Match Report : Todd Lomas
Result : Southgate 3 – 0 H&W Zak Hond
I recall a holiday, prior to covid, where I was relaxing on the beach in Barcelona, when my friend told me the fun factoid that Barcelona imported most of the sand for that beach, all the way from Egypt. Now, Egypt may have plenty sand but if it ever runs out, I know an equally sandy place to import it from. The UCS pitch the 3s were beached on last Saturday.
After a warm up run on the cricket pitch and some GDN-esque stretching led by the skipper, the mighty 3s forced themselves into the sandpit with a few lines drawn on that UCS called a hockey pitch. With the bit between our teeth, fire in our bellies and 500g of sand in our shoes (that’s just over 2 cups for my American club mates) we started the game. With Alex Gibson, who was named M.O.M., running midfield, H&W Zak Hond’s futile attempts to slow our attacks didn’t have much affect on us and we had some beautiful passages of play. The 3s latest rising talent Jackson Trathen pestered and jabbed at the opposition CM, and once Todd joined in from the other side, possession had quickly changed hands. It was then a matter of a brisk carry up to the edge of the D, draw the defender, pass on to Chris Debonnaire who, quelle surprise, took it on his reverse and cannoned it into the bottom corner to make it 1-0.
In the car on the way there, memories of Kwan Browne playing for Zak Hond last season had us feeling slightly doubtful in how easy the game would be. However, with no Kwan and despite the best efforts of the H&W umpires to ruin the game of hockey, Southgate remained the most dominant force in North London since the 2003/04 Arsenal. After an unfortunate ankle injury to our calm, cool and collected midfield prodigy Vivek, we were left with a solid 11 men to carry the game forward. And carry the game we did.
Playing with the likes of Andy Richardson and Josh Hedley-Dent at centre back is always a safe bet, with the former bringing finesse and years of experience to the table, and the latter bringing…good whit and a can do attitude. Joking aside, were it not for these two and our Goalkeeper magnifique Veysel ‘The Panther’ Demir (just made that up, trying it on for size), we may have found ourselves in a less concrete position. This position was made concrete-er by some cracking outstretched saves by The Panther and then a moment of brilliance by Jackson with a tricksy little goal to bring the score up to 2-0.
In one of his first appearances in the Southgate HC Mens 3s 1st XI, Ruben Straat hit the ground running with a stellar first half performance, with a shot on target before the the tiny ball inside the umpires whistle had even stopped reverberating inside its little shell after blowing for the start of the game. (Hyperbole, first 5 minutes I’d say). Going into the second half he kept up the work rate and had a beautiful shot on his reverse which hit the near post and narrowly missed the goal. As the game dragged on, legs, hearts and minds grew tired and with no substitutes, it was only and act of pure brilliance that would reignite the fire in our bellies. That was: a pinged ball up the sideline to Debs, a flat reverse hit across the D, and a mid air swing at the ball from an arriving Ruben, into the back of the net. 3-0, case closed.
There were many more heroic moments to mention, but like most stories of war, if we were to tell them all, you just wouldn’t believe the things we did. To quote Marcus Aurelius, “You weren’t there man!”
Closing thoughts : Are the 3s the best team at Southgate? Yes I think so.