Biggest Win of the Season for Men’s 2nds Hockey Team
Staines 3rd XI 1 – 6 Henley 2nd XI
Scorers: Guy Harmer (2), Chris Maidlow (2), Jeremy Hughes-Burne, Terry Pollard
Henley have been playing superb hockey in 2013. So much so, that if the first half of the season mirrored the second, Henley would be second placed in the league. Nevertheless, the points tally reached in March required for safety has allowed Henley to relax on the pitch and show the class hiding behind the competitive skin.
This late season penultimate league game was one of two postponed due to snow. Confidence ran high in the first half, with skill oozing from all 11 players. Debutant Olly Gould showed good composure down the left flank to provide Maidlow with ample space to cut in behind the Staines defence. Chances were created early on; Harmer was first on the scoresheet. Pollard and Hughes-Burne set up the striker for a decent shot past the helpless keeper. Soon after Harmer got his second. This time Maidlow drifted past a couple of defenders to slide the ball into the D for a nice deflection by the in-form Harmer.
Staines did gather some possession for a few brief spells in the first half, and kept a solid Pete Asher honest in the Henley goal. However, Henley continued to push forward brilliantly. Gould had a good shot very neatly deflected past a wrong-footed keeper into the far corner by Maidlow. There was to be no let-up for the Staines defence as the first half drew to a close: Maidlow found Wood with an aerial, who in-turn picked Pollard out with a pin-point pass. Pollard made no mistake by firing Henley to a 4-0 half-time lead.
The first 35 minutes was perhaps the most skilful, confident and solid Henley had played this season. It was a pleasure to be part of such a performance.
Staines pressed higher and more tightly in the second half, though never gave the Henley defence much of a headache. James Wood continued to blast down the right wing. Maidlow collected a perfectly weighted through-ball, who sprinted into the D and slotted past the out-rushing keeper into the near corner.
With both Maidlow and Harmer on a hat-trick, Maidlow set up Harmer with a lovely pass, only for Harmer to miss from 2 yards. At 6-0 up, Hughes-Burne turned hockey-vigilante and up-ended a Staines player. Unfortunately, due to his actions the greatly improved young man will not be able to play again for quite some time. Henley’s clean sheet was not to be as Captain Draycott did not see a Staines striker stood in front of him at a 16 hit, leading to the striker only having to tap the ball into an open goal.
Henley’s biggest win of the season was typified the glorious transition that has culminated in great team spirit and some emergent skilful players.