Men's 2s 3 - 2 Old Georgians 2s (A)
By Scott Jones
Scorers: Bartram (2 x FG), Marshall (PC)
The start of a new league season saw a very short away trip for the Men’s 2s to play the week’s most important Saturday hockey derby in Elmbridge. OG2s, as last year’s promoted side from South East Premier Division, were playing their first ever National League Conference fixture, which meant the crowds gathered to witness history (either that or they were just early for the M1s game).
A newly formed M2s including three ‘Conference’ debutants (Teddy, Sam and club legend Jonny Gall), were in high spirits pre-game, but the confidence was dented slightly as the hosts took an early lead from an Andy Bull PC after just 11 minutes.
During the second quarter, Surbiton equalised through a trademark strike from Beanhead. Dave, who struggled to trap an aerial, let alone find the back of the net during pre-season, proved that form is only temporary and class is occasionally seen when you find yourself in the right place at the right time. This rang true as a messy ball found its way through to him in the D, and admittedly, he finished very tidily to make it 1-1 after 23 minutes. A well worked team goal made it 2-1 just before half time, with Beanhead again in exactly the right place to hit the backboard and silence the home crowd.
Doidger was clearly frustrated with someone else scoring, and feeling his goal per minute ratio could be at risk, decided to sit out the remaining 65% of the game. Club rumours were circulating that he may have hurt his hand, although this cannot be confirmed as I’m unsure if he’s told or showed anyone yet!
The third quarter saw more end-to-end action. A back of the hand, slower ball, ‘bobbly-dazzler’ of a PC for Surbiton returner Willie Marshall should have seen the game dead and buried at 3-1, but in a fashion seemingly adopted by the M1s later in the day, we allowed OGs a sniff of the points as the game quickly returned to 3-2.
As the veteran/debutant Jonny Gall correctly pointed out in the team huddle before the final quarter, “If we don’t concede another goal, we will win this game”. With such experience and clarity of thought, the team managed to do the business and hold firm for an opening day victory, which laid the groundwork for what became a derby day double at St. George’s. There are plenty of positives to take forward as a new group looks to build into the season and enjoy a second competitive year in a what really is a great national division to be in for East/London regional hockey.
POM: Dave Bartram (special mention to Sam Corney on debut)
DOD: Scott Jones