The Magnificent Seven
Magic Mo pulls the strings to orchestrate a rogue's gallery of OSHC over the years.
With this fixture being re-arranged from the snowed off fixture before Christmas, Captain Mo Hadian did not have the usual University students to call on, plus there were a number of other unavailable players due to exams etc. Hence, the 2nd team that assembled on this chilly afternoon was a "Who's Who?" of the past 20 years of hockey at the Sils.
Making up the defence, the experience of sweeper Shaun Bates, Bertie Cornforth swapping his lacrosse stick for a hockey stick to step in at left back, Chris Ready making his first appearance of the season alongside Bates, and returning at right-back, the road-runner prodigal son, James Sloane. Behind them, was Brin Jones, helping the team out in goal whilst Jim stepped into the 1s. This looked like a defence that in its pomp, would have graced our first team - but who knew what to expect from them coming together today!
Facing them was a Streetly team who seemed disorganised, but full of running, and with a forward with a strong reverse-stick strike.
10 minutes in, and both teams had enjoyed middle of the pitch possession - Streetly perhaps more than the home team - but it took a lack of cohesion in the home defence (hardly surprising really!) to allow the Streetly forward space in the D to smash the first meaningful shot of the match into the goal, giving Brin no chance.
Thankfully, this 2s team is full of goals, and within 2 minutes they were level. Captain Hadian was key to the goal, combining passes down the right with the anchor Mark Dovey, and the free running Sloane, before finding his way into space on the right hand side of the D, before picking out Dan Jones at the far post, who did what he does best, and turned to score into a near open net.
Hadian then destroyed the home defence for the next 10 minutes, time after time using his pace to create space and beat the opposition players to create chances for both himself, and those around him. Jones profited from a second attack down the right, this time being on the end of a hard cross from the right to score at the far post again; and then it was Mo's turn himself to score, before a further attack involving the dynamic Nick Wall led to an excellent advantage being played by umpire Jim Goldstraw to allow Max Levenger to latch onto a loose ball and hammer home. Within this 10 minutes, the game had been won - not only were Sils now 4-1, but the visiting heads were well and truly down having been so elated with taking the lead only minutes before.
Streetly did give themselves a glimmer of hope with a second goal before half-time, but you could tell that Sils were not done with their scoring. The second half started with a flurry of goals, Mark Dovey striking home from a PC, Rich Thurman flicking the ball home after good work from Hadian and Levenger down the right, and Ollie Peel finishing off the scoring after Nick Wall had again made good inroads into the home defence.
To be honest, the last 15 minutes was very poor quality - Thurman could have completed a hat-trick, Hadian went round the GK only to be foiled by the covering defender, and Levenger shot wide when through on goal - but the assured Bates and co at the back for Sils were able to mean that Jones in goal was largely a spectator for the second half. A few long balls made it through to the Streetly attackers, but Sloane and Ready, under the watchful eye of Bates and supported by the industrious Gary Perkins, closed any threat down without any real issues.
Given the makeshift nature of the team, a good performance, an excellent result, and a good way to go into the post-Christmas period.
Shaun Bates was voted Man of the Match for the way in which he had organised and encouraged throughout the match to co-ordinate the various resources on hand. It was great to see James Sloane and Chris Ready back in Sils shirts, and hopefully this will not be just a one-off....