The Grand Budapest Tour

The land of Hungary has been shaped by many different peoples over its long history. On a hot weekend in August, the latest newcomers arrived, a band from north London, aka Winchmore Hill & Enfield, brandishing sticks, masks, helmets and pads, but coming not for land conquest but…hockey.

Budapest2019-AllWith team members arriving at different times and from different locations there was no red carpet at the airport, but those who could ventured to the Friday evening practice session at the rather Flash Gordon sounding club, Varga Zoltán Sportpálya. (Zoltán Varga was actually a famous Hungarian footballer.)

It was worth a practice on the pitch. Partly resembling our MUGA, but looking older and with an occasional pass defining divot, meant rapid adjustment such as needing to hit all balls and avoiding pushes and running with the ball. It is perhaps worth a thought for our fellow hockey players from Hungary. The pitch is the best in the country – although not a hockey pitch as we would know it but there are no dedicated hockey astros in the whole of Hungary. So if we thought we had it bad for support for astros in north London, it is a bit more challenging in the land of the Magyars. Also, Hungary it seems has just four hockey clubs. WH&E’s adversaries were among those, and it meant the Purple Power were actually playing against some members of the Hungarian national team!

A bit of a recap on proceedings – the tournament involved three teams, Építők Hockey Club in white (hereby known as the Whites), Szent László Gimnázium DSE in green (henceforth the Greens) and of course WH&E with each team played twice, so four matches for us to play. The games were being played in quarters but truncated to eight minutes a quarter. How, wonderful did that time curtailment seem by the end of the day!

The ’Purple Powered’ players were Mike Dutnall, Balazs Endrodi, Charlotte Gonella, Lisa Jobson, Gemma Luckman, Hitesh Mody, Nick Smith, Jake Sumner and Huw Thomas – and the hope was to co-opt two Hungarians. Mike was the on-pitch captain.

So, onto the tournament….

Game 1

On a warm morning, with the haze gradually being burned by the blazing sun, the WH&E team assembled. Except, two members were missing, Nick and Charlotte.

WH&E had already grabbed one player called Gary (aka Gergő) and another Balazs – surely another couldn’t be purloined? But, as the Purple Army was looking somewhat smaller, Nick and Charlotte arrived meaning a full complement of players in time for the start. The whistle blew at 9.02am.

As the two teams faced each other something seemed awry. Wasn’t this meant to be a ‘mixed tournament’ but the Whites had a roster completely of men?! Oh well, their loss…

Balazs (the WH&E temporary outfield player) had been heard saying how his team would easily rout WH&E. A little too presumptive perchance? Perhaps the WH&E ‘warm-up’ had put them off the scent, and he clearly didn’t realise he would be playing for us in the first game!!

The game took shape around a strong WH&E defence holding back the probing from Hungarian players, while WH&E had attacks of their own, with Hitesh finding the pass well and in the first few minutes WH&E were certainly on top. The first quarter ended 0-0.

The second quarter matched the first and half-time duly arrived. Balazs (outfield) re-joined his team, and László was added to the ranks of WH&E. The third quarter commenced, and WH&E were pressing again. Balazs was saving sublimely, from what to be fair were a very large number of White attacks, but Lisa, Gemma, Mike and Hitesh were blocking well. Perhaps the sheer number proved impossible to completely defend and as the fourth quarter was underway a White attack saw a goal. WH&E pushed and could have equalised but the shot from Charlotte in the final minute went just past the post.

Budapest2019-umpiresWhile defeated, the performance was strong, and WH&E were no longer the proposed whipping boys and girls.

WH&E thankfully sat out the second game and the ‘Whites’ played the ‘Greens’. Mike and Lisa didn’t get a rest however, as they umpired – and huge thanks must go to them. The Whites / Greens match up resulted in a sending off from both sides and a 4-3 corker.

Game 2

WH&E were up for their second game. Positioning the two Hungarian loaned players, Gary and Laz, into the middle, Jake and Huw moving from there to the left and right. The Hungarians’ young age, running, excellent skills (and thus are surely destined for their national side) fitted well with the experience of WH&E. The line-up was Balazs in goal, Hitesh, Mike, Lisa and Gemma at the back, Gary and Laz in the middle with Jake left, Huw right and Nick and Charlotte up front.

With the temperature rising so was the tempo. WH&E came close several times over each half but in the third quarter the Greens scored. While Nick, Charlotte and Jake all had great chances in the game, it was in the final minute where WH&E came closest again. Another 1-0 defeat.

Game 3

Budapest2019-JS-ShadeAfter lunch and much water, with the temperature rising to 40 degrees on pitch and 30 degrees in the shade, the return matches ensued just after 1pm. The idiom of English, madness and the midday sun should perhaps be extended to Hungarians. Hockey played in the middle of the day in August? You what? To be fair, they thought the same and are more used to playing in the cold. However, they did have many subs, which WH&E did not. That was definitely a help. The kind Hungarians also enabled WH&E not to have back to back games. Without subs it was a godsend.

Budapest2019-HT-CoolReturning to the action, was it time for revenge? While WH&E improved again, the team went 1-0 down before the first half was over and in the second half conceded another goal. Probably it was a fair result, but WH&E also played better again including from Lisa, Hitesh and Huw as well as the co-optees.

The Whites played the Greens again resulting in another high score – why were WH&E games so different? (Good defending!)

Game 4

To the final game, against the Greens. By this time the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th quarters of the day each felt like a normal 35 min half rather than the eight they were. The substitutes for the Greens undoubtedly helped and as a result brought considerable pressure and WH&E let in two goals.

Remember the pitch? Everything needed to be hit. However, hitting every ball on an uneven pitch can bring slip ups and it duly happened. A Green female player – Kata Béres – came in to tackle from a difficult angle, and was caught in the face by a WH&E stick resulting in a rather nasty blood injury. A complete accident and profuse apologies followed, but when WH&E checked in on her again later, she was ok there was no acrimony.

Finally, there was still time for a little more action and WH&E did not leave empty handed. In a highly unusual move, Nick went to the back and Mike went up front. As the final minutes were counting down, up stepped Mike, avoiding a tackle and with a shimmy into the ‘D’, a goal and huge cheers all round!!

The final whistle was dutifully blown, and the Hungarian tournament had drawn to a close. Four losses but close games and a minus four goal difference. It was time to retire to sample the best of Hungarian nightlife, which is very good – but what goes on tour stays on tour, of course! Come next year to see for yourself (there was in fact nothing untoward). In a plug for Budapest, it is a fabulous, old and majestic city with bars, cafes and culture. It is well worth a visit.

All credit and huge thanks to Balazs for organising the adventure and even taking everyone’s sticks in his GK kit bag! It has been many years since WH&E have been on tour and it was fantastic to re-enter with such a great experience. Plans are already afoot for a repeat tour next year, so watch this space for more details – it is well worth signing up! And finally thanks to the rest of the squad who joined the tour – everyone played their part in a fantastic weekend.


Posted in Mixed Tagged with: ,

New season, new rules

Following the FIH’s latest updates to the rules of hockey announced last year, England Hockey has finalised over the summer how they will be applied in our leagues for the season ahead.

EH-NewRules2019-20The good news is that at our level they have decided to stick with the existing match format of two halves of 35 mins each, rather than switch to the 4 quarters of 15 mins which you may have seen during the FIH Pro League and recent Euro Hockey Championships. This should make life easier for our umpires who don’t have the luxury of technical match officials doing centralised timing!

However, there are a number of changes which will affect us and it is really important to be familiar with all the changes. The significant ones are:

  • Removal of Player with Goalkeeper Privileges (PwGKP). This is pretty straightforward – no ‘kicking back’ or similar.
  • Amendments to Attacking Free Hits within the 23m. This takes a bit of understanding – the introduction of a quick self-pass for these Free Hits allows the defenders to stay within the circle, within 5m and not interfere with play until the ball can legitimately enter the circle. If there is no quick self-pass, then ALL defenders, regardless of location in the 23m, have to retreat 5m if they wish to legitimately play the ball once the Free Hit is taken.
  • Defensive Free Hits awarded within the defensive circle. A free hit awarded to the defence within the defensive circle can be taken anywhere in their circle OR taken up to 15 metres from the back-line in line with the location of the offence, parallel to the side-line. So our attackers need to beware of where opposition defenders may take a ’16’ hit from, and our defenders can be more creative when taking a quick hit of our own.
  • Amendment to ruling around Attackers entering the circle early at a Penalty Corner. If an attacker enters the circle at a Penalty Corner before permitted, the player taking the push or hit from the backline (the ‘injector’) is required to go beyond the centre-line and the Penalty Corner is taken again.

England Hockey’s full explanation of all changes can be viewed here.

Image source: England Hockey

Posted in 2019-20 Tagged with: , ,

The Seven Deadly Sins (of Hockey)

Seven Deadly Sins of Hockey Infographic

Posted in Juniors, Ladies, Mens, Mixed, Social

Season roundup and awards: L1s achieve the greatest escape; M2s promoted again!

ClubDinner2019After a season with many highs (and a few lows) the club celebrated recently with its annual dinner and awards night at the clubhouse, with a great turnout from across the club.


It was another tough season for the L1s in a very competitive Middlesex Premier Division finishing in 11th place having played 22, won 4, drawn 5 and lost 13. In any other season this would’ve meant relegation but due to a combination of results in the leagues above they escaped relegation once again with only one team going down from the Premier Division. Phew!

The L2s faired much better, with a young and exciting squad maturing quickly and producing some brilliant results throughout the season and pushing hard for promotion, eventually finishing 6th in Middlesex Division 3 with stats of played 24, won 10, drawn 4 and lost 10. Well done ladies, lots of promise for next season!


The M1s started the season slowly (again!) before finding their form in November and surging up the table to 4th place just before Christmas. However, a combination of injuries and coming out on the wrong side of some tight matches in the second half of the season saw the team finish in 7th place in East League Div 4SW having played 22, won 9, drawn 2 and lost 11.

Following last year’s promotion the M2s faced new challenges in Div 8SW, but with a young squad rapidly growing in confidence, the team stepped up magnificently returning great performances and results week after week, eventually finishing in 3rd place and securing back to back promotions with stats of played 19, won 11, drawn 2 and lost 6. Well done guys!

Awards Winners

Top Goalscorer: Abbi Bailie-Sills (12 goals)
Young Player of the Year: Ellie Bolton
Player of the Year: Sam Deane

Top Goalscorer: Tim Mall (17 goals)
Young Player of the Year: Rafi Zeff
Player of the Year: Stuart Carrick

Team of the Year: Men’s 2nd XI
Person of the Year: Balazs Endrodi

Posted in 2018-19, Ladies, Mens Tagged with: ,

Week 25: M2s secure back to back promotion!

WH&E M2 5 : 1 Stevenage M4

The M2s faced Stevenage at home in the final game of the season, knowing that only a win would keep the promotion dream alive.

However, it was Stevenage who opened the scoring early in the game with a well taken penalty corner slotted past Balazs Endrodi in the Winchmore goal.

WK25-8SWTableAlthough having most of the possession, Winchmore struggled to capitalise and put the ball into the net. Eventually Pete Morton showed the rest of the side how to play as a forward, appearing from behind the defence to burst onto the end of a long ball from a side line hit and deftly deflecting the ball past the keeper to level up the score. Not content with one goal, Peter continued to play with a ferocious intensity and quickly grabbed a second goal to give Winchmore the lead at half time, 2-1.

As the second half began, short corners were again free flowing for the home side and Dominic Smith made it 3-1 with a well finished flick. Leo then scored the fourth having dribbled into the D, the umpires played the advantage following a clumsy stick tackle allowing him to finish with a low reverse stick shot.

The final goal was courtesy of a Joe Small strike from yet another short corner that was slotted home by Asher following a botched clearance from the defence.

As the final whistle blew on the 2019 season a 5-1 victory was a fitting way to end the season, although news had come through that St Albans 8 had narrowly defeated Southgate Tankards Z 3-2 meaning that Winchmore would finish 3rd in the league and miss out on promotion by one place.

That was until the East League decided later that night that 3 teams would be promoted after all! A fitting end to a great season for a new look M2s team, and two promotions in two years!

MOTM – A true team player Peter Morton for excellent attacking play and 2 goals.

DOTD – Southgate for losing to St Albans 3-2 allowing the Tangerines to finish in second place above Winchmore. But then it didn’t matter after all!

Thanks to Michael Dutnall and Adam Machray for umpiring.

WH&E M1 1 : 2 Hertford M2

No match report, yet…

No ladies matches this week…

Posted in 2018-19, Mens Tagged with: ,

Upcoming Fixtures

September 25, 2019
  • L2/M2 Training

    September 25, 2019 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

  • L1/M1 Training

    September 25, 2019 @ 8:30 pm - 9:30 pm

September 28, 2019
  • Eastcote Ladies's 5s v Winchmore Hill & Enfield Ladies 2

    September 28, 2019 @ 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
    Eastcote Hockey Club Astro - Eastcote Hockey Club, Kings College Road, Ruislip, Middx - HA4 7JZ

  • Winchmore Hill and Enfield M2 v Shefford & Sandy 3 (Away)

    September 28, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
    Shefford and Sandy Hockey Club, 1BL,, Medusa Way, Sandy SG19 1RP, UK

  • Winchmore Hill & Enfield Ladies 1 v Eastcote Ladies' 2s

    September 28, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Aylward Academy - Windmill Road, Edmonton, LONDON - N18 1NB

  • Winchmore Hill and Enfield M1 v Shefford & Sandy 2 (Home)

    September 28, 2019 @ 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    Aylward Academy, 1 Windmill Rd, London N18 1NB, UK

October 2, 2019
  • L2/M2 Training

    October 2, 2019 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

  • L1/M1 Training

    October 2, 2019 @ 8:30 pm - 9:30 pm

October 3, 2019
  • Committee meeting

    October 3, 2019 @ 7:45 pm - 8:45 pm

October 5, 2019
  • Staines Ladies' 1s v Winchmore Hill & Enfield Ladies 1

    October 5, 2019 @ 2:15 pm - 4:15 pm
    Staines Hockey Club - Worple Rd. Laleham, Staines, Middlesex - TW18

  • Winchmore Hill & Enfield Ladies 2 v British Airways Hayes Ladies' 2s

    October 5, 2019 @ 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    Aylward Academy - Windmill Road, Edmonton, LONDON - N18 1NB

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