The Mighty 4s draw 2-2 with Edgbaston 8s.
Beneath high cumulus and gentle breezes, the curious collection known as The Mighty 4s assembled for their 4pm encounter with Edgbaston 8s.
Report by Simon Russell
Not a fixture on paper that BT Sport would have tussled with Sky for live broadcasting rights. However, the seven consecutive passes in the first minute, leading to a shot at goal for Sils suggested they may have missed out.
As the game progressed, the game settled into a steady rhythm of Sils attacking play coming up against a sturdy and experienced Edgbaston defence. Eventually, it was the telepathic intuition between father and son that provided the break through: Alex Willets fine reverse stick shot cannoning into the goalkeeper, only for the rebound to be picked up and buried into the Edgbaston net by Keith. Alex continued to pick out Keith, narrowly missing his head with an angled shot from the edge of the D.
Edgbaston came back into the game shortly after with their first shot of the game: a powerful drive through a crowd of players providing the equalizer. Both sides scored again; both the product of a short corner.
There were chances for further goals. Sils put together some great attacking play with the midfield working hard to create openings. Alex and Simon worked tirelessly and linked up well. It was also a rare treat to welcome Yogi higher up the pitch than usual, although he is still paying the price in pain for his good nature. A big improvement this week came by playing further up the pitch. This meant that our wide players, John Harrison, Murray Creed and new recruit James were able to cause trouble and create opportunities nearer to the opposition goal. Fine crosses came in and Keith found himself in space on several opportunities. However, Edgbaston crowded the D and made it difficult to get shots away. Teams are also wising up to the gifted Andy Rush, who is doing a great job for the team but is regularly being marked by more than one player. This must be frustrating but is recognition of his reputation as the league’s biggest goal threat. Sils defence had a part to play too. Steve Aylin and captain Dave Higgins marshalled the centre and made countless interceptions that prevented an Edgbaston break through. Mick and Craig were also key to the solidity at the back. They both pushed high on their men and made crunching tackles up by the halfway line. This enabled the team to push play higher up the pitch, which was a focus of the pre-match discussion. On the few occasions that Edgbaston pierced the Sils defence, Theo proved more than a match and made several game-saving blocks.
So 2-2 was the final score and although we felt that we had created many opportunities and played some lovely hockey; everyone agreed that it was a fair result and another afternoon was enjoyed by all. A lot of this is down to the genius captaincy of Dave Higgins. Realising the importance of the team, he works tirelessly to bring this eccentric bunch of misfits together with a rare blend of humour, hard work and belief. There is a real sense of belonging which extends far beyond the 70 minutes of game time each week. It is also down to the individuals associated with the team: Pat Lane writing game notes and providing first aid cover; Shaun Bates coaching from the side whilst out injured; Mike Betteridge umpiring whilst out injured. The Mighty 4s magical bandwagon rolls on next week to Stratford.