On a rainy Saturday morning the 3’s were scheduled to play the London Wayfarers on the world renowned stage for some of London’s most notorious hockey players. The day started in an odd fashion, with unforeseen reports of other games being called off for the mens team. However the 3’s were prepared for a battle to regain the momentum after a savage 7-2, 5 card thriller defeat the weak before. The squad descended on a soggy Battersea park, with the captain trapped in the boot, as opposed to any other piece of furniture, as always defying conventions. The squad mustered in a excited group of players, as they were introduced to the lady that had stolen Offord from London’s female population.
Offord, Elliot and SP all vying for the rights to lead the prestigious warm up, there was one winner, and Scott vowed to drop 6 players to the subs bench of 4. The game started in a strong fashion for PHC who asserted their dominance quickly, running riot with the attacking flair of Chee, Ramon and the 3’s debutants Ben Bell and Dave Q. After a quick 10 minutes Ben Bell threaded a ball to a waiting Ramon. Taking time out of his busy life of flirting over snapchat and wanting to eat waffles, he, as always, was waiting at the back to fire one into an open goal.
The next thing we saw was a short against the rock hard defence of Weibe, Paul Caine, SP, Sturdy and Wiley. In something since we hadn’t seen since Tim Krul coming off the bench to send the Netherlands to a World Cup semi-final, Weibe picked a ball that had all but beaten Allwood around the post. It was glorious, people clapped, people cheered and people cried. However soon not even the furious work that AJ and Elliot were putting in the centre of the park, the ball was slipped through to a Wayfarers forward who decided to take a touch reminiscent of Lionel Messi’s footwork, nudging it away from the defenders stick with a world class set of feet, they drew level. After a couple of minutes of political outcry, reminiscent of the popularity that Donald Trump holds by anyone with a brain, the umpires gave the goal.
Outraged PHC pushed on, raining the fury of the gods down on the Wayfarers D, Billy and Binks were providing balls for Offord and Quaile to strike. The glory of scoring a reverse goal was calling, Offord did not comply. Dave was also putting his body on the line for the team, however it was not to be and soon Wayfarers won the momentum. In a dazzling display of strength Paul Caine battled through some vicious stick tackles, only to be tripped by the third stick tackle in a spate of 2 seconds, finally going down in a scene reminiscent of Mufasa’s last stand he nudged the ball with his foot. Result P corner and another Wayfarers goal. Soon the game restarted with PHC looking like a group of baffled Karl Pilkingtons, trying to understand the meaning of life.
Further chances were squandered in the dying minutes by PHC to regain a goal and push the game into a draw. However it was not to be, the fates had decided the third elevens fate and it was not the result they were looking for. They retreated to the pub, attempting to drown their sorrows in the bottom of a potent cider. Soon it was decided, Wiley was our Starboy, whilst Offord was the False Alarm of the 3’s, with all the spooning he had done recently, he managed to keep spooning it away from goal.
MOM: Wiley – Solid defending
DOD: Charles, terrible reverse and brining his GF
A murky January afternoon at the Linford Christie Stadium saw the PHC men’s 3rd XI return to action for the first time since the winter break. Chiswick were boosted by Jason Ye, who returned from injury, and Andy Jordan, who finally decided to grace the midfield with his presence.
Other developments, however, were to unsettle the team before the first ball was even played. Ever reliable Billy Caddis was a surprise no-show, controversially deciding to drop himself from the squad on the morning of the game. Even our very own captain Scott Elliott, proving he doesn’t just pass the ball late, made an uncharacteristically tardy arrival. Finally, as bad things come in threes, the Linford Christie Stadium once again wheeled out the dreaded portaloos, dashing all hopes of a comfortable pre-match ‘routine’.
After some balanced open exchanges, Clapham Common took the lead with a low drag-flick from a penalty corner. Two quick-fire goals on the break later and Chiswick were rocking. Disaster struck again as Jason Ye was flattened by a lumbering Clapham defender while carrying the ball into the opposition half. His seven minutes of fitness looked like they were up as he was carried off the pitch by his teammates. The home side were buoyed before the break after pulling one goal back through Chris Brinkworth and as Cowboy’ Chris Henderson arrived to lift the team’s spirits late in the first half.
If only bad things came exclusively in threes. The situation got worse for the Chiswick defence as the Common continued to mount pressure in the spitting rain of Wormwood Scrubs. Lightning fast breaks from the opposition forward line coupled with a rock-solid press to create opportunities on goal and stifle distribution from Paul Caine and Thurstan Wolf at the back. Jason Ye shook off his injury to rejoin the midfield, but even he was unable to steady the ship. After yet another goal-mouth scramble, DVB’s foot blatantly prevented a certain goal as last resort. A stickler for the rules of the game, Dan offered no objections – he ‘knew what he was doing’. Goalkeeper Louis Allwood was powerless to save the resulting penalty stroke.
As the light began to fade it was clear that it would not be Chiswick’s day. Cries of ‘let’s get this over with’ came from the defence as the tally against reached an insurmountable total of seven, but pleas for an early finish were rebuffed by veteran umpires Philipp Shartau and Chris Smith. Special mention must go to our umpiring volunteers, for whom fantasy league points seem poor payment. Not only did they have to watch a torrid defensive display from the home side, but they had to put up with constant remonstrations from both teams. In truth, the numerous cards meted out to Clapham Common’s forwards were justly deserved, but Chiswick were unable to make the most of their numerical advantage. A sweet strike from Chris Henderson into the bottom corner of Clapham’s goal gave some respite from the gloom, but it was too little, too late.
A day to forget for Chiswick men’s 3rd XI.
MOM: Binky – Scoring a fine goal
DOD: Scott ‘smelly shirt’ Elliott – lateness
War and Peace at the Linford as Chiwswick 4s earn a draw
The big question for the Men’s 4s after this thrilling 3-3 draw against Hampstead and Westminster Thirsts was: “What the hell did Stiller have for breakfast?” Raw meat alone, in the opinion of this correspondent, as our doughty centre back ranted and rampaged around the Linford Christie belting out advice to teammates. After the opposition scored one of their goals, Stiller smashed his hockey stick on the ground like a demented Basil Fawlty thrashing his car with a branch.
To be sure, it was good to see plenty of passion in Stiller and the team for this, the first match after Christmas. In the past, a surfeit of Christmas pud and fine claret tended to make for sluggish performances after the New Year, but the boys were generally sharp and composed against a decent team that beat us 3-1 last year.
We did, however, struggle with our shape and passing in the first quarter, and paid for it when Thirsts scored their first goal. Tackling their centre forward proved a tricky proposition, and he dribbled through a pile of blue shirts to slot past Louis.
Marshalled by our adroit skipper Rupert, Chiswick picked themselves up and picked up their game. The snappy passing, give and go, and running off the ball that characterises this team when it’s playing at its best came to the fore, and Phil Schartau rounded off a sweet move down the right to make it all square. Chris had the assist with some lovely skills around the D.
Chiswick’s defence had a more familiar look, with Ben back from injury, Lego and Stiller in the centre, and Tom on the left. Between the sticks, Louis had a fine match, surging off his line several times during the second half to keep us in the game. Louis has the priceless goalkeeper’s ability to instill confidence to his defenders, being encouraging when we do well, and making sure we’re well positioned to deal with threatening attacks.
Phil and Rupert were rapid fire in midfield, ably supported by Rory, who raised no more than a quizzical eyebrow when asked to play centre mid. Nick Woon was his usual larger than life presence in midfield and further forward, and proved hard to stop once on a roll. Consistent subbing in midfield and up front kept the team fresh, and it was Chiswick who took the lead in the second half. After Blobby had nearly removed Will’s head with a bazooka in the first, he made no mistake from a short corner, smashing the ball past an unmoving defence to put Chiswick ahead.
It was no more than we deserved. With Chris Brinkworth poached by the Men’s 3s, Blobby led the line ‘con gusto,’ alongside Nick, Will, Chris and DY. DY especially had a terrific game on the right. In contrast to Stiller’s bellicosity, DY had drunk deeply from the cup of peace during the holidays, as it was all serenity and love from the ‘Ipswich lip,’ and he let his hockey do the talking. It was DY who delivered the assist for our third goal. His cross from the right created a melée in the Thirsts D and the ball bobbled into the opposition goal from Chris Wiggins
That put Chiswick- back_in the lead again, after Thirsts scored from a flick to make it all square after a period of concerted pressure and several short corners. Louis had already saved our bacon but this time he was stranded and DY, the last line of defence, made a goaline clearance….. with his feet.
Any dreams Chiswick had of a win were snuffed out after Thirsts scored their third goal, heralding a frantic last five minutes as both teams searched for the win. In truth, a draw was probably a fair result, and the team should be pleased with a point. In patches Chiswick 4s played some sensational hockey and if we can keep up our highest standards throughout a whole match, we will – without doubt – end this season near the top of this league.
MoM: Louis - A number of terrific saves
DoD: Will - Not knowing the formation and where to play in the 1st half