WH&E M1 3 : 1 Ashford M2

Winchmore travelled away to Ashford on the back of a frustrating draw but still in good form at the top of the table. Opening with a half court press to test the opposition, Winchmore held a good shape despite the constant running of Ashford’s energetic youngsters.

After 8 mins of good passing Colin put Winchmore 1-0 up with a trademark calm shot under the diving keeper. Not long after the lead was extended to 2-0 by Luke with an unusual goal from the baseline with a pass across goal, a deflection off a defender and then left to go in by a confused keeper.

Despite this, Ashford remained a threat with a tiring Winchmore press and before the end of the half found themselves with a numbers advantage at the back making it 1-0 on the counter with a low push into the corner of the goal to steal away John’s clean sheet. Ashford maintained their energy into the second half but were met with a solid Winchmore defence with the likes of Jake and Matt to name a few making numerous tackles and interceptions.

The Ashford press intensified as they pushed for a second goal but with patient passing around the back and Ollie channelling his inner Jimbo with numerous aerials, Winchmore managed to play through. This patience was rewarded as Ashford threw more players forward and Winchmore found space down the right with some nice dribbling from Dan followed by a pass across goal and yet another Colin goal wrong footing the keeper with a scuffed finish off the end of his stick.

Growing yet more desperate Ashford pushed on for a second goal and succeeded in winning some late short corners but found their routines lacking with none converted. Winchmore sat deep and soaked up the Ashford pressure and managed to see out the game to make it a well-earned win with a final score of 3-1.

After the match Jake Tasker was voted as MOTM for the third time in four games after yet another excellent performance, while Harry Stone acquired his first DOTD of the season for his first half miss..

WH&E L1 0 : 1 East London W4

We showed up with balls, smiles and a whole lot of confusion down at Mile End. This was the best of times. Eventually we all found each other and the sun was shining down on a solid first ten minutes of play where we controlled and played our game.

The first half was end-to-end with Karen Gray, Bethany, Abbi and Vicks having some offensive chances, whilst team D played solid with Sarah, Gem, Amber and Beth saving goals, including with a chin! Freya didn’t touch the ball too much in this half but was a strong presence in goal.

0-0 at half time and we were ready for more. Our midfield ran their tails off – Evie, Amy, Sam and Karen Goode were up and down all game. Freya played phenomenally, saving a few penalty corners against us but, unfortunately, they seemed to pull something out of the bag and slotted a non-penalty corner into short side. This was the worst of times.

Winston 🐶 came and we went to the rusty nail for spring rolls 😋

WH&E L2 0 : 3 Southgate W5

With sunshine, optimism and some subs we started with a spring in our steps. An early break down the right side showed some promise, only to then naturally swing and miss returned some of our focus, but clearly not early enough as we then went down 1-0 in the first 10 mins. Thankfully we also had 2 spring chickens with us so some eager defensive tackles let the oppo know we were there to fight. Half time came but sadly we were 2 down and Gem had already had a warning.

Wise words and contemplation during the break saw us take the pitch for the second half with a new focus and energy. Some amazing runs by all, including the defence who managed to cover the whole pitch, terrific saves by Chris and up close and personal tackles by everyone saw a turnaround in possession and control of play. Despite all of this the final score of 3-0 did not reflect what a great game we played. We pulled together, played hard and felt proud to give Kate such a good game as her last game with us for a few months 😜

No game for the M2s this week…

WH&E L2 1 : 1 Eastcote W4

After a moment of panic that we were at the wrong pitch (playing Eastcote where we usually play Christmas Trees) we started all guns blazing with some real attacking play. Unfortunately, this left us open and we were caught on the break quite early on. For the rest of the half, we had a lot of the play and got the ball in the D but weren’t able to convert any chances.

Into the second half…the ball was played from defence out to Bridget in the midfield who made a great forward run before slipping it to Charlotte on the (Ben White) overlap. Charlotte ran to the base line and crossed to Alice on the back post, her shot rebounded out to Kate who put it away for a well-earned leveller.

Both teams tried hard to get the goal that would push us over for the win, but Freya denied them with some fantastic saves – even trying to hide the ball in her pads. Meanwhile, Sula caused a pile up in the middle of the pitch – exclaimed for everyone to hear that it was “no her fault”.

Following several more attempts, fantastic runs and passes but sadly no more goals.

Ending with a 1:1 draw. Not bad for the second game of the season, with impressive games for two of our juniors that have recently graduated to senior hockey – welcome to the team Alice and Harriet!

WH&E L1 3 : 3 Richmond Ravens

The Ladies 1s turned up to their first home game thinking it would be freezing, turns out it was so warm our umpires decided that t-shirts were optional under their umpiring jackets.

We started strongly, linking up well across the pitch. A pass in from Sam to Bethany who had no idea where she was on the pitch resulting in a beautiful goal.

Richmond quickly came back but I don’t remember how, maybe a short corner? Maybe not, who knows.

A few more interceptions and runs resulted in a cross reaching Abbi who neatly passed to Bethany to score a 2nd. A 3rd coming from great composure by the captain to receive the ball facing away from goal, turn and neatly slot it past the keeper.

Then the 2nd half started….we forgot to start with it and Richmond quickly took it to 3-2. More of the same, some missed chances from lots of people, Vicki diving in to pass the ball, birthday girl Karen diving just to prove she still could at her age 😉.

A very unlucky moment with 2 minutes to go saw Richmond sweep a reverse just past Nic in goal to level the scores. And despite a last-minute run we weren’t able to bring it back and had to settle for a point.

Although I’m reliably informed it was better than last week. And we’ve started our point scoring campaign!

WH&E M1 4 : 0 East London M4

Well, the lads put in another stellar performance again, showing how good preparation and game readiness can lead to big results in the first half. Much like last week, the first half saw the M1s off to a flying start with goals aplenty. We held a strong high press for much of the game which led to many turnover opportunities, dictated skilfully by Dom Smith, Adam Machray and Dan Mather in the ACM roles.

Asher Cohen put on another CDM masterclass, we feared the loss of Stuart Carrick might be too great, but Asher has already shown everyone that he was the man for the task, and I look forward to seeing him continue to grow as an essential member of the squad!

Defensively we were a stone wall – Matt Dray, Tom Iontton, Jake Tasker and the skipper, Ollie Taplin, gave the team the confidence to go forward without repercussion and with the opposition only penetrating our D a handful of times nothing ever troubled our very much in form keeper, Josh Rider.

2 goals from Joe Turmaine, 1 from Colin Foad and 1 from Luke Trevill show we have a forward line capable of great things! This was very much supported by narrow misses from Jake Sumner, Jack Wilson and Harry stone who had excellent games in the front line as well.

MOTM: Jake Tasker who showed great vision and dominance from centre back.
DOTD: Ollie Taplin, for a wild undercut pass straight into an opposition player’s midriff!

Roll on Osterley next weekend.

No game for the M2s this week…

WH&E M1 2 : 3 PHC Chiswick M3

The men’s 1s wrapped up their season with a trip to Chiswick against a team still seeking promotion. 1 nil up early on from a well taken penalty corner by Colin Foad, then 2-1 down, before Foad scored again to setup a tight finish. However, it was Chiswick who scored the winner in a very close and enjoyable game.

WH&E L1 2:1 East London L4

The Ladies 1s finished with a fine 2-1 victory over East London. Goals from Abbi and Sam enough to take the points in the final league game of the season. 3 wins and a draw in the last 5 games securing their place in the league for next season – well done ladies!

WH&E L2 0:1 Eastcote L4

A tight game with the ladies 2 slipping to a single goal defeat in their final game of the season.

No match this week for the M2s who completed their league season last week.

WH&E M1 6 : 2 East London M4

A beautiful winter’s day which made Southbury look even more enticing than usual. This was the setting for the M1s to show some attacking intent that has been lacking a bit this season, in part due to inconsistency in availability and playing some very strong opposition.

The first ten minutes showed promise but attacks were breaking down at the final pass. Then something seemed to click and we opened the scoring with a fast slick move that was arguably our best goal of the season so far. Having switched the ball across the back Eray played an excellent hard direct ball up to Colin in the channel. One neat touch to eliminate his marker, some quadragenerian acceleration towards the 25, and then a further hard and accurate strike to Tim running in from the opposite flank. Looking composed, and if anything better-looking than usual, he quickly smashed it past the keeper for 1-0.

Further good interplay led to a short corner which Colin smashed into the far corner at the perfect height – 2-0. East London did have some counter attacks throughout the first half and we left Josh exposed more often than we should have. From one of these counter attacks, they managed to get back to 2-1 for half-time.

Half-time discussions mainly revolved around doing the good things more and the bad things less. This worked well. Soon after the restart another short was won, and some on-the-spot training for Dan paid off beautifully as he ended up in the perfect position to neatly deflect Colin’s pass outside the far post past the keeper for 3-1.

Pressure continued to build on East London as they desperately sought to get back into the game, but unlike the first half they were also now struggling to make any serious inroads on the counter attack. Stu and Matt were tidying up beautifully any time they got close. Adam and Dom kept the ball pace up in the middle of the park, Jason and Sam offered great outlets in the wide positions, and Harry bravely headed the ball away when required.

The pressure told. A ball from midfield into Colin at the top of the D, he slowly tiptoed his way around a couple of players to the baseline and played the ball across the goal for Dan to knock in from close range and grab his second of the game – 4-1. It was soon 5-1. East London kept their discipline well but another Winch’ attack led to a defender blocking the ball on the line from young Tim. Colin made sure the flick counted.

A late consolation for East London from a short corner with a neat reverse stick finish made it 5-2. But just to make sure we celebrated the win with the final word, Colin placed another short corner inside the opposite post to complete his hattrick and make it 6-2.

In truth it could have been even more convincing and there is still plenty of room for more composed phases of possession. But the weather was great, the umpires were super, and we had at least two fewer people in hospital than last week. Here’s to more of the same for the rest of a promising 2022.

WH&E L1 3 : 2 Richmond L3

The ladies 1s played at home on a sunny afternoon against Richmond and were determined for a Win! We were missing a few key players today but sending Vicks and Beth all our love at their homes isolating. Still love but a little less to Karen Goode who didn’t manage to convince her mum to come play for us, thus choosing her mum over us!!

It was a squishy start for Evie who let Maple roam free and then got punished for it, although the day looked less rocky from then on. T finally made it to a game with an exciting announcement, she could see! She made use of it being strong at left D.

We called Abbi and Kate up and they both played absolutely brilliantly, with Kate shutting them down and moving it up the right and Abbi making strong runs into space to make opportunities happen for us up front, huge thanks to both for their strong game play.

The first half we played well as a team, communicating lots and our press was shutting their 16s down. Unfortunately on one lucky break, the opponent’s superstar smashed it into the back of the net for 1-0. We were determined to get one back and Bethany decided to take it into her own hands and dribble through 5 of them to put it past their keeper. Then we got another on a lovely cross in from Gem, Karen Gray smashed it into the back of the net, 2-1. Sarah, T and Gem were holding strong at the back and Sam, Kate and Evie were shutting everything down in the midfield.

The second half we kept up the teamwork and on another ridiculous effort from Bethany, Kate smashed it into the back of the net for 3-1. Karen Gray had a beautiful chance for another one on a great cross on from Sam, but somehow the keeper got there. They had a few chances down our end but Nic kept the positivity and communication and made some stellar saves to keep it out. Then the usual, with 10 minutes left we gave them a few penalty corners, just to keep things spicy. On one of those chances, a shot was hit straight through to the backboard, 3-2. From then on though we managed to keep it down their end and we had momentum and press to hold that score and get the Win!

WH&E L2 0 : 2 Imperial Medics L1

Following last week’s win, we came to the game feeling confident despite our previous loss to Imperial; we had a full team, including subs, and the weather was on our side.

We started strong with superior skills and teamwork however we soon lost our form, matching Imperial’s lack of structure and forgetting the strong passing play we’ve been demonstrating the past few games. Imperial were getting opportunities, but we kept strong in the defence with some lovely clearances, including a beautiful dive from Chris, saving the ball from getting into that bottom left corner with the stick. But despite our hard work, Medics managed to end the first half 1-0 up.

The second half started and we came back with a vengeance, keeping our cool and doing beautiful passes across and up the pitch, getting around their defence and creating chances. After one such opportunity a Medics’ player’s clearance lifted the ball past Pippa’s face, giving her a chance at demonstrating her ball-dodging skills a la The Matrix. Despite this, Medics’ speed kept them at an advantage. During a battle for the ball, Pippa fell in the centre of the pitch accompanied by a very hearty laugh from Lisa, but Freya wasn’t to be deterred by her fallen comrade, battling to maintain possession of the ball.

However, despite our much more controlled and clean play, which led to an extended battle on the opposition’s goal line, Medics maintained a clean sheet as well as gained another goal, the whistle blowing with a finals core of 2-0 to them. But we’re not to be deterred, and will come back fighting next week!

WH&E M2 0 : 5 Indian Gymkhana M5

The trip to Indian Gymkhana was undertaken with some trepidation – a bad tempered 7-2 thrashing earlier in the season perhaps contributing to a lack of players this time round. We eventually reached 11 by denying the 1s some subs (and by the results, it didn’t look like they needed them!) and by pulling in the captain’s 76-year old dad – resulting in 3 generations on the pitch.

The fears were only half-justified: it was a very enjoyable and friendly game, and Gymkhana very welcoming (and providing an excellent curry afterwards). They were, however, very skilful: Guy had their centre-forward well marked in the third minute, but still got beaten all ends up as a reverse-stick shot from top-D hit the bottom corner. Hmmn.

So, ending up as a 5-0 loss, but one with plenty of good hockey from both sides, and lots of good passing and attacking intent from us. It would have been nice to have converted one of our many short corners, but we put on a good show, and were beaten by a very experienced team.

WH&E M1 1 : 1 PHC Chiswick M3

The men’s 1s found their form with great pressing, discipline and teamwork from the start, taking the game to 2nd placed Chiswick and really surprising the visitors. And it wasn’t long before the pressure told – a penalty corner slipped left, flicked towards goal and then deftly deflected up and over the keeper by Adam Machray to make it 1-nil to Winchmore.

We continued to press and create chances, but sadly couldn’t convert. Chiswick then started to gain a foothold after the break, and despite losing a player to a 10-minute yellow for a sliding tackle, the visitors piled on the pressure in the last few minutes, forcing a penalty corner in the dying seconds after substituting their GK. And sure enough, Chiswick equalised with the last touch of the game ☹

Big thanks to Lisa for umpiring her first M1s game, and doing it very well too!

WH&E L1 2 : 2 East London L5

‘Twas the game of stick tackles. Only tackle from below says the umpire. With the Deane team out, we only had ourselves and our 2 practice balls to rely on!

It was an early, frosty and angry morning for Karen when the last game before Christmas turned into quite a laughing matter. Karen began the game angrier than ever due to parking issues, but Sarah tripping her up definitely did add to her fury. We were less pumped up with music and our preparation was slightly lacking due to our 2 balls, no subs and Mia and Karen getting lost en route to the pitch.

The first half brought us explaining the rules of hockey to the umpires, Sarah taking a few boob balls for the team, Shell slipping and bleeding as per usual, their offensive penalty corners having as many chances as they like, some beautiful eavesdropping and saves from Nic, and Mia stepping into left back like she never left. There were chances at both nets, and also nowhere near the net when Karen G smashed one 5 m off the end line.

Nonetheless Evie and Karen Goode were playing beautifully down the left and right but unfortunately as only stick tackles were being called, KGs usual play off their feet wasn’t working. We had a few penalty corner chances with Gem stepping up and striking a few beautiful shots in target. One of these chances went to Bethany who ran it out right to Karen, into Gem and then onto Shell’s stick and in the back of the net, 1-0.

They enjoyed raising the ball into our bodies and pushing us over when we were on the ground with Mia even saying, “this is more aggressive than my new sport of boxing.” It was fun and we were loving every minute of it, even with half of us having the lurgy (but testing negative!)

After half-time, their army of 29 players and annoying penalty corner music came out strong and smashed one past Nic for 1-1. Bethany was playing brilliantly for Sam in centre mid and passing / dribbling up to give Abbi, Vicks and Kazza some chances up front. One of these chances was smooth as it came from the halfway line to Karen, on to Bethany and then slid past for Abbi to put it home, 2-1.

Nic was playing solid in net and amidst eavesdropping and silently questioning the umpires every move, she made some legendary saves, including a 1 on 1 where Nic scared her off. Then from a penalty corner when they took 3 strikes, Shell stumbling and apologising and not even getting one strike, they slotted their second home, 2-2. We had a few more chances from Karen, Abbs and Vicks up their end and we had a few more calls of stick tackles that were anything but.

We played a strong team game and should be proud of our draw, although would have loved an Xmas W. Happy Holidays and L1s are hoping for some 2022 Ws for Christmas

WH&E L2 1 : 4 Eastcote L4

After two weeks without a match we were looking forward to a run around, particularly at the start of the week having 14 players, luxury! However, by Saturday morning due to COVID we were down to 10, definitely going to be a run around!

We counted them out, they only had 10 too! That didn’t last though and by pushback they were plus 1 sub.

We didn’t care – we were oozing compliments and positivity, and we started strong as a team with good passing, communication and running just enough to last but allowing the ball to do the work. It was not noticeable that we were fighting top of the table with a player short.

We were composed on the ball, made some lovely strong passes to great runs and although we put in some great crosses we couldn’t convert. Solid defending in the first half as we absorbed the early pressure. Going forward there were some lovely interchanges and communication was good. Sadly, ending the first half 1 down.

Mid way through the second half we got a short corner, Charlotte’s strike from the top was saved but Kate was there to slot it in the bottom corner. Kylie did some great runs up and down the wing and managed to hit herself in the face with the ball…multi-talented, and displaying some awesome skill!!

As the game progressed those extra two players made it tough work, with fitness playing a part, Eastcote popped in a few more goals making the final score 4-1.  Everyone played incredible, dug deep and at least we managed to christen our new kit 😝 roll on 2022!

Finally, a big thank you to Dom and Jason for umpiring and for so many people turning up on the side-line to support.

No game for the M2s this week…and now time for a long Christmas break!

Next league matches: 22nd January.