A sunny Saturday afternoon at Trent Park saw a tense W1 finish followed by an even closer W2 victory but, come 3 o’clock, the 5A’s were in no mood to raise the captain’s blood pressure any further.
An increasingly familiar line up assembled to take on Royston – one point and one place below us with 6 games played.
Southgate settled quickly into the game after several slow starts in recent weeks. Antony and Woody grabbed the initiative in midfield playing in the attacking runs of Rafi and Oli together with an impressive debut from Alex Blomqvist.
After much promise in recent weeks, James rashly promised his captain a goal before push back….after 12 minutes he delivered with a strong strike after a PC. Deservedly 1-0 up, we continued to build momentum. It was not all one way though. We had much of the possession but several breaks from Royston kept keeper, Neil Commons, and his right back son, Aidan, busy and Aryan working hard to repel the threat from the Royston right.
On 22 minutes the half was settled with James popping up in the goalmouth to finish another good 5A move. A well deserved reward for constantly threatening the Royston D down the left.
2-0 at halftime, we were quietly confident – a worrying state of mind in 6SW against an opponent capable of putting us under pressure.
The second half, however, showcased our best hockey of the season with youthful energy to the fore. From the back, Aidan and Aryan built our attacks, from midfield Rafi produced his third excellent game in a row. Oli linked midfield and attack whilst Akash caused no end of trouble at centre forward – moving well, creating space and demonstrating his stick skills.
After ten minutes of the second half, another wave of attacking play found the ball in the D, the oppo tried to clear…James was first to the ball and inevitably, today, buried it with assurance.
3-0, game over, it could have been more, James Wood hat trick. But… a team performance – midfield under control, defence untroubled in the second half, attacking prowess and energy.
Votes for Man of the Match deservedly went to Akash, Rafi and Woody but it was the Wood family’s leading goal scorer, JAMES, who took the MoM honours this week – an excellent performance.
Midfield general, Antony, takes charge for the trip to Shefford & Sandy as Murphy takes a holiday (full report and holiday photos to follow….).