Mens 1 vs Bury St Edmunds 1

04 March 2024 | Matthew Rees
Mens 1 vs Bury St Edmunds 1

A long trek

Dear Fans, you may have thought that Harpenden's Illustrious, 2022/23 Division winning Men's 1st team had done enough this season to be safe from relegation... but shock horror. Word has it that there is potential for four danger spots from our current league due to the riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma that is the England Hockey Leagues.

In the group chat someone said we needed 6 points to be safe, whilst technically true I dusted off my maths degree and worked out that we actually needed 5 points for safety. Henry, the smart alec, goes and says actually it's less than that because the teams below us are playing each other, we've had the Chinese new year, el nino is about to kick off and the clocks are changing. Mark made the point "we" should focus on Saturday - he's not even playing this week!

So off we schlepped to Bury St Edmunds, a 1hr45minute journey at the best of the times. Still the destination was rather nice. A rather todo school with a pitch situated inside a historic walled garden. I was certainly glad the school decided to get their groceries from Ocado these days as opposed to grow their own vegetables so that they could put down a 100m x 50m bit of plastic for us to gallop about on.

We stuffed (Russ am I allowed to use the word "Stuffed" in a match report?) 4-3 at home in the first half of the season in a fixture where we were completely at ease for the whole 70minutes and the result was absolutely never in doubt whatsoever. As a team we didn't get shouty at all, and yes Dear Reader your assumption is correct - I played awesome and was influential in the result. So in the changing room before the game when Tom Bunbury spoke of Bury being "out for revenge" I was a bit shocked given my memory of it being such a one-sided comprehensive victory for us.

The game started as Nick Chouksey arrived to make us a 14strong squad. Bury certainly turned up to play with a decent amount of pace upfront, and some youth on the pitch too. We had our own youthful representation on display in the form of Charlie Moxham, nephew of club legend Kevin, who was providing some much needed energy and skills!

Unfortunately the ball bounced off the backside of a rhino into the path of one of their forwards. Durbidge and Rees met to challenge at the top of the D and were perhaps too wary of giving away a short corner as the attacker rode the challenge in order to get a shot away.

Bury 1 - 0 Harps.

The game seemed to progress along the lines of we had possession, make some progress up the pitch, Bury win it around the area between their 25 and halfway line, launch an attack and our defenders are scrambling to cover the attack. Bury got a second goal, a unicorn was involved.

Bury 2 - 0 Harps.

We were not pleased with ourselves at halftime, more effort was required.

Russell's hamstring went ping. Henry broke a fingernail and meant he "could only hold his stick with one hand", which didn't particular help when we eventually had an attack and he was a couple of yards out.

George got carded for running into a defender, down to 10 men. Henry got carded for running into a defender, down to 9 men. Amazingly Bury's forwards thought this looks like a good tactic and ran into me, so then they are down to 10men. Bury didn't quite get down to 9 men, but continued picking up a couple of cards.

Andy King in goal made a nice save from a shorty. I won't mention a through ball left him in two minds whether to come out or not, got beaten by an attacker who then found the net.

Bury 3 - 0 Harps.

They got a fourth. Even the involvement of a Hippogriff can't get me excited to describe it.

Full Time Bury 4 - 0 Harps.

Overall a game which we did have short corners and some opportunities to get on the scoresheet. A 4-0 loss felt a bit harsh but we can't argue that much if we ship four goals and don't score any.

Thanks to all the drivers for the journey - gave the rest of us the opportunity to sink 3 or 4 beers on the way home.

MoM - me. I was brilliant and everyone I spoke to agreed.

DoD - all squad members who didn't make the trip.

We go again next week, a late start means a trip to godfrey's in the evening!

Report by Reesy

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