Big Blue – Mens Round Up

Tankards vs East London D @ Lee Valley

Report by Will Hargrove

1-0 (James Findlay)

A focused and refined 11 arrived at Lee Valley on a very muggy early afternoon. We were on the “back pitch” away from the stands (it seemed to play better than the main one). The game started well with good passing. Mid way through the first half we made a good move down the right with Nayan Bhundia making a run and passing in to James Findlay who made a very slick finish under the keeper. We continued to dominate the half but without any more clear chances.

At half time we resolved to  up the ball speed and keep things simple. We slightly ignored ourselves but kept up good levels of effort. From 3 or 4 “shorts” we should have done better – captain Hargrove shoulder the majority of the responsibility here. The opposition never really had much more than a half chance and as the, well umpired game, came to an end it was a deserved 1-0 wim.

To go through the team Nigel Dixon kept a good clean sheet. Will Hargrove playing sweeper ignore the easy ball too often but otherwise had a decent game. Mark Thomsett marked well and hassled hard. Chris Rouse dealt very well with several good early crosses and was a composed as usual. David James had another good game at right back balancing his defensive duties with thrusting runs. Ali Priestley marshalled things well in the centre of midfield and kept energy levels high. Antony Spencer playing at right mid had a very solid game making several good interceptions. Anthony’s son Daniel completed the midfield on the left and regularly beat his man putting us in good positions down the left. Upfront the trio of James Findlay, Fergus Comrie & Nayan Bhundia worked tirelessly to give us options. James’ goal added to the Strong first half performance by Nayan and a very energetic second half from Fergus saw us home.

Joint MOMs Fergus Comrie & Nayan Bhundia (joint)

Sabres vs Redbridge A

Old Loughtians Hockey Club

report by Ben Millson

W 3-2

(Goals Guy Garner, Alastair Whatley, Scott Ramsay)

A fresh faced Southgate Sabres side braved the unending Essex traffic to put on a champagne performance against Redbridge this week at the Old Loughts hockey centre.  Despite repeated warnings about that traffic from Chief Admin Officer Whatley, Southgate nonetheless started the game with a bare XI (including myself, with no warm-up and one shin pad on – punctuality is for the weak), but this did not faze the young midfield core of Kiran Ghosh, Vivek Dongha and Guy Garner, who immediately set about turning the Redbridge team into a series of training cones with their zippy movement and stick skills which were not invented when your correspondent was being taught to play hockey in the grim North of England back at the turn of the century.   

Southgate’s early pressure up the right flank generated a series of shots and short corners which the team could not convert, before the persistent interplay between Guy and Cameron Clayton-Smith (who terrorised the Redbridge left back from the outset) resulted in a Guy shot which slipped between the keeper’s feet.  The keeper should have done better, but it was just reward for the Southgate pressure.  

Unfortunately this sparked Redbridge into life, and they began attacking with some intensity.  Despite being a physical side with more football shirts than hockey shirts – it’s not often you see a Liverpool shirt, an Arsenal shirt, and a Man Utd shirt all in the same hockey team – Redbridge had a couple of attacking players of real quality, with sharp stick skills and good direct running.  Fortunately a compact defensive core of Brian Cade, Jon Huddleston and particularly James Rushton kept them at bay with a series of crunching but fair tackles, including one from James which left the forward in question rolling across the pitch like vintage 2002 Rivaldo.  No word yet on whether Big Blue will be fining him £1,000.   

Redbridge’s pressure paid off after a cleverly worked short corner found the top corner, evading Veysel Demir, who otherwise put in a display of his usual intensity and leadership – clearly wishing to remind the locals that there is more than one talented Demir between the sticks.  He also purchased a very good looking burger and chips post match which he declined to share, despite repeated comments about how good the chips looked from his famished teammates.  

Southgate were soon back on top as the power and direct running of Scott Ramsay, Alex Hyer and Alastair Whatley down the left flank resulted in a chance for Scott to force the ball home for 2-1.

As we approached the interval the technical quality of the Southgate players – particularly Vivek “3D” Dongha began to grate on the Redbridge players, resulting in a growing and unwarranted physicality.  A stern half-time conversation from umpire for the day Justin Edwards brought the game back to its proper level in the second half, and Southgate prospered under the protection of the umpiring, running rings around a tired Redbridge in the second half.  A third goal came quickly with a good advantage resulting in Al Whatley slamming home a bouncing ball from close range, and Southgate were unlucky not to have a couple more, with Whatley hitting the post, and Alex Hyer having one cleared off the line and another disallowed for being above the backboard on a short (Redbridge had one of these too), as well as several good saves from the Redbridge keeper.     

Another solid win for the Sabres as they continue their march through the Big Blue – next up, Old Loughts away at 4pm.