Saturday, September 23, 2023

Hockey: Learning curve in pre-season friendlies

Thurrock Mens


Thurrock started well against a well drilled Colchester side who reside two leagues above in the East Hockey league. The Tees’ defence were put under pressure but newcomer Kyle Taylor, man of the man Andy Sargeant, Tommy Ing and Jordan Salmon worked tirelessly with Andy Gaunt making a couple of fine saves. The score at half time was four nil. During the summer, Thurrock picked up new players namely Dan O’Shaughnessy and Liam O’Reem who tried to start passing with Nick Stapleton and Barney Knowles in midfield. They managed to gain a few penalty corners but unfortunately Tees could not capitalise on these which lead to breaks where Colchester scored five more goals. Youngsters Liam Appleyard and Declan Millane tried their best to penetrate the Colchester defence but were out numbered on numerous occasions.

Tees now look forward to their first league game of the season at home against East London in Division 2S, 12.30 start.


With the opening game of the season just one week away, the men were far from full strength, even having to draft in some old faces, so to not only beat newly their newly promoted opponents, but to beat them convincingly, showed just how far the club has progressed in the last year or so.
Last year the Seconds travelled to North London to play the same side in a pre-season friendly and were soundly beaten. This year the game looked as though it could go the same way, with Thurrock looking a shadow of the side which won 13 games in a row in the second half of last season. The visitors were unlucky to reach half time without finding the back of the net, but centre back Gary Ginsburgh wasn’t going to give the forwards any easy chances.

The second half couldn’t have been any more different from the first. Now the defence were supporting the midfield, allowing the quartet of Ashley Snell, Kevin Appleyard, Jeff West and Liam Appleyard to push forward and help Darren Higgins and Rick Smith in front of goal. Rick Smith put Thurrock a goal up early on in the second half, and from then on it was all one way traffic. Darren Higgins found the net twice on his return to his old team.

The Seconds will be hoping to carry on their winning streak next Saturday when East London visit Palmer’s college at 12.30.


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