Match Report: Yateley 1st XI vs Weymouth 1st XI
Yateley too Sachsy for Weymouth.
In a week when the world said farewell to the great Andrew Sachs, Yateley HC Men’s 1st XI put a smile back on the faces of millions of fans around the globe by winning a pulsating encounter against promotion rivals Weymouth at Edgebarrow. Both sides came into the game on the back of a recent dip in form, so both were desperate for the three points needed to keep in touch with league leaders Gillingham.
The opening exchanges were evenly balanced, with both sides playing some neat attacking hockey, but also standing firm defensively. The visitors took the lead on 10 minutes when their top scorer produced some neat skill on the left wing before finding his strike partner in space on the baseline, who cut inside and slotted a finish under Nate Foale in the Yateley goal. Yateley’s fighting spirit kept them in the game and was epitomised by Toby Fayers, whose work rate closing down eventually earned him a ball to the head. The Yateley midfielder did have to go off for a few minutes, but later returned to the fold (although when asked what he remembers of the game, he mumbled, “I know nothing”). Yateley raised their game and equalised soon after through Paul Bockett-Pugh, whose penalty corner flick left the goalkeeper stranded and nestled into the top right corner. The end to end nature of the first half continued and Yateley took their turn to lead the match when Doug Joyce dispatched a drag flick low to the keeper’s left. Weymouth were not to be outdone, and scored their second of the game through a well-worked penalty corner deflection at the left post. Yateley smelt a rat (some claimed it was a hamster), but it was the home team who had the last say in the first half with the move of the match. Bockett-Pugh deflected Joyce’s clever free hit into the path of Doug Clayton in the circle, who squared for Chris Hogg to tap home from within inches.
At half time, Yateley felt they had had the better of the first half and came out for the second period in confident mood. However, it was the visitors who started faster and pulled the scores level again within minutes of the restart. Some Fawlty defending from the Yateley midfield and defence allowed Weymouth’s skilful forward to cruise into circle and conjure a clever near post finish to beat Foale (he’s from Barcelona). The game fell back into its previous ebb and flow with chances arising for both teams. Yateley thought they had retaken the lead when Craig Wylie’s pull back was fired goalwards by Bockett-Pugh, but a spectacular goal line clearance from the Weymouth right back kept the scores level. Weymouth had chances of their own to take the lead, but it was another penalty corner flick from Bockett-Pugh that finally put Yateley back in front with 10 minutes remaining. A tense final period followed, but Yateley secured the win in the dying minutes as Clayton pounced on a loose ball in the circle and fired home confidently.
Captain Ash Morley was asked after the game if he thought the result was a fair one, but his only response was, “Que?”. The win puts Yateley a point above Weymouth into fourth place in a very tight top half of the table. The Red Army will hope to close out a strong first half of the season with a win away at Fareham next week. In an emotional post-match interview, YHC stalwart C K Watt claimed, “I speak English, I learn it from a booook.”
Team: Foale, Maskell, Joyce, Morley, Collins, Cresswell, Bockett-Pugh, Fayers, Sealey, Laskey, Hogg, Wylie, Powell, Clayton
Next Game versus Fareham 3rd XI, Henry Cort School, Fareham. Pushback: 13:15