Result : WIN 7-1 vs Imperial Medics 1.
Match Report : Alastair Whatley.
QPR’s training ground is not the most loved of places. It sits somewhere in the shadows of Heathrow and in the hinterland of farmland and industry whilst also serving as home to the sporting endeavours of our hosts the feisty medics of London Imperial.
Most of us arrived in good cheer to blue skies and a noticeable lack of opposition, yet by the time the 5’s chiselled torsos and Duncan Trathen left the changing rooms the rain came and then it never stopped.
The GDN inspired warm up was conducted in increasing ferocious blasts of wet wind and it was noted Freddie Trathen was looking chilly. Although at least we had a team, the medics had yet to gather and then they eventually did some minutes later appeared to have neither a full team, nor any kit nor any umpires. It’s a serious business in Div 5 NW.
The oppo soon requested an additional 10 minutes delay to the push back in order that they may assemble in some form, or any form and also that we provide an umpire. A tough call for anyone who had travelled over an hour across London but the Mighty Fives is to a man a place of hard hearts honest and true made of only red and black and so Duncan Trathen and Rory Willmott stepped forward and volunteered themselves. They were both promised MOM votes in advance (as long as neither made any bad decisions- see Alessandro response below).
The headline news was our former captain and now 3’s player Joe Kelly returned to our serried ranks and expectations were high on how his new found skills in the higher echelons of the london league would rub off on his former team mates.
Meanwhile the medics still had no kit and just nine or maybe ten men but we were all too cold and wet and thus our stand in umps blew the whistles and off we went. This seasons hot signing Alastair Whatley- fresh from the 4A’s and after immediate demotion from the 4’s sprang forth like a whippet forcing a turnover which saw the ball passed back to Leo Garner who dextrously passed the ball back to Whatley who slotted the ball back from the right post through the flailing legs of the Imperial goalie. 1-0 after 34 seconds. The fastest goal in 5’s recorded history. And there is photo evidence thanks to Milly Berndes-Cade.
And it was downhill from there.
What followed was increasingly wet, messy and slippy and eventually led to an Imperial goal minutes from the end of the first half. This is probably all that needs to be said about the 29 minutes that followed the opening goal.
The Mighty 5’s gathered in the half formed shelter of the dug out, the Azzurri international in our troop Alessandro could hardly believe England could be so cold as he stood soaking up Storm Eunice’s awesome hangover. Captain ST stood forth and above the noise of the wind urged his men to do something, anything that resembled the modern game of hockey and sent us back out into the driving precipitation.
Our dogged supporters who outnumbered the medics supporters union by 400% roared us on as super sub Duncan passed on his whistle to Rory and began to slow the game up from midfield (this is meant more positively than perhaps it sounds). ST’s team talk was immediately obvious by Gate’s dominance as we began doing those simple things that John Shaw taught us. Our youngsters in Kiran, Scott, Freddie and Leo all showing their class. We passed, we moved into space, we passed back and we transferred and eventually the ball broke free from the pack and ST passed to Whatley who managed to control the ball on his reverse and get through the Imperial defender with a knackered hamstring and ship the ball to Leo who carved it home from the RHS of the D. 2-1 and with that Freddie Trathen retired from the game, taking up position and all the available coats in the dug out.
Meanwhile magic was being conjured as Scott Ramsay charged down the right, Kiran the left with Will Hargrove and Matt Mitchell bossing the back and Alessandro ceasing to lose all sensation in his hands as Leo Garner the pocket rocket picked up a ball and to the amazement of the Imperial Goal Keeper threw a tomahawk of such class as only could be seen from a member of The Garner Family Players that he remained rooted to his spot unmoved. 3-1.
Ivan promptly missed then scored a PC flicking into the top left netting and then found another in quick succession to send us 5-1 at which point the opposition somewhat lost the will to compete.
James Marriott found the back board after a well worked goal with his midfield and Alastair Whatley finished what he started after ST put it on a plate for him (his words).
Jo Kelly and Freddie Trathen remained frozen to the dugout for much of the second half and everyone else ventured into the showers (except the Trathen’s whose no showering policy was tested to extremis) to thaw out.
It was an odd game, for many spent largely falling over, but for those who remained on the pitch and on two legs it was a fine victory on a truly awful day to play hockey.
Next up Chiswick 4’s who may pose a sterner test to the 5’s as they push for promotion and the giddy heights of Div 4.
Man of the Match was keenly fought over:
Messers Hargrove, Whatley, Garner and Trathen got some nods but it was Ivan wot won it for his two fine goals and general all round contribution.
Joe Kelly predictably got DOD in a hard fought contest with Freddie Trathen for their well timed absence through the second half.