On the 4th of November, Marlow Under 18 boys started off the new campaign of the England Hockey Cup, a competition in which they have experienced fair success with in the past. In the first game back in the competition since May 12th at Lee Valley, the boys travelled away to St Albans to begin the defence of their title. After a typically emotive pregame briefing with Kate, the game got underway.
On the back of a ‘best not mentioned’ league defeat in their last game (Editor's note.....where's the match report for that one???), the U18s started slowly, lacking their usual intensity and flair. Some successful outletting from Ferg, Jawn, Hilly, Brockers and Connor brought relative success, but the boys were nearly left trailing after some questionable ‘sweeper keeping’ from Ellis gave St Albans their best chance of the game, which fortunately they squandered. Despite spending much of the first half camped in the opposition half, and winning multiple short corners, the boys seemed unable to convert, but with Cads’ drag flicks becoming more powerful by the week, the hope is that by May they might reach the goal. However, it was late in the first half that a clever corner routine broke the deadlock, with Thrush’s injection coming short to Nihal, who played a teasing ball across the face, which Loretto (Editor's note......please can Loretto dye his hair as it is too similar to Hilly and the parents who were keeping score got confused - easily done!!!) cleverly sent past the keeper to give Marlow a narrow lead at the break.
After a stern word at half time, the boys readied for the second half, knowing they were capable of more. The class and quality we have become accustomed to soon began to show. Louis uncharacteristically selfishly carried the ball from the 25 and into the D, eliminating several players on his way, and after a fortunate deflection off a St Albans player, his shot found the back of the net. Despite England Hockey rules, it’s safe to say that it will be going down as an own goal. With Thrush pushing on forward in his own manic, uncontrolled style, he soon sent a fantastic pass crashing into the D, which Nihal, creator turned finisher, sumptuously diverted over the keeper. Three soon became four, as Nihal once again slapped the ball in via a Thrush injection, this time wrong footing the keeper, with Nihal grabbing his second of the day. The goals were piling up as Marlow continued to increase their intensity, with the likes of Howesy and Stro pressing the St Albans back four into their own corners. Shortly after, another corner was won and another goal soon followed, this time a clever routine being finished off by Loretto at the back post to complete his brace for the day. Ferris’s hands were causing the opposition all sorts of problems, with their number 14 having had his ankles broken by a sweet left to right from the converted Wallingford player. The chances were coming thick and fast, with Will Howes ‘ambitious’ effort, just narrowly missing Harvey Fraser's mum's car. A slight mishap in the almost perfect second half, was a lack of communication from one Charlie Thrush, causing the innocent Max Ellis to accidentally take out a St Albans player leading to their only short corner of the game. Clumsy Thrush was soon back to his feet, and soon off them again as he flew through the air, causing an injury to yet another opposition player. The day was signed off with Fin Anderson neatly finishing off yet another corner routine at the back post, to grab his first goal of the season.
Congratulations to Jawny Grint on receiving MOM from the boys for a solid display at the back as well as a goal-line clearance, and DOD honours were shared between Max and Thrush, enough said there. Special mention to Thrush for finally going a whole game without a card, despite deserving several.