MIKE’S MUSINGS – 7 April 2010

LADIES’ 2NDS TO FINISH THINGS OFF!

The league fixtures are completed this Saturday when the Ladies’ 2nds entertain Ipswich 2nds (12.30). Skipper Laura Betts and coach Jason Harness and their squad have enjoyed an excellent run of form with five wins and a draw in their last eight games which has taken them well clear of relegation and a win on Saturday over their local rivals would round off the season very nicely.  A shortage of goals early in the season was a problem but an average of two per game since Christmas, combined with a continuing impressive defensive record, has seen the squad move up the table to seventh place.  

On Sunday at Old Loughtonians HC the U14 Girls compete in the finals of the East Championship where in their pool they play Amersham (1.30) and Southgate (3.30). The pool winners go on to play the winners of the other pool comprising Old Loughtonians, Wycombe and Norwich City at 4.50pm. Good luck to our girls.

HC Rotterdam (with 2450 members!) was the venue last weekend for some top class club hockey with the staging of the Last 16 KO Round of the European Men’s Hockey League. But it was disappointing to see the three English teams – Beeston, Reading and East Grinstead – go out one after the other on the Friday. Beeston were particularly disappointing in losing 3-1 to Leuven of Belgium as they were a goal up at half time while Reading felt the absence through injuries of Richard and Simon Mantell in their 2-1 defeat by Polo Barcelona. East Grinstead, meanwhile, gave their fans hope of victory after equalising at 2-2 against Amsterdam from a penalty stroke awarded by the video umpire but with their one permitted referral of the half used they could do nothing about the Amsterdam winner which came after the ball went out of play.

This event showed several things:

§  with many of the top players in the world playing in the competition teams need 18 class players in their squad and not just ten or eleven.
§  with three penalty strokes given on referral to the video umpire and one overturned even the best umpires can make bad mistakes.
§  Teun de Nooijer (Bloemendaal of Holland) and Mark Pearn (East Grinstead) at the ages of 34 and 33 respectively are still outstanding players – and my favourites! Seeing de Nooijer take the ball from the half way line against Alster (Germany) to beat the goalkeeper with a reverse stick shot was worth the trip alone!
§  The self pass rule (due to opposing players having to concentrate on the game) and the two minute green card (when in operation) have reduced the number of yellow cards given in top class hockey.
§  even world stars such as Jamie Dwyer (Australia and Bloemendaal) and Ronald Brouwer (Holland and Bloemendaal) can miss at one-on-one penalty shoot-outs against opposing goalkeepers.

After 12 outstanding matches the four teams going through to the semis/final to be played over the weekend of Saturday/Sunday 22/23 May are Amsterdam (including penalty corner specialist Taeke Taekema), Polo Barcelona, Rotterdam and Hamburg who beat (sadly as far as I’m concerned) Bloemendaal on penalties after a wonderful 3-3 draw which included ten minutes of extra time.

Other news and comments in brief 
§  Congratulations and best wishes to Tom Miller and his girlfriend Annie on their recent engagement. Tom selected an interesting location for popping the question – the edge of a windy cliff in Cornwall!
§  The Men’s 2nds, Men’s 3rds and Ladies’ 3rds scored in all their league matches this season.
§  Please note your diary with the End of Season Bash (disco and hog roast & pudding) to be held at the club on Saturday 8 May (7.30pm). Tickets – Adults £10 and U13 £5 – are available from me – please!!  

With kind regards and best wishes

Mike Denham   01603 506925    MDenham975@aol.com    7/4/10