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 L1 3 : 2 Hampstead & Westminster L5

Goals from Beth, Abbi and Bethany helped the ladies 1s to a fine victory over Ham & West 5s. The celebrations clearly so good that no-one remembered to write a match report! 😂

WH&E M1 2 : 6 West Hampstead M3

The Men’s 1s made what is becoming a regular trip to the delightful surroundings of Brent Cross to play 2nd placed West Hampstead 3s.

This season in London has certainly been a challenging one. On this occasion, the 1s set out to challenge a few assumptions and influence the outcome of the league with two West Hampstead teams currently vying for first place.

Winchmore competed strongly for the first half of the first half, maintaining a disciplined and coherent press, allowing the opposition a lot of possession around their own 25-yard line, but without significant penetration, before conceding to a quick break at the mid-point in the half.

From this point, the opposition did maintain a regular tally of goals, although they were often frustrated by some excellent saves by Aidan Mullins who had donned the goalkeeper’s pads for the occasion and delivered a man-of-the-match performance to boot. Hidden talents, indeed!

Despite the final score – a somewhat West Hampstead-flattering 6-2, it was clear that Winchmore also carried a threat. Excellent interplay between midfield and attack down the left saw a penalty flick conceded and neatly put away by Colin Foad. A threaded through ball in the second half from Asher Cohen set up Luke Trevill who tussled with the goalie and scored from a tight angle with a slotted shot.

(John Lappin gets credit for a Salt’N’Pepa-style verbal assist by shouting “push it”, at this point, which clearly made a huge contribution to the ball going in the net.)

So, what to make of the performance? It was a testing day, but the team showed a lot of defensive spirit, organisation and some attacking vim. A very strong opposition might have had something to worry about if we could have got one more goal at 4-2. We continue to ascend the steep learning curve this league presents.

With a very fair wind blowing in off the North Circular, you never know what might have happened. Not this time though.

MOTM: Aidan Mullins on his GK debut for the club – an outstanding performance

DOTD: John Lappin, for only realising his shorts were on backwards at the last minute and having to make an emergency switch during our team talk! 😂

WH&E L2 1 : 6 West Hampstead L5

The sun was out as the motley crew turned up. Two juniors on their second game with us, our captain out due to covid, Lorna ill, and Gemma making her post-baby debut (sadly no baby there as support).

The game started.

A great ball from Gemma to Kylie, after a great run the ball then went on Charlotte who masterfully passed it on to Jodie. Approaching a one-on-one with the keeper, Jodie was unfortunately taken out by a defender falling over herself.

We were awarded a short corner. Using our ‘new plan’, the ball went straight from Kareen as injector to Charlotte at the top of the D, who passed it straight back to Kareen. A beautiful deflection sent the ball arching over the keeper straight into the goal.

Half time.

Some more play happened.

Lorna fancied playing a bit of football, stopping the ball on the line and giving a flick away. Fortunately Chris was there to save the day, and the ball.

The game concluded.

WH&E M2 2 : 3 Old Merchant Taylors M3

A tight game, with two fine goals from Jonny Molloy, but top of the table OMT 3 came from behind to snatch the points and maintain their 100% record.

WH&E L1 1 : 2 Old Merchant Taylor’s L1

The first 5 minutes we came out strong and ready to pounce on any opportunity. Their keeper was consistent in keeping us out of the net as Nic worked hard to keep them out of our net. It was an even half with chances at both ends.

The second half was a bit spicier. They scored off a penalty corner rebound opportunity and another on a lucky break after 11 minutes of sustained pressure at their end. We got one back after our “rugby huns” tactic was beautifully executed without a rugby hun present, but we couldn’t quite get the equaliser.

50/50 split about the quality of the teas and accidental screenshots were sent that kept #TeamBus entertained !

Over and out, mic drop

WH&E L2 2 : 1 Old Merchant Taylor’s L2

The ladies 2s had 14 players on the team sheet this morning but just 12 by the time push back rolled around. We’d lost to these earlier in the season, but we were still quietly confident.

The opening few minutes saw some lovely passing and we looked totally in control. Unfortunately an “enthusiastic” tackle from Kylie gave them a short corner which led to 2 more and they put the 3rd one away. We didn’t deserve to go in 1-0 at half time.

There was great play across the pitch – our press gave them lots of problems at the top and they were heard to say “they could learn a lot from” our defending.

Our first goal was a whole team effort, which came out from the back, up the right through Bridget, Kareen, and Charlotte who sent into the D where Abbi calmly slotted into the back of the net.

We got our second very quickly. It was more scrappy with Abbi getting on the rebound of a Charlotte shot and hassling the keeper until she got it in.

(Both goals were scored when Lisa was off the pitch…and we’re wondering if perhaps she should have been subbed off more?)

We were holding on a bit for the last ten minutes as the tiredness set in and we lost a little composure, but we held them off for a great 2-1 win.

Thanks to Dom and Jason for travelling back to umpire us.

WH&E M1 0 : 5 West Hampstead M4

The men’s 1s took the short trip to Brent Cross for an early start against league leaders West Hampstead 4, with a first team debut for John P in goal, stepping up from the 2s, and a season debut for the returning Jack Wilson.

Travel problems / late arrivals meant we started with a bare 11, but we began solidly and held our hosts with a half court press and playing with confidence. But after 15 mins, Ollie took a nasty stick to his fingers, meaning a reshuffle of the defence and midfield…and a subsequent trip to A&E where a hairline fracture was confirmed .

This enforced change swung the balance in favour of West Hampstead, who put away 2 quick goals with clinical finishes from close range.

After the break, we came out with a renewed focus, working the half court and full court press to good effect and gaining turnovers high up the pitch. But despite several promising D penetrations and penalty corners, we couldn’t convert, and it was the home team who again showed their composure with close range deflections and far post tip ins to score 3 more and run away 5-0 winners.

The scoreline didn’t reflect the balance of the game, with lots of promising play that we just couldn’t turn into goals. Plenty of positives to take forward to next week, and also plenty to work at on the training pitch.

MOTM goes to John P in goal, who showed great composure and made some great saves on his debut. Big shout out to Dan who put in a heck of a shift in attack and a reshuffled midfield, and is getting better and better every week. And the final word goes to Matt Dray, who after being clattered late on, looked like he had a hockey ball growing out of his knee!!

No game for the M2s this week…again ☹

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 2 : 1 Hampstead & Westminster L5

It was the day of the burnt pavlova.

The first 10 minutes we dominated with sexy and ambitious passing, touches and driving into the opposition D. This resulted in a rugby hun conversion of exceptional standard by Sam, Bethany and Shell. Shortly following we had some great work in the midfield by Kazza and Evie that got a few shots off but their keeper was strong and kept it 1-0. The remainder of the first half was evenly played with Nic making some beautiful diving saves, Sarah becoming a wall with her flat stick tackles and Vicks, B, Abbie and Karen up front making some lovely runs into their D. Other than a mad tackle by Shell on Evie (!!), we played a first half full of great teamwork. Gemma found herself in the D and almost made it 2-0 with a strong strike that was denied by their keeper.

The second half we came out determined for a W. We were unable to execute the goal of multiple switches around the back as they were pressing very high but Beth, Evie, Gem and Karen worked beautifully up the sides to move the ball out of our end. We defended a few penalty corners successfully and then the worst happened… a rogue (non- player with not a proper shirt?) dropped out of nowhere and was able to receive the ball at the top of the D and they slotted it in, 1-1. We were fuming. Sam especially decided she didn’t like that score so decided to do something about it. 2 minutes later she received a pass top of the D and smashed it bottom right corner for 2-1. The relief and excitement was palpable.

About 15 minutes left and we managed to keep the W with some strong defending, great work up through the midfield, Gem keeping her cool and moving it up the right and some great runs up front to keep it down their end. The final whistle blew and we had our sexy W, but most importantly the burnt pavlova. Sam for player of the match for brilliant work in the middle, exceptional defending and deciding to smash our win home.

WH&E L2 3 : 2 West Hampstead L5

The win came early with a quick trip along the North circular across to Brent Cross with players arriving pitch side early! Now having given the 1’s Abbi that left us with 11 players only but that did not deter us, we were determined to use insider intel to our full advantage and smash the West Hampstead ladies with glee. So it was with pleasure we scored early and kept the lead for most of the game. Terrific 1-2’s, some switching round the back, amazing runs down the middle and wonderful smashes to the top corner – we were amazing as a team! 1 nil at half time and a positive but stern half time chat set us on good path for 2nd half.

After the break saw a bit more to-ing and fro-ing but with amazing trust and on pitch communication we were able to hold pressure on the attacks from the opposition.

Freya’s wonderful top D kick straight back to the opposition was overlooked due to her amazing boot to Charlotte in the mid 25. Which then with solid passing, a few balls on feet from Lisa, and a few breakaways from Kate and Sula we managed to get back on top again. Pippa’a seamless passing back, even when no one was there, kept us all awake (including when Lorna was made to run) thankfully as then they tried to claim a self-kicked goal. But thankfully the ‘umpires’ were actually correct on that call.

Overall a full time score of 3-2 to us had us singing all the way to teas where we were treated to double carbs and mini magnums. A great match had by all, a wonderful team effort and 2 back to back wins behind us ready for next week against Southgate!

WH&E M1 2 : 5 West Hampstead M3

Despite Winchmore going into an early 2-goal lead, West Hampstead came back strongly to overturn the deficit and then some, running out comfortable winners 5-2.

WH&E M2 1 : 7 Old Merchant Taylors M3

The M2s battled hard, but a young and well drilled OMT side were just too strong, leaving our team wondering why OMT 3s had been swapped out of the division above?