Reading Mens 5 v Rascals&Rovers 1
Great pre-season match between Reading men!
The 10:00am push back did not deter anyone this morning with a good turn out from all sides. The weather was fine, the overnight rain leaving the pitch in a perfect playing condition.
The Mens 5 were almost at full strength with only 3 or 4 from the squad being unavailable. They had managed to pick up a couple of guests to fill the gaps and looked quite a formidable team on paper and also on the pitch.
The Rovers and Rascals also had a solid turn out. 18 players giving coach John Sayer a little bit of an organisational task that he handled well. There were a couple of new faces, welcome to Reading Ian Cox and welcome to Mens Hockey Dhian Dhanoa, fresh from last years U14 Colts.
The game start fairly evenly although the 5's found their rhythm sooner and put the Rascals/Rovers defence under some continued pressure. Seemingly out of nowhere the umpire spotted a foot blocking a shot near the goal line and the 5's won a penalty flick. Dobby Clark stepped up and confidently put the 5's 1-0 up.
The game continues with some good passing moves from both teams. Rascals/Rovers making a few chances which could have put the scores level with the defence being put through their paces by some good structured attacking moves from the 5's. A well hit shot from the top of the D from a promising young (but prematurely balding) player called Chris A looked to be going wide until Dobby stuck out his stick to deflect the ball high in to the roof of the net. It was one of the goals you work on in training but never believe will come off in a real match!
The first period ended 2-0 to the 5's and the Rascals/Rovers made some personnel changes. The second period continued similarly to the first with both teams working hard and the 5's continuing to pressure the Rascals/Rovers defence. Failure to clear the ball adequately was the eventual downfall and the 5's notched up another couple of goals.
End of the second period and a few more personnel changes for the Rascals/Rovers. Nathan Warwick got moved across to the 5's as he was clearly the standout player in Rascals, controlling the midfield and making some brilliant defensive tackles. Much as he had done for the Rascals for the previous season!
Third period continued with some good end to end hockey. As the 5's pressed forward space opened up in the middle of the pitch that the Rascals/Rovers managed to take advantage of but these attacks rarely got past the 5's defence that were being well organised by debut keeper Cameron Mitchell age 12. The attacking pressure the 5's applied was being soaked up by the 9 man Rascals/Rovers defence until another well struck shot got deflected again from going just wide in to the roof of the net by that man Dobby. This one to complete his hat-trick.
Fourth period continued much like the third. The 5's applying pressure on the Rascals/Rovers goal and the occasional break away to keep the game open. Eventually one was going to pay and a well executed aerial ball put Darren Parkinson away behind the 5's defence. Still with a lot to do he got the ball across to the middle where Scott Sefton and Chris Wright we both arriving to slot the ball past the the isolated keeper.
5-1 and the game was back on although father time was always going to be against a Rascals/Rovers comeback. The game was ended soon after when the Men's 2 coach arrived and pulled rank over the pitch. Apparently his guys needed to warm up for their match which was scheduled next!
The morning ended in the clubhouse with a fine lunch and some planning for next week!
Well done to all who played. A good effort and target reached for a pre-season run about. Don't forget training on Tuesday at 18:30!