Mens 1 vs St Albans 2

11 February 2024 | Matthew Rees
Mens 1 vs St Albans 2

I made american style fluffy pancakes this morning and, if I do say so myself, they were amazing. "Nutella or honey?" I asked, "both" came the reply from the cheekiest U8s member of Harpenden Hockey Club. I looked at the fruit bowl and thought about offering a tangerine in order to try and get some vitamin C into her system but then figured there must be a different option given our opposition that afternoon. As a colourblind person i proudly represent the 12% of the population that suffer with the affliction however even I recognise enough of the rainbow to know without any doubt that Tangerine is a terrible colour for a hockey shirt, whoever chose that for St Albans must be living in a world of black and white.

Earlier in the season we suffered a defeat to the tangerines with a depleted team due to October half term, and so were very keen for this rematch. In the pre-match bants it was observed the average age of the St Albans team is about half that of our "experienced" side - "or more than" said Danny, "erm I think you mean less than?" I point out, "you know what I mean" says Danny. Sorry but I'm a stickler for accuracy, and facts.

James Singer was out with a chest infection this week - but we were still putting out a strong midfield of Chouksey, Walker and Guy. What was interesting was how the Tangerines didn't appear to care too much about midfield themselves. They played a very high line with four or five attackers amidst lots of pace (well compared to me anyway) whose tactic was clearly to win short corners. 

We were under pressure in the first 15minutes and Andy King was called upon a few times. St Albans' routine was pretty basic and wasn't troubling us particularly until a piece of fluck so fortuitous one of their forwards must own a lucky horseshoe forged out of four-leaf clovers. A wimpy little shot deflected off an unaware striker's stick which ballooned over a logged King in goal. 

Harpenden 0 - 1 St Albans

Dave Guy was doing his trademarked reversing manoeuvre, and picks up a green for attempting to educate the umpire on whether "backing in" is still in the rules or not. Jason was being brilliantly unpredictable for the St Albans defence, perhaps due to wearing two left socks pulled up to his "low knees", at points it did appear like he had two left feet as he seemed to have trouble staying stood up. Skills was told before the game to not get injured, if anyone has seen skills play he certainly is not scared of the ball or a stick, and took a follow through to the forearm - hopefully he's ok, we need him next week as its half term!

The tangerines got another goal, this time I think they prayed to the Sungod Ra just at the right time to blind our defence at a shortcorner.

Harps 0 - 2 St Albans.

At halftime there was an in depth tactical discussion. I stood there eating squashies, nodded along and agreed we should aim to score some goals, tried not to be blamed for anything and offered to chuck more aerials in the second half. I also thought there hasn't been a reverse aerial for a while...

We aimed to play higher in the second half, and put them under more pressure. Henry, hot off five assists last week for the 2s was very industrious in the forward line and was proving a useful target for us getting the ball out of the defence.

We got a shorty - after scoring zero from seven last week we needed a bit of composure in the D. Danny injects, Chouksey at the top to Rob, back to Danny for a smart finish. We're in the game.

Harps 1 - 2 St Albans

They scored again. I just can't quite comprehend how no one else saw the rhinoceros George and I took back to Whipsnade some weeks ago pop up the pitch and use his horn to nuzzle the ball in the goal. 

Harps 1 - 3 St Albans.

Captain Nick Kimberley collects an aerial, collides with their attacker and gets set to the bin for it. The tangerines had a couple of cards too, mostly for chit chat.

With time running low at a short corner Russell Timms sees a way to work his way into this narrative. By breaking early into the D, Russ earns the team a punishment of having our goal-scoring injector Danny sent to half way. OK we need an injector now, "I'll do it" says Russ, as if he's planned it. And the plan worked as brilliantly as one of John "Hannibal" Smith's from the A-team, as this time Russ is on the end of Chouksey via Rob. Don't you love it when a plan comes together Russ? He made the finish and we are now just one goal down.

Harps 2 - 3 St Albans

We couldn't however find the equalizer as time was running down. We were pretty spent too , good effort all round.

Champagne Moments of the week goes to Any King in goal, he made a number of fine saves which kept us in touching distance.

Player of the Match: Henry, great shift. Shame about the socks (see picture).

DoD honourable mention for Mark: "Mark did you do anything worth mentioning in the match report?", "Nothing good", oh well he tried. Danny however takes the much coveted award. After the more/less incident before the match i thought he would be careful about scales and quantities but in the pub as he moved seat to improve his viewing angle of the rugby he comments "just making my angle less acute", no mate, just no. You had a wide angle, a very wide angle, which would be an obtuse angle, so you are making it less obtuse, which would be equivalent to MORE ACUTE, not less.

Shout out to Alan Sanders, Nick Mclean and Kevin Moxham for cheering us on.

I haven’t mentioned Durbs yet - thanks for the lift to the game mate.

If you've read this far... hi Mum!

Report by Reesy

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