20 February 2019

2nd XI

The 2nds were anxious to build from their excellent second half performance against Cheltenham last weekend and get a good result against Shiplake. We took a quick 2 goal lead through the returning ever-dangerous Jamie Volak, afterwhich Shiplake were successful in breaking down our play and started to gain more control. Alex Lawrence saved a penalty flick, they scored just before the end of the first half and then converted a penalty flick soon after to make it 2-2. Then we woke-up… we dominated the tempo of the game, controlled possession, were quick to win the ball back and started to play how we know… we deservedly scored 2 more goals (also by Jamie Volak) and won 4-2. Every player made a valuable contribution, all working hard both with and without the ball and we showed again how effective we can be, now we need to show this over both halves. Looking forward to the next match after a well deserved break.

3rd XI

The Abingdon 3rd XI hockey team traveled to the Reading Hockey Club by coach ready for a 1500h start time. We arrived to spring-like warmth beaming on the astroturf, however due to a lack of hockey balls our warmup was curtailed. After the opposition showed up, the Abingdon team was rearing to begin. From the first push back the Abingdon team asserted their dominance and it was immediately clear that this would not be a difficult day. In the third minute Ellard received a perfect ball in from Merritt on the right wing, but he unfortunately missed the opportunity under pressure from the goalie. After a long period of Abingdon attack to no avail, the unthinkable happened; Shiplake staged a quick counterattack leaving both Strange and Langley stunned at the back. The Shiplake striker then sent a rocket into the top right corner, making the score 1-0. The Abingdon team would not be disheartened however, and we continued to push the opposition back into their own half. As a result of this pressure, Leggett scored a memorable reverse hit to bring the scores level. As the first half proceeded Abingdon continued the offensive press, however it was difficult to get a shot away with so many defenders constantly in the D. Towards the end of the first half Ellard once again received the ball in a scoring position, however unable to attain a decent strike he shrewdly won a short corner. Heath then stepped up to take the short; the ball was injected by Strange and stopped by Leggett before being rolled into the D. Heath slapped the ball along the ground and sent it comfortably past the keeper into the bottom left corner. The rest of the half contained little moments of interest; however the Abingdon system of rolling subs kept the players fresh and ready for the second half.

The talk in the half time break consisted of instructions to utilize our wings in attack and to be patient and wait for the goals to come. With the directives given we proceeded into the second half ready to increase our lead. From the first push back we looked a more dynamic team, passing the ball from the center to the wings allowing us to get in behind the Shiplake defence with ease. It was after about ten minutes that the next goal came in for Abingdon. McLellan with an aggressive run down the left wing beating numbers of the Shiplake defence, before launching a ball into the D where Vyas was waiting to put it away. This goal really reflected the work that we put in on the training field; it exemplified the type of hockey that we wish to play in the 3rd XI. We were largely untroubled in defence during the second half, but the performance of Goalkeeper Botting must be mentioned. His bravery in front of goal saw him lose his helmet in a dramatic dive to keep the opposition from scoring. The game deteriorated towards the back end with both teams struggling to stay alert for the full 60 minutes. Therefore, Leggett was able to split the Shiplake boys in half and storm through to the goal, he flicked it in to gain his second of the day and finish the match off 4-1 to Abingdon. Overall, it was a successful day for the 3rd XI adding to our unbeaten streak of matches since the beginning of the season. I know that all of the boys are excited for the second half of the season and the many wins to come.

U14 B

The game started on a lethargic note, with us not putting in anywhere near the 100% of effort in the warm up. The first half was an episode with a similar flavour. The possession was given away multiple times on the basis of what appeared to be cold feet on the ball, and panicky passes that didn’t travel quite far or fast enough. There was, however, some good play from the likes of Jamie Firth and Tom Harding on the wings, and great determination and skill from Eddie Williams. Despite this, we did concede an unlucky goal. After a bit of a wake up call at half time, we started to up our game. The defence stiffened up, and we gave the ball away less. Some great counter attacks were established, though there was unfortunately not enough to score a goal, despite the best efforts of the midfielders and attack. Overall, not our best performance by a longshot, but a lot to take away and improve on after half term, where we will be rested and ready for another game. The final result was a 1-0 loss.

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