This Saturday our Men’s 4’s played top-of-the-table Surbiton on the Sand pitch in a winner-takes-LHL Division 4-title head-to-head. A close first half ended with Southgate just on top at 2-1 and the Surbiton side getting a little cross with each other! Some great movement, pin-point passing, delightful skills and clinical finishing saw the 4s put a further four goals past Surbiton to secure a massive 6-1 win and the League Title with a game still to play.
Played 19, Won 17, Drew 1 and Lost 1. Goals for (so far) 94, Goals Against 25.
Congratulations to all that have been involved this season. Alex Jones (as well as his goalkeeping duties) took over as Captain and has lead the team from the back! His performances in goal have been magnificent – the 4s have kept more clean sheets than any other team in the Club. The new Captain allowed the previous skipper – Matt Hawkins – to concentrate on his own game – this proved successful and Matt has had his best season at the Club as evidenced by his outstanding performance against Surbiton on Saturday. Alex Burns slotted in as Vice-Captain and centre midfield talisman. He also was team recruiter getting brothers Rory Burns and Freddie Burns to join the Club, secure their places and become key to the success of the team – the three of them became known as The Burns Unit! Ben Keeble was solid and reliable playing the sweeper role. His regular forays up the pitch with the ball barely under control but somehow get past players is quite a sight to behold. Other new Club members this season all fitted together in this 4s team that only started the season with 5 regulars from the previous campaign. Will Cherry playing at attacking right back always fooled the opposition with his left foot/right foot dummy which was responsible for setting up many goals. Grant Hancock has been an ever-sold, safe and vocal performer at Centre Back and such a crucial member of the team having lost Carl Morris from last season. Nathan de Ruwe – our Belgium striker has brought European style hockey the Men’s 4s and with his characteristically wrong blue shorts has ruined many a Saturday for opposing defenders. Alex Gibson has been another success story – returning to the Club in his 20s after last played at Southgate as a young teenager, Alex has been tireless all season in midfield and has made the game look so simple. In addition to the influx of new players, we have some well-known players who have been playing in others teams for most of their lives – Ollie Plummer is one such example. Ollie has had a strong season, chucking pin-point aerials that have caused havoc for the opposition and, at times, his own team it has to be said! Of course, we cannot forget Chris Kastelik or simply “Lik” – in the games he has played the goal count is considerably more. His finishing must be the best in the league and he has done it again this season with great success – clinical. And then there are the “Juniors”. It doesn’t sound like the right collective to use as they are playing the Men’s game and competing like-for-like but young, junior members of the Club they are. Rob Gill started the season the 4s but very quickly showed he could play higher and moved and stayed up in the 3s. Archie Brown played some lovely games for the 4s and was rewarded with some games up in the 3s as well. Kyal Shukla had a really solid first half of the season, showed great strength and commitment and has been a fixture of the 3s since Christmas. Rajan Shukla has shown such skill all season to the point where defenders have made themselves look inadequate in response – the Surbiton game on Saturday emphasised this point. Freddie Shiret and grown as a competitor by playing in the 4s this season (he doesn’t need to grow any more in height!); when available he has been a natural pick and played a key role throughout. Then, more recently we have seen Barney Collier (U15 year group) and Tom Davies come up through the 3As proving ground and shown themselves to be comfortable playing at this level. Barney with his skill and energy has added a little something extra to the team in the past four or five games and has got on the scoresheet virtually every week. Tom proved that he was ready for the jump too and his game against Surbiton showed just how far he has come this season under the Coaching of Sam Marchant and the Stewardship of Nigel Knight.
CONGRATULATIONS to our Men’s 4s and all that have been involved in supporting, transporting, coaching and playing – now let’s see them go on to win the Play-Offs