Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Hockey: Thurrock too hot for Saffron

Thurrock 1s 3 v 2 Saffron Walden 2s

ON one of the coldest days of the winter so far, everyone had expectations of the game being cancelled for the second time in two weeks, but the call was made by the captain Steven Abbott to get down to Palmers College with a good attitude and the will to win.

The frost had thawed out and Thurrock 1st XI made their way to the changing rooms for the usual banter and music and people putting on deep heat and making us all want to leave because the smell is awful! The warm up was thorough and we were ready to get the game started.

The start of the game was a mixed affair with both sides having their own control but the pressure came mostly from the home side and some short corners were won. However none of these opportunities were taken by Thurrock and the left hand side became a little bit of a problem with Saffron Walden having some good possession and opportunities. Some changes were made and the home side took control.

The game then turned a little sour for Thurrock who unfortunately let Saffron Walden go 1 up with a poorly defended attack. The ball was initially saved by the keeper Danny Hik but he could do nothing about the follow up from the Saffron Walden centre mid. however, Thurrock then switched it up a gear and decided to take the 1st half into their own hands. After some great one two passing and some great attacking play all round, more short corners fell to the home side and finally the ball found its way to the welcoming backboard! Kyle Taylor dragging out to his brother Jak Taylor on the edge of the D who slipped it left to Steven Abbott, what can only be described as a rocket left his stick and the familiar sound of the ball hitting that background was created. 1-1.

straight away Thurrock kept up the pressure and some good play down the right lead to the second goal for the home side. A ball was played up the line from Kyle Taylor and the unfortunate Saffron Walden left back could only slow the ball down perfectly for Andre Rudder to have a 2 on 1 situation with the oncoming keeper. He unselfishly heard the call from Steven Abbott who was in acres of space in the D and Andre slipped it left to him. An easy finish which put Thurrock into the lead. 2-1 and the half time whistle was blown.

The half time team talk was for more of the same: keep the one two passes going, concentrate on the pivot and keep our shape.

The 1st half of the 2nd half was a bit more quiet than the 1st which lead to a few chances but nothing in particular. Some notable incidents though including a very poor aerial from the right back Luke Danbrook which he then thought it would be a great idea to get the axe from his secret back pocket and make one of his standard Danbrook hacks! we were all surprised he got away with no card and only a short corner!

The match then got very open with lots of space in the midfield and on the wings leading to some chances for both sides. Thurrock went closest a couple of times. Steven Abbott made an incredible run and he found himself with only the keeper to beat and two of his esteemed team mates open at the top of the D. But he ignored his own advice to Jak Taylor before the game of ‘don’t be greedy, if the pass is on, pass it!’ and took the shot, what an epic fail! Facing left and trying to shoot across goal from the right he managed to hit the ball to his right where the corner flag was only to happy to see some action! it was so bad he decided to take himself off!

Then after some good individual play from the away team, poor tackles were flying in and quite a few short corners were given away. Many of these short corners were expertly closed down by the oncoming defenders including Tommy Ing and Nick Stapleton. Saffron walden’s penultimate short corner lead to the equaliser with only 4 minutes to go. The post man at the time Kyle Taylor, who throughout the game had a stormer, was unfortunately no where to be found and a drag flick from the Saffron Walden player found the bottom corner. 2-2 and Thurrock thought they had thrown the 3 points away.

Straight away Steven Abbott came on and he was passed the ball from the centre spot, he turned like a ballerina on speed and played the ball nicely down the right with Jordan Salmon and Declan Millane. With only 3 minutes to go Jak Taylor latched on to Declan Millane’s slapped pass into the D where the faintest touch with a snake like jab fooled the keeper and the ball dribbled past the line. A sequoian cheer erupted from the Thurrock players having potentially secured the all important 3 points.

The last couple of minutes were a tense affair and some massive tackles from a lot of the Thurrock players kept them in the lead. Notably the captain Steven Abbott putting his body on the line for the team and tripping over their massive midfielder and grazing both knees. There may have been a tiny bit of blood!

The final whistle was immanent and just as the whistle was held to the umpires lips, the away side managed to earn themselves a short corner. The Thurrock team were angry but only at themselves and the whole team prepared themselves to run back with the last bit of energy in their legs to save the game. Harshly for Saffron Walden, the ball was not stopped outside the D and the final whistle came with a huge sigh of relief.

3-2 and the points were secured. Onto the final game before the Christmas break where Thurrock travel to Upminster which was a very close game at the beginning of the season with Thurrock winning with the final touch of the game.

Man of the match went to Andy Sargent for a stellar performance at left back making some important tackles at important times.

And now the funny bit at the end of the Thurrock Hockey report………

Donkey was a very interesting experience with Luke Danbrook and Andre Rudder having to FIGHT TO DEATH with a game of rock, paper, scissors. Luke for his horrendous axe like challenge and Andre for wearing his shorts backwards for the entire game! Andre, just making sure that dynamite wasn’t allowed, found himself up against a noble opponent in Luke.

Scissors were the first draw from both players, paper was the second again from both! The tension was unbearable! Scissors AGAIN from both sides came from the trembling hands! SCISSORS YET AGAIN FROM BOTH HANDS!

Finally Luke made the all important paper decision and unfortunately for Andre, rock just didn’t cut it! get it!? Andre found himself wearing the donkey outfit for the 3rd time in a row!

Come on you Tees!

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