Trinity Mids 1st XI – Season Review

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.

Henry Ford

After a few seasons in the doldrums, the Trinity Mids 1st XI team have been building towards something special. With a good squad being built last season it was somewhat of a disappointment not to finish higher in Surrey Division 2. This season however proved to be different. A season that all those who were involved in would never forget. A season of success, enjoyment and, at times, some great hockey.

The successful season however got off to the worst possible start. After months of preseason training, games and fitness sessions the availability for the local derby against Kenley was pretty shocking. With several key players missing the team was turned over 4 – 2 with a lot of questions being asked afterwards. Was it going to all be the same again? Perhaps looking back on it all it was the kick we all needed to get ourselves into gear and so it proved to be. The team wouldn’t drop any points again until the end of February, a five month unbeaten stint.

The next match was against a strong Spencer side who battled well throughout. Eventually the Mids took control and their fitness came through as late goals earned a hard fought 5-3 victory. A comfortable 5-1 victory followed away at Kingstonians which was then followed up by an absolute hammering of Oxted at home. A 9-1 victory could well have been a lot more on the day.

The game away at Woking was by no means a classic. Poor goals conceded and no structure or fluidity to our play saw the team struggle and looked as if points would be dropped. If you’re going to be successful though, you have to pull results out even if you aren’t playing well. This happened a number of times throughout the season. When things looked down and out somebody somewhere came up with the goods. A 3-2 victory was a pleasing result for everyone but it was hardly the way we wanted to carry on for the next few games.

A well-earned week off followed. A trip away to Old Georgians then awaited us, a ground which in previous seasons has been somewhat difficult to gain points at. This season however was different. In the pouring rain some excellent attacking play saw the Mids go in 3-0 up at half time. In true Mids fashion however, we let Georgians back into it. Eventually the final score, a 5-3 victory, seemed to get everyone believing that this could be our season. A young Gamblers side turned up to Warlingham who put up a good fight for 60 minutes. A tight game was decided in the last 10 minutes with the Mids scoring 3 goals to take another three points with a 5-2 victory.

A somewhat bad tempered game took place away at Purley. With tempers fraying and the team once again doing their best to throw the result away, a 4-3 victory was a relief to all of us. Sunbury came down to Warlingham and were shown a lesson in counter attacking and finishing as the Mids ended up comfortable 5-2 winners, a score line that seemed to be a reoccurring theme over the season. The final game before the Christmas break was a top of the table clash against surprise second place Old Reigatians. After a poor first half the Mids turned on the style in the second half playing some great hockey and making their opposition look decidedly average. A 6-2 victory was a dominant performance and a great way to finish off such a strong first half of the season. Top of the league at Christmas, something we all dreamed of and up to this point worked extremely hard to achieve. Spirits were high and promotion was on the cards. Could we keep it going after the Christmas break?

Now would be a good time to mention the cup exploits. After many seasons with no cup entries at all, the decision was taken to have another crack at the National Vase. First up was Crowborough at home, a team ranked two leagues above the Mids and doing well in their league. The game was a tight affair with Crowborough dominating the first half and the Mids coming back in the second. With the scores level at full time the match went straight to strokes. It was the Mids who held their nerve at and knocked out their higher level opposition.

The next round saw a merry band of us travel to Reading to play Sonning, another team ranked two leagues above us. After only a few minutes we somewhat surprisingly were leading 2-1. From here on in we shut up shop and put on arguable our best defensive display in seasons gone by. Even a pitch change at half time couldn’t stop us and we held out for a famous 2-1 victory.

Another home was drawn in the next round against Mid Sussex, again a side ranked two leagues above. A shell-shocked Mids side went in at the break 3-0 down. The second half saw a complete turnaround. Two goals were scored and Mid Sussex were seriously on the ropes as the Mids looked for a third. With chances squandered and Mid Sussex looking dangerous on the break it was the away side who sealed victory with the last play of the game. With Mid Sussex since making it through to the final it is a definite case of what might have been. That second half was completely dominated by the Mids and it’s a shame that we couldn’t find that vital third goal to take the game into flicks. Perhaps the only blip in such a successful season.

In seasons gone by the second half of the season has always been a bit of a let-down with availability being poorer and performances not being quite up to previous standards. The job of winning the league was not yet complete and there was still a lot of work to be done. First up came the task of avenging the first day defeat to Kenley at Warlingham. Another tight affair was decided by a single goal, the Mids coming out 3-2 winners to get the ball rolling.
The away game at Spencer will always be remembered for the opposition red card that changed the game. With Spencer on top before the incident it was the Mids who dominated afterwards. Good approach play finally lead to an equaliser and with time running a botched short corner brought around the winning goal. A 2-1 victory left the team with a big points difference at the top of the table. Only a few more points would seal it.

A routine 3-0 victory against Kingston at home followed this, another 3 points in the bag. After the hammering of Oxted before Christmas, a strangely different looking Oxted side turned up to play as at their place. Nevertheless the Mids put in a strong performance and left with a 2-1 victory, perhaps proof that they can cut it with higher league sides even though they seemed to be playing in their own league. An 8-0 hammering of Woking followed this back at fortress Warlingham. For those wanting to see some of the great play the YouTube video of some of the goals is available online!

A week off was then followed by another different looking Old Georgians side. After going so long without dropping points it was a shame that it came down to a loss against a side who arguably had players from higher sides within it. A 3-2 loss brought a lot of us back down to earth with a bump but the winning run was a great thing and something that we probably will not repeat again for quite a long time.

It could have been easy to then let things slip against second place Gamblers at Crystal Palace, well known for being probably the worst pitch most of us have ever played on. A strong performance shut out Gamblers and with three second half goals deciding the game we left Crystal Palace more or less knowing that we were pretty much there. The league had been sealed depending on results coming in.

Results did indeed go our way and the league was ours. A weakened Purley side turned up to Warlingham and we made real hard work of it to win 2-1 although it was hardly the champagne hockey any of us were used to. Now that the league was won things did go downhill a little in terms of availability and performances. A really disappointing result away at Sunbury left everyone with a bit of a bitter taste in their mouths. For all our hard work and possession the result just did not go our way for once. The season was finished off with a 3-3 draw at home to Reigatians. Again a slightly disappointing result but the hard work had been done earlier in the season so by now it really did not matter.

It has been a fantastic season. The effort put in by everyone involved has been immense and I believe we thoroughly deserved all that we achieved. There is a great team spirit back once again and we can all look forward to new challenges next season in Surrey Division 1. Well done to all!
A big thanks to Duncan for being on the side line every weekend. Your presence, attitude and commitment has kept us all on track and is a big reason for our success. Also a big thank you to Beaker for your training sessions on a Wednesday. Without all those well planned sessions I do not think we would have made the progress we did throughout the season.

Goal of the Season and Champagne Moment of the Season can be debated at the club dinner. I am sure there will be many nominations put into the hat. Get your thinking hats on!

The 1st XI Squad

Duncan ‘It’s still 0-0’ Whitfield (Manager)
Cameron ‘I will eat anything in sight’ Lagerberg (Goalkeeper)
Graham ‘You’re never too old’ Cobbett
Chris ‘Addicted to the floor’ Clark
Richard ‘Angry Man’ Piggin
JP ‘The German’ Seebauer
Ali ‘Slap it hard’ Ross
Ed ‘Reverse Pick’ Broyd (Vice Captain)
Joey ‘Chuck it’ Prestige
Alex ‘Tee me up on the half volley’ Clark
Jack ‘Gammy toe’ Hannon (Captain)
Richard ‘Give us a smile’ Still
Callum ‘Take it out on the fence’ Thorner
Christian ‘I’m too good to pass’ Bond
Anthony ‘I can always be heard’ Brady
James ‘C U Next Tuesday’ Mugridge
Roy ‘The Ginger Wizard’ Wood

EU Gamblers 1st XI 0 – 3 TMW Hockey 1st XI

Saturday saw the Mids travel to Crystal Palace to play second in the table EU Gamblers in a top of the table clash. After a disappointing performance and defeat the previous week, the Mids were out to put things back on track. A professional performance from the whole team saw the Mids leave with a victory and ultimately promotion with three games to spare.

After arriving at Crystal Palace Sports Centre it took most of us half of the afternoon to actually find our way to the pitch. A warm up in the indoor sprinting area saw most of us have a go at the long jump which was eventually won by Bobby with an enormous leap. The pitch itself is well known for being pretty terrible and it lived up to this expectation as game plans had to somewhat change to suite the pitch.

The game started at a high tempo with both sides spraying the ball around well and Gamblers possibly shading the opening ten minutes. Eventually a Gamblers short corner was swept into the net above the backboard. After initially giving the goal, both umpires eventually agreed that the goal shouldn’t stand and the game rightly started again with the score remaining at 0-0. This proved to be somewhat of a wake up call for the Mids who started to put more pressure on the Gamblers defence. With lots of pace upfront, playing on the counter attack was a good option although some good defending and a sticky pitch made this difficult. One breakaway saw Anthony Brady one on one with the keeper and after taking the ball around the goalkeeper he was then upended. Surely a short corner at the least but the umpire saw it differently and somehow gave the ball back to the Gamblers defence, much to Brady’s obvious disgust. A few short corners were won and were well saved by the Gamblers keeper and the game remained fairly even with few chances being created. Half time came with the score locked at 0-0 and all to play for.

A positive half time team talk saw the Mids go out for the second half with more purpose and a better game plan. It turned out to be one of the best halves of hockey the team has played, taking our chances when they came and shutting out any kind of Gamblers attack. With the ball being played around with more pace the Gamblers midfield was being stretched further and further. Eventually the ball found its way to JP on the right who put the ball back inside to Captain Jack who drove to the byline and somehow squeezed the ball into the goal via the keeper to give the Mids a well deserved lead.

For the next few minutes it was all Mids. A short corner was once again saved by the Gamblers keeper but the rebound was calmly put in by Anthony Brady to double the Mids advantage with fifteen minutes left to play. More Mids pressure created another short corner opportunity and with a goal mouth scramble ensuing the ball found its way to Joey Prestige who somehow flicked the ball high into the net from what seemed like an impossible angle to make the score 3-0 to the Mids.

The rest of the game saw Gamblers try hard to get a goal back but the defence stood firm and no real clear cut opportunities were created. The whole team worked really hard in defence for the whole game and the hard worked paid off as the final whistle went to seal a 3-0 victory and another clean sheet, an excellent result considering the game was against the team in second place in the league.

Back in the bar, Man of the Match was deservedly given to JP for an excellent defensive display throughout the match, making numerous tackles and always being in the right place at the right time. Champagne moment saw a few votes flying around. Callum was given a vote for being heckled by a random crown member, “That wasn’t very good number 6”. Chris Clark saw himself nominated for giving the ball straight to the centre forward only to make up for the mistake with a fantastic diving tackle to win the ball back. The spoils though were taken by Captain Jack for never quite being able to tell anyone the score or seem to have a clue about what seemed to be going on throughout the entire afternoon. But hey, without stupid people we wouldn’t have anyone to laugh at and Jack seemed to be making a special effort so was the outright winner of the prize.

As results finally flooded through and all of us trying to use our pretty terrible maths skills we eventually worked out that with Spencer only managing a draw that the Mids have been promoted with three games to go. It’s a great achievement and just rewards for the team who have put in a massive effort this season, played some great hockey and ground out results even when all seemed somewhat lost. With three games still remaining the team must still put in some good performances and finish the season off in style. With the pressure now off perhaps we can start playing some champagne hockey and show the teams in the league above just what we are made of with some good results. Well done to everyone involved, a great achievement.

I wonder if Duncan is still crying about it?!

TMW Hockey 1st XI 8 – 0 Woking HC 3rd XI

“Winners, I am convinced, imagine their dreams first. They want it with all their heart and expect it to come true. There is, I believe, no other way to live.”

Joe Montana

Saturday afternoon saw the visit of Woking 3s to ‘Fortress Warlingham’. With a number of league positions between the two sides, it would have been easy for the team to take their foot off the gas. The supporters though were treated to an excellent performance from every team member and got to watch a number of well worked goals in what turned into a dominant performance, and another statement to the rest of the league that the Mids just are not going to let up with their relentless push towards promotion.

The game started fairly scrappily with neither side able to grab a foothold in the game. In fact it was Woking who looked the more dangerous of the two teams, with the better of possession with the Mids unable to get their passing game going to any real effect. For all their possession however, Woking made no real notable attacks on the goal and it was fairly comfortable keeping them at bay.

It didn’t take long for the breakthrough as the Mids started to up the tempo of their game. With the ball being played nicely from the back and the team pressing the Woking defence, the midfield coughed up the ball leaving Jack Hannon to run at goal with good options right and left. With perfect timing he went left to Christian Bond who squared the ball to Alex Clark to knock the ball into an empty goal. They was soon followed up with more excellent approach play, this time from James Mugridge, who passed the ball to Alex Clark who nipped the ball from a couple of oncoming defenders and expertly hit the ball past the onrushing keeper on his reverse stick into the bottom of the goal.

The Mids continued to turn the screw and Woking were struggling more and more to cope with the pressing and pressure from all the Mids players. A mis-placed pass let in James Mugridge one on one with the keeper who unselfishly passed the ball under the goalkeeper for Callum Thorner to sweep the ball with his reverse stick into the once again unguarded goal (or was it with his back stick?!). An excellent half was wrapped up with a breakaway run from the speedster Christian Bond who squared the ball for James Mugridge to sweep into the unguarded net. 4-0 at half time was well deserved but could the Mids carry it on?

The second half was totally dominated by the Mids who were once again relentless in their attack of the Woking goal. In fact it was only an inspired performance from the Woking keeper who kept the score down. Alex Clark soon picked up his third with another well worked move leaving him with another tap in. This was followed up with goals from James Mugridge and Joey Prestige as the Woking defence were running out of ideas and legs. James Mugridge eventually picked up his third before the end of the game.

A final score of 8-0 was a good return for such a great performance. Unlike some previous games the finishing was top notch and most of the goals left the scorer with a relatively easy tap in, a sign that the approach play is well worked. Woking did not register a single shot or short corner during the entire game, leaving Cameron in goal with one his easier afternoons. If every game went that way I don’t think many of us would complain (probably apart from Cameron himself!)

It was a very tight champagne moment this week with 3 candidates getting three votes each to begin with. James and Alex both for their hat-ricks and Christian for being the provider for a number of the goals. Eventually it went the way of Christian thanks to Sanjay’s vote from the umpires corner. To be honest a number of people could have won it this week as there was a number of great performances.

Champagne moment wasn’t such a close call. Captain Jack won almost all the votes for not keeping to his own game strategies which were clearly and carefully put to all of us by him before and during the game. Apparently ‘Don’t hit the ball into the D aimlessly’ translates into ‘As soon as I get near the D I must smash it in aimlessly’ in Jack’s head. Perhaps we need to get the whiteboard and magnetic pieces out again to show him.

The win accompanied by the second placed team losing and the third placed team’s game not being played means that the lead has once again been extended to a massive 17 points. The aim continues to be to get to the end of the season with wins in all the remaining games and all team members feel this is something that we could all achieve. One again thanks for all who came to watch. Just when you think it can’t get much colder up at Warlingham it does!

TMW Hockey 1st XI 2 – 4 Mid Sussex HC 1st XI

“Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.”

Wilma Rudolph

Sunday afternoon saw an entertaining game in The National Vase at Trinity where the Mids were up against Mid Sussex 1s, another side two leagues above them. After defeating two sides of similar standard in previous rounds hopes and spirits were high. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be with a poor first half performance costing the side who nearly pulled off a great comeback but fell just short.

An early meet and some well needed short corner practise meant that all of the team were raring to go as the game started bang on 1pm. As in previous rounds, the game started relatively slowly for the Mids who struggled to cope with the quicker pace and good organisation of their opposition. Mid Sussex let Mids back four have the ball with a lot of space but the ball wasn’t passed with any kind of pace and didn’t really seem to get us anywhere up the pitch. In contrast, Mid Sussex looked dangerous coming forward and it was only a matter of time until short corners were conceded. Cameron made some fine saves but couldn’t keep them all out. Eventually one was put away and this was followed shortly after by another scrappy finish after a move broke down.

The Mids haven’t been used to going 2-0 down so early on but it still didn’t seem to kick start anything into life as we struggled to make any kind of impression on the game. Midway through the first half 2-0 became 3-0 as some good work down the right daw the ball crossed into the D and finished into the bottom corner. It took until the last play of the half for Mids to win a short corner of their own but this was easily read by the Mid Sussex defence who cleared the ball to the sound of the half time whistle.

It was a disappointing and rather deflating first half and our half time team talk focussed on being more positive with the ball and see if we could get the score back level again. Whatever was said had the desired effect as the whole team put in a fantastic second half where they made their higher level opposition struggle from the first minute of the half until the last and almost got back on level terms.

With the defence bringing the ball higher up the pitch the forwards started to get more joy inside the D. Short corners were won and subsequently well saved by the in form Mid Sussex goalkeeper who made a string of good saves to keep the score at 3-0. The pressure though was relentless as the ball was moved all around the pitch with confidence leaving the previously confident Mid Sussex side making errors and inviting pressure from the much more confident Mids side.

Finally a breakthrough. With the ball pinging around the D once again the ball ended up with Roy Wood who expertly reverse flicked the ball into the bottom of the goal to bring the Mids back within 2 goals. It was a goal that was more than deserved and now put even further pressure onto Mid Sussex.

From here on in it was attack after attack leading to some great chances and very near misses. Mid Sussex provided little threat coming forward and defended deeper and deeper towards their own goal. It seemed like one of those days again where the ball just would not find its way into the goal. Finally with 5 minutes to go another short corner was well worked (finally!) wth the ball being slipped right to Jack Hannon who then squared the ball back to James Mugridge who slapped the ball through the keepers legs and into the net. 5 minutes left and 1 goal to get. Could the Mids do it?!

The decision was made to take Cameron out of goal and play with an extra outfield player to get that all important goal. Unfortunately the decision backfired as the Mids pushed for the equaliser and cards being shown for dissent and bad tackles for both sides. Eventually this led to a Mid Sussex breakaway and the Mids defence scrambling back to cover the unguarded goal. Richard Piggin took matters into his own hands and cynically brought down the attacker leaving him with a yellow card and a short corner to be defended with no goalkeeper. Even Brady’s best efforts with his hand couldn’t prevent the ball from being flicked in leaving the score at 4-2 and game over.

It was a disappointing defeat for a side who hadn’t tasted defeat since the first game of the season. The second half however showed that when we play our game we can mix it with sides in higher leagues easily.

Back at the club and after some rather cold showers it was time for man of the match. Notable votes came to Chris Clark and James Mugridge but it was Anthony Brady who took the vote after a hard working performance where he caused the Mid Sussex defence problems throughout the second half. Champagne moment ended up between two people, one player and one spectator! Richard Piggin barely got away with his horror tackle at the end of the game but it was Aidan who took the vote for his rather embarrassing efforts to move the goals before the game started. I think some of us wanting to see him down a drink may have had some influence in our decisions!

Next Saturday is home to Woking where we will look to bounce back with a victory. With the second place team in the league slipping up it has extended the lead at the top to 14 points. Hopefully the disappointment and anger of the loss will provide us with enough impetus to beat a side towards the bottom of the league. If the second half is anything to go by Woking better watch out!

Thanks for everyone who came and supported on a chilly afternoon. We almost managed it but fell just short but you being there makes a big difference. Good luck to Mid Sussex in the rest of the competition where I am sure we will look to see how the results pan out.

Oxted 4th XI 1 – 2 TMW Hockey 1st XI

It was to turn out to be a tough afternoon for the high flying Mids who travelled to bottom of the league Oxted on a very windy Saturday. Initial thoughts of an easy win, especially after the 9-1 drubbing at Warlingham earlier in the season, soon disappeared as a strangely much changed Oxted side made the team work hard for their 15th consecutive victory in a row.

With a strong squad out, the Mids started off fairly brightly, passing the ball around with some confidence and making the Oxted players chase the ball for large parts. One pass too many or a sloppy pass crept into the game though and started to let Oxted get a foothold into the match. Some dangerous quick forwards were to cause the defence problems all afternoon and the game soon had counter attacks dominating it.

It was the Mids who took the lead 10 minutes into the first half. A good through ball from Chris Clark straight from the back saw Christian Bond one on one with the Oxted centre back with what seemed like half the pitch to beat him in. He seemed to do this with ease and when the keeper rushed out he simply took the ball around him to then finish a well worked move into an empty goal.

This seemed to spur the team on to go and double their lead and 5 minutes later it was 2-0 to the away side. Good work again from Richard Piggin and Christian Bond down the left saw Christian enter the D and square the ball across the goal where the goalkeeper stopped it leaving the simple task for James Mugridge to flick the ball into the net. At 2-0 the Mids should have taken control of the game but unfortunately took their foot off the gas which let Oxted back into it.

With the marking becoming a bit slack, Oxted pushed forward to halve the deficit, often leaving the defence making last ditch tackles to prevent them from scoring. A few short corners were given away but fortunately this were not very well executed and proved little threat to the Mids goal with stand in keeper Rufie having to do very little. In the end it turned out to be one breakaway too many and after a couple of missed tackles the Oxted forwards were in on goal with plenty of time and space to slot the ball into the bottom corner to make the score 1-2.

There was still time for Mids to come close to adding a third with some nice approach play down the right eventually seeing the ball at the feet of Alex Clark who swept a shot that came crashing off the underside of the crossbar and out for a sideline ball. The second half ended with the Mids one goal up but not exactly happy with their slightly poor performance.

After a stern talking to at half time the Mids went out in the second half looking to put in a better performance than they put in during the first. It turned out to be a half full of battles and niggles with neither team able to really take advantage at any stage. The Mids again passed the ball around well, especially around the back, making Oxted chase the ball down for large parts. Usually this means that towards the end we find it easier to break down tiring teams but it wasn’t to be this week. Again the few short corners that were won were very poorly executed and is something this team must work on and improve for future weeks were they could become crucial.

The further the half went on the more nervous energy seemed to creep into the team. In all honesty though, Oxted rarely threatened the Mids goal with good chances with Rufie having to do very little keep the score as it was. With Oxted coming close within the last few seconds the final whistle was greeted with a sigh of relief from most of us. The 1-2 victory was hard fought an with most of us suspecting the opposition fielding a few players from higher sides it proved to us that we can mix it and beat sides that potentially play in higher leagues.

Back in the bar afterwards, and with JP seemingly trying to eat most of the post match tea himself, it was voting time. A painfully slow and carefully thought out Man of the Match vote saw a number of votes for JP, Richard Still and Ed who all put in solid performances. The winner though went to an ecstatic Richard Piggin who had a great game at left back both defensively and offensively. This, mixed with his over enthusiastic rage moments where it looks like he is playing air guitar above his head saw him take the most votes.

Champagne moment was less of a slow process with only a few players making a stand out contribution. Chris Clark seemed to gain an endless amount of nominations for a variety of misdemeanours including spending half the game in some kind of position on the ground, trying the catch an aerial (for protective purposes of course!) and trying to explain that the last 16 of a competition only has 8 teams in it should have probably saw him win the vote hands down but somehow this wasn’t to be. Once again it was Christian Bond who picked up the spoils but for what I’m not overly sure about. A terrible pass on a short corner normally isn’t enough to win but when you still are ‘The New Josh Alexander’ it’s hard to see past it. Will anybody ever win champagne moment ever again?! It doesn’t seem so at this rate. Well done to the team for putting in a gritty performance and earning another 3 points. At the time of writing the league results still have not been put up but it will still be a minimum of 11 points clear at the top of the league. Sunday will see the team in the next round of the cup against what will be a strong Mid Sussex side. A match report will follow and here’s hoping for some good news! 

TMW Hockey 1st XI 3 – 0 Old Kingstonian 1st XI

After a tough game last week, the Mids were back at home this week against Old Kingstonian HC with a much changed side and a few key players missing for the first time this season. This meant a few changes in players and others playing in unfamiliar positions.

A rather scrappy warm up lead to a rather scrappy start to the game, something that the Mids seemed to have come accustomed to. Sloppy passes and rushed play meant there was no flow to the game. In fact the opposition nearly took advantage of this as some breakaways left the defence outnumbered at times and it took a few excellent last ditch tackles to prevent us going behind.


Brady’s first goal

With Coach Duncan’s voice ringing in our ears from the sidelines the play started to pick up and opportunities were created. Some good counter attacks lead to short corners and shots on goal. Once again the short corners weren’t great and really didn’t force the goalkeeper to make any meaningful saves. A bizarre incident where right back JP squared the ball across the goal from what looked like inside the D was left by the goalkeeper to simply roll into the back of the goal. Immediate reactions weren’t that it was a goal but after a few seconds it dawned on some of us that it should have been a goal. After initially giving the goal however, the Kingstonians umpire reversed his decision for what reason none of us are quite sure of.From there until the end of the first half it was the Mids who dominated the game and it seemed that it would only be a matter of time before the ball found it’s way into the Kingstonians goal. Some good play from the defence passing it up through midfield left Christian Bond with room to run towards the goal. He was left with the simple task to pass the ball to Anthony Brady who finished the move rolling the ball into the unguarded net. It was goal the team deserved and lifted spirits just before the half time whistle.

After a half time team talk where the main goal of the game was to not just win but to keep a clean sheet the team went back out with more of a purpose. The second half saw everyone pass the ball with more accuracy and make better decisions on and off the ball which caused the Kingstonian’s defence all kinds of problems. It was one of those days where the ball just wouldn’t seem to go in. Back post misses and clean shots on goal went agonisingly wide from a number of opportunities and those on the sideline feared the worst as one mistake could let the opposition in to level the scores.


Brady’s second goal

To be honest this never really happened as Kingstonians barely threatened the Mids goal in the second half. Finally Joey Prestige found himself with time and space to put the ball onto his reverse stick and fire and unstoppable shot into the bottom right of the goal, leaving the goalkeeper rooted to the spot. This seemed to calm any nerves and in the final 10 minutes it was the Mids who continued to make attack after attack looking for the third goal. With more near misses and the game coming to an end the ball was again played nicely from the back and from there a few passes saw the ball move up the pitch without an opposition player touching it and an almost identical finish left Anthony Brady with the relatively easy task to sweep the ball under the keeper and into the goal.

A 3-0 win was a deserved scoreline and the performance probably should have seen the Mids win by more goals. Maybe a bit of finishing needs to be done at training this week! Probably the most pleasing aspect of the game was the clean sheet, something that was heavily talked about before the game and something that was achieved well by all the Mids players on the pitch. I think it is the first clean sheet the first team has seen for a very long time.


Christian Bond earned Champagne Moment.

Man of the match was dominated by one player, Joey Prestige. An excellent game in the centre of midfield, not his usual position, saw him all over the pitch and making a real difference. This plus his goal saw him take nearly all of the votes. Champagne moment saw votes for a few people. Chris Clark for his usual pass to the centre forward at the start of the game (sometimes you need to give them a chance don’t you?), Ali Ross for some interesting behaviour in the showers after the games, James Edie for a numbers of misses and for playing football rather than hockey for large parts of the game but it was champagne moment stalwart Christian Bond who once again pickup up the spoils. A number of mazy runs with half of the pitch and spectators shouting “Pass it!” at the top of the voices seemed to have been heard by everyone apart from Christian himself. That, and his position as ‘The New Josh Alexander’ would probably have been enough to win him the vote anyway but it was Christian’s email of love to his teammates earlier in the week that secured it for him. Evidently some people just have to share their total love of hockey at 9am on a Thursday morning with all who will listen, or just all the that have to open their emails and wonder if Christian has been on the bottle at 9am on a Thursday morning.

Another good victory extended the team’s unbeaten run. Thanks to all those who braved the cold wind on the sidelines with their support, it’s greatly appreciated. Next week onto bottom of the league Oxted where we will be looking for more goals and another clean sheet to extend the lead at the top of the table.

Spencer 3rd XI 1 – 2 TMW Hockey 1st XI

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Match Report: Chris Clark

Saturday afternoon saw the Mids extend their lead at the top of the Surrey Division 2 league by 11 points against Spencer but it was a game marred by an ugly incident near the beginning that changed the match completely.

Most of the team met at East Croydon to get the train down to Wandsworth and were met by Coach Duncan already calming his pre game nerves with a G&T at the platform. The long walk to the game still got us to the pitch early so a pre game chat in the changing room ensued with captain Jack giving the starting line up ‘for the match’ of course.

After spending ten minutes debating whether or not a player for Oxford University was an ex Mids player (yes Brady you were wrong!) we finally got onto the pitch and had a decent warm up. The game didn’t start very well for the Mids as Spencer stuck to a game plan of chucking the ball over the top for the forward players to run onto. This, mixed with some indifferent passing from the Mids, meant that Spencer threatened to score with numerous chances. Eventually the defence cracked and Spencer went 1-0 only 10 minutes in.

Then the turning point. After the Mids squandered a couple of chances themselves, Spencer continued to attack with pace and numbers. A break down in the middle of the pitch saw captain Jack nudge one of the Spencer forwards. The attackers reaction was to swing his stick and hit Jack around the top of his body. Confusion ensued as the umpires debated over what to do for a few minutes. Finally the umpires made the decision of a red card for violent conduct and off went the Spencer forward.

After the sending off the Mids dominated the game up until half time. Spencer shrunk back into their own half and decided that 10 men behind the ball at all times would be the best way to set up giving the Mids ample time and space to attack the Spencer goal. Unfortunately things just wouldn’t click and missed passes, bad decisions and botched short corners left the score at a disappointing 1-0 at the half time interval.

The second half saw the Mids click into gear a little more. With so much time and space the ball was sprayed from side to side with Spencer content to defend the middle of the pitch. They did a good job of it and frustrated the forwards time and again with a mixture of good tackling, good fortune, bad short corners and a goalkeeper who has thwarted us before in previous encounters and was on top of his game once again. The longer the half went on the more it looked as if the Mids dominance would come to nothing.

Finally another botched short corner produced another good save from the goalkeeper but the rebound fell to James Mugridge who swept the ball into the bottom of the goal to deservedly even up the scoreline. This gave the team the impetus to get the winner and lead to a wave of attacks which came to many near misses. With only a few minutes to go, another poor short corner saw the ball eventually moved round and with chaos ensuing around the D the ball finally broke to Brady who mis hit the ball which bounced off the keepers pad, diverting it into the goal when it was previously going wide. It had taken a long long time and some very frustrating passages of play but the Mids finally had their noses in front.

The final few minutes of the game petered out with only the Spencer playmaker finally seeing yellow after a number of foul mouthed rants went punished. His derogatory comments walking past the Mids bench (which can’t be repeated here) caused much amusement for those that were there. A team can’t really be that bad if they’re winning!

The man of the match vote ended up being between two people, Joey and James. Both had good games but it was James winning the vote by one. Champagne moment wasn’t such a tight affair. Nominations this week included: captain Jack for some of his pre game comments, coach Duncan for one of the most bizarre emails seen in a while including a part about licking windscreens?! Eventually it boiled down to two candidates. Christian Bond who, as he wasn’t playing, was left in charge of an expensive looking camera. I still have no idea whether or not he took any decent pictures but before the game some of the lens accessories, meant to aid the taking of pictures, apparently in Christian’s eyes would hinder them by covering the lens itself. Maybe he should just stick to the hockey. The winner however went the the big man, Ali Ross. During the first half a simple looking ball to him standing/dreaming at left back was met with one of the weirdest skills/mess ups (I have no idea what to call it) where the ball seemed to miss everything and go off the side of the pitch even though Ali’s stick did all sorts of things before the ball eventually crossed the side line. In the bar afterwards it was described by one person as ‘one of the worst things I have ever seen on a hockey pitch’. Seeing as Ali had scuppered on home straight after the game it was up to Christian to take the champagne moment with a lovely black sambuca and beer. Lovely!

Once again it wasn’t the most convincing of performances from a side who are so far clear at the top. Maybe too much time on the ball makes the game harder! Another victory though in a game where you don’t play well shows promotion credentials and I am sure it won’t be the last time this happens this season. Next week Kingstonians at home and hopefully another 3 points in the bag.

TMW Hockey 1st XI 3 – Kenley 1st XI 2

Match Report: Chris Clark

After what felt like a very long Christmas break the Mids were back in action on Saturday against the only side that managed to beat them in the first half of the season. A local derby against Kenley was always going to be a difficult start, and so it turned out to be, with the Mids just coming out on top in what was a competitive if not scrappy game.

After a decent warm up in near freezing conditions and with the sun very low on the horizon, the game finally got underway. It’s fair to say that the first half was nothing to shout home about. Kenley hustled and harried the Mids, stopping them playing their normal flowing game. Within the first few minutes some sloppy errors saw one of the Kenley forwards free in the D and he easily slotted the ball past James Wilson in goal to give Kenley the early advantage. For the next 20 minutes the Mids failed to improve and it seemed that Kenley had the running of the game for large parts and could probably consider themselves unlucky not to find themselves further ahead. Gradually the Mids started to find their feet and string a few passes together. The pace upfront was causing the Kenley defenders all sorts of problems. Eventually, just before the half time whistle, great skill from Roy Wood earned Mids a short corner which Roy dispatched with an excellent flick into the top right hand corner of the goal. With seconds left of the first half, the Mids earned themselves another short corner. Same player, same result and the Mids found themselves 2-1 up at half time even though they had just produced one of their poorest halves of the season so far. Perhaps these are the times these things need to happen if you are to get promoted.

The second half saw a much better performance from the Mids. Numerous chances on goal mixed with short corners gave many opportunities but they just never seemed to find their way into the goal. Eventually a short corner found its way to Christian Bond at the top of the D and without any pressure whatsoever slotted the ball under the Kenley keeper to give the Mids a 3-1 lead.

From there on in the Mids had more of the possession but just couldn’t seem to find the killer touch in front of goal. Numerous short corners were won and subsequently missed and the game got more heated and edgy as the game neared its end. With just over 5 minutes to go some good skill form the Kenley right wing saw him skip into the D and lay the ball off as the ball was swept in to the bottom corner from close range. A few nervous minutes ensued with Kenley coming very close to equalising. The Mids held on until the final whistle though, helped by captain Jack spending a full minute messing around in the corner by himself to waste time.

All in all it what a distinctly average performance from a side that know they can play a lot better. Perhaps blowing a way a few cobwebs and running off some of the mince pies will help as the side moves onto a tough game against Spencer next week, especially as their game was called off this week due to frost. Let’s hope we catch them cold.

Man of the match went to Graham Cobbett who had an excellent game in the centre of defence, shutting down many of the Kenley attacks on goal whilst also taking a hefty blow on his foot for his troubles. Let’s just say ‘age is but a number’ probably came to fruition today, or perhaps he just didn’t drink or eat as much rubbish as the rest of us did over the Christmas period. Who knows?!

Champagne moment was a fairly tame affair. Chris Clark got numerous votes for more of his antics on the floor (nothing changes!) and James Wilson got a fair few votes for his strange combination of clothing as he turned up to the club before the game. Perhaps Hawaiian shorts, a cricket shirt and a hunting vest will catch on some day but for now he looked like a total ****! This however wasn’t enough to win the all important vote. With votes running out, Nick Trend pointed out that nobody has taken over the coveted position that Josh Alexander held in such high regard. Of course the club needs somebody to fall back on if all else fails. Up step Christian Bond, our ‘Smash Up Boy’ hero of the hour. Here’s hoping for a few more champagne moments to come!

Well done to everyone for digging in and getting a result out of what was a pretty poor game. The run continues and promotion becomes ever closer as we see ourselves remain 8 points clear. Onto Spencer net week. Never an easy game but also easily winnable. Let’s keep it going!

Trinity Mids 1st XI 5 – 2 Sunbury & Walton Hawks 2s

Match Report: Chris Clark

A very windy Warlingham greeted the Mids on Saturday. With spirits high after such a successful weekend last week the team were looking for their 11th win in a row. They were made to work hard by a well organised Sunbury team who put up some stubborn resistance before succumbing to constant pressure in the last few minutes.

The team got to Warlingham in quite extreme conditions. The wind swirled whilst we were treated to some excellent short corner striking from ‘the big man at the back’ in the game before ours. Perhaps we should be taking some tips from him, especially as so many short corners during the game just wouldn’t find their way into the goal. JP successfully navigated his way to the start of the game this week without falling over whilst Muggy turned up in his best fancy dress as ‘Biggles’.

The game started quite slowly for the Mids who made some sloppy errors and couldn’t maintain possession of the ball for long spells. Eventually things started to click and numerous threats on goal resulted in near misses but not goals. Time after time the ball seemed to either be saved well by the Sunbury keeper or narrowly went past the post. At the back Sunbury had a few chances of their own but some strong defending kept the score 0-0 at half time.

The half time team talk was a positive one as we all agreed we had to keep passing the ball around to ware down the stubborn Sunbury defence who packed the D making it difficult to get any real clear sight on goal.

Not long into the second half the constant Mids pressure finally turned itself into a goal. After a short corner was once again saved by the goalkeeper the bouncing ball found its way to the feet of Alex Clark. Setting himself up to tee the ball off into space, most of us probably closed our eyes fearing the worst and had the substitutes reaching for another ball out of the bag with the current match ball never to be seen again in the field behind the pitch. Those who didn’t close their eyes however were treated to the spectacular as the ball was smashed into the top left hand corner giving the goalkeeper no chance whatsoever.

The lead didn’t last long though as Sunbury went straight up and won themselves a short corner. A strike from the top found its way through Cam’s legs then through the legs of Chris Clark on the post and into the goal. A double nuts….not the best way to concede.

As seems to be the way this season, the team didn’t let their heads drop and another short corner slipped to the left was swept in by Roy Wood to give control back to the Mids once again. Sunbury wouldn’t lie down and a ball broke into the D and was controlled with a hint of a back-stick by the forward who slotted it into the bottom corner. A disappointing goal to concede but we had to deal with it.

From here the game could have gone either way but the Sunbury side was noticeably tiring as the Mids passing game kept them running all over the pitch for long periods. A mis-controlled short corner made its way to Chris Clark backing up the Ed. From there, four shots on goal were saved and or blocked but eventually he found his way through keeper and defender to sweep the ball into the goal. 3-2 advantage back to the Mids.

The final few minutes saw Mids dominate possession and score another 2 goals before the final whistle. Some good work from Jack Hannon saw him run to the by-line and pull the ball back for Joey Prestige to smash the ball home. With time running out Christian Bond went on another mazy run, took the ball round the keeper finished off a well taken goal. A 5-2 victory probably wasn’t imaginable with 10 minutes left but I think the game plan of tiring down the opposition eventually worked.

Man of the match went to Richard Still who had a great game in the midfield but more importantly managed to complete a full game without pulling his delicate hamstring. After some time out to recover from the previous injury he proved he’s Still got it (sorry I couldn’t help it). Champagne moment was a tight affair but was eventually won by Christian for something that probably shouldn’t be talked about on a website that states that it is a ‘family club’. To put it mildly, a bizarre photo to the Whatsapp group with a photo of Christian with a random companion was sent to everyone on Friday night with the phrase ‘Smash up boy’ accompanied with it. Quite what this means I will leave up to your imagination. Or if you need a helping hand, Google ‘Biggles Flies Again’ and take a look at the front cover of the book. Perhaps Christian and James ‘Biggles’ Mugridge have a bit of explaining to do?!

Well done to everyone on a hard fought victory. Next come second place Old Reigatians. A victory will leave the team in a very strong position over the Christmas break with a minimum 8 point lead at the top of the table.

The Mids EHA Vase Run Continues

Sonning HC 1st XI 1 – 2 TMW Hockey 1st XI

EHA Vase – 29th Nov 2015
Match Report: Chris Clark

Saturday saw the second round of the EHA vase where the first team travelled away to Sonning 1st XI, a team ranked two leagues above them. With a slightly depleted side and pretty poor conditions, it could have been easy for the team to put in a below par performance especially after a tough victory on Saturday but what happened was one of the most disciplined performances seen from a Trinity Mids first team in a long, long time.

The team arrived early and had some time to watch some of the Reading vs Wimbledon game, perhaps giving some of us a glimpse of what was to come later on that afternoon, or maybe not?! If the excitement of a National League game wasn’t enough, JP thrilled spectators as he danced/fell/slipped down the stairs on the grandstand much to everyone’s amusement.

The game itself started well for the Mids with Bobby Watson showing his usual silky skills to run around the defence and slot the ball into the corner. Unfortunately a crash ball into the D found a Mids foot and the resulting short corner was put away well from the Sonning striker into the corner to equalise with barely a few minutes of the game gone. A few years ago the Mids would have folded and conceded again but the new-look side have a way of battling back in games and this was no different. Some good breakaways eventually turned into a short corner. From the top, Bobby once again showed great skills as he rounded a couple of players and slotted the ball in the bottom corner to give the Mids a 2-1 advantage.

The rest of the first half saw Sonning gain more control in the game. They passed the ball well and the defence was made to work extremely hard to mark their players as their good movement upfront caused problems. The one off 4-4-2 formation stood firm though and for all their efforts Sonning didn’t really threaten with any clear-cut chances.

A first for everyone met us at the end of the first half. With floodlights not working everyone had to pick up their kit and move over to the adjacent astro for the second half. The half that followed was one of the best defensive performances the Mids have put in. Everyone was disciplined with their marking and although Sonning were very good at moving the ball around and running the defence ragged, we stood firm with everyone seemingly in the right place at the right time. Bobby, Christian and Anthony all looked a threat on the break but were unable to find a finishing touch to good approach play.

Time ticked down and with only a couple of hair raising moments towards the end the umpire blew his whistle and the Mids had done it. Their second scalp of higher league opposition in 2 weeks. Noisy and beer filled celebrations followed back in the Sonning clubhouse with everyone agreeing that if we play like that every week we will always be a very tough side to beat.

Man of the match went to Callum ‘I’ll be a thorn in your side all game’ Thorner for his fantastic work in his first ever game playing at left back. To be honest it seems unfair just to pick one person out as everyone put a huge shift in. I just don’t have the time to mention everyone and some people’s heads are already slightly too big as it is! Champagne moment went to our new ‘Dancing on Ice’ competitor JP who is looking forward to thrilling his fans in games to come with his slippery skills.

Just as well Warlingham doesn’t have any stairs! Also a big thanks to Beaker for coming and managing the team from the side. Well done to everyone. Onto Mid Sussex in round 3 in February.