Chelmsford Hockey Club Under 14 Boys, 7 a side friendly v Brentwood HC, Sunday 13 November 2016, Chelmer Park.
What a match.
A beautiful late autumn sunny morning. A perfectly observed minute’s silence. An appallingly wobbly “D” marked out by an enthusiastic, if not necessarily competent, match-day manager (Mr Ireland pulling the old – “if I’m bad enough someone else won’t be able to stop themselves stepping in to do the job” trick).
Friday, England trounce Scotland at football.
Saturday, England hammer South African at rugby.
Sunday: could Chelmsford make it a big triple-whammy weekend? In a word, yes!
A frenetic first quarter saw pressure at both ends, with the huge energy and enthusiasm from both sides creating a tight, narrow and congested game, and inevitably the quarter ended nil – nil. Although it wasn’t that Chelmsford didn’t have the ball in the net, but the umpiring was so sharp and ruthless that a penalty corner had already been awarded before the attack could be converted. It’s almost as if the umpires knew foul play when they saw it…
Brentwood scored a goal in the second quarter.
At the start of the third quarter, Coach Scriven experimented with the formation. Whether it was that tactical masterstroke, or the boys just stepping up as they gelled further as a team, history will be the judge, but what is without doubt is that the third quarter was a seminal moment in the recent history of Chelmsford Hockey Club.
First, the inevitable, as Tom Ebdon did what he had been threatening to do for the whole first half, and flicked into the bottom corner to level the scores. Scores tied, Chelmsford back in the game. Could this be it?
Maybe… A strike from Oliver smashed into the backboard, his face turning into a picture of joy (or was it shock…?) and it was two – one to Chelmsford. Barely minutes later, following further sustained pressure, a weaving run in from the right flank hard along the goal line from Oliver finished with a neat pull back to Marcus who fired it in at the near post. Three – one.
With Brentwood still reeling Tom went for the kill and struck a beauty into the back of the next for his second and Chelmsford’s fourth. Yes, fourth. The whistle to end the third quarter couldn’t come soon enough for Brentwood, but the Green Army seemed to almost float off the pitch.
Going into the fourth quarter, the coach and the boys called for consolidation. The task was set to close the game out: or “shut it down” in the immortal words of Honey G. And shut it down they did. (Except for the second goal that Brentwood scored.)
Overall, a classic for the spectators with the boys conspiring to score five of the six goals at the end where the home and visiting support were gathered. And such a high scoring match really doesn’t convey how excellent the goalkeeping was, with Brentwood’s keeper having a competent and strong match, and Dillon having yet another remarkable display between the sticks for Chelmsford … what a talent we have on our hands.
Beyond the goals, some other notable moments:
· an early drenched back for Matthew, using the old sit on the ball trick to neutralise a Brentwood attack, but getting up in time to avoid giving away a free hit for a rather blatant offence;
· Dillon clearing the D extremely impressively as ever, just restraining himself from applying a thumping kick in the above incident, much to Matthew’s evident relief;
· strong use of the cheek to block a high-flying ball by James;
· another back-drenching, this time for Rhys as the Brentwood keeper resorted to taking man and ball to stop a threatening Chelmsford attack;
· a gymnastics perfect ten awarded to Oliver for a flying forward flip, with assist from a stick hooked round his ankle by Brentwood’s Big Number 12;
· huge contributions and great strides forward from Harry, Jack and Jonah; and
· well done the boys for actually managing to offer the post-match drinks and cakes to their opposition and guests before piling in themselves!
Most of all, huge thanks on behalf of all the boys to everyone who gave their time and effort to give the boys a successful match and great hockey experience:
· Junior Chair and solver of problems, Kathryn MacDonald;
· coaching supremo Dan Scriven;
· poachers turned gamekeepers Luke and Elliott;
and most of all Vikki Dunlevey for managing the team and a huge organisation effort to arrange the fixtre and make it all happen.
Result: Chelmsford HC U14B 4 – 2 Brentwood HC U14B
Chelmsford scorers: Tom Ebdon (2), Oliver Francis, Marcus Ireland