A Lot Can Happen In Seven Minutes
67 Minute thriller
Saturday’s fixture against East Grinstead started as any other might. The Men’s 2nd XI arrived at Sonning Lane, brimming with confidence after a heroic and dominant performance away at Canterbury the week before. The squad may have been depleted through injury and a lesser team would be cowed at the prospect of playing a fixture with their illustrious totem of a captain side-lined with a near life-threatening wound. Not these boys. With senior pro behemoths like Mike Cullimore, Sam Howells and Pete Roseff to call upon, and the youthful vibrancy of Reading’s smattering of international superstars on the pitch, the team were buoyant in advance of what was assuredly going to be another comprehensive victory. Alas, they weren’t to know what the cruel Moirai sisters: Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, had in store for them.
The game started apace, with razor sharp attacks from the boys in sky blue threatening to puncture the East Grinstead defence at every turn. This venom in attack was matched only by the relentless energy of the defensive work. Coach Powell’s call to full press from the outset proved inspired. Their diffident defence dithered over the ball as all of their options were blocked by the swarming blue tyros, and a misplaced pass presented Kiran Patel with an opportunity over which he made no mistake, calmly lifting the ball over the prone goalkeeper. One nil. A second goal soon followed courtesy of a fine finish from Imre Gerritts and there seemed to be just one result in the offing. The only question was: how many would Reading get?
Unfortunately hockey can be a cruel mistress and perhaps a touch of hubris infected our brave boys. EG bit back with a force of vengeance, not seen since John McClane felt the wrath of an embittered Gruber family set on retribution, scoring four goals in seven devastating minutes. The darling of RHC’s social media scene, Gary Noble, could do nothing to prevent this barrage of free flowing hockey and, rattled, Reading needed the half time break.
Facing an uphill struggle it would take a performance of composure and skill to wrest this game back and the return to a full press heralded a second wind for the boys. Their unrelenting tempo was too much for the Surrey team and parity was quickly restored through goals from Joe ‘Cheddar’ Chedd, a tidy finish and a well-earned reward for excellent recent form, and Sam Howells whose goal scoring pedigree from 3 yards is beyond question.
With the game in the balance the assembled hordes of fans braced themselves for a barn storming finish. The game ebbed and flowed with the momentum swinging each way, with first a goal from EG seeming to tip the balance in their favour before Sam Howells’ second of the match bringing the game back level. Seven minutes remained in the game. A fever of electricity coursed through the Sonning Lane Megadome as Reading launched wave after wave of attack and the pressure mounted on the brittle East Grinstead defence. Seven minutes remained in the game. It seemed that it was only a matter of time before the telling blow would be struck by this now reinvigorated Reading team and the game would be won. Seven minutes remained in the game. Time enough for a goal, perhaps more. Seven minutes remained in the game. Or so we thought. The final whistle blew, but seven minutes remained in the game…
When Albert Einstein unearthed great truths about relativity in time, he posited that events that occur at the same time for one observer could occur at different times and for different duration's for another. In theory this means that two people observing the same events may experience them at different rates, or even consider that they took more or less time, depending on their perspective. Unfortunately for Reading’s match against East Grinstead, this could only be used as reasoning for the events that unfolded on Saturday, if a massive object, distorting the space-time continuum around the pitch, had been present and, as we all know, Terry, the only man large enough to perform such a feat, was injured and couldn’t play, rendering this possibility moot. Consequently another conclusion must be drawn. Seven minutes remained in the game, but we weren’t going to be given them. *Time it would appear, is not only relative, but is relatively important, depending on whose time it is.* Unfortunately for us it would appear that seven minutes of the Ladies’ first team’s warm up was more important than the final seven minutes of our match.
We do not know for sure what would have happened if we’d been given the full time we should have done. We may well have ended up winning. We may have ended up losing. The result may have stayed unchanged. The point is that we earned the right to see and I know that we all share the frustration felt at the end of that game of an opportunity missed. But forgetting all of the maybes and possibilities, there is only one certainty about this whole debacle and that is that Reading 2s will be back next week to entertain the fans, win the match and be bloody good blokes.
Man of the Match: Adam Waldron as we’re all too scared of his nuclear threat to vote for anyone else.
Dick of the Day: A Lloyd for being too committed to cucumbers.