They might be Marlow’s famous mixed team, but in the 2017/18 season their results were anything but mixed, as Josie Nash’s red-and-occasionally-white army marched on through round after round of the England Hockey mixed plate competition, with many of the team also successfully getting through round after round the evenings before matches.
With the team having reached such dizzying heights last season, it would appear as if everything was in order, yet nothing could be further from the truth. An exodus of the team’s top talent, who selfishly desired to ‘further their education’ left the team in a worrying state of affairs. The talent I am speaking of is, perhaps unsurprisingly, not ‘captain, leader and legend’ Josie Nash, nor is it the mercurial Ella Brown. The top talent is myself, obviously. And the worrying state of affairs is, of course, that the team is utterly devoid of any alternative source of wit, and therefore lacking in a match-report-writing genius (myself). What could be done? The team certainly didn’t want to go the way of the U18 boys, whose recent match reports neither cover every game (as they should, @Max Ellis), nor do they match the sublime standard of last year’s. The solution was simple: enquire as to the availability of Modest Ed to write a report, and take some time out of his busy colouring-degree schedule to craft a match-report, despite his lack of commitment to supporting the team.
Now, to the EH mixed Cup R1 match against local rivals Henley. Whilst a reliance on the youthful and energetic youth (not you, BA) is a key part of the mixed team’s core philosophy, it probably backfired this weekend, as an 18th birthday celebration left several of the team lacking in their normal coordination, pace and skill (again, not you BA). [To avoid a blame culture, several names have been changed to protect their anonymity] Wophie Sillis’ party did the team no favours (thanks for the invite ?), nor did Bandy Aarton’s heavy Saturday evening session, with Aarton himself and two actually important players, Treg Gyler and Llex Aane rather unaware of where they were and what they were meant to be doing, especially during the Dangerball™ warmup.
Bizarrely, the game started quickly, with play dictated by Marlow, and all of a sudden Marlow were 1-0 up, after Lesley ‘top bins’ Hobley smashed an “absolute screamer” into the “very top of the top bins”. It won’t be surprising to read then, that Marlow were unable to maintain this outstanding level of hockey, and soon after the opening goal, Marlow began to crumble, with Tom Graiy playing some of his signature terrible passes into Greg Tyler, who was looking a completely different player to the Greg Tyler who bagged a brace in a Strollers game on Saturday. Even Graham screaming ‘potato’ or something along those lines, at the top of his voice couldn’t prevent Henley from scoring, as the world’s slowest defence, consisting of Kris Chilmince-pie and Patricia Shtaaaal, was embarrassed by Henley’s forwards.
Louis Cadinouche, who has often been described as “the ace up Marlow’s sleeve” by exactly nobody ever, attempted to stamp his mark on the game, but as usual just ended up dribbling around a bit. Louis was not the only one though, and it wasn’t long before somebody (I would probably guess Patt), dribbled into a crowd of Henley players from a sixteen and gave the ball away, leaving just Josie to deal with a 5-vs-1, which she failed to do, increasing Henley’s lead just before the half-time break.
Thankfully, the real ace up Marlow’s sleeve, Madey’s dad, turned up shortly after the restart, leading to an immediate improvement. They may have conceded at the start of the second half, but several players were actually looking awake, and Angela decided to start trying. Sophie Willis, wiser and older than ever before, chucked some aerials, and the daughter of Madi’s dad brought Marlow back into contention with a “clever” finish. An outrageously fortunate piece of anti-skill from a Greedy Greg, whose heavy touch took him from Marlow’s circle all the way to score in the Henley goal, brought the scores even closer, to 4-3. I agree that this goal probably didn’t happen like this, but I can only write based on the information I am given.
Following this, Marlow asserted their dominance through “superior technical ability and the fitness of Olympians” (also probably not true), but a moment of “managerial madness” from Helen Cookiola, putting Josie and Barton in central defence, gifted Henley yet another goal. At this point, Laneo decided that rather than offering absolutely nothing standing up on the pitch, she would continue to offer nothing sitting down on the bench, which led to yet another period of Marlow dominance, as BA displayed the same skills that have earned him a sports scholarship at the University of Middlesex, a well known hockey powerhouse. To cap off a series of poor individual performances from various members of the team, Sophie Willis, the villain of this story, couldn’t work out the plumbing, and failed to turn the taps on, missing an “absolute sitter”. The game finished 5-3 to Henley, leading to ugly scenes between travelling fans and the home crowd at the final whistle. Inexplicably, Josie Nash avoided the DOD award, instead it went to Alex Road, and MOM went to the now even older and wiser than earlier in the match Sophie Willis, who brought cakes.
Thankfully, this is not the end of the saga, as Marlow now enter the plate competition, facing [enter team name here] on the [enter date here] at home/away [delete as appropriate]!