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 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 Eastcote L2

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Ladies 1s were playing a strong Eastcote side at home Saturday but were determined to be the STRONGER side.

The first 30 seconds of the match, WHE forgot how to hockey but then quickly remembered and it turned into an evenly matched affair (sorry Karen). We played strong defensively, made some great triangles in the midfield and up front we pressed better then we have before. About 20 minutes in, we had a long corner that after a beautiful set of play, ended up on Vicki Lim-Bettes reverse side and in the back to the net. And with that, we were 1-0 up! We had some balls, sticks, and players flailing but all ended up in one piece with a lead at half time.

The second half had moments of brilliance where our triangles were working, switches were on and Chris was standing on her head to save balls that she didn’t even need to! It also had 20 minutes of us giving away about 10 PCs and struggling to get the ball out of our D safely! We held strong but eventually gave up a goal from a penalty corner that ended up in the stick of a red player who buried it. There were 6 minutes remaining now and we were determined to not lose. A few chances at our end were terrifying but we also had three penalty corners down their end that were executed well, but their keeper made some beautiful saves to hold the draw.

The game was evenly matched, aggy at times, but a well-deserved point for the ladies 1s! Player of the match to Chris Putt for outstanding saves and being a wall in the net.

WH&E M2 3 : 1 Eastcote Eagles

The men’s 2s travelled to Eastcote for a late game at 4:30 – better late than never! With former Winchmore player Leo turning out for Eastcote it was always going to be a tricky game, but Winchmore went into the break 1-0 up after a goal from Dom Smith. However, Eastcote clearly had the more inspiring half-time team talk and came out firing on all cylinders, soon restoring parity by following up a penalty corner to find the Winchmore net.

Nevertheless, we kept our composure to score twice more – both goals coming from the right side with first-time shots from Dom and then Jake Sumner, helping Winchmore to a comfortable 3-1 victory.

WH&E L2 2 : 3 Harrow L3

The miserable rainy day turned into a sunny day along with the 2s hope of a win. We began strongly with a goal from Abbi keeping our structure and using the whole width of the pitch. We kept the pressure on, had some fantastic 1-2 touches and played some ‘proper’ hockey. They drew level with a well-executed goal, but our heads still remained high.

Half time arrived and there was a stirring team talk. We continued to pressure the D and it resulted in a second goal. A superb pass from Bridget through to Abbi to tap it in. Gem made a guest appearance back from uni and gets herself a talking to from the umpire she claims she did nothing wrong. Freya made some fantastic saves unfortunately they pulled a goal back.

We continued to pressure and had numerous chances on goal. On one of their few breaks DoD Nellie managed to kick the ball into our own goal giving them the lead. The pressure was now on to try and equalise with 10 minutes to go. Wave upon wave of Winchmore attack was stopped by Harrow including a last-minute shot on goal by captain Pippa which missed by millimetres.

We should be very proud of the way we played, and the lessons learnt will be taken to the next match including Pippa forgetting to tell the home team about teas. Bring on next Saturday when we play Hendon & Mill Hill.

Match report dictated by Lorna and Kareen written by Gem with the occasional contributions from Abbi whilst on the north circular!!

WH&E M1 2 : 4 Southgate Flagons

Surprisingly nice weather by game time and a debut for Oliver so the signs were all good including the first 15 minutes of the game. Winchmore handled possession with confidence and scored through Tim. 1-0 and looking good if we could hold on until half time.

Unfortunately, this was not to be as a break away resulted in a short corner. The experienced and well drilled opposition put it away and their short corner routines were to prove our main downfall. Southgate scored another short and grew in confidence while we seemed to go the other way.

Despite this the threat aside from short corners was not great. The time there was, Matt disguised himself as a red voice to fess up to crossing with a back stick and having a Southgate field goal chopped off. Alas the short corners reigned on our goal and despite some excellent saves we also conceded, reaching 4-1 down.

There was a second for Tim who was on song despite carrying an injury. A neat finish at the post from a short corner for us. Despite our 2 goals we didn’t recapture our form as the opposition continued to dominate the middle. A real bright point was Oliver’s solid and impressive display at centre back.

Big thanks to Sam and Beth for umpiring along with support from Lisa.

We know we can compete for patches but that means we need to work on our game management and consistency over the whole game. Better things to come next week.

*NEWSFLASH* We finally won something!

Following the split of the summer league and some heavy losses to a very familiar foe (they wear red), the ladies’ teams have been playing the teams in black. In the two games against West Hampstead we saw a high scoring 5-3 win coming back from 3-0 down and a close 1-1 draw. These were followed by two games against Potters bar and some more wins! Yes that means 4 games in a row undefeated!

Goals have come from all over the place, and the teams have been playing better and better, with some fantastic passages of play and several new players gaining match experience during the summer league. We will, however, concede that Jason may have a point and we might want to start doing a bit more of a warm up before some of the games!

The summer league finished with our As v Bs game, but with one big difference…the men played too! The match was turned into all all-club mixed match, which resulted in a great game between two evenly matched sides with a final score of 4-3 and smiles all round at the end.

Now on to the new season, with new leagues, new opposition and fingers crossed no games cancelled for covid?!

The Southgate Summer League reached its conclusion for the men last week, with a fine 6-0 win over Southgate Adelaide.

After the normal season was inevitably curtailed due to covid, the re-established men’s summer league was a very welcome chance for us to get back on the pitch enjoying some competitive hockey once again, and more than 30 different men’s players took up the chance to play.

Fielding two mixed ability teams, the younger and less experienced players had the chance to gain match practice playing alongside established first team players and it was great to see the progress they made over the course of the summer league – Theo, Tom, John and Zak are all names to watch out for next season!

And with the men’s summer league running in parallel with the ladies, it also provided the chance for new umpires to gain experience as we reciprocated umpiring duties with the ladies matches – Jason and Stan stepping up and doing well having taken umpiring courses last season.

Huge thanks go to Liz Moss at Southgate Hockey Centre for organising the summer league, and to the other teams from Southgate, West Hampstead and Southgate Adelaide without whom it wouldn’t have happened!

The full summer league results can be found here: https://www.southgatehockeycentre.co.uk/summer-leagues/.