By Stephen Abbot
Thurrock 1 v 5 Southend
The most anticipated game this season and only one word to describe it. Let-down!
Some of the Thurrock first XI had been looking forward to this game since the fixtures were announced in the summer. Some felt bitterness towards the struggling Southend team who forced them out of the club into the warm embrace of Thurrock’s bos-om . Some just wanted to enjoy their hockey which at the time Southend just couldn’t provide. So the day of reckoning was upon us.
A strong training session from many Thurrock club members stood us in good stead for the match.
The day started with a strong indoor warm up in the sports hall at Sweyne school. The pre-match team talk was strong from the captain and the coach Steve Abbot and Andre Rudder who concentrated on keeping up the good work which we had shown throughout the season and most importantly to the four ex Southend players to keep their heads and not just win it for themselves but go out and win it for the team. Words that were to be eaten with a sour taste at the end of the day.
A large crowd had gathered at the side of the pitch to watch and the whistle was blown for push-back. The game started quite evenly with both teams having their spells of good possession and chances to score. First blood was key and Thurrock were piling on the pressure. midway through the half, some good work down the left resulted in a short corner. Thurrock struggled to get the ball in the net and were pinned back by a resilient Southend defence. Each chance resulted in another short corner and finally on the third or fourth attempt, the ball was missed (accidently on purpose by Jak Taylor!) which fell to Christian Jenkins backing up, who drove into the D and fired home to put the away side into the lead. 1-0 Thurrock.
The rest of the half was a bit of a stale-mate with few chances for either team but one chance fell to the ex Thurrock player James Beardwell who found himself some space as a left slip on a short corner and the keeper Danny Hik was unfortunate not to save his powerful shot low and hard into the backboard.
The half time whistle was blown and the team talk was centred around the fact that we were not playing badly, but we weren’t playing to our full potential.
The second half began at which point the Thurrock 1st XI lost all ability to pass, tackle, mark, look up, shoot, clear the ball, in fact pretty much lost the ability to play hockey! it was the most shocking display of hockey that any of us had seen us play for quite some time which cost us dearly. Southend scored 5 in the second half of which all 5 could have been prevented if any of us knew how to play in the sport we had participated in most of our lives!
The one ray of light was Tommy Ing who was sensational at the back fending off so many chances but the rest of the team let him down. So many of the Thurrock team could have got Donkey this week but this accolade went to Luke Danbrook for a notable incident when he shouted at his team to go long for an aerial ball which managed to fly for approximately 0.1 seconds before coming to a hault around 2 feet away from where it began. Close behind was Declan Millane for not being able to stop the ball to save his life.
The final whistle blew and Thurrock only had themselves to blame. There goes the unbeaten run which spanned an impressive 8 games with 6 wins and 2 draws and now an unfortunate loss against their name. Next week sees a strong University of Essex side travel to Palmers College which Thurrock need to play a lot better in than this week to stand a chance of winning. lets bounce back with a win boys. Come on Tees!