Team Reports06 Dec 2021
Message from the Chair
It feels almost strange to be approaching the halfway point in the season, given that we experienced so much disruption over the last two years. That said, it also feels fantastic, and it has been superb to see the Section rallying together over the last three months or so – with some tremendous results and memorable fixtures! At the time of writing, with all leagues approaching the conclusion of the first round of fixtures, it is great to see so many teams contending for the top spot in their leagues! Hopefully the second round brings a little bit of extra luck for the stragglers.
A few pieces of ‘boring’ admin from me:
• Squads are light, almost without exception. I ask that you prioritise your hockey fixtures at the weekend over other social engagements. If a team is light because of people being out at brunches, junks or hangovers, there will not be much tolerance for disrupting squads further down the ranks!
• “ICE contacts” – please ensure your “in case of emergency” contacts are in TeamSnap. We have had a few serious injuries over the last couple of weeks, and we need to be able to contact your better halves / parents / significant others if necessary.
• Get your tickets for the GDF NYE bash – it is selling out fast and it has been so long since we had a proper party! Dust off those gladrags!
As we approach the end of the year, with the festive season likely in full swing by the time you read this, it feels like a good time for reflection. As with 2020, 2021 has not been easy. Our lives continue to be universally disrupted by the impact of COVID, the associated restrictions and the ongoing uncertainty – families continue to be separated and every day feels like Groundhog Day. As I look forward to 2022, I am hopeful that we will see some change for the better. In the meantime, let’s continue to enjoy the “normality” of being on the pitch with our teammates, friends and hockey family. Let us continue to remember that Hockey is More Than A Game. Continue to fight for each other, play for each other, encourage each other and pick up your teammates when they fall. Toast the wins and commiserate the losses. We are One Club.
I wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2022, and I hope to see you all on the Smurf and in the Sportsman’s over the coming weeks.
Chair, Hockey Section
Men's G Team
From the 1st to the 7th game, the motto and anthem for the G Team this season had to be “The only way is up”. The pre-season friendlies had looked to bode well for what was to come, with several good wins and the team beginning to gel from what had been for one and all a chaotic and disjointed 2020 season.
However, while results could in one way be deemed “consistent” if stretching one’s imagination somewhat, they had all frustratingly so far been without a single win, or draw, after 7 games.
Names and games have to remain anonymous for those concerned for their onward reputations at this time, but our very first game had a stern note from our coach that his long-term marital relationship could end if we did not beat our opposition, and that the very last thing we must do was to lose. So out we stepped and sure enough, true to his instructions, the last thing we did, was to lose! However, our first goal was on the charts, so hope was still strong. Onwards to game 2, a similar ‘loss’ and yet no more goals for the Gs. Game 3, the scoreline more than doubled, to an extremely experienced opposition sporting ex-HK players, internationals and more, but pride was held up in that we’d lost by far less goals than other sides who had played them and kept the scoreline to well under double digits.
Games 4, 5, 6 and 7 have come and gone, and the scores have gradually been whittled down to only 0-1 losses, so the defence has improved to pretty solid, the midfield has shown they can get the ball out and forward, and the attack have had chances but yet to break out into positive territory. Egos have been dented, ankles twisted, heads hit, hamstrings pulled too, but the determination is there game after game to go out and enjoy our hockey, put more into training and we’re getting a full 16 squad out week after week, even with injuries and quarantine sessions. Spirit has still been up on the pitch and also being drunk in the Sportsman’s for morale-boosting team chats and discussions on tactics.
So came our 8th game, and it suddenly all came together. We were down a goal early on, so the writing was on the wall, but soon came a short corner shot and it was all square. The opposition took the lead again before half time but the G’s belief and fighting spirit came back for a 2–2 scoreline by the 4th quarter. Suddenly we had moves out of defence, fast penetrating runs through the midfield and constant chances in the opposition’s “D”. Just minutes before the end, concerted pressure saw a fully deserved goal for 3–2 and the Gs finally have their first and much needed Win of the season. The only way is up.
Men's H Team
The Mighty H’s continued to build on the successful introduction of 12 juniors into the squad last season. This season we saw 6 of the juniors being promoted into higher teams, most notably Antoine Nyssen, our keeper, straight into the A’s, and have 6 new recruits fired up to take their place.
Impressively, with that amount of change, the team has not missed a beat and has continued its strong form into this season. The juniors in their second season continue to develop exponentially. Julien Nyssen, Pau Calda and HarryHattam often dominate in midfield, tying the opposition in knots with their sheer speed. Upfront the Law brothers, Casey and Cameron, ably assisted by Addie Kadam, continue to cause chaos in the opposition’s D. Our defence has also done well with Tijs Reniers and Adhit Ranjan showing the old hands how it should be done.
The enthusiasm in the team is fantastic and already the new recruits are performing at a high level and keen to play with 16 on the card, every week giving Mike and Shep a welcome selection challenge.
Having a full bench with fast rotation has been one of our key strengths this season. The never-stop running ethos in the team means the opposition are often dead on their feet in the last quarter and has allowed us to beat some very experienced teams. The most notable result, so far, was the teams draw, on grass, against an undefeated Recreio. Not bad considering most of the team did not even know hockey could be played on grass!!
Although we currently reside 4th in the league, our position could have been much higher with a couple of unlucky goals robbing us of a few more wins, but that’s show business and has set the team up for a very promising second half of the season.