Men’s 3rd XI v Upminster

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Weary, they arrived in the cold morning. Snow fell over them as they looked around, a team that was deserted by its captains, struggling for form after three losses. 11 men – iron-man hockey with no reserves, they would have to dig deep.

A rousing team talk from the old veteran, Kingie, began to stir them. “Man-up time” he roared. “Let’s pass and move!”. Some traditions had stayed the course though – like Harry’s arriving late enough to have missed the team talk, wearing the infamous leopard-skin slippers (they’re not moccasins, Hazza!). Still, some were even later *cough* Moss-Boss *cough*. With the inevitable, chaotic warm-up out of the way, a 3rd team habit, we started off, head long into the blizzard.

Suddenly, old skills were re-found. Pinging the ball around early, and to men in green ( a rarity of recent times) was the norm, and Upminster seemed to be chasing shadows. Matt on the right and Jack on the left were consistent outlets for the aggressive 3-4-3, and the 4 man midfield were ticking over nicely. A 1/2 chance nearly crept in the Upminster post from Regan, and inevitably the pressure told. First shortie, and it was out of the playbook. Out, in, and Harry slots from the p-spot, 1-0. Minutes later, Regan rolled back the years, diving on the sand to get to a deflection. The aftermath – skinned knees and a 16 hit for the U’s, probably a reminder why he’d stopped doing that. But pressure continued to build and Jack Moss with a deliberate (?) top-spinner that fooled the U’s keeper made it 2-0. A smashed cross from the left wing, and a glorious 1-time deflection from Matt Ross rifled into the bottom left -… 3-0, and into 1/2 time.

“Right, 0-0, let’s get out there and keep it up”. Prophetic words, and minutes later, Rory danced around their defence, and rolled it to Regan on the p-spot for a slap in and the 4th. A green for a cynical stick tap from Justin, and a less obvious green card for Harry gave Upminster some respite, but their few chances, and a few short corners were well kept out by the 3 man defence. Man-of-the-Match Tom kept them at bay, good saves on anything close to threatening, and a particularly pleasing tackle that took out one of the big lump’s from Upminster, leaving him in a heap.

Harry returned and, channeling his brother George, danced through the middle to crash a reverse stick shot into the board for the 5th (George would have gotten top corner though, Hazza – more to do!). A 6th for hat-trick came to Harry and several other chances were left out there (slap it Justin!!). Though the only marring of a near prefect day was when Jack Moss smashed a shot goal bound, to be met with the save-of-the-day… by D.o.t.D Regan, who tried to help it in at the left post from 2 foot out, and somehow managed to divert it across the goalface to miss. Hence I get to write up this epic! 6-0, a great result, and maybe a difficult team for other snow-bound members of the 3rd team squad to force their way back into. Roll on the mighty 3s.