Marlow’s pride and joy.
The U18 boys stepped out onto the pitch for the first time since the greatest day in our small town’s history. A new season and a new team, with the boys having lost a strong core; the immensely talented Beanpole Brothers, BDN, Yobbo Cheeseman, Julian’s brother and The #BEAST. With expectations weighing heavily on their shoulders, the Red Army once again grazed the Pound Lane Arena with the confidence one would expect from a team with such achievements. The first game of the new season and not an easy one with that, with the opposition boasting the 2018 U16 National Champions and U18 National Indoor Champions. However, Marlow have never been known to be intimidated by a big team or a big occasion and the boys duly stepped up.
With star man, Thomas ‘ooooohhhh NAGS’ Sheldon selfishly prioritising his league debut for a National League side comprising of Sam Ward and Dan Fox (how unreasonable), many would have thought Marlow would lack their usual penetrative style of hockey, as well as their clinical finishing from short corners, but these people would be wrong. Charlie Thrush put in a ‘nearly’ MOTM performance at centre half, appearing to be in multiple places at one time, but was overshadowed by Player of the Day and U18 new boy, Tom ‘Ferris’ Wheel, whose quick hands worked him and the team out of a few sticky situations. The boys started off well with Don Hilly Jr coolly slotting in a bobbler at the back post to get the boys up and running. Guilford then bounced back and after some somewhat questionable marking (from Ben Ferguson), and an even more questionable smother from Max ‘leader of men’ Ellis, put the ball away to level the score, cruelly taking away the clean sheet on his debut as captain. The under 14 girls’ game had overrun, so it was only after 20 minutes that coach Porter finally saw fit to make an appearance. After a lot of pressure from Marlow’s forwards, Jim Patel correctly called up on a Guildford foot, earning a corner. Without any sort of drag-flick off the top (despite Louis’ futile complaints), Marlow had to resort to an alternative route, with Nihal returning like a prodigal son, and returning with a goal, as his powerful slap wrong footed the keeper and crashed into the backboard in the bottom left corner.
With the boys 2-1 up at half time, they came out even stronger with Thrarlie soon making a Maradona-esque run from midfield and uncharacteristically pinging one off his reverse into the far corner completing a brilliant goal. Marlow began to cruise, with a few cards heading Guildford's way, it seemed as if Marlow had it wrapped up with 15 to go. However, Guildford had other ideas, with a ball from no where coming hard into the D, taking a faint deflection, directly between Max’s open and helpless legs. This gave the boys new energy and desire, and within no time at all new boy Ferris completed his impressive debut with a goal to leave the final score at 4-2. Jawny and Ferg seem to have formed a blossoming partnership at the back, Lewis really stepped up to lead out the forward line, and James Hirst topped off his debut with an impressive goal line save, something he can hopefully coach Max to do at some point. The U18’s seem dead set on filling the big shoes which have been left for them.
MOM went to Tom Ferris, with Nihal begrudgingly accepting DOD.