Sabres vs Waltham Forest A
Saturday 17th July
Match Report by Will Hargrove
HT – (0-0) | FT – (1-1) (goal – Alastair Whatley)
MOM: Justin Edwards (UMPIRE) purely for a great job in very trying circumstances
“Heat induced temper tantrums?” well that might best describe (particularly one member of) the opposition in the “Battle of Big Blue” that broke out in the heat of the Olympic pitch. As the mercury rose so did the resolve needed by the umpires. A tense first half ended scoreless with the, never ideal, surface making it tricky for any attempts at proper hockey to win out over the more agricultural smash and chase game plans. We discussed at half time how we had to stay in the battle and that the game really wasn’t over until it was over.
Starting the second half we fairly promptly conceded a horrid slow motion goal. Almost immediately though we got back down the far end a ball in from the right by-line from Guy Garner was swotted home by the “man in form” Alastair Whatley for a good equaliser. From here I am afraid the opposition’s centre back lost the plot and questioned every decision. He was given a 10 minute yellow having gone down long-barrier in the D and practically refused to leave the field – when how did the feedback on his yellow was concise. The remainder of the game ebbed and flowed between fractious and exhausted. A near late periscope goal from Whatley of a Leo Garner backhand cross would have been sweet. In the end the 1-1 result and no injuries was a result in itself. We move on! The team – Akshay maide a superb mid-air save with his right kicker in the second half and otherwise communicated well. We were pretty solid at the back with Jon “Hud-dog” Huddleston, James Rushton, Scott Ramsay and Charlie Hargrove all working hard on what was, especially from a distribution point of view, such a slow surface. The Midfield performed pretty well – Guy Garner, Vivek Dongha, Will Hargrove and Ivan Stark –getting the ball forward at pace being the main problem. Upfront the running from Cameron Clayton-Smith, Haimish Patel, Alastair Whatley and Leo Garner was tireless and on another day we could have scored a few more. Overall an odd game that one much notch down to experience and move on. I felt for both umpires – both of who did well.