WH&E M1 4 : 2 Richmond Griffins

The men’s 1s took the trip to Chiswick for their match against Richmond Griffins on a scorching hot afternoon. Well aware of the heat and with only one sub, Winchmore let the ball do the work, passing and moving the ball well around the field and taking control of the game. Another hattrick for Colin Foad, including an absolute worldie into the top left corner, plus a first goal of the season for Harry Stone secured the points with a 4-2 win after a slight wobble in the second half.

A superb 1st team debut for Tom Pearson, stepping up from the men’s 2s, earning him joint man of the match with hattrick hero Foad. With one game of the season left to play, the M1s will be pushing to finish with a hattrick of wins too.

WH&E M2 1 : 11 West Hampstead M8

A tough game for the men’s 2s, playing with 11 outfield players and no goalkeeper. Nevertheless, a stirring first half performance saw them concede only 2 goals, before the floodgates opened in the second half. Theo Chapman with a consolation goal for Winchmore.

WH&E L1 v Teddington L4

A walkover for our ladies 1s with Teddington unable to field a team to travel to Enfield.

WH&E L2 v Hampstead & Westminster L7

…and another walkover for our ladies 2s as Ham & West forfeited their game too – all the more surprising as they were the home team.

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.

(…though not quite in the way we had hoped…)

WH&E L1 2 : 2 Teddington L4

It was a chilly (sorry, freezing) afternoon down in Teddington where the ladies in new purple kit were taking on the ladies in pink. The first half saw us playing some strong passes, using our triangles, huge saves from Nic and a few opportunities for us up front. We had 2 attacking penalty corners that almost hit the back of the net but narrowly slid wide.

About halfway through the half, we scored a beautiful goal through teamwork – it started with Gem and Shell at the back, worked through Karen in the midfield, up to Lucy and Bethany and then into the middle where Sam smashed it home. Other than that, Evie and Shell almost took each other out again, Pipps did great moving it up the left with Evie, whilst Karen was always moving and looking for long balls (except when Sam told her off for running too early.)

The second half was a WHE classic. We unfortunately had frozen over during half time and started a bit slow, letting them score one to tie it up. We had our moments of brilliance, with Abbi getting the longest ball ever but we all watched until Nic yelled at us to, ‘GO HELP!’ We held them well and scored another one of our own when Lucy decided to take Bethany’s advice and put two hands on the stick. The first shot was on the keeper’s pads, but she slotted the rebound home beautifully. We then fell into our usual pattern of giving away 29 (exaggerated) penalty corners. On one of these, we cleared but they came back and smashed it reverse stick into the back of the net.

The game was put on pause for an injured calf at one point but other than that it was only moments of -3 winds that froze us. The last 2 minutes were touch and go but we managed to hold on for the draw. Disappointed to not win but a draw in the freezing cold was a decent result.

WH&E M2 0 : 0 West Hampstead M8

A game of two strong defences, that thankfully came to end after 70 minutes! It could probably have continued goalless for some time longer…

WH&E M1 v Richmond Griffins

Walkover to our M1s, after Richmond conceded the game on Friday night.

WH&E L2 v Hampstead and Westminster L7

Another walkover, after Ham & West conceded on Saturday morning.

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.