Monday, February 26, 2024

Hockey: Hangman highlight of Thurrock’s weekend

Thurrock Hockey


ON Sunday October 14th Thurrock entered The Romford Hangman’s Tournament. This is a 7 a side tournament played on the once familiar grass pitch which has now been superceded by astroturf. Thurrock maintained excellent progress throughout the day reaching the final three way play off. Due to losing one game and drawing the other, Thurrock ended up in third place. However they were awarded the Best Team Trophy for their outstanding overall contribution to the tournament.

TEAM Michael Fleming, Dave Leeks, Ryan Jones, Haydon Keeler Stone, Regan Harvey, Derek Staton, Jordan Salmon, Declan Salmon.


Thurrock faced an unbeaten Romford side which contained two ex-players and were under pressure from the start conceding a goal after only 5 minutes when Gary Venus weaved through the Thurrock defence and set up the ball for father Jimmy Venus to push over the line. A short corner after 20 minutes produced a second goal and just before half time a pass from Gary Venus allowed a Romford attacker to smash the ball into the roof of the net beyond the reach of Ryan Jones. Thurrock started the second half strongly and Ricky Smith was unlucky to see his shot hit the post. However Romford quickly turned defence into attack and Jimmy Venus got his second goal when he seized on a Thurrock clearance and flicked the ball into the net. A solo run by Jay Lamb looked a certain goal but the diving keeper was able to push the shot over the crossbar. Midway through the half a well-drilled short corner routine produced Romford’s fifth and, in the final minute Jimmy Venus completed his hat trick when he forced the ball in following a goal mouth scramble.


Thurrock Ladies 3s were hoping their first away game of the season would provide some precious points. Southend 3s started well and pushed up into Thurrock’s half and were awarded a short corner but Thurrock’s defence held firm and they started to dominate possession. Thurrock put together several well worked attacks and midfielders Izzy Overy, Sally Taylor, Laura Nicola and Charlotte Mailey made great yards. The score was still 0-0 at halftime. The second half started the same as the first but determined defence from Tracey Martin, Hayleigh Deex, Jess Mager and Hannah Barcham kept them scoreless. An unfortunate foot in the D saw Southend awarded another short corner and although Thurrock kept out the initial shot Southend managed to get the deflection in despite a heroic attempt to stop it from Jacquie Simmonds. Thurrock then knew they had nothing to lose so Hannah Barcham pushed up into midfield and became a real thorn in the side of Southend’s defence, linking up with Chloe Oakley and Sophie Runcorn up front but sadly Thurrock could not convert all this pressure into a goal. Final score 1-0.


Thurrock continued their positive start to the season with a very hard fought two-nil victory over Wapping. After last week’s rain-sodden match, this game was played in 25 degrees heat and it took Thurrock time to get used to the conditions, starting the match quite slowly. Tees eventually began to exert more pressure as the first half progressed and after some great attacking play by Alison Bonner and a flurry of penalty corners, Fay Tuffee converted one with an accurate strike into the far corner. In defence, Thurrock were determined to keep their home clean sheet record in tact and once again, Alison Hadley, Lisa Simmonds, Katy Martin, Cheryl Broadbent, and in particular Natalie Kerin who had an outstanding game defensively, thwarted any Wapping attacks. The score remained at 1-0 until the welcome half time break where all players could take on much needed water. Wapping began the second half in determined fashion and once again the Tees defence were put under pressure, but goal-scoring opportunities were kept largely to a minimum. After an intense period of defending, and with just a few minutes remaining, the ball broke to Bonner who sent a pass through to Sasa Naidoo on the wing; she beat the defender and sent in an inviting cross which was acrobatically finished at the near post by the on-rushing Bonner. The final whistle blew just after the re-start with Thurrock celebrating another victory and they are now unbeaten in four games, sitting second in the league table on goal difference only. Player of the Match was Bonner for her tireless work up front and for consistently causing the Wapping defence problems all game. Next week, Thurrock face Chelmsford at Palmers and will look to continue their impressive early season form.


With the Ladies 1s facing Wapping Ladies 3s this week we knew it was bound to be a tough one. Wapping are always strong and every year it proves to a be a challenge. We started off well with Natalie Beardwell who returned from two weeks off scoring in the first ten minutes putting us up one goal to none. Throughout the game the team worked hard to defend strong with great play from Katie Lawrence, Louise Parrott, Gemma White and Joey Taylor in the midfield working the ball up the pitch with support from defence.

Throughout the game the team worked hard with some great saves from Alison Hadley however a penalty flick being awarded in the last 15 finished the game 1-1. Player of the match this week was awarded to Nikhol Chapman.


Thurrock travelled to 2nd placed Wapping expecting a tough game against a strong, well organised side. In the unseasonal heat, Thurrock began the game well, passing the ball around quickly and putting pressure on the Wapping defence. Wapping grew stronger as the game went on and forced a good save from goalkeeper Dave Leeks at his near post. This spurred Thurrock back into life, and a quick hit out of defence from Jordan Salmon found skipper Paul Mailey in space in midfield. Driving forward, Mailey threaded a pass through the Wapping defence into the path of Tony Cashman who calmly lifted the ball over the keeper to take a 1-0 lead into half time. The second half started much the same, both teams sharing periods of possession without creating too many clear cut chances. Thurrock finally got their second when Mailey was allowed to carry the ball into the D, without any pressure from Wapping, and coolly flicked the ball over the approaching keeper. This spurred Wapping into action, their forward hitting the post after a clever run and Leeks forced to save a goal bound effort from a penalty corner. Soon after Wapping forced another penalty corner and this time found the bottom corner to make it 2-1. A frantic last 5 minutes saw Wapping pile on the pressure, but the Thurrock defence, marshalled by man of the match Salmon alongside Max Blake and Jake Lamb, held on to claim their 4th victory in 4 games and stay top of the league.


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