Redsox Win Again
By Tim Armitage
Game of two halves
Despite a dawn start away at Richmond the Redsox put out a squad of 16 to face a strong and fast Richmond team led by the ever-green Gregg Hutchings; thanks to the lamentably late Friday evening cancellation of the Rustlers game by Tulse Hill, we were bolstered by the late inclusion of Paxo and Immy in the squad (Immy defied Amrish’s prediction that he would not make the 10.15am start!).
The skipper, somewhat the worse for wear after a heavy corporate day and Friday night in London, initially struggled to work out how to rotate 15 outfield players & cover for the delayed arrival of our umpire, Mike Gray; but with the help of Hoops & some scribbled notes I managed to work out that we needed 11 on the pitch at any given time and basically left it to the squad to work out the rest.
Richmond looked very threatening with fast forwards / midfield and could have taken the lead in the first 10 seconds (if they had had the same squad last season they would definitely not have been relegated). Fortunately Martin was on his toes and played well throughout to deal with most of the chances their fast breaks caused. Unfortunately Chris CK came off with a pulled muscle early on when playing well but the larger than normal squad allowed us to cope with his loss.
The Redsox quickly got into their stride up and played very good attacking hockey throughout the first half, we put away three well taken chances: a powerful rising finish from Tim A after a good run by Amrish, a well taken short corner from Damon and a rare volley, that had enough on it to beat their diving keeper’s half save, by Micky from a good right wing cross from Steve S just before half time. The team all played well and our squad’s regular rotation helped the older Reading legs keep up with Richmond’s more youthful runners. We could have scored more but 3-0 at halftime felt enough to win the game.
However, the skipper’s half time chat clearly had the wrong effect as Richmond took control of midfield in the second half and managed to peg back two goals and stretch our defence; but everyone battled hard and we did well, aided by our right hand post, to prevent a third Richmond goal. We had a good number of second half chances ourselves, including a shot that hit their goal post, but could we could not score the 4th goal which would have made the end more comfortable: as a result the final whistle came as welcome relief to end a cracking vets hockey match enjoyed by both sides and well umpired by Mike G and two different Richmond umpires.
Everyone worked hard, played well & when we move the ball fast and early we are a class side. Big shout out for Ben Major who worked hard and tirelessly in midfield, Paxo who showed class in moving the ball on well in the middle and Steve S who drove all the way to Richmond from his Cornish holiday and returned there directly afterwards.
As always the post-match beers and far too many lagers (see attached photo - sorry about the cropping) were enjoyed by both sides with Richmond proving to be sociable hosts and graceful losers; the only downside were the very expensive bar prices that took their toll on the match fees.
Next week the Redsox have a week off (but some of us will be needed to play for SVs) and sadly the withdrawal this week of Epsom Embers 2 means we are reduced to 20 league matches this season so please try to make sure you are available for all of them!
Cheers and well done all - we remain joint top of the league.