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Supervets v Chelmsford

A Personal View from the Left
Saturday, 1st March saw our first visit to Chelmsford Hockey Club, to compete for 2nd position in the SuperVets League. With Bollywood Night back at the club later on and an Over 60’s Semi-Final on Sunday, the numbers available to play were reduced to the bare minimum. We are in the habit of thinking that unless we have 16, then we are struggling. Big Phil was resting his hamstring but came along to support the team along with Lawrence. Rumour has it that Pindhi couldn’t make it as he was still struggling to tie on his saree for the big event later on that night … a difficult task for a Welshman. Only kidding Pindhi, I do hope you will continue to pass the ball to me next week and make me look good because of it … because Bhatti doesn’t. Despite the distance to Chelmsford, we had 11 players ready to start the game, which was more than could be said for Chelmsford who started with only 10 players. The game started and continued throughout the first half with Spencer generally in control. The energetic athletic Baljeet working tirelessly for the team combined effectively with the skilful stick-tapping Singh. Baljeet especially made a number of great runs, interceptions and releases. From one of his releases Max burst through and pulling the last defender wide squared it to Shahid in the D with only the goal keeper to beat. Shahid had been advised before the game by Lawrence, who had been studying their goal keeper, that he should hit the ball to his weaker left side. Shahid remembered and followed his advise, and sure enough the goal keeper got nowhere near the ball. Mind you, it might have been because Shahid hit the ball ten yards wide left of his goal. From another effective run, Baljeet burst through and made no mistake with a low bullet shot, 1-0. Max, then had a brilliant reverse flick saved, and Baljeet put a reverse shot slightly wide of the goal. Baljeet then put Shahid through with an lovely aerial pass, but Shahid’s well struck shot was hit too close to the keeper this time. Tochi put his first short corner just wide left. Another short corner Tochi passed square to Shahid, and a strong flick was well saved by their goal keeper. Eventually, the continued pressure resulted in Dan running in from deep defensive to get into a position to receive a square ball and effectively put the ball away, 2-0. The first half was marked by the great team work displayed by Spencer, with all players playing their roles and positions, which made the game look easy. Tochi getting restless and pushing up, with Debbie covering and doing a great job on man marking their skilful centre forward. Dan, at left half continuously chased and harassed their players, and also found the energy to make himself available on the left wing as Shahid ventured too high or inwards. Tim, as always played his steady and solid game. Polu and Reggie looked comfortable at the back, raising their game when required to make some excellent tackles when their forwards looked to have got away. Max, was not only a constant threat in the forward line, but chased back and put pressure on the players and occasionally won back the ball. With a 2-0 advantage, the half time talk was about giving one of our players to the 10 man Chelmsford team. Especially, as Immy and Amrish had now arrived and were ready to play. Polu desperate to play for another team volunteered, much to our team protesting. However, Chelmsford declined our offer as they had a player coming. The second half was different. It was almost as if the team relaxed and were happy to watch Immy and Amrish putting in their share of work as recompense for arriving late. Although the teamwork did not match the first half, the passing was amazing. On a number of occasions it was Immy passing to Mahmud who took on two players and then passed to Bhatti, who dodges another helpless Chelmsford defender or two before returning the ball to Immy who could take a shot at this stage but feigns a strike which sends the goal keeper the wrong way, but Bhatti’s flick into the goal is brilliantly saved by the outstretched right hand of the goal keeper. A number of short corners were won, the first Immy passed square to Shahid, whose flick was saved by the keeper, but resulted in another short corner. The same routine this time produced a goal, when Shahid pushed the ball low to the keeper’s left (thank you Lawrence), 3-0. At another short corner, Immy’s well struck shot just went wide of the post, with Max failing to make the final telling contact. Then came Polu’s opportunity to fulfil his half time dream to play for Chelmsford, but he did this while still wearing the Spencer shirt. First, he squared a ball across our D to a Chelmsford forward, which resulted in a short corner, from which they duly scored, 3-1. And if this was not enough, when Spencer were awarded a penalty flick, Polu duly missed it. Actually, on a serious level, it was not a bad flick but it went to the right and the goal keeper saved well (obviously Lawrence had not advised Polu, to place the ball to his left). The final goal for Spencer came from some more terrific play and combination passes between Immy, Bhatti and Mahmud, which resulted in Immy pushing the ball from close range onto the post having already beaten the goal keeper. However, the rebound was quickly picked up and put away by Max, 4-1. Generally, it was a sound but comfortable all-round performance, with all players having a good game. The two halves were played in very contrasting styles, but were enjoyable and entertaining. We have done well to beat Chelmsford in all 3 games that we have played against them this season. With the game over and an enjoyable get together with the Chelmsford players over tea and drinks, it was time to hurry back to the Club where the immaculately well dressed Welshman awaited our return … for the Bollywood party to begin

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