Hockey returned on Easter Sunday with a mixed 6-a-side tournament on the MUGA at the club. Five teams battled it out in competitive but friendly games on a hot sunny afternoon, as our members had their first chance to play some hockey since the beginning of December.

It was great to see so many players back on the pitch and enjoying themselves once again. With a busy programme of summer hockey coming up, it was a nice little warm up for the Southgate summer league which starts in May, as well as upcoming local friendlies and weekly 6-a-side MUGA sessions we have running throughout the summer.

Contact your team captain to find out how to get involved in any of our Summer hockey activities, or contact us now if you would like to join us – we will be delighted to welcome you to the club.

With the easing of lockdown restrictions only happening from 29th March – a time when the hockey season would normally have finished anyway – it should be no surprise to most people that the league season has now been officially abandoned. A disappointing end to the season, but entirely the correct decision.

However…summer hockey will be here shortly! From the beginning of May, we will be starting our 6-a-side hockey on the “MUGA” at the club. We are also in the process of arranging friendly fixtures with neighbouring clubs and looking at entering teams in local summer leagues. So if you are interested in playing hockey with us, or arranging a fixture against us, please do get in touch. You can find all the relevant contact details here.

See you on the pitch soon.

WH&E Mixed 0 : 8 Luton Mixed

EHT2MixedA slightly depleted Winchmore side made their way up the M1 to Luton for our England Hockey Mixed Tier 2 Championship match on Sunday.

We enjoyed a bit of possession in the early stages but (not unsurprisingly) they scored quickly with a break into our D. They had a few well taken short corners but only scored one. However, it took an impressive individual goal that quite literally took Balazs Endrodi’s helmet off to get another one past us.

The next goal was another short corner – Sarah E-Q got a stick to it on the line but couldn’t keep it out. Meanwhile, Leo had a shot and tested their ‘keeper but all the real pressure came from Luton. Balazs and the defence made save after save, including a beautifully saved short corner and a great dive to his right. Half time 4-0.

After the break, Sam Deane hit a nice long ball in to the D which deflected on to the GK but unfortunately there was no one there to follow it up. Soon after, Jason had probably our best shot of the game from top D and we enjoyed a period of good passing. Again, they had a number of short corners which we saved – the highlight of these being Sam getting out and taking possession from the striker at the top of the D.

However, there was no arguing with the next goal – the guy ran through our team and absolutely roofed it! (to cries of ‘don’t break the net’ from the sidelines😂).

The rest of the game continued with excellent ‘John Terry’ defending from everyone including a great tackle by Nick at the top of the D to keep the final score at, sounds worse than it was, 8-0.

H4H2019-Teams2From Swanage to Biggleswade and Roydon to Jakarta the Enfield All Stars assembled and the Winchmore Wanderers returned for our inaugural Christmas charity match in aid of Hockey for Heroes. Blessed with dry weather, if not blazing sunshine, there were a few apprehensive faces as the match got underway with several players donning the yellow of Enfield or the white and purple of Winchmore for the first time in many years. In fact, at least one player (who shall remain nameless) managed to do his back in before the match even started – but in true Enfield style, who needs a warm-up anyway?!

H4H2019-DannyCA cagey opening 15 mins was notable only for the Sparreys trying to hit each other with the ball (!) as Graham and Rosemary faced up to each other on opposite teams. But the match finally came to life and the All Stars took the lead when Mark Gray tapped in from close range at the far post. In fairness, this was slightly against the run of play, following good attacking play from the Wanderers and some fine individual skills from Daniel Clarke and Luke Trevill dancing round the All Stars defence. But Gray’s experience showed at the other end as he knew exactly where a goalscorer should be…and proceeded to stand there for most of the game.

H4H2019-KPGoalThe All Stars soon went 2-up as Kris Prentice followed up on a well struck penalty corner to knock the ball past Balazs in goal, before the Wanderers responded with their captain Beth Deane leading from the front to score in her final game before heading off on her travels. 2-1 to the All Stars, but shortly after it was 3-1 as the ball arrived in the D once again on a tee for Mark Gray to score his second of the match.

A quick change of umpire at half time freed up an extra player and provided some more youth (!) for the tiring legs of the ageing All Stars team, and it wasn’t long before Gray completed his hattrick, waiting patiently (standing still) on the penalty spot to deflect home a well-placed pass from Sam Deane on the right to make it 4-1.

H4H2019-SamDThe Wanderers fought back with a well taken goal from Clarke, before Chris Burd restored the 3-goal lead, sweeping home from close range, and then Gray scored his fourth, hammering it through Josh Rider in goal from his customary position on the penalty spot. 6-2 and all over bar the shouting, but for a final goal for the Wanderers with Clarke and Trevill combining well to guide the ball past Nick Smith in the All Stars goal.

Final score: Enfield All Stars 6 Winchmore Wanderers 3. A great afternoon meeting up with friends old and new. But more importantly raising £483 for Hockey for Heroes / Help for Heroes.

Many thanks to everyone who organised, played, umpired, supported, baked cakes and donated to the raffle. Your support is hugely appreciated and will make a difference.

If you didn’t manage to make it along on the day, you can still donate by going to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hockey-for-heroes

Keep an eye on our website and social media pages for details of future events and charity matches.

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.

Budapest2019-WHE-Team