Match Report: Warwick vs Reading (11/11/18)
With the team arriving early enough to do a warm-up, we did what any self-respecting hockey club would do – get as many balls as we could find, line up around the edge of the D and hit the balls at the goal. Did we care there wasn’t a keeper there yet? Not a chance. Were most of our shots on target? Not a chance!
Their keeper must have seen this display of unparalleled aggression and run away since, at the toss, I was greeted with the words any attacker wants to hear “I haven’t played in goal for over 2 years”.
We were out of the blocks straight away! Luke and Aaran bursting through the midfield with ease and Billy Arnold sweeping up everything at the back. 10 minutes in and our constant short corner training was about to be tested. Turns out, Ella still hadn’t been told the ball had to leave the D before you could shoot.
A few minutes later we were presented with another short corner. With Lydia running up from defence and saying “Luke’s watching” as we huddled at the top of the D, Ella was ready to make amends. A clean injection to the top of the D followed by a hit towards the left post resulted in a well taken short corner goal!
It wasn’t much longer before Luke burst through the midfield again (I wasn’t counting but he beat at least 3 players) and played the ball to the back post. A tap-in for me and the score was 2-0.
Now, I’m not a religious man, but Reading’s prayers for the match to be abandoned appeared to be answered. The drizzle we were playing in went from light drizzle to heavy rain to hail to “we need to actually get off the pitch, this could be dangerous” in about 30 seconds. It was short lived.
The rest of the half continued in a similar fashion with Alistair narrowly missing a 1 on 1 (I mean, he was 6 yards out, it’s difficult for it to be much more than narrow) and the defence repelling everything even vaguely resembling a threat from Reading – that is, until Lydia decided to be sympathetic! Realising they needed our help, she gave their striker the ball from our 16 and stood there as she ran through for a 1 on 1. Even with this assistance, they couldn’t get a goal back.
The half time whistle was blown, and everyone headed over to the Reading goal. I’d chosen my clichés carefully, but I’d run out after a minute or 2 and so put the ball in Luke’s court to give some actual advice on how we should be playing hockey.
Not wanting to rest on our lead, we kept up our attack – eventually adding a 3rd goal which was almost exactly the same as our 2nd (except I almost managed to screw this one up).
Not content with his 3 assists already in the match, Luke again burst through their midfield… and their defence before smashing the ball into the backboard.
The match continued with Reading trying with everything they could to get passed our defence and us lying in wait for the perfect opportunity to add to our lead. They even tried taking 1 of our defenders out of the game by hitting the ball at Lydia’s knee. A quick reshuffle saw Luke slot in at centre back and Emma come on in the middle of the pitch!
The 70th minute approached, and I still didn’t have my hat-trick. Realising this, Luke made a tackle, passed the ball to Emma “I’ve never played midfield before” Lees, who gave the ball to me just outside our own 23. I sprinted for the goal – past 1 tackle, past a second, a third… into the D, “oh shit, I’m not actually running towards the goal”, quick roll-out and a push under the shoulder into the back of the goal; 5-0, game over.
Overall, it was an incredible team performance against what was actually quite a good Reading side!
MVP – Billy. Huge defensive effort controlled the back line expertly when Lydia took a tea break.
DoD – Charlie. Attempted to umpire without a whistle… or cards… whilst playing.
Honourable mentions to Aaran and Tom who bossed the midfield!