It is this time of the year …. Xmas markets, Wham’s Last Christmas on the radio … and Indoor Hockey. With only a few training sessions under the belt and most still having played for various Men’s teams outdoor on Saturday it was time for the U18 Indoor Regional Round on Sunday at KCS School in Wimbledon.
The opposition none less than the who’s who of London if not even National Hockey: Surbiton, Wimbledon, Wayfarers, Ham & West with the latter being the opposition in our opening match. It took the first half to get into the (indoor) rhythm and half time score was 1-0 through a PC goal by Lucas Jaehnig.
The second half saw the passing and pressing machine being switched on and H&W was duly dispatched with a final score of 6-0. Further goals came from Lucas Jaehnig (FG), Philipp Boeser (FG), Reggie Hopson (FG), Freddie Trathen (FG) and Lucas Jaehnig again (PC).
Next up was Wayfarers, an opposition which had proven to be an uncomfortable opponent before. Despite showing the better play and having had numerous chances, Wayfarers were the more clinical side with an outstanding goalie which meant we were 0-2 and 1-3 down with the goal coming from Leonard Schröer (FG). As we don’t do hockey without drama, it was then high noon to salvage some points – the outstanding Veysal Demir was taken out for a sixth outfield player. Patient attaching culminated in a PC and the opposition GK conceeding a yellow card – more drama. The PC was scored (Philipp Boeser) making it 2-3 with 90 seconds on the clock but it wasn’t meant to be and Wayfares scored and open final goal.
Nothing was lost yet but this run of events meant having to win against heavyweights Surbiton and Wimbledon – the latter being up next. The boys in red upped their game again and it was a tense 0-0 in an even game with chances on either side for the majority of time. Two very good teams in a heavyweight stand off and it was clear that inching towards the final hooter, the first error may decide the match … which was unfortunately on our side. Having gone down with minutes to go it was taking the GK out time again. Unfortunately the overload wasn’t meant to be this time and we had to concede an open goal.
So, could we ruin Surbiton’s party in the last match ? They had won all previous matches and a loss to us would mean Wimbledon would go to the National Finals instead. And it turned out to be a gloves off fist fight between two class U18 teams. An opening goal by Surbiton was responded to with great patience and a cheeky reverse by Philipp underneath the keeper. 1-1 and all to play for….. Veysal producing stunning saves … and there it was, our chance to change the dynamic of the match by taking the lead. A beautiful combination meant a free shot on goal …. ahhhh …. crossbar …. and then the sucker punch by Surbiton themselves taking the lead on the break. Again it wasn’t meant to be but we put up a hell of a fight and played our best hockey of this tournament.
Whilst the final standing isn’t what we hoped for, as a coach I have to give a huge compliment to each and every player. We started well and improved with every match during the tournament. The top 4 teams were all on par with only marginals being the difference and oppositions agreed with this evaluation. Congratulations to Surbiton, however all 4 teams including ourselves would have made worthy National Finalists. Next up, the Copperbox.
Squad: Veysal Demir, Lucas Jaehnig, Will Biggins, Scott Ramsay, Leo Garner, Guy Garner, Philipp Boeser, Kiran Ghosh, Reggie Hopson, Freddie Trathen, Leonard Schröer
Goal Scorers: Lucas Jaehnig (3), Philipp Boeser (3), Leonard Schröer, Reggie Hopson, Freddie Trathen