Sils are Bard from another win
By Jim Goldstraw
Stephen double as Sils wilt
"Phew - what a scorcher" - The Sun. "Sils lose as Perkins returns" - The Times. "Boy lives in bucket for 4 years" - The Daily Sport. All these reflect the national press reactions to the Sils defeat at the home of Shakespeare. Despite massive electronic communication about the weather, the importance of hydration and kit colour, there is always an air of randomness as the Old Boys arrive. This week - it was John Scott
in the wrong colour. Fine!!!
The game was going to be played in sweltering conditions not unlike those of the Punjab during the tiger shooting season. Sils had 13 - the opposition has 16. We were not downhearted by this because we had a cooler full of water, beer and wine. Good thinking team. Nol was back in, and the team had a strong - albeit sweaty - look about it.
The first half was played at a good pace, and Sils were showing good intent. Sam Stephen looked sharp, and there was good effort from the other forwards. However, it was Stratford who took the lead from a well worked PC. Sils hit back with an exceptional goal from Sam Stephen, and it was 1-1. Moisture content in the shorts by now - 78%. It was soon 2-1 to the home team as the initial save by Jim Goldstraw
was then bundled in. Back came the Sils. Another flowing move and the goal struck home with aplomb. This was improved by the next move which saw a third Sils goal - Sam Stephen and Richard Thurman
being responsible. Thurman was looking chunkier without his corset, and Stephen by now was scarlet. Half time arrived with Sils nicely in the lead - but hotter than Hell on a holiday.
The second half saw Stratford come out like the Blazing Squad. They played higher up, and put the defence under pressure. It was exciting. The defence was marshalled superbly by Chris Thompson
and Steve Aylin
. Nol Mortimer was his useful bustling self, and they absorbed the pressure. Howveere, it coudnt last. A drag flick was slotted home, and from then on it had a feel of 'bugger - we are struggling'. The heat played a part - but the oppo were playing well. 10 minutes to go - a goal mouth scramble, lots of flailing sticks, the odd curse and it was 4-3. Could we come back? No was the answer. However, we ended strongly, and the effort never dropped - except when aerial passes were thrown. When the final whistle blew, we gathered round the cooler for a beer and debrief. Then it was off to Stratford for teas and medals. MOM was Sam Stephen for his two superb goals. There was a pleasant hour sitting in the twilight assessing Warren's dress sense, John Scott
's MOM judgement and other worldly events. It was lovely day and it is really nice to play hockey with a bunch of mates. Next game - v the Bearded Wonder XI next Sunday.