WH&E L1 2 : 2 Wapping L4

The drama of today’s ladies 1’s game matched the setting. Down at Lee Valley Hockey Centre (think Olympics) we began what ended up being a pure rollercoaster of an hour and a half. The first half we dominated most of possession with Evie and Karen holding strong in the midfield and stretching our play out wide. Defensively Sarah had a few brilliant interceptions and Gemma and Beth were strong out wide stepping in front to intercept and making beautiful runs down the left and right sides. We had quite a few chances in their D but were unable to hit the back of the net, as they only entered our D maybe twice, giving Charlotte not a whole lot to do. Karen and Vicki were relentless in their tracking of players and being options in front of their players.

The second half brought all the drama. We started strong and after a beautiful run down the left wing from Beth, the ball came strong into Evie, who deflected it onto Bethany’s right side. B finished it off beautifully and that was 1-0. We stepped it up for a total of 30 seconds and then had a defensive short corner that scrambled and ended in the back of our net. Charlotte may have kept us in it with one of the best saves we may have seen as a deflection was heading top corner but thankfully Charlotte had the height to knock it down.

Wapping then somehow got another short corner and another scramble led to them scoring again, now up 2-1. The umpire says 4 minutes remain and we are all on edge after playing such a strong match as a team we really didn’t want to have a L to show for it. After some strong play defensively to get the ball up into their D, Bethany put a ball onto their foot and the pressure was on. Shell certainly didn’t want to mess up the pull out, but it was clean and a beautiful stop from B and Sam smashed it bottom left corner! The whistle blew shortly after ending the rollercoaster game at 2-2.

Player of the match: Beth for strong defensive play and beautiful runs down the left wing getting the ball into their D.
Dick of the day: Whoever forgot the balls!

WH&E M1 2 : 2 Wapping M7

The men’s 1s made the trip to another new venue this week – John Orwell Sports Centre in Wapping, for what looked set to be a session of crown green hockey!

Injuries and illness forced a few last minute changes, with Luke Trevill kindly stepping up from the 2s at the last minute to ensure a squad of 12.

In a fairly even first half it seemed that Winchmore had the better of the chances, only to find ourselves somehow 2-0 down after a penalty corner on the halftime whistle.

But, a confident team talk from stand in skipper Jim Gatting gave everyone the belief they needed to come out fighting in the second half. And within 2 minutes we won a penalty corner which was duly dispatched by Colin Foad (although perhaps not our slickest routine!) to make it 2-1, before Colin slotted his second to make it 2-2 which is how it finished.

A well-deserved point and a really resilient team performance, where everyone dug deep for each other. Congratulations to Aidan on a quality 1st XI debut, plus other notable performances from Jake T at centre back, Asher for controlling the midfield in a very mature way, and Stan for a super effort on the right side of midfield making quality runs and some excellent crosses.

WH&E M2 0 : 1 West Hampstead M7

Non-ideal preparation for the game saw our team-sheet of 14 reduced to 11 at push back (and 12 shortly after), with Luke being press-ganged for the 1s at late notice, and 1 no-show. We had the better of the first half, with Adam bossing midfield, and we forced a handful of short corners, sadly all saved by the keeper.

The second half saw us tire as they used their substitutes well, and we lost shape a bit shuffling positions around to cope. Things were still even, and anybody’s game, with both defences looking solid, especially Eray at the back for us, and it remained well umpired even as both teams got nervous, and more vocal(!) as the minutes wore on.

However, a short corner in the last couple of minutes for West Hampstead saw a flick towards the post, and a runner connecting at chest height to knock into the goal. A draw would have been a fairer result, but perhaps an indication that our attacking short corner routine needs a bit more work/creativity…

WH&E L2 2 : 4 West Herts L4

At last, the ladies 2’s had a home game and enjoyed a bit of a lay in on a Saturday! Although nobody was expecting such a wet and soggy match!

The game started slowly with some of our players getting used to playing in slightly different positions. We were definitely on the back foot as the opposition played well as a team making accurate passes and getting into good positions off the ball. They were 2-0 up but just before half time Kylie made a fantastic run down the line taking on and passing several players before passing it into the D to Abbi. 2-1 half time.

The second half we played some better one, two balls to one another and managed to get a couple of short corners (excellent, as part of our warm up was running a few!). Kareen injected the ball with speed to Jodie who made a powerful strike, which was deflected in by Kareen over the goal keepers head, what a goal!

Still awaiting a win but with a week off and some more training under our belts, there is still hope!!!

A foggy start for the L2s!

WH&E M1 1 : 1 Hampstead & Westminster “Thirsts”

Hampstead & Westminster made the arduous journey to the London fringes to play the M1s, losing at least one of their players to apparent scurvy on the trip 🤢. Winchmore’s solid play in the first half came quickly to fruition, as Berkshire-lad Colin Foad banged in the side’s first of the season in his first start.

Winchmore stayed resolute, but Hampstead & Westminster thirsted after a goal in the second half and were duly quenched. Final score 1-1.

Adam Machray’s ‘McEnroe’ moment aside, the team can be proud of their sustained performance and the start to the season that they’ve made. Next up is an away game, where the chaps will be seeking to be whopping Wapping.

WH&E M2 4 : 1 Ealing M1

Limited availability, and a late drop-out, left us facing Ealing 1 with just 10 men, and being carved open in the first minute (but an eventual miss in front of goal) promised a worrying game.

However we steadied, and a first half of chances at both ends saw us go in 1-0 ahead, with a nice lift over the keeper from Luke. The start of the second half saw us pressing their defence more, and with turnover ball the midfield, bolstered by Stan and Jake, started to boss things.  A 10 minute spell saw a hat-trick by Theo, and the game put to bed.  The last 25 minutes then got very stretched, with us pressing for more goals leaving more gaps in midfield, and only strong goalkeeping from John stopped them pulling 1, or more, back.  They did score a consolation goal in the 69th minute, but in the end a comfortable 4-1 win.

WH&E L2 0 : 3 Old Uxonians

Another early start and third away match in a row for the ladies 2’s. The team arrived in dribs and drabs due to horrific traffic on the M4 but luckily allowed the gloomy mist to lift.

We definitely applied our Wednesday night training, passing back and around as well as being there to support the person on the ball. However, Old Ux used their wealth of experience and popped one in making it 0-1 at half time.

In the second half we had our chances with a few short corners but we just couldn’t convert. Chris made some wonderful saves, with a hand on a strike, along with some tense moments of 1 v 1 and sometimes even 3 v 1 putting Old Ux at bay. But they managed to add another 2 to their score line.

Again some positive points to take forward to our first home game next week, but still looking for our first win of the season. Fingers crossed!!!!

No game for the Ladies 1s this week

WH&E L1 1 : 1 Richmond L3

The 2nd match of the season for the Ladies 1s was away on a gloomy Saturday afternoon against Richmond.

Thanks to Lucy Mackay we were able to bring a full team of 11 but had no subs so we knew we were going into a tough one.

We played very strong consistently throughout and focused on setting our press to keep the opposition at bay.

Evie’s league debut was a great one as she battled hard in mid to intercept balls and drive forward to create chances.

A slight lapse in marking led to Richmond getting a goal in the latter part of the 1st half, whilst we had some chances that we were unable to convert.

We continued to fight and play as a unit to create more opportunities. With some questionable passes from Shell, we endured moments of pressure but did a great job of regaining composure and staying in our shape as a team. The second half saw us with an abundance of chances and finally we were able to convert as Sam dribbled into the D, passed across the P spot and Bethany converted it into a goal!

The game ended with us taking Dom’s advice and whacking it into their 25 so Sam could f around for 2 minutes in their corner. Poor Vicki unfortunately received a deflection to the lip on the last hit of the game. Luckily though mummy hasn’t lost any teeth.

Altogether, it was some very solid team effort ending in a 1-1 draw. Bethany was player of the match with her strong runs down the wing, driving into the D, goal, and her breathlessness at half time!

WH&E L2 2 : 5 Imperial Medics

The game was a match of two halves with two different winners! Medics came out with 11 on pitch and we were 1 player down with 9 on pitch, until Jodie joined us part way in. The young, fit and skilful medics popped a few goals in the first half, we were 4-0 down but we regrouped and came back with a vengeance!

After a bit of reorganisation and composure we played better as a team linking passes down the pitch. Abbi opened her account after some quick passing down the left and a dink out to her. Bridget was there on the back post to make sure but wasn’t needed this time!

We had gathered some momentum and Charlotte fought her way through the Red Sea of medics, crossing it in to Abbi finishing the second half 2-1.

An overall 5-2 loss but some positives to take forward to the next match.

WH&E M1 0 : 1 East London M4

A really great opportunity to play at a top venue in Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre.

It was a shame we didn’t play on the stadium pitch. Indeed we did panic where our crowds of fans would now stand. I guess they watched the indoor tennis when the weather turned.

A slightly different look to the team with M1 debuts for Dan Mather and Jake Tasker. Slotting into a new team is not always easy but the guys made an amazing contribution.

Against another new and unknown opposition we did well to maintain possession. We were less under the cosh with more numbers in the midfield (good advice from our keeper extraordinaire and vice captain). We also played it round the back well. Stretching the opposition who to be fair worked hard to keep their shape and press well.

It was fairly even and we had some D penetrations and shots from Harry Stone.

It could have gone either way and unfortunately East London scored from some good individual play.

This made the job harder as possession alone was no longer enough. We made a go of it and had a shirt corner. Up front we looked more threatening with the combination of Harry’s jinking and Dan’s runs.

We don’t celebrate losses but definitely better this week, anyone could have a mention for their efforts, game played in a good spirit and discipline/respect towards the umpire. It is clear we can compete in this new league. So onwards and upwards next week at home and a more typical start time.  10:00am start was another new experience today.

WH&E M2 2 : 7 Indian Gymkhana M5

It was a miserable rainy day as the M2’s faced an Indian Gymkhana 5’s side at home. Paul was making his debut for the team, but had to wait as he was starting as a sub.

The game started and it was fairly even for some time, going back and forth with the play. The Gymkhana’s were well drilled and whilst not better physically than the 2’s, they had better stick skills. It wasn’t long until they started to outplay us and we found ourselves 1-0 down, soon followed by 2-0 down.

Following the end of the first half, we found ourselves 3-0 down. Despite their superior stick skills, they couldn’t configure how to take a short corner which was fortunate for us.

In the second half, it was much the same. Gymkhana’s stick skills seemed to overpower our own play, to be soon found out as they went 4-0 up. We were not disheartened by this and soon found ourselves breaking through on the left, with James Orr who dribbled past two players, smacked it in the box to Luke, who dragged the ball to the left, chipping the keeper, 4-1.

We did start coming back into the game as we seemed to have more regular attacks as the pitch got stretched, however it was one of their breaks which made it 5-1. We managed to get a second however after some glorious team play down the right involving half the team ended up with Luke slotting the ball through the keeper’s legs – the commentary doesn’t do it justice, but special shout out to Paul who was integral in this move.

Gymkhana ended up getting two more goals to finish 7-2, but between this is where more action happened. We had a free hit at the 23, when one of our players tried to ‘hurry up’ the opposition and moved them away from the ball, which resulted in the players squaring up and some unnecessary handbags.

A challenging loss for Winchmore, an intense game – and a big thank you to Dom & Jason who took time out of their day to umpire a circus of a game.

WH&E M2 7 : 1 Harrow M2

The match started well, with a goal scored in the early moments of the game – from the first short corner – by Dan. With the confidence of being one nil up, we continued pressing and another goal was inevitable, and Theo got his first of the game (with a little help from the opposition keeper who nudged it in past the line by accident).

Midway into the first half and a 2-0 lead was very promising for the final score. The attack on the Harrow goal was relentless, with everyone participating and playing superbly. Jonny, Tom, Guy and Calum in midfield kept the ball pushing forward to the strikers, with the defenders only being used to pass back and around the opposition – who didn’t have a look in towards our goal. And quickly after the 2nd goal Theo converted another after being gifted the ball right in front of the goal by a scuffed Harrow clearance to make it 3-0.

Towards the end of the first half, Dan scored another great goal (his second of the game) to increase our lead to 4-0. The Harrow defenders were constantly working and another slip up at the very end of the first half meant a short given as the final play. The initial shot was saved, but it fell to Theo at the edge of the D, who caught it nicely and drilled it bottom corner, for his hat-trick!

We switched things up slightly for the second half, but things continued to go our way, and after a few dubious efforts from Luke (who at one point missed the goal by about 15 metres!), he scored his first of the season to make the lead even bigger, at 6 goals to nil. Eventually, and practically the only time in the whole game, Harrow managed to get by our defence and John lost his clean sheet when Harrow hit one in the bottom corner.

But we still had fight left in us, and James dribbled past their defence, to score the last of the game. When the final whistle blew, another last second short corner was awarded, but this time less successful with no goal being scored. The game ended with a resounding 7-1 victory.

WH&E M1 0 : 3 West Hampstead M4

A new season, a new coach, a new league in a new area, so for the opening fixture the M1s played West Hampstead, our new friends from the summer league.

With a last minute change of plan following a no show from Stan, there was a system failure, and I’m not referring to the GMS!

West Hampstead put the pressure on from the first whistle, making it difficult for WHE players to have any time on the ball. The opening goal was scored when a defender stepped in front and intercepted a pass to forward Harry Stone, who was on the halfway line, and they worked the ball into the D, before flicking in off the inside of the post to make it 0-1. A second was added before half-time after the ball struck Dominic Smith on the foot and looped up over the defence, dropping to a forward who diverted it with his reverse stick past the onrushing keeper James Gatting.

0-2 at the break, a couple of changes and WHE made an encouraging start to the second half, however a well drilled opposition had control of the match, and scored a third in the last few minutes with a close range deflection. Final score a 0-3 defeat.

With the M2s winning their opening game 7-1, some players might already be knocking on the 1st team door, meaning there is new healthy competition for selection at the club. In a few weeks we could be seeing a new look 1st team, and I’m not just referring to the kit.

Thank you to umpires Samantha Lucy and Beth Deane.

* this report was held up due to many hours of editing and censorship (by the author!).

WH&E L1 2 : 3 Old Merchant Taylors’  L1

The Ladies 1s were unlucky to lose out to OMT 1s with the visitors converting a penalty corner with the last play of the game. No match report, but a nice team photo!

WH&E L2 0 : 3 Old Merchant Taylors’  L2

No match report, yet…

*NEWSFLASH* We finally won something!

Following the split of the summer league and some heavy losses to a very familiar foe (they wear red), the ladies’ teams have been playing the teams in black. In the two games against West Hampstead we saw a high scoring 5-3 win coming back from 3-0 down and a close 1-1 draw. These were followed by two games against Potters bar and some more wins! Yes that means 4 games in a row undefeated!

Goals have come from all over the place, and the teams have been playing better and better, with some fantastic passages of play and several new players gaining match experience during the summer league. We will, however, concede that Jason may have a point and we might want to start doing a bit more of a warm up before some of the games!

The summer league finished with our As v Bs game, but with one big difference…the men played too! The match was turned into all all-club mixed match, which resulted in a great game between two evenly matched sides with a final score of 4-3 and smiles all round at the end.

Now on to the new season, with new leagues, new opposition and fingers crossed no games cancelled for covid?!