WH&E L2 3 : 0 Old Merchant Taylors W2

Braving the bitter cold the L2s made the trek to OMTs, determined to finally get a scoreline that reflected our play. A mad scramble for players having got us up to 12 and we felt coolly confident.

And we were right to feel that way.

Our focus for the game being on 1-2s, we stayed calm, passed around, and maintained possession. At the 5 minute mark Kareen got our first goal!

We let them have the odd break (it’s good to keep Freya on her toes) but nothing could get past us. Lorna should look into taking up baseball, batting the ball away from soaring into the goal after a short corner.

The heavens aligned to grant us our second goal. A strong hit from Gem into the D found Bridget’s perfectly positioned stick, the ball flew into the air and dropped neatly into the goal. To quote OMTs, “the best goal we’ve ever seen”.

Sam made her presence felt by sinking our third goal just before half time, a feat that helped her receive ‘opposition player of the match’ from OMTs and a nice hand cream.

Feeling very happy with ourselves, the second half got underway. An even battle, we decided that Freya hadn’t had enough of a workout but fortunately for us it wasn’t to be for OMT. The ball kept hitting the post, Freya’s keeping was unpenetrated, and a second goal-line save from Lorna helped get our first clean sheet of the season.

The end was in sight, but the dramatics weren’t to finish any time soon. With 10 minutes to go, our very own Harriet received her first ever green card for not staying 5 during free hits. Given her smile on her face as she came off the pitch, you’d have thought she’d scored.

A final whistle blew and so ended our first proper win of the season. The first of many to come, I’m sure.

WH&E L1 3 : 1 Southgate W4

The L1s took the short trip to Southgate for the local derby, coming away with a fine 3-1 victory ensuring that North London is purple! 💜 So much excitement that no one remembered to write the match report…

WH&E M1 0 : 6 Indian Gymkhana M3

Hi, Matt here again.

This week’s theme: holes.

Yes: because of the gaping hole in the middle of the pitch that Indian Gym dominated.

Yes: a reference to zero, the number of goals we scored, as well as our points tally from the past four games.

And yes: the proverbial hole that should have swallowed up all of us at the final whistle.

But also yes: the wholesome post-match donation of a jug of beer from Callum, who had a lucky raffle ticket back at ‘the 19th hole’.

Next week we’ll need a wholehearted effort against West Hampstead to climb out of the hole we’ve dug ourselves. A little more Winchmore Hill, a little less Winchmore Hole-In-Defence, am I right, lol?

WH&E M2 0 : 5 Old Merchant Taylors Demons

A disappointing result for the M2s against a well organised OMT Demons team that blended youth and experience to very good effect. An even battle in the middle of the park, but OMT far better in the final quarter of the pitch.

WH&E L1 1 : 1 London Royals W1

The weather seems to be a running theme in these match reports….this week it was unseasonably warm #climatechange.

Coming off the back of our 11-0 victory last week, the L1s arrived later than normal at Southbury (Sam didn’t get the memo and had to be told after running round the house like a nutter getting ready at 8.30)

Our word of the day was capitalise….but we forgot quite early on. An early short corner saved off the line by a Royals defender denied us the lead. A quick break from the Royals and some messy defending gave them the lead. A very back and forth game ensued as we fought for an equaliser. Not even the incredible #rugbyhuns short corner routine was working but never fear after passing the ball so kindly to the opposition again adding to her DOTD nominations Sam was able to get a clean strike from the top on a short corner pulling us level and making captain Shell very relieved. Some more breaks from the Royals left us very very nervous but MOTM Nic kept her cool and denied the oppo beautifully.

A much more normal result for us. A cheeky win would have been nice but a fair result of a draw.

Next week the only north London Derby that matters…

WH&E M1 1 : 2 Southgate M5

Hi, Matt here. Just wanted to pause near the season midpoint and praise my colleagues for their efforts so far.

Josh has returned in goal this season with real pep. And it only took a one-match ban to bring out his best.

Jake is my player of the season so far. The team agrees, having rewarded him with at least two Richard of the Day awards (so far).

When Asher has the ball, time slows down. At least for him. The opposition are usually operating at normal speed.

Dom is a treasure. And he was absolutely plundered by Southgate for one of their goals.

Dan’s PE teacher energy is inspiring. I’m just thankful he doesn’t make me do push ups for each time the ball hits my foot.

Ollie? New chap? I don’t recall such a weak-whiskered guy in the team. Unrelated: donate to WH&EHC this Movember: https://uk.movember.com/team/2436447

Harry often seems to be playing another sport. Sometimes he smashes the ball into the goal, like in tennis. Sometimes he tries keep our score down, like in golf.

Jack and me have experienced the mean streets of Ponders End (#EN34EVA), for which we share an eternal bond that transcends the sport of hockey.

Colin travels 4,000 km a season from Berkshire to play with us actual sheer berks in Enfield. Does this also make him a berk? Multiple player of the season awards would disagree with me.

Joe is the more handsome and talented of the Turmaine brothers and he definitely didn’t threaten me to type this.

Luke scored with one of his signature ‘Luke-ins’ from a static position and the excitement ignited his pugilistic rage (watch out Josh).

Jim (welcome back) looks great in purple and doesn’t look at all like an aubergine. Unlike some of the other Full Kit Williams in the team (you know who you are).

Literally nothing bad to say about Tom. Keep it up, pal.

Anyway, we lost 2-1 or something to Southgate M5s, idk. Something, something, we don’t let this slip, we go again.

WH&E L2 0 : 6 West Hampstead W4

The L2s turned up to a nice, surprisingly warm, sunny day. A rag tag bunch going up against the undefeated top of the league. Were we going to do it? A successful David against their Goliath? (Spoiler alert: no.)

We fought hard, with great pressure and passing moments – including going round the back to our surprise! Lisa helped (?) with the David and Goliath metaphor by hitting the ball into her own head.

With the word of the day being ‘honesty’, the opposition walked away with 6 goals to our feeble none.

David just had an off day. He’ll definitely beat Goliath next week.

WH&E M2 2 : 6 Indian Gymkhana M5

An away trip to Indian Gym, not the result we wanted, or the lack of match report either! Hopefully better on both fronts next week…🤞

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…