WH&E L1 0 : 6 Barnes L3

This week the 1s went on holiday to Barnes.

Our holiday started off well.

The sun was shining and #TeamBus1 discovered they had a magical boot that looked tiny but actually holds three full-sized hockey bags! The accidental convoy of cars managed to find the hidden pitch at the end of a very long and winding road…

The majority of the 1s were pleased the cold changing room had a heater whilst we waited for our leaders to arrive, as there were metaphorical and physical bridges to be crossed

Our mantra for the match was live laugh love lose x

At teas the oppo checked in with us “‘Excuse me- how many did we smash you by?!” -in a nice way, they were very friendly victors!

Then Sarah, as if she’s their coach, asks “Wtf happened against East London???”*

Sarah needed answers!**

*Barnes #topoftheleague averaging 10 goals/game vs bottom of the league and they only won 3-1

**after mild shock at the question and look of concern(!) they remembered… they were missing half their team, and the players that could make it all turned up sporadically, and “not on form”- except the one that scored of course

WH&E M1 4 : 1 Indian Gymkhana M3

Purple protagonists perform

As warm solar rays graced the day, the Purple pugilists assembled to contend the occasion. But fourteen courageous participants on the roster fell to 13 as injury afflicted Dominic Smith stood down from the Purple Platoon.

A rousing prevailing of the game opportunity ahead from Captain Carrick enthused. A chance to inflict a defeat on potential league champions Indian Gymkhana. A chance to avenge a deficit from months past. A chance to proffer a performance that has been threatening to emerge in recent weeks. Those clarion trumpet calls combined to set the state of play as the Purple shirts assembled opposite the yellow-shirted contestants.

Whistles blow. Sticks on the move. Several attacks. Jack Wilson in a cosmos of space near the ‘D’ – a place he repeatedly secured. A quick firing comet from Oliver Taplin to Jake Sumner to Jack Wilson. A blistering attack flashes across the D. A near identical move. Jake Tasker fires equivalently from rear lines. And another attack. No quarter given by the Purple protagonists. Intensity high. Pressure strong. Domination paramount. Quick passing – a corner of the short variety ensures. Colin Foad shoots and backboard sings.

But, 13 became 12. A clash. A cut. A rushing of blood. Jake Tasker downed with a cut above the eye. Time stopped. Bandages flow and Jake Tasker’s head mummified as the able warrior is helped to the sideline. Only ten-minutes gone. Can the Purplists respond? They can.

Asher Cohen takes the left back mantle but hankers for his midfield anchor too. In the coming minutes Asher from the back, takes a tackle, a stride, another, a jink and jostle, and D-wards step provides a pass and goal – left back assister no less. Dan Mather the joyous beneficiary.

The Gymnasts perplexed. Out run. Out tackled. Out passed. ‘Great game intensity’ proclaimed Oliver Taplin, channeling his historic namesake, urging on the New Purple Army. Captain Carrick par excellence too shadowing Gymkana’s playmaker and demonic dribbler with every twist and turn – an individual feud bestriding the hour and sitting betwixt the wider conflagration.

Aidan Mullins, a helmeted behemoth and stout guard, thwarts occasional incisions. Michael Dutnall blocks and impedes Gymkana incursions. Jake Sumner adopts an inner Jake Tasker with tackle and hurling of the ball from left base line to forward position. Dan Mather harries, Harry Stone harries and Adam Machray harries. Indeed, every Purple-shirted titan adopts the harry mantle.

Alas, not every yellow surge is blunted. Gymkana’s managed to move their abacus one notch.

But the Purple players renew their response. More D-wards efforts. Ball stopped by boot, decried by Gymkhana suggesting direction was not goalward bound. The umpire’s gavel dismisses the claim as arm raised aloft and whistle shrills.

However, the resultant contest between Colin Foad and Gymkhana keeper does not dent the Purple tally.

First skirmish period elapsed.

A more balanced affair in territorial acquisition as the second period unfurls. But Captain Carrick again resumes the battle, deftly blocking Gymkhana progress. John Lappin holds the right-hand side admirably. As time ticks, Gymkhana appears to occupy ever smaller pockets.

Sweeping Purple moves grace back to front, side to side and wing to wing and with many D-wards forays too. Step forward Colin Foad to procure a third for the Purple column.

A fourth is not far behind. A Purple streak. A victory validated.

As the remaining seconds ebb the Purple performance of the season cements itself. Proud Purple hearts. No hazy performance here. A clarity of precession play. A cheer. It had been accomplished.

WH&E L2 0 : 1 Southgate L5

10 players but we don’t think Southgate realised it. Lorna with a torn tendon after spending the previous day in urgent care and Charlotte’s ankle failing halfway through.

So many Southgate short corners and not a single goal.

So many moans about the state of our pitch. Funny, because when we were on their lovely water pitch we beat them 6-0!

Lorna taking the ball as the player lifted her stick to take a strike.

C’s 3D skills – picked the ball from the air and then reverse volleyed the ball away.

Bridget, Sula and Kareen absolutely everywhere.

Pippa’s goal line save. Classic.

Chris covering our arse. A lot.

WH&E M2 1 : 2 Old Merchant Taylors Demons

Everyone played a good game, and performances are definitely improving:

Starting from the back…

John made some strong saves, including a great save repositioning after a cross – it’s almost as if he’d been practising that on Wednesday!

Joe was his imperious self in defence, and some great distribution from the back. And his tackling must be improving, as his green card was only for swearing (in front of youngsters).

Huw kept stepping forward to intercept passes, and generate great counters. He’s annoyed at one of the goals, but I can safely say I wouldn’t have dealt with stopping their skilful youngster half as well.

Tom bossed the midfield, and put in great passes. Fantastic game. Unfortunately he must have picked up some bad words from Joe, as he too saw a green card for swearing.

Guy was distributing well, and had one mazy run forward when his head went down and he couldn’t see any passing options.

Theo dropped to right half, and was a great outlet finding space in attack. With a more natural right winger ahead, he’ll create a lot of opportunities.

Siva started to bring his Wednesday form to the game, looking more comfortable in possession and adapting more to playing on a full size pitch. He can only improve as his confidence grows here.

Piriyan used his speed up front to good effect, and was linking up well interchanging passes with his brother.

Luke drifted into space well up front, receiving the ball high to help build attacks.

Pete made his cameo appearance, and was always foraging on the post, including one fantastic attempt to divert a (wide) near post shot which looped agonisingly past the far side of the goal.

And despite starting from the back, I’ll finish with Wayne, who used his pace to great effect as left back to dispel various attacks – but then also drifted forward to score our goal.

What other positives?

  • We successfully restructured to remove a defender and add another forward which created the extra pressure leading to the goal. (Well done the defence there for initiating that)
  • We had our first away spectator of the season – who was rewarded by her dad scoring his first goal of the season!
  • We passed the ball much better, both building attacks gradually and having some quick counters.
  • We had a short corner. (I think the count was 2-1 in our favour this time, as opposed to 0-20 last match).

What else do we need?

  • More killer instinct in front of goal. Goals have been hard to come by in the second half of the season
  • More fitness – definitely – and maybe more subs.

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 L2 6 : 0 Southgate L5

Arguably the most important match of the season was upon us, away against local derby rivals and 2nd in the league Southgate. Mixed feelings were among our team, some hopeful with two wins under our belts, others doubtful as a win against Southgate is pretty much unheard of.

The first half begun with a solid performance, strong defence and Freya making remarkable tackles and saves to keep Southgate at bay, as well as the midfield running their socks off to support the forwards with excellent passing play and strikes on goal. The first goal came from our current top goal scorer Kareen with a reliable hit on goal – reward for being in the right place at the right time. 1-0 at half time.

We were prepared for Southgate to come out hard and fast for the second half showing their stamina, but we came out even stronger. Another goal from Kareen, rebounding in off the post, a first goal for Pippa from a beautiful short corner hit at the top of the D, a poke in by Kylie with a bit of an unfortunate poke from the goalie too, and another one for Abbi to add to her rolling total.

To top off an incredible match, Kylie dribbled the ball down to the baseline and struck it towards the goal at a virtually impossible angle, flying past Southgate’s defence and goalie making the final score an unbelievable 6-0!! (Definitely in the running for goal of the season) A victory to go down in the history books!

The last three wins meant that we had leapfrogged from bottom of the league to 5th in the table! North London was definitely painted purple tonight. Roll on next weekend!!!

Special mention to MOM Pippa for strong passing round the back, reliable strength in her tackles and of course her first goal of the season!!

WH&E L1 1 : 8 Barnes L3

Our goal was to have fun and we certainly did. We took on top of the table Barnes and we knew it was going to be a tough one – they have been smashing every team in our league and seem to be a cut above the rest, so our job was to hold and use our chances when we had them.

The first 5 minutes we thought to ourselves, we can win! We played some smooth passes and had a bit of pressure. But then they decided to show up and let us know why their average result was 10-0. They were able to move as a team (thanks Dom), smash it into the D for deflections and look for any short corners with their well drilled set plays.

Nic played brilliantly in net for us and was dipping, ducking, diving, and literally standing on her head to keep their goal count down. She even had her ear out and let us know by eavesdropping what short corner play they were going to execute!! l Even with all of that, they were still able to smash 5 home in the first half. Although, we had a few breaks and from our own penalty corner Sam took a straight shot from the top of the D that she cleverly deflected off their stick up and over the keeper and into the net – only the second goal Barnes have conceded in 7 matches!

The second half was again a defensive class, but we marked well, tracked our players and Nic again stood on her head to keep them down to 3 goals. We had our breaks, Sam almost put her second in but it was just a tad too far ahead of her to slot it home. Altogether we played a solid team game, and we were pleased that we scored one and definitely frustrated their attackers with tackles, interceptions and tight marking. Player of the match to Nic for outstanding keeping and being and little eavesdropper. Thanks Pipps and Lisa for umpiring and hugs to Beth who had a nasty head on head collision with another player. ❣️

WH&E M1 2 : 8 Indian Gymkhana M3

No match report…

WH&E M2 1 : 0 Old Merchant Taylors Demons

No match report…

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.