Mens I xxx
CHELMSFORD III 0 – 6 THURROCK I
Thurrock have gone one point clear on top of NE14 HOCKEY Div 3SE after an impressive win against Chelmsford, Maldon & Little Baddow could only manage a 1-1 draw with Upminster and Clacton lost 2-3 to Redbridge & Ilford. The visitors quickly gained control of the game and had some early chances but it took 15 minutes for the first goal to come after Nick Stapleton gained the ball in midfield and with some good passing gave Jacob Agoro a tap-in. Moments later Agoro got his second from a well worked short corner to make it 2-0. Chelmsford did get into the game but the Thurrock defence of Andy Sargeant, Tommy Ing and Luke Danbrook were in great form. As the home side pushed forward they left gaps in the defence and a quick counter attack from Thurrock made it 3-0 from a Matt Gaut strike, Gaut then turned provider by squaring the ball to captain Steve Abbott to tap the ball in at the near post. Thurrock continued the dominance in the second half and a good passing move was finished off from Nick Stapleton who hit the ball into the run of Gaut who only needed one touch to put the ball past the Chelmsford keeper. The home side did try to get back into the game but man of the match Andy Gaut in the Thurrock goal made some fine saves to keep a clean sheet for the first time this season. Brother Matt Gaut got his hat trick, and the team’s sixth, by coolly rounding the keeper before slipping the ball into the empty net.
Next Saturday home to Waltham Forest II, 11 am
Mens II xxx
THURROCK II 2 – 3 SAFFRON WALDEN IV
Thurrock always knew this was going to be a tough game, as both teams had yet to drop a point in the 2010 league season, however Thurrock were fielding a side that supported seven changes to the side that won last week. The first opportunity of the day came for Thurrock as Ben Knowles saw his flick sail over the keeper only to be stopped on the line. Saffron then bounced back as the Walden forward outpaced the Tee’s defence to give them an early lead, Thurrock then put the Walden keeper through his paces to see another shot cleared off the line. Tee’s went into the break 1-0 down thanks to the efforts of their own keeper and man of the match Keith Major. Thurrock then failed to get going in the second half were suddenly staring down the barrel and 3-0 down as Walden put Thurrock to the sword with some quick passing. This then ignited the flame that had so far failed to burn for Thurrock, leading to some good movement and passing which lead to a goal for the Tee’s thanks to the quick hands of Michael Murray. With time running out Tom Madden netted to make it 3-2, unfortunately there was not enough time to complete the comeback and Saffron Walden took three deserved points away with then.
Thurrock now slip to third in the league, however all is not lost as Thurrock play Brentwood IV next week, the team currently top of the league.
Mens III xxx
WALTHAM FOREST 4th 2 – 6 THURROCK 3rd
This win points Tees only three points behind the leaders Saffron Walden 6, but the division is very close with five points separating the top eight teams. Thurrock went behind after only two minutes of this NE14 HOCKEY Div 8SE game when slack marking allowed the centre forward to dribble into the D and flick the ball into the net. Thurrock were jolted into action and John Venus collected a pass from Lawrence Smith and hammered the ball past the keeper to level the score within five minutes. Thurrock took control of the game and went into the lead when Jimmy Venus played a one-two with Michael Fleming to beat the Forest defence and score from close range. The game flowed from end to end with both teams having chances but unable to find the net until Fleming intercepted a clearance and scored in the last minute of the first half making it 3-1. Waltham Forest began the second half on the attack and debut keeper Richard Heighway had to make some last-minute saves to preserve Thurrock’s lead. After 45 minutes a well-taken short corner by the home team saw the ball forced over the line to make the score 3-2. Thurrock reorganised their formation with John Venus adopting a defensive role and reclaimed the upper hand. An attack by Waltham Forest was cut out by Rick Clubb and cleared to Himesh Patel, playing his first game for 15 years, who dribbled through midfield before passing to Jimmy Venus who made a solo run from the half way line before drawing the keeper and smashing the ball into the net. Thurrock maintained their momentum and a measured pass by Matthew Skinner allowed Michael Fleming to nip in and reverse flick the ball into the net. With five minutes to go Jimmy Venus got his hat trick when he collected a cross from Sam Webb and dribbled past the keeper to make the final score 6-2.
Next Saturday away to East London IV – 2.30 push back
Ladies I xxx
BISHOPS STORTFORD 2 – 1 THURROCK I
The ladies travelled with yet again the ‘bare’ 11 players to face a full strength squad at Bishops Stortford. Despite this the team played well in a fiercely contested match. Emotions ran high in this highly charged game and the ladies found themselves disciplined on five occasions.
History was made in this game with three members of the same family playing together: mum Carol White (a welcomed return from retirement) played alongside her two daughters Gemma and Sarah and all three played a significant role in this good performance.
Next Saturday at Palmers to Tunbridge Wells I, 12.30 start
Ladies II xxx
THURROCK II 0 – 3 BASILDON II
The ladies had high hopes this weekend facing the other team at the bottom of the league Basildon but within five minutes it was obvious that the opposition was at full strength and were not deserving of their low position in the league.
Karen Richardson in goal was outstanding and an amazing save with her hand was the highlight of this very defensive performance. Natalie Evans marshalled the defence and managed to keep the onslaught to a minimum.
The defence was stretched to its limit and then just before halftime the ladies were stunned to see their ‘mainstay’ Nicky Jones sent off to hospital with a severe facial injury received when defending a short corner.
This shocked the ladies and despite valiant efforts from all the players they were unable to stem the attack. The ladies did mount a few attacks when Karen Lucking went through on solo runs and exploited their defence.
Away to East London next weekend
Ladies III xxx
REDBRIDGE & ILFORD III 3 – 1 THURROCK III
The ladies were depleted again managing to only field nine players. Luckily two players from the Second’s game were able to play and made up the 11. A welcome return from retired Sue Beardwell was a highlight of the match where she showed that her skills were still in abundance.
The young and fit Redbridge attack were thwarted on many occasions by the solid and mature Thurrock defence and on the occasions when they did break through goalkeeper Kerry Dent stepped in with some amazing saves. Much of the attack came down the left side and Lisa Simmonds and player of the match Fay Tuffee worked exceptionally hard and kept out the onslaught. Eventually the Ladies found themselves to be three goals down. A consolation goal was scored when Jo Gates put Emma Grant through to slip the ball past the cold and unused goalkeeper.
Despite the three results there were highlights: Fine performances from ‘retired’ players; Outstanding performances from the goalkeepers and team spirits are still high. Once availability of players improves the ladies section are confident that their positions in the leagues will ‘rocket’!
Next Saturday the Thirds home to Oakway at 2 pm.