Hockey: Great performances by Thurrock teams

THURROCK MENS 2s 4 – BRENTWOOD 5s 2

Thurrock started this Div 8SE game with only 7 players and so had to defend strongly against the Brentwood attack. After 15 minutes a missed tackle by a Thurrock defender allowed Brentwood to beat keeper Ryan Jones and take the lead. This spurred Thurrock to a more aggressive mode and Ricky Smith moved the ball up the field before passing to Blake Holland to level the score. The arrival of 4 extra players from the 1st team game made the sides even and allowed Thurrock to move the ball around more confidently and Liam Birch dribbled into the area before flicking the ball past the advancing keeper. Thurrock’s lead only lasted a few minutes before a short corner produced the equaliser. Half time allowed Thurrock to reorganise their formation and claim the upper hand. Regan Harvey made a penetrating run up the left before passing to Darren Clark who beat the keeper from close range. Brentwood came back strongly but a series of athletic saves by Jones thwarted their attack and a clearance kick was picked up by Ben Clark who carried the ball up the wing allowed Liam Birch to draw the keeper out of position before hitting the ball over the line for his second goal to confirm Thurrock’s first points of the season.

THURROCK LADIES 2s 2 – CHELMSFORD 5s 1

Thurrock had to work hard and come from behind to win this match and in the process move to the top of the league table. Tees were very lacklustre in the first half with the only real highlights coming from some strong attacking forays down the right wing by Jade Franklin. With the score goalless at half time, Thurrock started the second half on the front foot, showing much more attacking intent, but they were stunned by an excellent individual goal on the counter attack by a Chelmsford forward. Determined to preserve their unbeaten start to the season, this spurred Tees into action and after some good work by Sasa Naidoo and Fay Tuffee, Alison Bonner pulled the ball back perfectly for Lou Pike to guide home the equaliser. Thurrock then continued to attack and push for the win and Charlene Curtis was unfortunate to have a goal disallowed; this decision made the home side even more hungry for the winning goal and within just a few minutes it arrived courtesy of a great drive and pass by Tuffee for Bonner to finish first time into the far corner. Thurrock comfortably thwarted any further Chelmsford attacks for the remainder of the game and were extremely pleased, but relieved victors at the final whistle. They now face a tricky away fixture against Southend and Benfleet in their next match.

THURROCK MIXED 2 – BRENTWOOD 9

Thurrock welcomed Brentwood to Palmers on Sunday for their second mixed match of the season. Thurrock started the match strong, showing confidence in defence switching the ball between the back three of Lisa Simmonds, Dave Leeks and Ricky Smith using sweeper Cheryl Broadbent as an outlet. Brentwood were a very strong side, especially through the middle, so with some great movement and sprints from Thurrock wingers Lucy Cowman and Regan Harvey, backed up by midfielders Liam Ross and Fay Tuffee, Thurrock threatened the Brentwood defence. A misplaced ball was all it took for Brentwood to switch the flow of play and despite some fantastic saves from top keeper Claire Brosnan, Brentwood started the scoring. Thurrock struggled to get the ball up the pitch due to Brentwood being on a good run and gaining confidence as they went. It wasn’t long before they added to their score, and Thurrock found themselves 4 goals behind. It took some great individual effort from Liam Ross to find Thurrock first goal of their mixed campaign, and it was worth waiting for as his shot found the top corner. This goal seemed to kick Brentwood back into the scoring mood and they added another 5 well worked goals to their tally despite Thurrock’s forwards Sasa Naidoo and Ben Clark dropping to help defend. Thurrock did spend a lot of the remainder of the match defending, but still found some opportunities through some skills from Darren Clark to get the ball up the pitch, with Hayleigh Deeks and Callum Harvey in support whilst creating some space for Darren to run into. This run did give Dave Leeks the opportunity to score the second goal for Thurrock, which he successfully saw home. Thurrock never gave up and still threw everything they had left at Brentwood, but Brentwood kept coming. Some great pickups from Jake Lamb and the rest of the defence as well as keeper Brosnan continuing to pull off a run of saves that stopped Brentwood adding to their score. Despite the score, the well drilled and experienced opposition, Thurrock felt their performance was much improved and were coming together as a team. They now look forward to playing Witham in their next match.

THURROCK MENS 1s 2 – WALTHAM FOREST 3s 1

Thurrock maintained their winning start to the season but were really made to work for it against a resilient Waltham Forest side. Thurrock dominated possession throughout the first half, but couldn’t turn that dominance into a goal, and the first half ended goalless. The second half saw Thurrock pile on the pressure yet they could not find a way through the inspired Forest goalkeeper, Tony Cashman having a shot saved that looked certain to break the deadlock. Soon after, Thurrock were caught on the break after pushing too many forward, which saw Thurrock keeper Andy Gaut pull off an important save after a one on one with the Forest forward. This scare pushed Thurrock on, and after a succession of penalty corners, Jordan Salmon finally managed to break the deadlock with a clever short corner routine. It wasn’t until the final seconds of the game that Thurrock managed to get another, again from a penalty corner. This time Paul Mailey and Darren Clark worked an opening for Clark to finish off the game. Thurrock’s man of the match was Max Blake.

THURROCK LADIES 3s 0 – OLD SOUTHENDIANS 2s 3

Thurrock Ladies 3s welcomed back Chloe Brady for her first game of the season which meant they could push Hannah Barcham up into her more natural midfield position. Thurrock started very well and despite Old Southendians putting together several well worked attacks Thurrock kept them scoreless. Thurrock started to push up into Old Southendians half with some great runs down the left wing by Millie George. Half time score was 0-0 and Thurrock were hopeful about getting something from the match but Old Southendians had other ideas. They upped their intensity and soon had a goal to reward their efforts. Thurrock kept trying to get an equaliser but Old Southendians soon had another goal. Old Southendians third goal was an amazing deflection from their striker. Final score 3-0. Girl of the game was Jess Mager for her amazing work in defence.

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