Captain's Match Report
Following an informative midweek team meeting, we set out to accomplish our coach's two main aims for the remainder of the season:
- be more disciplined
- ensure we warm-up more thoroughly under the watchful eye of Andre Tchakhotine (spoiler alert - we failed miserably on both accounts)
We began our preparations for the match in the usual fashion with the coach taking far longer than necessary to recap his favourite elements of the game: out letting and pressing. Even Andre Tchakhotine's nose bleed couldn't haemorrhage the flow of instructions. Unfortunately this provided Shrewsbury with a golden opportunity to seal their first, and arguably most devastating, victory of the day. As we finally emerged from the changing rooms, all except one key figure that is, we were greeted by a sight that instantly sent the entire team into meltdown: Shrewsbury players sat in the home dug out. How could we possibly hope to recover?! Scrambling in desperation for something or someone to set us back on course, we looked to our newly appointed, inspirational warm-up leader to get us fired up... Only, he was still in the changing room packing sanitary items up his nose in an attempt to stem the tide of blood pouring from his nostrils (see above for evidence).
Having had our regular pre-match preparations descend into anarchy quicker than America under President Trump's Administration, we returned to a consistent source of comfort by conceding a goal during the first 10 minutes. Normality had been restored!
Heading into the second half only a goal down and playing some of our best hockey all season, we knew we still had a good chance to take away 3 points.
Early in the second half, our resident South African decided he was fed up with some of the umpires' decisions and took one of them out. Unfortunately, moments later, the umpire was able to exact his revenge by rewarding Shrewsbury with a penalty corner when Nick Rice brutally let their player go passed him, causing the player to lose all sense of balance and hit the AstroTurf one limb at a time. How he managed to avoid rolling over time after time, God only knows! From the ensuing penalty corner, Shrewsbury doubled their lead.
Not long later, Max Levenger was shown a green card for a trademark stick challenge/scythe, presumably because the player had received a shiny new stick for Christmas, and shortly after that Tom Harrison followed with a yellow card for a challenge that left their player claiming assault in spite of the fact he no longer had the hockey ball, there was no clatter of sticks and he never missed a stride. Even opposition players showed their disbelief. Upon returning to the field, the captain decided to exact his own revenge. I'm not sure who was more surprised, the umpire when he found himself sprawled out on the AstroTurf or the captain for having collided with an umpire some 20 yards infield whilst the ball was on the near sideline. The discipline demanded during the week was disappearing.
With only a handful of minutes left in the game, our strong performance was rewarded when their goalkeeper's run of miraculous saves finally came to an end, Matthew Northcott pushing the ball in with more force than he could ever exert on another person. Paddy O'Malley was pulled from his net to gain an extra outfield player in an attempt to salvage a point but, not satisfied with the man advantage or his lack of penalty corner conversions after some fourteen attempts, Tom Harrison decided to test the umpire's resolve by bringing down an opposition forward on the break away. A second yellow card was shown but nothing more. Perhaps there is some justice left in the world after all.
In spite of a very strong team performance, we weren't able to convert that into 3 points. More importantly, we didn't achieve either of our goals to be able to take home the moral victory.
MoM: Etienne Blatt
Reason: taking out an umpire and not getting punished
DoD: Tom Harrison
Reason: taking out an umpire and getting punished for it twice, as well as technical red card avoidance