Friday, March 24, 2023

Hockey: No 9 dream for Thurrock

Thurrock 1st XI 9 v 0 Havering 2nd XI

By Steven Abbott

ON an extrememly cold and snowy March afternoon, Thurrock made thier way to Palmers to play a struggling Havering side who were lookin for the win to stay in the league…that didn’t happen!

Havering started the game and within the first minute Jak Taylor stole the ball from the defender, ran towards the D and spotted the captain Steven Abbott at the back post who calmly slotted it in to an open goal.

A minute or two later, Christian flicked the ball sublimely over the top of the defenders for Andre Rudder to run on to, he slipped the ball left to a sprinting Jak Taylor who again pushed it into an open goal.

Then came Christian’s moment about a minute later when he found himself some space in the D and he brilliantly reversed it under the keeper…the race was still on! Or not as Christian managed to pull his calf yet again as he heard the ball hit the backboard. Christian’s game was over and Steven Abbott’s face lit up as he knew he had secured the top scorer spot.

The 4th goal was a bit of an odd one as Nick Stapleton hit the ball firmly towards the keeper in the hope of a forward getting their stick on it but it was the keeper who made a bit of a hash of the clearance and managed to nutmeg himself but unfortunately the ball grazed the inside of his kicker so the umpire had no option but to give a goal.

The fifth came soon after when Andre Rudder made an arching run into the right of the D and then found Jak Taylor on the penalty spot and he calmly slotted it in the near post.

There was one final goal before half time when Steven Abbott flicked the ball nicely past the keepers face. 6-0 and the half time whistle went.

The second half wasnt great from a goal scoring view but Thurrock maintained the pressure. All three goals in the second half came from Abbott, i can remember one when Jak Taylor found Dan O’Shaughnessy running to the byline who found Abbott at the back post.

What I do remember however was the countless Donkey contenders starting with Abbott completely missing the ball at a short corner and falling flat on his face, then Jak Taylor undercutting the ball, on another short, way over the bar. But the winner went to the most consistent player on the team, the player who has won man of the match on countless occassions, the most solid centre back i know for possibly the worst miss of the season! Maybe 2 or even 1 yard out swiping the ball wide of the post! Pretty special!

Man of the match Steven Abbott with five goals and a star performance.

The whole team had a good game with Jeff West playing well on the right, Kyle Taylor playing out of position doing well at the back, the keeper Andy Gaut for keeping concentration even though he didnt have to do much, solid centre midfielders in Nick Stapleton, Jordan Salmon and Andre Rudder, and the forwards doing well scoring 9!


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