An early Sunday morning trip to a sunny Broxbourne for the U12s. The clocks had gone forward an hour, but didn’t dent the players’ enthusiasm.

Thanks to coaches for organising and supporting the team, and to parents for coming along. We got off a flying start with a 2-0 win over Blueharts C and two goals for Arran. One goal following a great assist from Orla and a second where Arran refused to give up and got it past the keeper. A strong defensive performance with some crucial tackles from Dawud helped secure victory.

A trickier second game against Letchworth Bs followed. We went 1-0 down, Arran pulled a goal back, but we lost 3-1.

The final game against Broxbourne B was where the team showed true grit. We went 1-0 but battled on to secure a 1-1 draw with a great goal and finish from Sam after some brilliant work by Oscar who always lively up front. Aled was the linchpin in defence directing the team, with Grace getting into some great positions to create chances and winning tackles.

Well done Dawud, Orla, Grace, Aled, Oscar, Sam, Arran – a great end to the season, a real team effort and you should all be very proud!

A Sunday morning trip up the A1 to Blueharts for the U12s. We arrived in a wet and windy Hitchin, but the players were full of enthusiasm and ready to go.

We got off a good start with a 0-0 draw in our first game against Blueharts D. A trickier second game against Harpenden C sadly saw us go down 3-0. The third game against Blueharts C was a tight 1-0 defeat. We rounded off the tournament with a 9-a-side game against Letchworth C losing 1-0 after a strong performance.

It was a great experience for the players taking part in their first tournament, alongside some of our more experienced players. Hard work across the team, great spirit, strong tackles and creating good chances. Lots of positives to build on for the next tournament.

Well done Dawud, Emilia, Edward, Orla, Adam, Zoe, Hannah, Mia, Sam, Arran, James. And thanks to the parents for braving the weather.

The Under 12s headed up the A1 on Sunday to Blueharts Hockey Club in Hitchin for their first tournament in a long time. Some nerves, an air of the unknown, but lots of excitement.

We got off to a flying start with a 1-0 win over Broxbourne B. We played some lovely hockey. It was an all round great team effort with a superb finish from Oscar. What a start to the tournament!

We again dominated possession in the next game against Harpenden C with some excellent work from Sam in midfield. The game ended in a slightly frustrating 0-0 draw, but U12s went into the next game more determined than ever to get a win.

Despite facing a strong Letchworth B side, some great pressure from James S, Aled, and Grace, and important tackles from James T and Edward, meant we went 1-0 up after a brilliant finish from Oscar. Another win!

Slightly taken aback by the presence of a goalkeeper in our penultimate game, U12s worked hard and forced the keeper to make lots of saves. We felt unlucky to come away with a 0-0 draw against Blueharts C.

Hearts sank when a goalkeeper again appeared for the final game against Blueharts B. But not to be deterred, the U12s put in a strong performance. Orla got in to some good positions, and Teddy followed up on the rebound with a brilliant goal lifting it past the keeper. Adam smashed the ball past the keeper with a great first touch for our second. We held on to win 2-1.

The team played so well – working together as a team, using the width of the pitch, and brimming with confidence. Well done Edward, Orla, Adam, Grace, Aled, Oscar, Teddy, James S, Sam, James T. The next tournament can’t come soon enough.

Thanks to Jason and to parents for their support on the day.

Results:

WHE 1 – 0 Broxbourne B
WHE 0 – 0 Harpenden C
WHE 1 – 0 Letchworth B
WHE 0 – 0 Blueharts C
WHE 2 – 1 Blueharts B

WH&E L1 0 : 5 Teddington L2

‘Twas the last match before Christmas at Southbury Leisure Centre. The Ladies 1s were a few women down but rallied support from lovely Pippa, Kate and Charlotte. We came out and played strong from the get go against tough Teddington and held our own for most of the first half, letting only 1 sneak past the diving Nic.

The second half again we had moments of beautiful 1, 2s between Lucy, Karen and Pippa, Mia taking on 5 women and winning the ball, Helen and Charlotte pressing strong against their defenders and Reanne playing strong wherever she ended up playing. Sam had a great game until she got a nasty cheek ball from close range and had to watch the remainder from the bench. Beth stepped into her position and played solid defensively shutting them down. Unfortunately, we then conceded 3 goals in the last 20 minutes, even with Nic making amazing diving saves! It was a tough loss against Teddington but come 2021 we will be sure to come out even stronger


WH&E M1 3 : 4 Bishops Stortford M3

The men’s 1s were playing Bishops Stortford 3s in a late push back, under the floodlights at Hockerill College, hoping hockey would be the winner.

Both teams started off defending well, the early stages mainly played in the middle of the pitch with very few chances at either end. WHE began to take control of the match and broke the deadlock with a neat deflection at the near post by Colin after around 20 minutes. The 1 goal lead would be taken into half time, kept intact thanks to a brilliant save by Balazs from a penalty flick, given after a short corner had hit a foot on the line.

The second half started off in a similar fashion, with WHE continuing to apply the high press backed up by solid defending, this has been an effective feature all season. The lead soon increased to 2-0, Josh putting away a reverse stick strike, and WHE were in control of the match.

This must have upset Stortford and the umpire, who for some reason felt the need to call the captains together to calm things down. The match then turned on its head and started to resemble a basketball game. Jason was verbally given a green card after an innocuous challenge. The umpire didn’t have any cards to display, some players were unaware that the team was down to 10 men, and Stortford scored two quick goals to draw level.

Back to full strength and Hill restored their lead almost immediately. Some quick passing found Josh in the right wing area, who dribbled into the D and played the ball into the goal from a narrow angle. After checking with the umpire at the other end, the goal was reluctantly awarded.

As the match progressed, WHE were unsure of what decisions the umpire would make, so it became difficult to keep up the momentum and high press. This allowed Stortford an easy way out and they scored two more, within 15 minutes of their first.

WHE kept pushing for an equaliser, and the ball broke free to Harry in the D who put it in the goal, however it would not count due to an earlier foot. The match finished 4-3 to Stortford, with WHE looking forward to the return fixture to put a few things right…


WH&E M2 3 : 4 Letchworth M5

The men’s 2s went down by the same scoreline as the men’s 1s in another tight match. However, a re-organised line up shows good promise for the future and the team will be raring to go when league hockey returns in the New Year.


No match for the Ladies 2s this week…

WH&E M1 1 : 2 Hertford M2

A near miss for the men's 1sIt was back to reasonably familiar territory, certainly for the older players, for this match against Hertford 2s at Southbury Leisure Centre.

The Men’s 1s had 14 players again and a clear idea of how to deploy the subs with a now conventional midfield switch for the first half but a rapid rotation of forwards for planned whirlwind attacks in the second.

Hertford tend to deploy well-organised and well-drilled teams, but Winchmore hoped to translate home advantage to build on a reasonable, opening draw the previous week and secure an early league win.

It was not to be. Superior organisation and pressing in the first part of the first half were engineered from the back by Stuart Carrick, while off-field Jake Sumner brandished a master plan of written instructions and appropriately Machiavellian secret formations.

Yet quick confident passing across midfield and high pressing were not matched by astute final balls. Passes sometimes lacked a little bit of speed on the damp surface and once again the side perhaps may need a hockey clinic to remember how to be more clinical in front of goal.

Having failed to press the advantage, a few gaps, a few missed balls and Winchmore invited pressure, which eventually led to a break on the team’s left flank and a Hertford goal from a short corner. Admittedly the umpire must have believed that one of those poltergeists which Enfield is famous for had hurled Matt Dray to the ground…?

James Gatting had to make a few saves but given the strong start it should not have come to that. The first half ended with Winchmore remaining one nil down.

The half-time talk saw the captain and several other players assert that we should simply not be behind.

Indeed, for large periods of the second half, Winchmore seemed poised to do something about that. The opposition goal came under siege. Whether the planned whirlwind blew, Winchmore saw a succession of short corners, a wide selection of strategies were tried out with the opposition goalkeeper spending more time on the ground than on his feet, though he was capable of frustrating at least two attempts to lift the ball over him and as many as a dozen follow up shots.

Alas, one break, saw Hertford score again and from then it appeared that Winchmore had left it too late to stage a revival.

Six minutes from time, a goal came from who else but Colin Foad – later to receive not one but two cups in a salubrious awards ceremony in the rain down by the side of the leisure centre (?). The goal was a suitability wily number, side on to goal on the reverse and one that finally placed the ball to the side of the keeper, not one thumped into his pads.

The team must find a way to feed better balls to Foad, and/or the supporting cast must score more themselves, otherwise Saturday nights in north London will continue to be haunted by matches that ‘should have been won’.

MOTM: Michael Dutnall for an all round stellar performance


WH&E L2 1 : 8 BA Hayes L1

Ladies 2nd XIWe put into practise the saying “many hands make light work” by setting up our new/old home pitch from rolling goals in place to inspecting a questionable surface (but very grateful to have a home!). We were ready.

After a thumbs up from the umpires the whistle was blown. BA Hayes started well and soon scored after several attempts of getting through our handy defence. Romily almost got her finger tips on it (or did someone else…!). Unfortunately we were 4-0 down at half time after Lisa Jobson handed them an own goal and a harsh flick given after a clearance from Gem Louise.

After refuelling on chocolate fingers (oh wait, no squashies) we came out fighting. We had some great attacking play with short sharp passes eventually converting into an assisted goal by Lucky Charlotte and yes, first goal on the scoreboard for Abbi!

Final score was a loss of 1-8 but played well as a team despite several injuries during the match, with a ball to Louise’s head and a fractured thumb for our very own captain thumbellina Pippa Deane we can take many positives from the match…..

Thumbs up all round!


WH&E M2 1 : 2 Letchworth M6

The enticing prospect of a 5pm start, away at Letchworth, left the Men’s 2s with a bare 11 to take on Letchworth 6s. Those 11 turned in a strong performance, with solid defending, good link-up play and runs, but just an inability to translate pressure into goals.

There was controversy for the first goal, with the Winchmore team convinced it had gone off the back line, but the umpire less so, and old comrade Grant, playing for the opposition, waiting to put it in from 2 yards out. The umpire wasn’t willing to change his decision, however nicely Joe asked (?), leaving us 1-0 down at half time, and temporarily playing with 10.

But a lovely break by Tom P down the wing and a cross from the byline saw Johnny Molloy put in the equalizer and the game was back on… With players on both sides tiring, there was more space in the middle, and more breaks and subsequent short corners for Winchmore, but no conversion. And sadly, at the other end, a late, and rare, short corner saw Letchworth take the lead again, with Guy just unable to keep it out at the post.

Lots of positives to take away – I’d say at least half the team put in one of their best performances I’ve seen – and high hopes for our first home game of the season next week.


WH&E L1 0 : 9 Ashford L1

The day started off with 2 broken down cars, 2 niggling injuries, and 1 driver not making it to the match at all!

That left us with 11 players and no subs!

Ashford were really well drilled and very fast. They came at us strong from the off and scored a few goals in the first half. Nic was making some amazing saves at the back and our defence was doing a lot of work to defend the goal as much as possible whilst unfortunately up front we weren’t able to convert our short corner or other chances.

In the 2nd half, Ashford scored less goals than the first and we had more attacking short corners and more chances but were unable to convert again. We fought until the very last moment and the undisclosed scoreline definitely does not reflect the level of hockey we played but today wasn’t our day.

Player of the match to Nic in goal who made many crucial saves including some amazing stick saves. Honourable mentions to the defensive line and particularly Charlotte Ellingham whom the umpire praised for having one of the most powerful hits from the back he’d seen!

Dick of the day to Beth Deane for stealing Mia’s stick, making Mia think she’d left it at Ashford!