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 M1 3 : 1 Ashford M2

Winchmore travelled away to Ashford on the back of a frustrating draw but still in good form at the top of the table. Opening with a half court press to test the opposition, Winchmore held a good shape despite the constant running of Ashford’s energetic youngsters.

After 8 mins of good passing Colin put Winchmore 1-0 up with a trademark calm shot under the diving keeper. Not long after the lead was extended to 2-0 by Luke with an unusual goal from the baseline with a pass across goal, a deflection off a defender and then left to go in by a confused keeper.

Despite this, Ashford remained a threat with a tiring Winchmore press and before the end of the half found themselves with a numbers advantage at the back making it 1-0 on the counter with a low push into the corner of the goal to steal away John’s clean sheet. Ashford maintained their energy into the second half but were met with a solid Winchmore defence with the likes of Jake and Matt to name a few making numerous tackles and interceptions.

The Ashford press intensified as they pushed for a second goal but with patient passing around the back and Ollie channelling his inner Jimbo with numerous aerials, Winchmore managed to play through. This patience was rewarded as Ashford threw more players forward and Winchmore found space down the right with some nice dribbling from Dan followed by a pass across goal and yet another Colin goal wrong footing the keeper with a scuffed finish off the end of his stick.

Growing yet more desperate Ashford pushed on for a second goal and succeeded in winning some late short corners but found their routines lacking with none converted. Winchmore sat deep and soaked up the Ashford pressure and managed to see out the game to make it a well-earned win with a final score of 3-1.

After the match Jake Tasker was voted as MOTM for the third time in four games after yet another excellent performance, while Harry Stone acquired his first DOTD of the season for his first half miss..

WH&E L1 0 : 1 East London W4

We showed up with balls, smiles and a whole lot of confusion down at Mile End. This was the best of times. Eventually we all found each other and the sun was shining down on a solid first ten minutes of play where we controlled and played our game.

The first half was end-to-end with Karen Gray, Bethany, Abbi and Vicks having some offensive chances, whilst team D played solid with Sarah, Gem, Amber and Beth saving goals, including with a chin! Freya didn’t touch the ball too much in this half but was a strong presence in goal.

0-0 at half time and we were ready for more. Our midfield ran their tails off – Evie, Amy, Sam and Karen Goode were up and down all game. Freya played phenomenally, saving a few penalty corners against us but, unfortunately, they seemed to pull something out of the bag and slotted a non-penalty corner into short side. This was the worst of times.

Winston 🐶 came and we went to the rusty nail for spring rolls 😋

WH&E L2 0 : 3 Southgate W5

With sunshine, optimism and some subs we started with a spring in our steps. An early break down the right side showed some promise, only to then naturally swing and miss returned some of our focus, but clearly not early enough as we then went down 1-0 in the first 10 mins. Thankfully we also had 2 spring chickens with us so some eager defensive tackles let the oppo know we were there to fight. Half time came but sadly we were 2 down and Gem had already had a warning.

Wise words and contemplation during the break saw us take the pitch for the second half with a new focus and energy. Some amazing runs by all, including the defence who managed to cover the whole pitch, terrific saves by Chris and up close and personal tackles by everyone saw a turnaround in possession and control of play. Despite all of this the final score of 3-0 did not reflect what a great game we played. We pulled together, played hard and felt proud to give Kate such a good game as her last game with us for a few months 😜


No game for the M2s this week…

A busy post season has seen several club members participating in the England Hockey national masters tournaments, representing the London and East areas…and proving that age is no barrier!

Women’s O40s 🥉

In May, L1s player Sarah Essilfie-Quaye put her “Team D” credentials on the line to help the London Women’s O40s to a fine third place finish in Wakefield. 

Women’s O65s 🥇

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Chris Putt was helping a combined East / London region team to the O65s gold medal on the original London Olympic pitch, relaid in Sheffield!

Men’s O50s 🥈

In June, M1s player and club chair, Dom Smith, was team manager of the London O50s who were pipped to the gold medal in Wakefield, going down on penalty flicks in the final.   

Men’s O40s 🥇

Closer to home, M1s player Jason Martins helped the London O40s go one better, picking up the gold medal in the tournament held at Southgate. 

Men’s O45s 🥇

Not to be outdone, on the final masters tournament weekend in July, M1s legend Stuart Carrick helped the London O45s to the gold medal on a scorching weekend in Bristol. 😎

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.