Early Sunday morning trip to Norwich we head off to play in the next round of the National Cup. A good squad of 16 assembled to take on the mighty dragons who shockingly beat Bury St Edmonds in the previous round on P flicks. We take to the field and quickly realised this was going to be a long afternoon. The pitch looked big for some reason!!  It took a while to get into the rhythm and Norwich were clearly ready for a battle hitting long balls to Lone Wolf McQuade upfront. Maybe it was a ploy from Southgate to tire them out before we pressed the gas pedal. At times it seemed we were playing against 13 and we just had to keep things in check otherwise the cards were free flowing and it wasn’t long before the 1 of the 5 a day Greens were handed out for back chat.
We just needed the 1st goal to settle our nerves and it duly came via a SC which Biffi slotted home from a drag flick. The keeper decided to dive when standing tall would have made it easy but hey ho, I am not there to coach him. The defence stood strong, Peds was able to spray the passes left and right. Laurence was at hand to ensure any threats were stopped early doors. The flanks of Julain and Biffi gave us width to push the game forward. The midfield Maestros of Howie Wilson, Mike Crowson and Greg Wildesen were at hand to close any gaps and help push forward. Half time arrived soonish and the clear message was….our game is currently being dictated by arguing with the umpires on every decision instead of playing hockey! Off we ventured back on the field with a mission to blow the steam out of the oppo and we started playing flowing hockey. We were now attacking their goal at every opportunity and nullifying any threats they posed. The 2nd goal couldn’t have come at a better time when the play from the right side allowed Brian to attack the base line to slip it back to the oncoming Mike Crowson to score the 2nd of the game.
As mentioned earlier, Norwich weren’t a side to give up easily and imposed some more pressure on us and one of their attacks resulted in a P Flick which was so dubious on the naked eye but it was given. A brilliant last ditch tackle by Julian to stop Lone Wolf McQuade scoring wasn’t judged to be fair and the umpire awarded a P Flick! Justin made his decision which way he was going, the player made a decision which way he was going and the score was 2-1. Now it gets interesting. We stepped up our play to impose more of the game in their half and the relentless pressure paid off when Greg received a pass on the top of the D and decided to unleash a rocket straight down the middle. The goalie dived to save the shot when standing tall would have made it easy but hey ho, I am not there to coach him. With the score line 3-1 up it was clearly evident the wind from the shores of Cormer and Hunstanton died down and Norwich were now showing signs of defeat but wait…there is more. Having a big squad helps immensely and at our disposal were Kulvinder and Waheed who helped the midfield and forwards with their own blend of skill and panache. Also at hand were regular Southgate regulars Tony (Big Hands) James who must have thought he was running the Marathon as he was whizzing around everywhere creating Havoc. His energy at that age is a joy to watch. Also at hand was Arnie who slotted in upfront and gave us the width to enable more attacks. I would also like to mention our own Usain Bolt – Brian Cade who relishes at running, running and more running and at his age, wow – that is immense! Brian was used as a destroyers to break up any play the opposition created and basically ran them rugged when he had the ball.
A few more attacks resulted in another SC and this time the Zig Zag was called as we had seen how they run out at SCs. Peds was the Zag and the Captain was the Zig. Great push out, perfect stop on the top of the D (just outside), a Zig to Peds, a Zag back to the Captain on the P spot and slotted home for the 4th of the game. We were now clearly close to the finishing line but wait….there is more.
Another one of the many attacks we were still creating resulted in a P flick of our own. The Captain called it – “Howard Clayden, its all yours”. The Captain called this last week too when we were awarded a P Flick in the league game but somehow it was overruled by another player without the Captains knowledge!!!!! Howard lines up with his usual stance and without hesitation and without having to twist his hip, the ball is slotted top left of the keeper. No chance saving that.
5-1 – job done and done convincingly. A big thanks to Toby who took over the Big Sam role from Pokey and managed the bench superbly to ensure everyone got a game. A big thanks to the squad also for the commitment and desire to progress further so well played everyone. The Quarter finals draw has been made and we are drawn AWAY AGAIN to Rugby & East Warwickshire. Hopefully the away games brings us more success as we have not played a home game at all in the cup.
MVP = Tony James – Forward – Great energy!