Big Blue – SHC Sabres vs Old Loughts A

HT 0-1  Goals (Leo Garner)

FT 1-4    Goals (W.Hargrove & H.Patel (2))

This was a very enjoyable game to play in. There was a quiet atmosphere at the Old Loughts stadium with only on game before us. The weather was dry but very humid, this was going to be a day to dig in and put the effort out on the pitch. We started without seeing much of the ball for the first 10 minutes and wondering if our 3-4-3 was the way to set up but as the half carried on we saw more possession and started to look dangerous. The oppo looking to counter with some pace and some long balls. Before too long we managed to score through Leo Garner and getting to the half time whistle one ahead felt good as we had suffered a bit of an energy lull just before the break.

A long and in-depth half time discussion saw us revert to 4-3-3 as the diamond we had been playing in midfield seemed to allow the opposition a gap in which to counter. We immediately looked better but then conceded a rather contentious goal. Veysel making a super leap to his left to, we thought, save the goal, there then ensued a game of “rolly-polly” during which the whistle could (should?!) have gone but alas the ball made it over the line and to Veysel’s (and our) distress was given as a goal (in honesty it was a 50:50 – it happens). We resolved to “fight” back and we did. Before long we had a short corner and a good injection (Scott Ramsey) and stop (Guy Garner) was converted with a decent flick, low to the left, from captain Hargrove. From here we really started to play well and score what in the opinion of Jon “Hud-dog” Huddleston was the “perfect hockey goal”. Let me take you through it – Old Loughts had a short. Veysel dealt with the short with a firm and low kick out of the D. Alessandro made sure it carried on up to the left winger on the half way line. From here is was transferred via Samir Ahmad and Vivek to Guy Garner who took it down the right all the way to the base line before slipping it to Haimish for the formalities, Whatley and Leo Garner were also on hand had anything gone astray. After this the game opened up a bit as Old Loughts needed a goal to be back in touch. After much good defending and some half chances of our own we did manage one more to all but put the game to bed – Haimish making it a brace. This was a good game well umpired and with thanks to Neil Prior who travelled for that purpose.

We did not think a M.O.M was required as frankly there had been so many good performances – our front rotation of Alastair Whatley, Nayan Bhundia, Haiish Patel and Leo Garner all worked tirelessly and were an ever present threat. In mid field Guy Garner was excellent yet again, Samir Ahmad had a great first game for us and Vivek Dongha commanded the centre so well that we was endlessly fouled through frustration. At the back it was a (relatively) calm and poised day. A strong performance and great communication from both Scott Ramsay and Hud-dog allowing Hargrove and Alessandro Onano a little more freedom at time and with Veysel in commanding form at the back (though quietly seething over the goal).

All in all a very good, hardworking performance and deserved win against a good and enjoyable oppo – no quarter given but the spirit was just right. The beer tasted good!