided to stay as they were due to the very wet and gloomy conditions. The game started as a tennis match with action flying from one end to another. Matt Kern was in impressive form and kept to the task of tirelessly running between the lines to create good scoring opportunities for John Greaves and Nev Warren, and also going close himself with a mazy run into the circle.
In defence, Darren Farmer and Andy Williamson were at their best in thwarting the increasing forward pressure from the experienced Walden front line. The left side combinations of Andy Caddy, Tim Clapp and Howard Steed were also impressive in moving the ball forward quickly.
The first goal of the game came when Saffron Walden attacker, Andrew Wisbey, mis-hit his attempted slap to accidentally evade the oncoming defenders. He then made his second attempt at the bottom corner, where "vet for the day" Andy Caddy tried his best to keep the ball from crossing with every part of his body before it trickled over. This blow at the end of the half winded the Cambridge South Vets a little, as the whistle almost immediately sounded.
A half-time talk of keeping going and we will be ok was generally accepted and the second half got underway. Saffron had one sub and it may have made quite a difference in terms of keeping their midfield fresh. Their captain, Daryl Robinson, was instrumental in breaking with runs from deep to free up the attackers. A quick turnover in midfield allowed Saffron to surge forward and convert an overload opportunity. Nev Warren did apologise to the team afterwards as his interpretation of the sweeper role was more progressive than envisioned.
Some half chances and short corners fell by the wayside and the first foray into Vets hockey for the best part of a decade was met with defeat in a highly enjoyable encounter that was played in a great and competitive spirit!
Roll on the challenge of Bury St Edmunds in the first round of the Vets Trophy on November 4th at 14.30, Culford School.