|Date||Match type||Opposition||Venue||PB Time||Score|
|23/09/2017||League||City of Peterborough 1||H||13:30||L 2-5|
|25/09/2017||Tour Friendly||Leeds University 1||A||20:30||W 1-3|
|27/09/2017||Tour Friendly||Leeds Beckett University 1||A||17:00||L 1-0|
|30/09/2017||League||Ipswich 1||A||12:00||W 2-3|
|07/10/2017||League||Spalding 1||H||13:30||W 3-1|
|11/10/2017||BUCS League||Bath University 2||A||13:00||W 2-3|
|14/10/2017||League||Blueharts 1||A||12:00||W 1-3|
|18/10/2017||BUCS League||Exeter University 2||H||15:00||W 6-5|
|21/10/2017||League||St Albans 1||H||14:00||L 2-6|
|25/10/2017||BUCS League||Oxford University Blues||A||16:30||L 2-1|
|28/10/2017||League||Saffron Walden 1||A||13:30||L 1-0|
|01/11/2017||BUCS League||Cardiff University 1||H||15:00||W 4-3|
|04/11/2017||League||Chelmsford 1||H||13:30||W 4-2|
|11/11/2017||League||Letchworth 1||A||13:30||D 2-2|
|15/11/2017||BUCS League||Canterbury Christ Church University 1||H||17:00||W 13-0|
|18/11/2017||League||Bedford 1||H||13:30||L 2-4|
|22/11/2017||BUCS Cup||Bournemouth University 1||H||17:00||W 9-0|
|25/11/2017||League||Harleston Magpies 1||H||13:30||L 1-2|
|29/11/2017||BUCS League||Bath University 2||H||15:00||W 3-2|
|02/12/2017||League||Wapping 1||A||14:00||L 3-0|
|03/12/2017||Cup||City of Peterborough 1||H||TBC||L 2-3|
|09/12/2017||League||City of Peterborough 1||A||11:30||P-P|
|13/01/2018||League||Spalding 1||A||11:30||W 3-9|
|20/01/2018||League||Blueharts 1||H||13:30||W 7-3|
|24/01/2018||BUCS League||Exeter University 2||A||15:00||L 3-1|
|27/01/2018||League||St Albans 1||A||15:00||L 4-1|
|31/01/2018||BUCS League||Cardiff University 1||A||17:00||L 2-1|
|03/02/2018||League||Saffron Walden 1||H||13:30||W 5-0|
|04/02/2018||League||City of Peterborough 1||A||13:00||L 8-1|
|07/02/2018||BUCS League||Oxford University Blues||H||17:00||P-P|
|10/02/2018||League||Chelmsford 1||A||14:30||D 3-3|
|14/02/2018||BUCS Cup||King's College London 1 (GKT)||A||17:00||3-2|
|04/03/2018||VARSITY||Oxford University Blues||Southgate HC||15:00||L 1-3|
|07/03/2018||BUCS League||Canterbury Christ Church University 1||A||14:00||W 1-4|
|10/03/2018||League||Harleston Magpies 1||A||12:00||W 2-3|
|07/03/2018||League||Bedford 1||A||14:00||L 9-0|
Sunday 4th February
After losing to Peterborough spirits weren’t particularly high. Luckily we had kit swap that night so we were able to get our minds off the game. We drove home from Peterborough and after getting back to wilby I cycled home alongside Fergus “Fergal McNoob” McNab, this is because my college is on his way back to his house. I dropped my stuff in my room and decided I should get ready for pres.
We were going to have them at Matthew Quintmo(at that time Trimo)’s kitchen because it’s large enough to host a whole team and is only a short walk to Hawks. I was ready before the time we’d agreed to start pres (6:30pm) so I messaged Trimo asking if it was ok if I came early. He said it was. I decided that I needed more food than the jacket potato provided as teas in Peterborough so I walked to Sainsbury’s local, since it’s right next to my college, and bought a sandwich, a 750ml bottle of volvic strawberry flavoured water which would not only help wash my sandwich down but also we were told to bring a bottle which could hold cocktail to take it along to Curry King and some extra chewing gum which I though would freshen my breath up after eating a Curry which is renowned for being a food with a strong odour.
Even after messaging Pynamo that I was gonna be early I only turned up a few minutes before 6:30pm. πmo was in his kitchen when I got there doing some washing up because his bedder had left a note saying all the dirty things that had been left in a corner of the kitchen needed washing up before Monday or else they would be thrown out. I decided I would help him out by drying up so as to clear some space on the drying rack for him to put the plates that he was cleaning. After we had cleared everything up, people started arriving. I was confused as to why people were so late since we had decided to meet at 6:30pm. When enough of the boys arrived we decided it would be a good idea to bring the cocktail out and start mixing it, the only problem was we didn’t have a box! Silly fresher Sean da GilmOreo had left the box at his so he asked if he could borrow a bike off someone who cycled to Apple Pie-mo’s as that would allow him to fetch the box quicker. Not many people had cycled since we were going to go on a night out and it’s not a great idea to cycle drunk. Luckily since Ferg Flan lives quite far out of town he decided to cycle (I’m sure this would’ve looked very funny as he was wearing his goalkeeper pads) so his bike was available to be borrowed. Whilst Séan was fetching the box much rogue chat was thrown around and many people earned relegations from the chat league. I kept my head down so managed to work my way into the Champions League spot.
When he finally arrived back with the box we decided to pour the drinks into the box, I being a rookie noob just tipped the vodka bottle and gave it a bit of a swing round to make the vodka some out quicker, however, Captain Cockers showed me that if you spin it really quickly to start with then hold it still then the drink crates a whirlpool in the bottle and, not only looks really cool, but actually comes out quicker. After the drinks had been poured we used an empty vodka bottle to stir the cocktail to ensure it had been mixed well. We then put two cups into the box that were to be used to pour the mix into everyone’s individual cups. This is a good way to ensure nobody’s backwash gets put back into the box, which wouldn’t be very nice.
We then decided to begin to toast, which was the first time I’d had to do it at a Blues cocktails, since I played for the Wanderers for my first two years and the first part of this season, so I was nervous that their rules of toasting might be different to those of the wanderers. They are slightly but luckily I was far enough away from the start that I understood exactly what needed to be done. Unfortunately some people turned up late so had missed previous toasts so when it came to them they ended up repeating what had already been said, a mistake that lead to them finishing their cup and retrying. Particularly bad toasts include other silly fresher Marcel Somerville who didn’t realise that typically when you toast you should take a drink. If my memory serves correctly it took him 3 tries to get it right!
We then decided to play some games, as this is a good way to get people drinking. We started with Whales Tails and Tycho, who doesn’t know the rules, ended up losing nearly all of the games we played. After some time we decided to ask if anyone could see the moon. I was surprised that not many people realised the correct way to see the moon, as it’s quite a simple game.
After some time of playing, Miran Gilmore came into the kitchen to cook some food with a friend, this is because she lives in the same house as Key Lime Pie-mo and so they share a kitchen. Since Seen and Ciaran were also there we thought it would be fun for them to have a three-way Gylmoar chop off. Cean and Keerun were first to finish their cups before Mirran finished hers last she says she lost because she’s smaller than her brothers so isn’t able to chop as quickly as they can. She has since claimed this is due to having a “smaller oesophagus”. Since she wasn’t very quick we decided to let her have a rematch against a competitor of a more similar standard, Oli Quackworth. This proved to be overkill however and Myran ended up chopping her next drink much quicker than El Robson’s boyfriend. Since there was a female presence in the room, Treecko became much more lively and was very quick to shake Miron’s hand and introduce himself. Classic Tikkers.
We then played a game of G’day Bruce which ended up not lasting too long since we had a large group of people meaning lots of people aren’t involved for a while. Having said that Peter Argyle made a few mistakes and ended up becoming a Shrimp on the Barbie quite quickly. I came up with the idea that we should play a game of fives in which the loser would have to wear a beater on the swap. I had previously suggested this idea to Kirky but he told me that that was poor chat he may have been fewer keen to do this as the Wandies haven’t been working on their rigs in S&C sessions all year. The final 2 in fives were Matt and Matt. Luckily for Matt, Matt guessed the correct number meaning that Matt had won and Matt had lost and Matt had to wear the beater. Matt seemed to be unhappy with that but he has one of the better rigs in the team and the beater that was to be worn was a small (since it was Steak and Kidney Pie-mo’s) so it wasn’t too bad for him. However, since he is currently has a bad case of the puss he wasn’t coming to the swap so Daffy Duckworth volunteered to wear the beater because he thinks he has a rig.
After this I decided that, in order to get some cocktail drunk more quickly so that we could go to Hawks, I should get the 586ml glasses that were in Bye Bye Miss American Pie-mo’s kitchen out and we could have drinking races. Since I proposed the idea it was decided that I should be in the first race. Matthieu Tourte-Homme was chosen to be my partner since we are considered to be a bit of a double act. The race was close but I unfortunately came second. At this point it was decided that we should play loser stays on. I can confirm for future reference this is not a good idea. My next competitor was Matthumb Cockerill who, since not having drunk a pint of cocktail a minute before, was able to beat me by a more substantial margin. After this we decided to make the freshers have a race however just drinking from a pint glass was considered too easy so we found two colanders which they could attempt to chop from instead.
My memory of the rest of pres gets a bit blurrier from this point but I remember singing Temperature, Crossroads and I Love College at the end since these have become very popular songs amongst the Men’s Blues 2017/18 team. We then made a move to Hawks where many jugs of Tomahawk were bought and my memory goes almost completely. The few flashes I have involve singing a lot of songs that we usually sing whilst drunk. In particular I remember singing a variation of Hey Jude in which the words “Hey Jude” were replaced by “Hugh Judge”/”Huge Jugs”. This was because Hugh had come for the social even though he graduated last year and people were happy to see him.
Presumably we left Hawks at some point because I have a memory of being in Curry King briefly where I believe I sat next to GBuzz (confirmed by Baz) and will have offered little to no chat. After a sadly short period of time in Curry King it was probably decided I should leave due to the state I was in. It was my fewer than graceful exit from Curry King that lead to me getting DoD however the ejection of alcohol from my body probably helped me recover slightly from my inebriation. After being escorted by a kind Bed we came upon a silly fresh schoolboy squanderer who by some miracle was worse than me. Being the responsible senior member of the club I am, I helped take the young lad back to his college where his night ended. Upon leaving Queens’ College Cambridge it was brought to my attention that the kit I was wearing was unacceptable attire for Kuda College Cambridge so I headed back to Emmanuel College Cambridge to change. Luckily I was a Wanderer last year so I had a spare pair of CUHC trackies to put on.
Since I wasn’t in Curry King I missed out on a fair amount of chat including:
- (Insert name for Pymo) and Freddie kissed on the face and he called her Luce but Matt Dickerill pointed out that she is in actual fact not loose. Apparently Tecco was watching. He later cried because he lost a lot of money.
- Sean mopped up wine with a naan bread since he loves cleaning and was then shouted at by a WBlue.
- (Insert name for Pymo) wanted to copy his better half and fell down the stairs.
- Deme kissed a grill downstairs and was rated 9/10. Top bloke.
- Kirky was told to do something crazy and ended up braking a light and costing (Insert name for Pymo) his deposit.
- Toby tried to kiss someone after having just sat next to her and not yet spoken.
I ended up going to Kuda College Cambridge quite early so attempted to recruit the boys to come with messages on the whatsapp groups. To say thank you for looking after me I bought a round of VKs that I shared with the kind Bed. As to be expected there were many antics in Kuda including:
- 23 year-old Jean kissing a fresher then ruining his suit.
- Peter losing his t-shirt then (unsurprisingly) not checking in at Hotel Back Yourself.
- Marce bringing Rhi back to Pymo’s whilst she was saying “I just wanna spoon Pymo”.
- Bouncer decking Flanaganagan, how does it feel? #JusticeForJerv.
Notable exceptions include (Insert name for Pymo) who decided that since he’d already made Quadmo he didn’t need to come out. Lucky for him as the bouncers wouldn’t let him in anyway.
Monaday 5th February
I woke up particularly early on Monday morning, a habit I’ve recently got into that allows me to feel the transition between hammered and hungover, not a pleasant experience. This did mean however that I was able to experience the inevitable chat on whatsapp and try and piece together “what the f*** happened” -@General_Baz 7:28am 5/2/18. Broby Tooks posted on CUHC social saying that a debrief would be happening at 12noon at Macclesfield, I think he meant the McDonalds restaurant that is located in the centre of Cambridge. At some point the plan was changed to head to spoons at 12:30pm instead which was good for me because that meant I wouldn’t have to walk as far since the Regal Cambridge Wetherspoons is just across the road from Emmanuel College Cambridge.
Finally I managed to get back to sleep at about 11am but woke up at 12:20pm; this wasn’t enough sleep to recover from the night before. Now feeling well and truly hungover I decide I should shower before heading to spoons. In the shower the pressure of the water revealed a pain in my nippular area, suddenly a memory came flashing in of being the victim of a brutal nipple cripple unsurprisingly by the man who renowned for hurting people on kit swap, Ferg Flannel-gan.
I finally made the 100m trek from my bedroom to spoons where I met Ciaran “BNOC” Flaherty and Brooks Jr, then placed my order of an Empire State Burger with a Pepsi and a glass of water. After getting our drinks we went and sat in a booth in the furthest corner of spoons alongside the Minister of Parliament himself and Ethan Gardner Loves to Dance. Before long JimmyDizzler turned up having ordered a pint of lime soda, a choice I regret not making myself. More people started to arrive including Captain Luce and Matthew “Tony” Roberto who had been previously sitting upstairs with the Beds and MB, Frederique, Ji-Sung and Jallen (who apparently did over 26,000 steps during the night). For the next two hours we sat dishing out chat and trying to rehydrate our bodies (we could do that this Monday as our photo-shoot was last week). (Insert name for Pymo) had the ingenious idea of using the spoons app to order the rest of his drinks meaning he never had to move. At some point I dished some particularly terrible chat and in an attempt to hide my shame tried to slide under the table, an act that resulted in me hitting my head on the table and my shin on the table leg, what an embarrassment!
It was revealed to us that the WBlues have a spreadsheet used for after nights out to make a record of any chat that occurred through the night. (Insert name for Pymo) and I decided we would add some chat that wasn’t true in an attempt to be funny/get a nibble from someone. Unfortunately we only have a limited amount of chat that we can provide to grills within a 24-hour period so we were unable to offer anything particularly funny. (Insert name for Pymo) took the opportunity of having Fruce and Jimbo in the same place to apologise to all three of them for his poor antics from the night before. As the day went on people started to leave to go and work however (Insert name for Pymo) and myself stayed to the end with Molly Evian and Fredzz. When we finally decided to leave (Insert name for Pymo) made a class joke saying that he didn’t know that Molie played for the Men’s Blues referring to the fact that her bag had MB on it. I pointed out that those are her initials and it was in fact an Ospreys bag that she got last year when she was a member of their committee.
Deciding that we weren’t in a state to get any work done we elected to waste the rest of our day before training in my room watching Friends, which had recently been released on Netflix. I checked my fridge and to my delight I had about a pint of milk remaining in my 6 pint bottle, so I shared it between two glasses and gave one to (Insert name for Pymo). During this time the girl I had kissed on the face the night before matched me on tinder (she had previously matched (Insert name for Pymo)) so (Insert name for Pymo) and I decided to both message her at the same time without her knowing that we were sitting next to each other.
We also had our edited Squanderers coaching pictures released to us so we decided we should make them our profile pictures on Facebook. After spending about half an hour trying to come up with some chat (Insert name for Pymo) came up with “I’ll take a couple of claw for coaching” this is quite funny because it refers to when you are a terrible bloke and coach someone the rules of a drinking game as a punishment you should drink a couple of claw of your own drink. (As a side note I’ll take a couple of claw for coaching this rule). Since he had some chat for his caption he decided to snake me and post his photo before I had the chance to come up with some of my own. After 10 minutes and (Insert name for Pymo) raking in 20 reacts on Facebook I decided time was of the essence and I should get my photo up as quickly as possible and so I ended up using the same caption to his annoyance. We spent the next few hours tracking the amount and type of reacts to our pictures. I was unhappy that I never managed to catch up to (Insert name for Pymo) although he didn’t get much further away than his 20 react head start until much later.
Since we were due to be training later we decided we should have something to eat so I offered to make some food, unfortunately I only have a microwave to cook with so I was forced to heat up some curry and rice that I bulked out with a packet of Sainsbury’s basics cooked chicken and a pepper that I had. When I came back into my living room after cooking I found that (Insert name for Pymo) had moved to my floor because he wasn’t feeling well after drinking alcohol the night before. After eating our curry (Insert name for Pymo) decided he should probably go home to get ready for training. We’ve started having meetings on Mondays before our sessions so he had to leave mine at about 6:30pm so he could get changed and then cycle over without being any £s late. After washing up I decided I should probably do the same so I changed out of my clothes into hockey kit and then cycled over to Wilberforce Road Sports Ground.
Upon arriving a few £s before 7:00 I went upstairs and found most of the team sitting down on the sofas. Before talking about hockey we thought it would be a good idea to get a lot of the chat of the previous night out of the way. Jean was on the receiving end of a lot of chat because he is considerably older than the girl he kissed on the face, which tends to be frowned upon in modern society. We then decided it would probably be a good idea to talk about hockey because we didn’t play very well the day before and scored less goals than we conceded.
After a prolonged chat about how we could improve our hockey we thought we should go out onto the pitch and train. Due to the colder weather the pitch was slippier and harder than usual so we ended up cutting training short because we were supposed to be playing O*xford in BUCS on Wednesday and didn’t want anyone to get injured. After training finished I decided I should go to Sainsbury’s on the way home as I had eaten all the food that I had been in my room and needed to replenish my stores. I then thought I should go to bed early because I was pretty tired from having not slept very much the night before.
Tuesday 6th February
I was feeling a bit fresher after a long sleep so I decided that I should probably do some work since I didn’t really get anything done in the last few days. At 5pm I was supposed to be coaching the Squandies with (Insert name for Pymo) so I headed over to Wilby. It was very cold so I made sure I was wrapped up warm. We spent the first part of the session recounting the antics from Sunday; this seems to be a general pattern after whole club swaps. When we decided to actually start doing some hockey we thought we would focus on defending, particularly against the style of hockey that O*ford play. Luckily we had Matthew HappyDaughter with us so he could provide insight into their system so we could talk through ways to defend it. We decided to finish the session by practicing shuffles since we want to be prepared for varsity coming up in fewer than 2 weeks, last year the first three games all went to shuffles and we won them all. #5from5
I then went to Sainsbury’s with (Insert name for Pymo) and we bought a pasta ready meal and some Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream each, which we then went up to his kitchen to go and eat. The pasta meal turned out to be very garlicy so I ate all the chicken a bit of the pasta then offered the rest to (Insert name for Pymo)’s housemates. We stayed there until it got quite late so I left and went back to my room and got into bed. It was quite late so I thought I would message (Insert name for Pymo) on tinder (we matched each other last week) asking if he was up. He ended up replying and I mentioned that I was dreading waking up to go to Wilby just to call the College Academy session off. I predicted this since the temperature was schedules to be below freezing all night and only reach above 0 at about 9, when the session was supposed to start.
Wednesday 7th February
On Wednesday I got up early to head to Wilby and as I suspected the pitch was unplayable so I messaged the College Academy Facebook group to confirm that the session was cancelled. I also thought I should post it on the CUHC Facebook and Twitter pages in case there was anyone planning on coming who wasn’t in the Facebook group. I then decided I should go to lectures since I missed them on Monday. Luckily I had caught up on those that I missed so I wasn’t lost during the lectures. After lectures I thought I should try and complete the example sheet that was set for me before my 5pm deadline. I was worried that I wouldn’t get enough done because my deadline was an hour earlier since we had a meet time of 4pm for our BUCS match against O*ford. As I was working I saw messages on the whatsapp chat that involving Pres, Sec, Blues and Wandies captains and a member of CamSport informing me that our match was cancelled in anticipation of a frozen pitch. Captain Knoberill decided that instead of not doing anything it would be beneficial for us to have a fitness session.
I turned up at Wilby after handing my work in to watch the end of the Wandies match, they were playing Leicester and a win would secure the title of Midlands 3B league. The game finished earlier than I hoped and they ended up winning 7-0 and became champions. Instead of waiting out in the cold for our fitness session to start I sat inside the clubhouse and tried to get some admin done. I needed to plug my laptop in so I had to sit at the bottom of the stairs. I put a picture on CUHC Social of a screenshot of a message the CUHC Facebook account received from an O*ford player who had played against the Nomads the previous Wednesday and thought she had left her keys. The post received 16 angry reacts and Kirky’s comment of “No” received 7 likes. I checked behind the desk at Wilby to see if they had been handed in. They hadn’t. I was later informed that she had left them in the car they hired and got them back from the car hire company.
I messaged the Blues chat asking if anyone wanted to come down early to knock a ball around as I was quite bored of doing admin and there was still a bit of time before the fitness session was supposed to start. Nobody replied. When people finally turned up they came to join me in the changing rooms because it was quite cold outside. Cockers eventually sent a message telling us to come outside because fitness was about to start. We were going to be running 15s 🙁 This involved running the length of the pitch in 15 seconds and resting for 15 seconds before going again and repeating 8 times. We would then have a break and repeat the set twice more, again taking another break in between. I wasn’t very good at these so after the second set I thought I was going to be sick and struggled to make the 15 second target in the final set. During the rests there was chat about how many reps/sets we should be doing. Someone suggested that we should do sets of 15 reps since that was why they are called 15s however someone else said they were called 15s since you are aiming to run the length of the pitch in 15 seconds and rest for 15 seconds.
After the session everyone was feeling pretty worse for wear. The suggestion was made that we go to Hawks, which I was quite keen for because I hadn’t eaten a lot during the day. After going home and showering I headed to Hawks to find that only Jean Sharks Second-years, Matthew Willyerill, and Fergal McFlan were there. I ordered a Farm burger because I was hungry and that is a large meal. I later got a brownie because they are very nice. This later turned out to be a mistake since I ended up feeling sick after eating too much. I don’t think I had properly recovered from our fitness session.
Thursday 8th February
In the morning I found out from a source that (Insert name for Pymo) had managed to make it up to Quintmo (getting close now) and informed him of the fact. Kirky messaged me asking if I could take the Squandies session for the day. I informed him that I couldn’t because I had an examples class but said I would ask (Insert name for Pymo). (Insert name for Pymo) said he couldn’t so Kirky said he would. He was hoping to get some work done since he’s done a lot of varsity admin recently but he loves the boys so much he decided to coach anyway. Later we went to training. Charlie wasn’t happy with how badly we were playing so we explained how we had a fitness session the day before and hadn’t recovered yet. After training I realised I had to try to complete 2 example sheets in fewer than 24 hours so I decided to pull an all-nighter. In order to do this I had to go to Sainsbury’s local and buy some red bull and some sugary sweets to help keep me awake.
I won’t bore you with the details of my work because to be honest I don’t even understand it.
Friday 9th February
I messaged Jim in the morning to tell him happy birthday, this was because it was his birthday and I thought he would like me to wish him a happy birthday so I did. I went to lectures but as I was cycling to the CMS I must have cycled through some glass because my bike tyre had deflated. When I arrived at CMS I bumped into Gilmore Sr. This confused me because he doesn’t study maths however he clarified that as part of his pHd he had to come to some lectures in the maths faculty. I realised I should come home after my first lecture because I was falling asleep during it due to having not slept the night before. I had organised with Jarvis Cocker to get our lids freshened up because we were informed that we would be having our varsity profile pictures taken and we wanted to look good for them. I informed him that I would be later than when we agreed because I had to walk back from CMS due to my flat tyre. Luckily for me the bike shop was on my way to the barbers so I dropped it off with the hope of it getting fixed. We went to get it cut but were unhappy to find out that the student deal wasn’t on offer on Fridays. We were reasonably happy with our new trims so left in quite good moods.
I went home and had a shower to get rid of the little hairs that remained on my head after getting my hair cut. Feeling slightly refreshed I decided to attempt to complete the remaining questions on my example sheet without much luck. I then went back over to CMS via the bike shop where my inner tube had been replaced however after cycling a quarter of a mile it had gone down again so I took it back to the shop and he replaced it straight away for me. I then managed to cycle all the way over to the CMS in time for my supervision, which ended up having 4 people being supervised at once. This is not usually typical of a maths supervision but I went along with it. Towards the end of the supervision I was falling asleep so having 4 people there helped to hide my tiredness.
I decided to get an early night because in order to make up for the lack of sleep from the night before but only managed to get to bed by 9pm.
Saturday 10th February
I intended on sleeping in until 10am because our meet time was 11:30 and I thought that would give me enough time to get to Wilby. Unfortunately for me I woke up at about 8 and struggled to get back to sleep meaning I was quite tired. As the meet time drew nearer the usual chat of someone asking for a meal deal emerged fortunately for Matt and Matt, Matt was going to Tesco and could pick up meal deals for them. I left earlier than usual to cycle over to Wilby since I had got my things ready but after climbing on my bike I had barely got to the end of the road before I realised my tyre was flat again. I had to walk it back to the bike shop; fortunately it’s on the way to Wilby so I wasn’t losing time due to taking a detour. In order to make our meet time, I decided I had to run as much of the remaining journey to Wilby that I could. I realised very quickly that running with a hockey bag is particularly awkward and the banging of things in my bag made a particularly annoying noise.
I finally arrived at Wilby £1 after 11:30 but nobody really noticed. Unfortunately I arrived in a particularly sweaty state since I ran over wearing quite a few layers. In order to look as good as I could for our pictures I went to the changing rooms and ran my head under the shower and dried it using the hair dryer. Luckily I had the forethought to bring some prod and so spent the next 5 minutes trying to make my hair look as fewest shliddy as possible. We didn’t take our pictures in the usual place in front of the starters box outside the clubhouse since there were athletics people using that area. Instead we went upstairs in the clubhouse in front of some of the athletics boards. Nobody wanted to go first since the pressure of getting it wrong seemed too much. Kilmore Jr however, having never taken a varsity profile pic before, stepped up to the plate. We each followed in turn. I decided I would attempt a range of expressions that I had been practising in the mirror so I could choose the one that looks best. We then attempted to do a team photo but there was a lot of confusion about where people should stand. Fergal McDoob set his camera to a timer and after pressing the button he ran over to join us however it was pointed out to him that his socks were rolled down so he would spoil the photo. As he went back to the camera, a lady from the team the WBlues were about to play offered to take the photo but he said that he had already set it up so she wasn’t needed. After pulling his socks up he tried again and this time managed to join the line up and the photo was taken. We did another one just so we were sure that we would have a good photo, as we wanted to look good. Whilst we were taking the photos the WBlues were arriving on the balcony outside which many people found off putting, we get nervous around girls. Jean also chomped on (Insert name for Pymo)’s fish by exclaiming that we were watching the luge not the skeleton on the projector.
Once the photos were sorted we headed out to the cars to drive since we were going to an away match. I asked if I could join Jerv’s car since I’ve heard from reports that it’s quite good chat. I was denied however. I ended up getting in the car with our captain, vice captain and Campkin America. The AUX cord was offered out at the start of the journey and I let Campkin dis you? have it since I wanted to conserve the little data I had left on my phone. Our car journey consisted mostly of Fergoose trying to sort out the admin of the Varsity programme where he told me that my profile for Robertony contained a few lines that were unacceptable for the blues programme.
When we arrived in Chelmsford we went into the changing rooms where Charlie “CBan” Bannister gave us a team talk in which he told us to “really put them under the cocks” and that because of their close position us in the table that this was a 6-pointer, phrases which we would later fine Captain Peniserill for. Whilst getting ready in the changing room Jean Valjean let it slip that he didn’t know his cousin also went to Cambridge until he met them in Cindies in his final year after which he proceeded to chop them. We went out to try and warm up on the pitch but we found it locked so decided to jog off pitch until we saw the other team coming then we jogged back and waited for them to open the pitch. Chelmsford had brought a speaker, which made our speaker look tiny by comparison. It also sounded much louder than ours so we decided to turn ours off after a while.
The match started and we played some hockey and ended up scoring 2 goals. Charlie “n00b d3stroy3r” Bannister was Happy with Robertony’s goal because he deflected it into the goal with low body position. Well Done Robertony! We then did something wrong because they scored a goal in our goal. Chazza B told us we needed to take “one less touch” before moving the ball on, by Ferg and Matt’s reaction I could tell he should have said “fewer”.
Through some more errors we ended up conceding 2 more goals. At one point Jean got hit on the hand and came crying off the pitch the umpire didn’t think that that was happened though so he gave them a free hit. We ended up winning a short corner on the final whistle. We scored the short, which was good because that meant we now had the same number of goals as them. The other team complained that Dooj had prematurely stepped into the D but as the umpire clearly stated, “it wasn’t him it was the other one” so the goal stood and we drew the match.
MoM: Ben Dudgeon
DoD: Ed Sides
MoM: Fergus McNab
DoD: Fergus McNab
Sunday 14th January
I woke to find that my mobile telephone had received some text messages from a member of Cambridge University Hockey Club who was at Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, CB3 0EQ.
To cut a long story short, it appeared that the hockey pitch at Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, CB3 0EQ, had not been booked by Cambridge University Hockey Club and because of that there were some other humans using it to do a game of field hockey. This was really quite annoying because we had been planning to do some games of field hockey at Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, CB3 0EQ and because there were other humans standing on it we would not be able to use it to do a game of field hockey. There was also a rumour that this was my fault which was really quite annoying because it meant that I got a lot of hate from people who had been planning to do a game of field hockey at Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, CB3 0EQ.
In the end we played the three games of field hockey at Johns pitches, Cambridge, CB3 0HF, and not at Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, CB3 0EQ. Each game also started thirty pounds later than planned. For these two reasons, combined with the idea that I was to blame, Fergus McNoob told me that I should start taking notes on the events of the week in case I was nominated to write this very text and so I started taking notes on the events of the week.
Three games of field hockey were then played. Matthew J arrived very late to watch the WB match and was worried he would have missed MB in action. Fortunately, she arrived exactly as late for her game as he did to watch it and so Matthew J did not miss anything.
Oliver Quackworth was another notable late arrival. He told us the night before that he had a hot date with a spice from Trinity. When he arrived he told us he had lost his phone the night before and this was why he couldn’t check the meet time. He also told us that someone else had sent the message leading us to believe that he had a hot date with a spice from Trinity and in reality he did not have a hot date with any spices from Trinity or elsewhere.
The highlight of the Men’s Blues game was Jean-Staunton Sykes trying to trap the ball at the top of the D. He did not manage it so effectively that it ended in the goal giving us one scorepoint. Most of the players told him he was really lucky that the ball had ended in the goal and he didn’t deserve the credit but Matthew J told him not to worry about it because he has a motto that states that any goal is a goal.
The Wandies then played their match. Most of the fans on the sidelines shouted at Huge Jugs to roll strong and he rewarded the crowd by rolling strong.
Then the alumni matches had all finished so we all went home but then Matthew C (c) sent a text message to my mobile telephone saying that some large JMAN banners had been left at his field hockey pitch.
This was really quite pleasing because I was at a bit of a loose end – I was on top of all my work and had previously been quite unsure as to what to do with my following thirty pounds. To help pass those next thirty pounds I decided to volunteer to go and take down the JMAN banners because apparently they were not supposed to be left indefinitely at John’s pitches. I walked to the bikeshed and unlocked by bike so that I could ride it to St John’s pitches, Cambridge, CB3 0HF. When I arrived, I proceeded to take down the JMAN banners until there were none left. I then cycled back to college whilst advertising JMAN and hung the banners in my room because I really needed some decoration.
I then had some casual beverages with college friends and walked with them to kuda college, Cambridge, where we danced for a bit.
Monday 15th January
I continued dancing for a bit and then I went into the smoking area where I bumped into Ciaran Flatterme and we nodded at each other. I then went back inside and danced for a bit more before leaving, going to Macclesfield to buy some protein nuggets before promptly returning to my room to sleep in my bed.
My next memory is of waking up and having porridge for breakfast. I did some coding because it was due in soon and went to Sainsburys to buy some supplies.
Johnny Staunton_Sykes went for a nannas at 1 but there were no other known takers.
The afternoon is not deemed to be of particular interest.
The meet time for training was 19:10 at Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, CB3 0EQ. I should have left my room at around 19:00 to walk to the bikeshed and unlock my bike so that I could ride it to Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, CB3 0EQ and arrive early so I didn’t get any late fines for being late. However, I did not leave my room until 19:03 and despite my best efforts to cycle as fast as was possible to the hockey pitch at Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, CB3 0EQ, I arrived a full £0.50 late.
At training Charlie told us we should be more like owls.
Matthew Pyman got hit on the wrist. I thought it was a nice Saturn that had hit Matthew Pymo on the wrist but in the end it turned out that Matthew Flymo had been hit on the wrist by a hockey stick, wielded by Lewis Totton. Matthew Flylow then had to sit out the rest of the session and ice his wrist to make it better.
We stopped training quite early as the hockey pitch at Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, CB3 0EQ, was getting quite slippery and so we decided to practice short corners instead. Matthew J missed three pushflicks in a row from really close to the goal even though Matthew C (c) had done three really good stops of the hockey ball and Charlie told him that it was not good enough and then Matthew J came over to me and Matthew Pyro and he looked really happy and he said it was because Charlie had called him by his surname and not his first name and Matthew π and I agreed that was useful as sometimes having a lot of Matthews in the same field hockey team can be really confusing and then Matthew J went back to doing pushflicks towards the goal.
Tuesday 16th January
I had a physics mock on electromagnetism at 12:00 which was meant to be 120 pounds long but I left ten pounds early because I had answered plenty of physics questions on electromagnetism.
The meet time for beds training was 17:00 at Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, CB3 0EQ. I left my room at 16:50 to walk to the bikeshed and unlock my bike so that I could ride it to Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, CB3 0EQ and arrive early even though there probably wouldn’t have been any late fines for being late. It was really cold but we still managed some good practice at playing field hockey.
Wednesday 17th January
The morning was spent doing work and attending a DoS meeting. My DoS asked me how things were going and I said that things were going fine.
In the early afternoon I received a loud knock on the door from one of the porters. He told me hurriedly that my roommate had dislocated his finger playing rugby and had volunteered me to take him to addies. This was really quite pleasing because I was at a bit of a loose end – I was on top of all my work and had previously been quite unsure as to what to do with my following two hundred and forty pounds. To help pass those next two hundred and forty pounds I decided to volunteer to go to addies with my roommate. By the time I reached the plodge a taxi had already arrived so we went to get in straight away. My roommate asked me to open the door for him because one of his hands had a dislocated finger and the other was being used to stop the dislocated finger rolling around so I opened the door for him and helped him into the front seat of the taxi. I then got into the back seat of the taxi and the taxi driver drove us to addies. We signed in to A & E and he was eventually told to lie on a bed and was given some laughing gas which made him laugh a lot. I then watched a woman in a white coat rotate his finger through 95 degrees until it was parallel to the rest of his fingers. They gave him a bandage and some more pain killers and then we left and got a taxi back to college.
Fortunately, I arrived back just in time to go to formal which was thoroughly enjoyable. I then headed out to Cindies where I bumped into Matthew C (c) having a go at the man on the Hawks’ queue because he wanted to get inside Ballare but they weren’t letting him in even though he was on the hawks committee. We all argued with him for a bit and then we all got let in which was good because we all wanted to dance.
Edward get my good Sido looked like he really had had quite a lot to drink and then started kissing a girl on the face which confirmed this theory so I stood next to him and got someone to take a photograph with my mobile telephone.
I then started dancing but Beth Barker kept telling us how old she was even though we hadn’t asked her but that really wasn’t allowed so we told her she had to delete her drink but she didn’t have a drink to delete so she had to buy a drink to delete but then she realised it was better value to buy four drinks all at the same time and so we all got a drink which we thanked Bath Berker for very much and then we all deleted our drinks instantly and then had some more of a dance and then asked Bath Berkererer how old she was but she wouldn’t tell us.
I then danced a bit more before getting kicked out of Ballare because it was closing in zero pounds time.
I proceeded to return to college and to bed.
Thursday 18th January
As usual, the meet time for training was 19:10 at Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, CB3 0EQ. I left my room at 19:00 to walk to the bike shed and unlock my bike so that I could ride it to Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, CB3 0EQ and arrive early so I didn’t get any late fines for being late.
Tycho was standing next to the pitch when we arrived and he told us that he was really quite injured so we wished him a speedy recovery but he told us that actually he really was really quite injured so a speedy recovery was unlikely.
We ended training by practicing shorties as well as shuffles. Some of each were scored and some of each were not scored.
Friday 19th January
I spent my morning working and then headed down to Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, CB3 0EQ, to ensure that the bedouin’s short corner attack was as slick as usual. I arrived ten pounds early so spent the time hitting Saturns at one of the goals. It was really cold but Ollie Rosé brought me a BMD which I paid him for via circle and that warmed me up a lot.
The next notable event was our team meeting in Hawks’, starting at 18:30. We discussed many issues of importance and tried to fling some chat at each other. We decided to start team pastas next Friday but Hugo Prince Parry told us he wouldn’t be able to come because he was going to the Chop House.
Some gents came in looking for Hawks’ signatures so James Peter Crouchkin signed all their forms and told them that he was a Blue.
Johnny-Staunton Sykes raised the point that we always meet at 7:10 but never actually start warming up until later so maybe we should meet five pounds later so we decided that we should meet ten pounds earlier to properly talk about the previous weekend.
Many of us enjoyed burgers and brownies and then settled down to some board games. First, Catan, and second, Cambridge by Degrees, a game that Andy had found downstairs.
Matthew Pumpkin Pymo only passed one A-level in the entire game and so didn’t actually make it to Cambridge University while Hugo Prince Hugo on board Parry decided to go to St Catz and do a degree in Engineering. Matthew Jarvis got knocked off his bike before realising it was actually a boat and the title of hockey captain was awarded to Seano Gilmore (c) so he called a team meeting in Hawks’.
Matthew C (no longer c) went from right to left and not left to right around the board but then Fergus Flanagan got really animated and told him that this disobeyed the one-way system and pushed his bicycle backwards and then Matthew (not c) C started laughing a lot and then we all started laughing a lot because it turned out that Matthew C not c had cycled the wrong way on purpose because he wanted to take pleasure out of someone telling him that he was cycling in the wrong direction.
When it was Matthew J’s turn to play he rolled the small cube with numbers on it onto the floor so Matthew P told him that he was abusing the dice which I found really confusing because we were actually only playing with one die so I said this to Matthew P and he told me to grow up.
We then looked at the BDOTY app and saw that some of the songs had been removed but fortunately “Oxf*rd girls are lovely” was still there.
Then it was time to leave hawks so we all left and then I asked Edward if he wanted to cycle to Sainsburys really fast even though that meant going against the one way system and he said that he did and so we went to Sainsburys and both bought a lot of food including some jelly babies because they were on offer for only one pound so I decided I could afford that if I stopped being fifty pence late for training.
Saturday 20th January
The meet time for our match was 12:15 at Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, CB3 0EQ. I left my room at 12:00 to walk to the bike shed and unlock my bike so that I could ride it to Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, CB3 0EQ and arrive early so I didn’t get any late fines for being late.
We had a team meeting upstairs for which Matthew C (reinstated c) and Charlie arrived slightly late for as they were having a chat. When Matthew C (c) tried to explain this to us he used the phrase “me and Charlie” when really he meant to say “Charlie and I”. Fergus McNib pointed this out to him and Charlie agreed with Fergus McNub that correct grammar was important.
We then started our team talk but I missed the first fifty pence of it because Fergus McNob was unwrapping his flapjack very noisily. The rest of the team talk passed without trouble.
Just before pushback, Matthew C (c) told us that we should play good hockey for the whole seventy pounds. We scored 5 in the first half and did not concede any meaning that at half time we were winning 5-0. We decided that we had been playing quite well so we should play the same way in the second half. Sadly we didn’t end up playing very well so the score ended 7-3 but at least we still got 3 points. “The same cannot be said for the men with blue hearts as they did not win the game and so we could not give them any points”. – Matthew C & at the time (c), 2017.
We then showered, ate some food, and charged each other for having bad haircuts. Finally, we held some democratic votes the outcomes of which are outlined below:
MoM: Marcel Hedman – all round field hockey ability.
DoD: Matt Roberts – failing to book pitch for alumni game.
It’s the game everyone had been waiting all year for: away in the far North (of the East) in Spalding. Even more exciting was the 9am meet at the Wilberfortress. Bobin was so keen he even arrived on time.
In my flashy new zip, Flymo called shotgun. Seano was undoubtedly in for his navigation abilities (despite one previous error) and Duckers claimed the last spot, leaving Jean close to tears. Fly decided that the best way to hype people for the start was to play the whole of Taylor Swift’s first album. Whilst Sean in the back informed us we weren’t going to take the road signposted to Spalding but instead he had devised a faster route the day before. We doubted him. Meanwhile, Duckers, also sat in the back, offered no chat at all.
We arrived at least 10 minutes before anyone else and therefore had to apologise to Sean for ever doubting him. At this point we went to the away changing rooms (a garden shed with no heating and 2 showers). I could feel the excitement.
The warm up went as usual, everyone ran around a bit, we did some stretching and McNoob and I missed all but one of our warm up flicks. We all got ready to face Spalding, who we couldn’t be complacent with. The game was truly one for the spectators, we forgot to defend at times and so let 3 goals in. Luckily they forgot to defend more often than us and so we scored 6 more goals than them. 3+6=9 #quickmafs. We walked away winners.
Unfortunately for me their keeper was not over 18 years old and due to me scoring more goals than I usually do, he was crying. Flan went to reassure him and then came to tell everyone that I ‘abused a minor’ and therefore I received DoD. I however feel that a certain fresher ball sec who arrived with no balls (obviously not #1 fresher Seano) or Prince Huggles would have been more appropriate candidates. I hope I don’t get DoD next week but I fear I might as I was ‘playing for CUHC with blue/orange shoes’. Sorry for the bad match report I need to go and save some lives.
MoM: Matt Jervis – scored lots of goals.
DoD: Matt Jervis – made Spalding’s teenage goalkeeper cry.
26th November, Sunday
The Xmas Dinner excitement was palpable as a depleted squad turned up at mid-day to the Cam Uni Sports Centre for an important strength and conditioning session. Duckers and I had cut the timing very fine leading to a rather nervy cycle but turned up with less than a minute to spare to avoid any late fines.
The usual quick foam rolling was followed by an unusually short stretching section and warm up. “For the rest of the session, we got into our pre-set workout that we had done in the previous weeks but tried to lift even heavier weights than we had done in previous weeks in order to get really big. We ended the session with an intense core workout which was made up of Suitcase Carry, Anti-rotation iso-hold, plank on exercise ball with extension, and ipsilateral dead bugs. We went through this set twice and afterwards we all decided that our abs were going to be sore for a couple of days” (Matt Pyman 2017).
After the training, Pyman and his team of merry helpers went off to do the shopping at Aldi where they bought over 60 bottles of Cava! They then watched the Wandies play out a 5 all thriller which could only reflect the excitement that was to come later that evening.
In the mid-afternoon TJ gave the sad news that Carol was being sacked and asked about the plan for pres. After a couple hours eagerly waiting I finally learned that pres would have a half six start. The team were clearly confident in their ability to f*nish a box in the brief half hour time interval before the dinner’s drinks were forecast to begin.
By half six the few people who had turned up all got cracking on the box anyway and the cups began flowing. The numbers steadily increased and upon arrival the silly latecomers all had to chop several cups worth of catch up. Several ‘Deal or No Deals’ and games such as ‘One Santa’ later and the box was being rapidly depleted.
Once the clock had hit 7 the box consumption pace accelerated, and everyone then went upstairs feeling rather jolly and ready to drink some Cava. Unfortunately I don’t really remember much after this point so can’t offer my own account.
27th Nov, Monday
Various CUHC members keen to learn more about the night’s happenings headed over to Mackies at 1 for a debrief. It seemed a great shame learning about funny things I’d totally forgotten, and it got even worse when Club Pres Sides informed us we’d all been a bit too rowdy which had led to a complete CUHC social ban at Wilby in the near future.
Training was tough and led by coach Bannister and his new protégée TJ who’s taking a little break from playing. TJ brutally informed some people that they were guilty of “sapping” the energy from attacking the goal and needed to pick up the pace. After this, everyone was very scared of being labelled a sapper and the goals started to flow.
29th Nov, BUCS Wednesday
With half the games gone, the Blues were sitting comfortably at 2nd in the league, hot on Oxf*rd’s tail and still well in the running for promotion. A clinical performance for 60 minutes led to a 3-0 lead and despite a couple of late Bath goals blemishing the result, the points were secured. The team are still poised to challenge for the title so book in Wed 7th Feb 2018 17:00 for a likely league deciding game against Oxf*rd at the Wilberfortress.
30th Nov, Thursday
It was a particularly chilly day and rumours began to fly around of a possible training cancellation. Luckily at 18:30 Cockers gave us the brilliant news that the pitch was fine, and the session would be going ahead as normal! Sadly though upon arrival a blizzard began and after a fun jog in the snow we collected all the balls in, which the girls had selfishly left out, and decided to sack the training.
1st Nov, Saturday
The day began with Jarvis Cocker not being able to find the keys to his zip car which would very nearly earn him a DoD later in the day. At 9am we all met at Wilby and got into the cars to make the drive to Lee Valley. Everyone was very impressed by the top class facilities and the main stadium pitch that we couldn’t wait to play on. To our great dismay though, we found out we’d been shoved over to pitch 2 which meant we wouldn’t be using the tunnel to enter the field of play in style.
Pitch 2 was rather bouncy and slow meaning it was a recipe for huge sappage. This showed in the Blue’s first half where, clearly not used to the pitch, we were quite off Wapping’s pace and a couple of lapses in defence led to 2 goals being conceded. Half time came, and Charlie told us we were still in the game and just needed to pick up the intensity. Despite everyone being quite low on energy a certain selfish someone didn’t offer out their own jelly babies to the rest of the team. This would prove to be a fatal error of judgement.
We started the second half much quicker soon winning a couple shorts and even having a one on one chance. Sadly the corners didn’t quite come off (more pitch sapping the likely reason) and, similar to the last couple weeks, we just weren’t clinical enough in the D. Despite generally dominating the second half we didn’t score and the game ended 3-0 to Wapping leaving us stuck in 6th in the table.
After a key warm down for those playing the next day in the cup and those off skiing it was back to the changing rooms for showers. Being pretty low on energy I decided to pop a couple jelly babies but main DoD candidate Jarvis spotted me and informed the rest of the team I’d been greedily hoarding them. This turned the DoD vote tide and I went down 6-5 to Jarvis for being very selfish. MoM went to Flan for making some cracking saves.
MoM: Fergus Flanagan – good saves.
DoD: Sean Gilmore – brought jelly babies but didn’t share them (hates the deals).
Two games this week:
On Wednesday we won 13-0. Bit of a waste of time to be honest.
Think some people went out on Wednesday but I don’t know what happened.
On Saturday we lost 4-2 against Bedford. They are a decent side and will probably be challenging for the league so the result is not too disheartening.
MoM went to Celine Doojon because he is ‘rapid’ and scored a goal.
DoD went to TJ because Johnny is vindictive and the team is easily influenced.
MoM: Ben Dudgeon – running really fast.
DoD: TJ Jackson – failure to uphold the team’s values.
The weekend started interestingly turning up to only the last 5 minutes of the team talk, having been many pounds late due to a traffic jam in stevenage. Everyone else was there on time though and found it extremely useful. The game kind of then started and some hockey was played on what was something between a carpet and bubble wrap. We scored first with a TJ flick into the rigging. There was then some more hockey and some extremely interesting decisions from the umpires. This then resulted in Letchworth scoring a short corner off what sounded and looked like a chin guard. However the lovely umpires decided to not give this one on sound like the corner, and said he didn’t see what it had gone off but it sounded like stick, an outstanding call really. There were then some cards given with sides and jerv being shown the cucumber and then in the second half seen was shown the cheese. Unfortunately though he didn’t have any biscuits with him so he hand to just go and sit on the bench for 5 pounds. There was then another goal, actually well finished by Letchworth after she scrappy play with some more interesting decisions being made. However we battled back to to win another short corner. Slotted again by TJ. The levelly umpires weren’t done though and again decided they wanted to make the game more interesting, which was extremely kind of them, seeing fergs noobie challenge in the corner where he ended up with the ball after the Letchworth player pushed it past him, but being to slow to reach it, as a blatant foul and so awarded an short corner. Which we kept out and then were unfortunately not able to win a foot in their D in the closing seconds. So we ended with a 2-2 draw.
MoM: TJ Jackson – flicking the ball into the goal well so that we drew this game of hockey.
DoD: Hugo Parry – shlid.
DoD: Johnny Staunton Sykes – relentless PMBing.
Saturday 20+1st October
In the evening, TJ Jackson and I decided to go down to hawks for a few lagers and some food and were joined by Captain Matthew Cockerill but he was working behind the bar and serving food so was only with us for intervals during the evening. I had ordered a Hawks Burger and a pint but TJ waited too long to order and a large queue formed at the bar so he didn’t end up getting any food. A few more teammates joined us in hawks and we all had a couple more pints, however there were a large number of bookings in for food that evening so the whole clubhouse soon became very busy so we decided to leave.
We moved on to Selwyn College which is opposite Sainsbury’s in town and we all went to the college bar. This was actually a cheaper establishment than Hawks as pints are only £2 so we all took advantage of that and bought some lagers. I then gave my college card to someone behind the bar in exchange for some darts and we set up a game of Killer at the dart board. It pains me to admit that I wasn’t very good at killer and was eventually taken out of the game with one very precise shot from Vice-Captain Fergus McNab. To raise my spirits, I managed to get myself a free doughnut from the college welfare team and then was charming enough to get some more doughnuts for the rest of the boys so they didn’t feel left out, even though they don’t go to Selwyn College. The other people who had been knocked out of the darts game and I moved across to the pool table to play a couple of games. Nothing of note happened during these games. Matt Cockerill then texted Andy from Hawks and found out that the club had emptied out somewhat so we elected to move back to Hawks for the rest of the evening.
When we sat down, Fergus revealed that he had brought down some small Ships matchboxes so we were able to play a game of box. This was especially fun as we had a few noobs playing with us who weren’t very good at throwing a match box over a pint glass. Among these noobs was Matthew Jervis who landed his box in his own pint glass multiple times which then meant he had to finish his whole pint. This became too much for him eventually and he had to go home without completing his final finish. The evening eventually came to an end and I went home back to Selwyn College with Ed Sides where we had a couple more lagers and played some FIFA 18. I was totally dominant and beat Ed 6-1 which meant that he needed to write me an apology letter and post it onto my Facebook wall. I then decided it was probably a good idea to get some rest as we had a strength and conditioning session at 12:30 at the Cambridge University Sports Centre to wake up for the next day.
Sunday 22nd October
I left my room at 12 noon to walk to college and unlock my bike so that I could ride to the sports centre and arrive early so I didn’t get any late fines for being late. This tactic worked well and I arrived to the Cambridge University Sports Centre £4 early so I had time to catch up with Jim Dickinson who was also very early for the session. This was Jim’s first session after getting injured at training so I asked him how his injuries were and he said they were OK. At 12:30, most of the team had arrived so we went upstairs and began our training.
“The session began with some foam rolling, in order to remove the knots from our muscles, before a bit of dynamic stretching. We then jumped up and down on the spot a bit, followed by some squat jumps. We were trying to make the landing on our squat jumps as quiet as possible, and the strong, conditioned man who was taking the session informed us that he was six foot six and that he could do it quietly so this really motivated us to do it even more quietly, despite none of us being six foot six. I think I did it quite quietly, although I do not know what sort of noise levels I should be generating at five foot [eight], because I had only seen an example of someone who was six foot six.” (Cockerill, 2017). For the rest of the session, we got into our pre-set workout that we had done in the previous weeks but tried to lift even heavier weights than we had done in previous weeks in order to get really big. We ended the session with an intense core workout which was made up of Suitcase Carry, Anti-rotation iso-hold, plank on exercise ball with extension, and ipsilateral dead bugs. We went through this set twice and afterwards we all decided that our abs were going to be sore for a couple of days. On Sunday evening I had a formal at college as my friend was celebrating his birthday so we had lots of drinks and headed out to Kuda where I bumped into lots of hockey friends who had also had lots to drink and we all had a good night.
Tuesday 24th October
I had been convinced to enter the HSF 5-a-side Tournament by President Ed Sides so I turned up to Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, CB3 0EQ at 16:00 and joined my team. Our team was made up entirely of CUHC players whereas all other teams were mainly college players and so we won all of our games and therefore we won the tournament. We were rewarded with a bottle of Champagne each and HSF had organised a Hog Roast for all the players. They were also serving free wine and beer but unfortunately I had a BUCS South Prem B Hockey match on Wednesday and so wasn’t able to take advantage of these drinks.
Wednesday 25th October
AWAY DAYS! This was the away day of all away days. Both the Men’s and Women’s Blues’ were playing O*ford whilst the Wanderers were playing O*ford Brookes. Our meet time was 10:40 at Queens’ Backs so I left my room at 10:10 and began walking to the meet point. I arrived £10 early and so I avoided any late fines again and I waited for the rest of the players to arrive. The majority of people were on time, except for the coach driver who arrived at least £20 late which was a max-out for him at fines. Thankfully I got a seat on the back row of the bus which is where the cool kids sit so I was pretty pleased with myself. I had just put my headphone in when the driver started talking over the tannoy to explain his reason for being late. He said that he had to do a whole bus safety check before starting the journey for safety purposes and that he had found a nail in one of the tires so had to sort out that problem. He tried to make a joke out of it but it didn’t go down that well because most people wanted to get on with some work or go to sleep. I woke up about an hour later to the sound of Sean Gilmore’s music pumping out of his large speaker that was positioned very close to me but he was playing so good songs so I forgave him for this. The next hour and a half of the journey passed without incident and we arrived at O*ford Brookes University Campus where the Wanderers got off the bus accompanied by team coach Fergus McNab. We wished them good luck and immediately the driver conducted a 9 point turn in the middle of a busy road much to the annoyance of other road users but we weren’t too fussed. We arrived on Iffley Road where we got off the bus and walked to the sports ground.
When we arrived there was a game being played between O*ford and Nottingham University and it was being umpired by Tim Dujon is magic, but he wasn’t wearing his magic hat. We all walked up to the changing rooms, sat down for a couple of minutes and then went back down to the pitch to watch and commentate on some hockey. This game ended as O*ford 2-7 Nottingham so we were all pretty happy as we don’t like O*ford very much. The next game was Cambridge Blues v O*ford Blues so we stayed out to watch the 1st half and we flung some chat around from the side-line directed at the O*ford players and the umpires which we all thought was really funny. We then went into the changing rooms to prepare for our game and then went out for our warm up.
As we walked down to the pitch we heard some loud singing coming down the road which was extremely insulting to the members of O*ford University so we knew it must have been the Wanderers. They had just won their game against O*ford Brookes so were in good spirits and ready to spur us on in our game.
The first half started very frantically with O*ford dominating the early exchanges and having lots of possession however they failed to convert this into any clear cut chances. As the half went on we began to get more into the game and strung some nice moves together but to no avail. O*ford then launched an attack down their left wing and got onto the baseline where it all became very scrappy and the ball found its way across the face off the goal where it was bundled in. Soon after, O*ford won a penalty corner which was saved by goalkeeper Ferg Flan but O*ford were first to the rebound which made it 2-0 at half time. We went out for the second half keen to put the first 35 minutes behind us and push on to get a result for the travelling fans. We began to dominate play and were looking very promising on the attack winning penalty corners but we were unable to convert these into goals. With about 3 minutes to go Kieran Gilmore played a fantastic through ball to Tycho Sikkenk who calmly took it round the keep to make it 2-1. Unfortunately this was too little too late and the final whistle went to mark the end of the game. We felt as though we had played well so weren’t too disheartened and thought there were many things to be positive about, one of which was the fact that we had a big coach journey home so we cracked open a lager and got in the showers.
With a record three teams on the bus it promised to be a loose journey home but there were two notable absences, Matt Jervis and Molly Buxton. I will say no more. On the coach we thought it would be fun to play a game of fresher Take Me Out and because I’m northern, I was forced to be Paddy McGuinness. Our first fresher in the Love Lift was 26 year old Dutchman, Tycho. He did well in the early rounds but achieved a black out in round 3 and didn’t get a date. A few other games of Take Me Out were played but I don’t really remember much about them. We then all separated into groups and played our own drinking games such as One Fat Hen, Land of Confusion, and Olympic Pick and Mix. When we arrived back in Cambridge, everyone was a little bit drunk and thought it was a good idea to go to Hawks for a couple of pints and the head to Cindies in time to get into the Hawks and Ospreys queue jump. The rest of the night followed the standard script of a Cindies night in that we all drank some VKs and cut some shapes then went home with or without company.
Saturday 28th October
The meet time for our game was 11:40 at Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, CB3 0EQ. I left my room at 11:20 to walk to college and unlock my bike so that I could ride the Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, CB3 0EQ and arrive early so I didn’t get any late fines for being late.
I left my room at 12 noon to walk to college and unlock my bike so that I could ride to the sports centre and arrive early so I didn’t get any late fines for being late. I chose to be in Matt Jervis’ car and called shotgun so that I could be in charge of the music. Matt and I really like listening to country music on the way to games so we put on some Sam Hunt much to the dismay of Ollie Duckworth and Sean Gilmore who were in the back of the car. When we got onto the motorway, Ollie was taking the mick out of Jerv for checking his blind spot every time he changed lane so we gave Ollie a serious talk about road safety and how it is very important to check your blind spot, especially on the motorway when cars can be driving at 70 miles per hour. When we were about 5 minutes away from the pitch, we switched up the music in order to get pumped up for the game and when we arrived, we went to the changing rooms and waited for the rest of the team. When they finally turned up, we had a team chat about the things we needed to make sure that we did if we were going to succeed in the game. We then put some tunes on and went out onto the pitch to start our warm up. We hit some balls around and then did a possession game then a shot box where we focussed on hitting the ball into the far corners of the goal. It was then time to start the match.
We started strongly having the majority of the ball, and linking between lines with some effective rotations. We got multiple D penetrations but weren’t clinical enough to convert them into clear cut chances or corners. As the half wore on we began to win more corners but failed to get any effective routines away and the half ended 0-0. We said at half time that we were doing the right things and just needed to be more patient and have a greater desire to score when we got our chances. The second half played out much like the first with us dominating the play but failing to convert any chances. With about 10 minutes to go, Saffron Walden won a penalty corner and after a wide injection managed to hit the ball from the top of the D into the bottom left corner to make the score 1-0. We continued to pressure the Walden defence but couldn’t find the break through that we needed. 1-0 FT
We voted for MoM and DoD and decided that nobody deserved MOM and that I should get DoD because Matt Cockerill put a pumpkin on my head in Cindies.
A disappointing week for the Men’s Blues but many things to work on and we push forward and look to the next week of games.
MoM: no one deserved MoM.
DoD: Matt Pyman – pumpkin pie.
After a streak of seven matches unbeaten, the team were feeling confident but level-headed the morning of the St Albans game. As a significantly better side than the teams we had played in previous weeks, the game offered us the perfect opportunity to put into practise all the hard work we’d put into the 8 phase training sessions over the week.
The BUCS Wednesday game against Exeter earlier in the week was a thriller. 11 goals – 6 of which came from Cambridge resulting in a good result. A flick or two from Jerv, a hatrick from TJ and one or two other great passages of play gave us real confidence in our ability to make the most out of every opportunity in front of goal. It was promising to see us finish so quickly following D penetration and Tots managed to keep this trend going throughout the day into the early hours of Thursday morning.
There was a real buzz about the changing room on Saturday morning – Marcel singing, Pymo rolling and Robin not whining. We were excited for the challenge ahead. As a team known for having fluidity between lines comparable to Sean Paul’s ‘Temperature’, we knew that they’d test our marking and fitness. An enormous aerial from Jerv followed by a string of 8 one touch passes put TJ in on goal and a fine slower ball delivery from his reverse stick sent the keeper to ground and the ball bouncing over him. Our second goal was equally delightful with Thighmo nutmegging 4 defenders before slipping the ball under his shoulder to JSS who dummy slapped it back to Jerv, leaving space for another aerial over the top, which could be caressed down by Ben and rolled through to Tycho at the back post, where Thigmo was progressing towards. A leave from Hugo allowed Robin to collect the ball on his weak side and spin strong twice in a row placing the ball nicely on the P spot and discombobulating the St Albans defence. A quick out and round transfer with high ball pace enabled Roberts to lead through to their 22 and pick up a ball from Sean. Crash! The ball came flying in towards the back post where Thigmo was and deflected into the top corner. Sadly, we lost 6-2.
With a very wide spread of DOD votes and 3 votes taking the win, I was awarded my second DOD in a row for the same reason as the previous week which was pretty unimaginative.
MoM: Sean Gilmore – good scrapping.
DoD: Ollie Duckworth – popped at Delta Force even though it’s closed.
My day began on the dancefloor. I had been lucky enough to be invited to a 21st birthday celebration party event at one of my friend’s houses back near my house, in Guildford. The party celebration was a great event, although I knew that I couldn’t afford it to get too out of hand as that same day (the clock was past midnight!), I had the much anticipated first strength and conditioning session of the year. I was very tempted to postpone the session, or claim illness but being a committed Cambridge University Hockey Club Men’s Blues Captain 2017/2018, I decided it best for me to attend.
After a few hours dancing and a few hours sleep, I got back in my car and drove to Cambridge, ready to get strong and conditioned. Despite a small amount of traffic, I made it back to Cambridge with a bit of time to spare. This meant that I could drop some stuff off in my room at college, before returning my car to Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, and jumping on my bike to go to the sports centre. I was so many $pounds$ early that I was actually the first one there! Others were not so lucky. Johnny ‘Jean Yellow Black Noir’ Staunton-Sykes thought that the meeting place was stationary downstairs, when in fact the meeting place moves upstairs to the Team Training Room (TTR) once the clock strikes £0.50 $pounds$ late. His naivety led to him converting his £1 $pound$ lateness into a full £3 $pounds$ lateness. Other noteable lateness featured Bobin ‘Robert’ Watts and Hugo ‘Hugo Parry’ Parry. Hugo ‘Hugo Parry’ Parry, had woken that morning to the dreaded sight of a cut bike lock and no bike. This was real bad luck, as on this particular Sunday, Hugo ‘Hugo Parry’ Parry would have needed his bike to cycle to the sports centre to attend the first strength and conditioning (S&C) session of the year.
The session began with some foam rolling, in order to remove the knots from our muscles, before a bit of dynamic stretching. We then jumped up and down on the spot a bit, followed by some squat jumps. We were trying to make the landing on our squat jumps as quiet as possible, and the strong, conditioned man who was taking the session informed us that he was six foot six and that he could do it quietly so this really motivated us to do it even more quietly, despite none of us being six foot six. I think I did it quite quietly, although I do not know what sort of noise levels I should be generating at five foot ten and a half, because I had only seen an example of someone who was six foot six.
After the warm up, we went about getting really big. Kieran Gilmour Sports took this really seriously and foolishly had worn a cotton t-shirt to the session, which promptly began to absorb sweat. By the end of the session he had sweated so much that he looked like a man who had sweated a lot during an S&C session. At the end of the session, I consulted with a few people who were standing close to me whilst I was putting my pecnical tants back on, and we decided that pre-drinks for the whole club swap would begin in my room at 6:30. This was not one to be missed.
As they were bored, Kieran Gilmour Sports and Johnny ‘Jean Yellow Black Noir’ Staunton-Sykes turned up to my room a full £60 $pounds$ early and we played some room cricket. This was such an enjoyable game that Johnny ‘Black & Yellow – Wiz Khalifa’ Staunton-Sykes forgot that he was not ready for the social, and he left with only 20 minutes to get ready! As the clock struck £0.50 $pounds$ late, there were only three people present. Myself, Kieran Happy Gilmour and Matthew Thigh-man. We thought it best to wait before beginning the pre drinks, so we kindly started to mix the cocktail that Fergus ‘Ferg-us’ Flanagan had bought from Aldi earlier in the day and delivered to my room.
The pre-drinks was very successful, with everyone having a fun time. The music was especially good and was helpful for reminding the freshmen to do something crazy. Sean ‘Gilmore Girls’ Happy Gilmour Sports thought that he might throw his shoe out of the window but decided against that because it would have been quite a lot of hassle to retrieve the shoe. Kieran ‘Happy Gilmore’ Sports Girls promptly did a kegstand, and the night continued. Marcel struggled to think of a Modern Nordic Language when it was his go, so he had to drink his drink. Despite having played this game, he then announced to the room that he was excited to see how the game of 20+1 finish*d, so he then had to delete his next drink as well – not a good start for the freshman.
As the clock struck near to the time when we thought it would be sensible to go to Curry King in order to get a seat at the full club swap, we started walking to Curry King. When we arrived, it was revealed that we were the final team to arrive, and so there were no seats left. When threatened with sitting downstairs, we attempted to leave, but with a swift negotiation, we decided that we would share seats upstairs. The theme for the swap was ‘Skype interview – smart on the top, casual on the bottom’. This was not quite the theme hoped for by Cambridge University Hockey Club Men’s Blues 2017/2018 Vice Captain Fergus ‘Feargal McNoob’ McDab who wanted the theme to be ‘Put a tie on and get battered’, although, much to his delight, the official theme was in fact a subset of his theme. The swap went very well, despite the staff getting quite angry at me when I stood on my chair and put my shoe on my head after they told me I wasn’t allowed to stand on my chair and put my shoe on my head ever again.
At the end on the swap the next destination was Hawks’. Whilst many of the club proceeded to Hawks’, I thought the best plan of action would be to sit on the bin outside Curry King and finish of my naan bread – what a great plan indeed, as this would certainly help line my stomach for the rest of the night! This was not to be. Having contemplated my situation on the bin, I decided that my night had come to an end and went back to my room to take another look at my curry. After a few phone calls, and a feeble attempt at making toast, I began the first of my 10 hours sleep. Meanwhile, I hear that Hawks’ and Kuda were both good fun.
At training Marcel ‘Freshman’ Hedman asked us who we had swapped with the night before, we told him we didn’t know.
Robert ‘Bobin’ Watts told me late in the evening that he had sliced his hand open whilst opening a tin of coconut milk and so probably couldn’t play in our match on Wednesday 10th October 2017, which left us in a bit of a situation. I frantically tried to think of a solution, but could not, so proceeded to pack my bags for the next day and keep my fingers crossed that Boberto might be able to play.
As we had to travel to Bath, to play Bath University in our first BUCS South Prem B match of the year, Wednesday 10th October 2017 was an early start. The bus was scheduled to leave Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge at 07:00 hrs AM sharp. Sadly, Feargal Flanagan’s car did not start, and Robert Matthew’s alarm did not go off, meaning he was a lot of $pounds$ late. Once we got going, most of the bus went to sleep, myself included. We stopped at a service station after about three hours of our journey, so that we could stretch our legs, and use the toilets if required. Someone noted that we had stopped at these services on the way to a BUCS South Prem B match before but couldn’t quite recall which game it was. I agreed and also could not recall, although I could make an educated guess due to the route we were taking.
Once we got back on the bus, not as many people went to sleep because it was now 10:00hrs AM and time to get some food on board before the game. Luckily, I had thought ahead and brought my food on board at Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge before we left, so that I could eat it whenever I wanted. As part of my nifty planning, I had been to Sainsbury’s supermarket in Cambridge the night before, and raided their ‘Reduced to clear’ section – I had picked up a chicken fajita wrap, a beef ragu and parmesan sandwich and a sweet chilli chicken noodle meal. All of the above had use by dates of 9.10.17, and as it was 10.10.17 I was not technically meant to eat them, but that did not phase me and I ate the chicken fajita wrap first.
When we arrived in Bath, we then drove towards the University, which is not actually in the centre of Bath, despite what the name suggests. When we arrived at Bath University, the coach driver took us on a tour of the car park, before dropping us back by where we had come in, so that we could go into the Sports Training Village to find a changing room. Once we had found a changing room, it was brought to my attention that we did not have the corner kit or any balls with which to warm up. Not one to be disheartened by any of this, an elaborate plan was hatched to ask bath politely if we could use any of their balls for our warm up – they obliged.
In order to get sufficiently warm to hit a hockey ball, we did some slow running, then a bit of faster running. Then we did some static stretching and some dynamic stretching before a bit of really fast running. We had also noticed that there were quite a lot of leaves on the pitch. Fergus Noob (VC) told us how he had once played on a pitch with leaves on and it was quite slippery if you stood on a leaf so told us not to stand on the leaves. We also discussed how we thought the leaves would be affected when they watered the pitch before our match, but we could not work out if they would become more slippery or less slippery so we did some more running and then passed the ball around in pairs. We then did some short corner practice, and some 2v1s and some 3v2s then the whistle went for 2 minutes to go until the start of the game. We had a quick team talk and decided that we wanted to be better than we had been before and that would help us to win the game.
The game started quite fast, with the Bath University players running around a lot. As we only had 13 men in Bath playing for Cambridge (thanks Bobert) this was not ideal. Their first goal caused a lot of controversy after one of their players played a first time through ball with the outside of his left foot to his teammate in the circle, who then scored. The more hockey-aware of you will know that the use of the foot is not usually allowed. I tried my best to explain this to the umpire but he asked his umpire friend and confirmed that this was not a rule and so the goal stood.
Very quickly we went up the other end and won ourselves a penalty corner after one of the Bath University players had used their foot – much to the confusion of all on the pitch who now believed that this was not a rule. Matthew Gerbil flicked the ball at the left hand side of the goal and luckily it went to a part of the left hand side of the goal which was not blocked by the keeper and so that got us a score point. At half-time we had a discussion and decided that we would try to keep doing the things that we were doing well and would try to improve on the things that we weren’t doing well. The umpire also tried to clarify the rules about using your foot, and he told me that if I thought it might be a foot, to ask him if it was a foot then he would tell me if it was a foot or not, which was quite a confusing clarification.
In the second half Bath University scored another goal point to go 2-1 ahead, and then seemed to get confused about how to score goals. Twice they hit their own player with the ball on the line, but this was not in the rules of hockey as clarified by my umpire friends so they did not award goals. With £1.50 to go, we were still trailing 2-1. One of our players hit the ball onto one of their players’ foot inside the circle, and I asked the umpire whether it had hit a foot and he said it had hit a foot so he gave us a short corner. From the short corner, Lewis Trotton pushed the ball hard at my stick and then Fergus Dab pushed the ball hard at Celine Goujons stick and then the ball went in the goal. DRAW! But no, we attacked again and Oliver Duckworth-Lewis pushed the ball at the goal and scored a goal. WIN!
Chuffed with the result, we returned to the changing rooms to shower and get dressed for the return journey. We all managed to shower successfully except for Lewis Tot, who forgot to wash the sauce off his head. This was pointed out to him once he was almost fully dressed, so he then had to re-shower, much to his dismay. With that kerfuffle out the way, we found our bus driver and started driving back to Cambridge. Having won the match, we decided that we might want a few lageuers on the way back home, but not many of us had packed them in our bags. Luckily, Flanagan Ferg had thought long and hard about a solution to this problem, and went to consult the driver about a potential lageuer stop. Hard negotiating resulted in each of us being allowed ‘a couple of drinks’, and we were determined to make the most of this by buying a couple of drinks each. When we stopped at the service station, someone noted that we had stopped at these services on the way back from a BUCS South Prem B match before but couldn’t quite recall which game it was. I agreed and also could not recall, although I could make an educated guess due to the route we were taking.
Armed with a couple of drinks each, we made our way back to the bus and settled in for the rest of the journey. I told Matt Rhubarb Pie that it would be a good idea for him to look up some trivia so that we could test our trivia knowledge. He did that and we began testing our trivia knowledge on some football trivia. Me and K-ron Gilmoure had chosen to consume Belgian lageuers for the return leg of the trip but K-ron was being particularly slow in drinking his lageuers so I told him to not be slow and he said he was reading a paper so I said “nerd”. The rest of the journey was largely uneventful, apart from pretending to those who had not been available for the match, that we had lost in order to make them feel bad, but this did not work because Dougal McDab put a swear in his message and someone thought that Dougal doesn’t swear that much and so thought it might be a hoax – it was!
When we got off the bus, some of us cycled to Tandoori Palace to enjoy a curry as our evening dinner food. I ordered a lageuer (no. 3) with my chicken chana special, special rice and garlic naan. I got special rice because Thom J C T J Jackeqsoon told me that special rice is actually all of the rices mixed together except for keema rice (which is lucky because I don’t like keema rice) and so I thought “what a bargain” and ordered that. We had a very nice curry and discussed how we had actually won the game even though we told some people we had lost the game, and then tried to get the waiter’s attention to pay the bill. There was quite a big group next to us in the restaurant so it seemed that all the waiters were occupied, but then MC Noob came up with the great plan to go and stand at the bar to get their attention and so we did that and then they came and took our money and we went. Whilst cycling home, one of the straps on my bag came undone and I nearly fell off my bike. Dougal Dabster asked me what had happened and I told him that one of the straps on my bag came undone and I nearly fell off my bike and he said “oh, right.”.
Charles Banster couldn’t make it to training so we decided that we would have a team meeting for the first hour of training. We spoke a lot about what we were good at and what we were not so good at and decided we wanted to be better than we currently are at almost all the things we discussed. With that out the way, we went on to the pitch and did some running (some slow, some fast), some stretching (some dynamic and some static) and then hit some balls at each other and at the goal. Then we agreed a time to come and push balls at each other and at the goal the next day.
At 2pm we met to practice some short corners. We noticed that we were short on pushers for the baseline to top D push, so I said that I would try. It turns out it was a bit easier than I thought but still quite hard but I practiced and got alright at it in the end. After we had practiced scoring goals we went home to get ready for our game on Saturday.
Game day. I decided that because it was the night before a match, that I would get an early night and so I did. Because we were playing the game in Hitchin against Blue Hearts and not at Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, I set my alarm for 8:45am so that I would have enough time to get ready. When my alarm went off I clicked snooze and went back to sleep. When my alarm next went off I got up and started to get dressed. One of my fanclub had arrived the night before so I also had to wake her up as well and then we had breakfast. We then left and began the journey to Wilberforce Road Sports Ground, Cambridge, where we were meeting to start our journey to go to the away match. When we arrived, Celine Mustard was there but he was having a problem because the van that we had hired had a big dent in the side. He phoned the company and they said to write in the log book and then the problem was solved.
In my car there was me, Johnny ‘Wilkinson Yellow Black Noir Jean’ Staunton-Sykes and Cambridge University Hockey Club Women’s 2nd XI Captain 2015/2016 Freddie Hampel who was coming to watch our game. On the way to our match we stopped at McDonalds so JJSS could buy some breakfast and he got a wrap of the day medium meal but forgot to get a free student mayo chicken. He offered his french fries around the car, and we all had a couple. Frederick Hample said that it was a weird time of the day to be eating chips and we agreed but continued to eat the chips.
When we arrived we played a bit of cricket with a tennis ball and a hockey stick whilst we waited for everyone to arrive. The game was not as fun this time because the wicket was very bouncy and it was easy to get out to one hand one bounce. Huge Parry bowled one ball which did not bounce and Tom said “we’ve paid for the wicket Hugo, let’s use it” and got some cheap laughs. This was in fact incorrect because we had not paid for the wicket, it was just the concrete area outside of the changing rooms at Hitchin Boys School. Once everyone had arrived we went inside to change and get ready for the match.
Charlie Lannister was again unavailable so I read out the notes he had sent to us and then we went outside to run around and stretch. We then went through our normal warm up and decided that we should play really well, and then started the game. We dominated the opening exchanges and then we won a short corner after one of their players committed a foul in the circle. Michael Jervis took a hard push shot from the top of the circle and sent it into the just below the top corner and it was a goal. Next thing I knew, Sean Gilmour Sports had been taken down with a stick to the face, and so Matthew Gerbil was summoned as a doctor and saved his life. Blue Hearts then got a quick goal after a turnover in midfield but our spirits were not to be dampened – this game had drawn the biggest Cambridge crowd of the season yet, with Federica Ham Pool, her sister and her pet animal dog, and so we were determined to impress.
At half-time, we had a break from playing hockey. Then we changed ends and tried to score the other way. It was 1-1 but we did not panic. We won another penalty corner and Jacky Thompson pushed the ball at the goal from slightly closer than usual and scored. Then we got another from Benjamin Button. 3-1. We were about to get another but Lewes Tootoon took a long time to push the ball to me from a short corner and the referee got angry at him and blew his Fox 40. The game finished 3-1 and we were rewarded with 3 points. The same cannot be said for the men with blue hearts as they did not win the game and so we could not give them any points.
We then returned to the changing rooms to shower and get clean. Much of this happened without drama, although Totty Lewison had his tie stolen – classic. We then had to drive to the Blue Heart Club House for post match tea food, but before this I introduced just over half of the team to my fanclub so as to reduce the total of my fines. We then started to drive to the clubhouse and JT Thompson asked to follow me but I put my pedal to the metal and he was not able to keep up with me until I reached the next junction where it was not safe to pull out so I had to stop. Closer the the clubhouse with everyone following me, I took a wrong turning, but a swift 3-point turn manoeuvre meant that I was still able to win the race before TJJ Timpson knew what had happened.
When we all arrived, we ate some food and drank some water. Some people who were not driving had a beer. Dougal Doob said that he was going to fine anyone who did not want a beer £1 $pound$ and so Oliver Duckling said that he wanted a beer and had a beer. Fines began and lots of people were charged 50p $pounds$ for having a bad haircut. We then voted for MOM and DOD and T Jaqueline Wilson got MOM for doing a good match. When all the votes were counted it was clear that Lewis Totton was DOD. He had received six votes and I had received four votes. Then it was decided that I was DOD and we got in the cars and went home.
MoM: TJ Jackson – filthy.
DoD: Matt Cockerill – terrible form at whole club swap.
Despite a grey start to the day and a bit of work to do, Charlie woke up with a smile on his face feeling positive about the match against Spalding that was to follow. After some rather ugly points (but points nonetheless) were scored in Ipswich the previous weekend, the team was feeling optimistic about this weekend’s game at Wilby. There was a real buzz about the meeting room prior to the game but this was partly due to Pymo’s fresh lid looking pretty sharp.
Known only for having a tall, hairy bloke in midfield who snapped his stick in half by hitting it against a goal post during the previous game, Spalding were a mystery to us all. As naturally curious men with a hunger for knowledge, we were itching to find out more about Spalding and we had a game plan to put a lot of pressure on the man with half a stick if he hadn’t replaced his snapped stick in time.
A debut goal from Tycho to equalise cheered him up after breaking his door midweek and this was followed by a stunning, spinning, swirling spaff by the shlidmeister (Hugo) which rolled through the keepers legs leaving him feeling pretty embarrassed. The celebration lived up to the class of the goal and, with 10 minutes to go, the stench of some more filthy points was among us. With 5 minutes to go, a nervy scrap in defence saw several Spalding attacks break down and then Ben (not sure how to spell Dooj) put on his magic hat and slotted one into the bottom right corner. We won!
I was nominated as DOD because I had suffered an injury on both sides of my neck which appeared as though I had been paintballing without the boys. I hadn’t actually been paintballing so I thought this nomination was particularly unjust. I’m still uncertain about what caused the injury but I noticed that Tots had a similar mark on his neck after our full club swap on the Sunday after the match. From this, I can only assume that the symptoms are contagious but the causal agent remains unidentified.
Just to clarify – if I ever do have the opportunity to go paintballing, I will invite the boys.
MoM: Fergus Flanagan – some good saves.
DoD: Ollie Duckworth – went paintballing without the deals and picked up some suspicious neck bruises.
The male blues travelled to Ipswich for their weekend encounter this week. Ipswich, a relative unknown, have been a decent outfit in recent years but were bowled over by Bedford 4:1 on the opening weekend of the season. A towering fullback with a world class hit being our only real concern.
With the words of Coach Bannister still ringing in the ears the Blues started to wind up for the game. Water bottles were filled, loads were lightened and shoe laces tightened. Then came the big reveal, jumpers off. Blue shirts at an away game, whatever next. Jean had brought black. The logic sound save for the crucial piece of information received in the email from the captain informing the team we would play in blue as Ipswich play in dark blue.
With a proper stonewall DoD lined up the Blues visibly relaxed into their warm up. The pitch was sandy and slow with very little bounce. The blues would have to change their tactics slightly to meet this new challenge.
After push back the Blues surged forward down the left. A sustained period of pressure looked like it might end in a goal before an Ippy breakaway saw them take an early lead. For the next 20 mins, the Blues looked dominant. The leading, perhaps not as efficient as Coach Bannister would have liked, was none the less effective. The Blues gained a number of circle entries and a 3 short corners – unconverted. Two goals in 5 minutes from a very excited Hugo Parry eased the pressure (2:1).
The Blues received a rather harsh half time roasting from Charlie. It was, however, true that the Blues could be doing a number of things better against a weak opposition.
In the second half the Blues embarked upon a sloppy yet somehow dominant 20 min period but could not convert their possession into the goal that would have sewn this game up. Another break away goal from Ippy and the game was 2:2. Squeeky bum time. Thankfully, composed in the D, Duckers collects the ball on the flick spot and calmly lifts it over a diving keeper. 3:2.
The score line does not do justice to how much the Blues dominated the game but does perhaps indicate an area of the game the Blues can do much better. Again, lots for the blues to work on but a good three points away from home.
Goal Scorers: Hugo Parry (25′, 29′); Ollie Duckworth (61′)
MoM: Hugo Parrry – goals.
DoD: Jean Staunton Sykes – brought a Black shirt to an away game, when the email very clearly said blue.
CUHC takes Leeds.
The tour commenced on Sunday 24th September at midday, though I am told most were late to this first meet time. I was unfortunately one of the last to arrive due to packing difficulties and was therefore not present to witness this. Nevertheless we all boarded the bus on time, starting the tour as we meant to go own and segregating with boys at the back and girls at the front. Whoever had booked the coach had failed to anticipate that whilst there were enough seats, there wasn’t space for everyone’s bags in the bag compartment and so time had to be taken to try and find space for the bags on the bus. Space was eventually found and the bus then departed. The journey itself was pleasant enough, I was fortunate to be sitting next to someone who didn’t fall asleep on my shoulder, though James “filthy hands” Campkin wasn’t so lucky. The boys at the back then proceeded to play some trivia games. I managed to fox a few with a list of the highest paid actors of 2017 (Mark Wahlberg tops the list if anyone is interested, don’t worry about that one lads) and then it was the turn of Mathew Pieface to fox us with some Geography related trivia amongst other things. Just after midway through the journey we stopped at a service station to answer the call of nature…Greggs, where we purchased some food. We then got back on the bus and continued our journey towards Leeds. After more trivia games, including a music round, we finally arrived at our destination.
The email from captain Mathew Cock Grill had stated we would be staying in an Ibis hotel, and those of us who toured Newcastle last year were certainly pleased to recognise a reliable brand in the hospitality industry, as accommodation on that tour had been slightly cramped to say the least. However we were mislead, as we discovered the hotel was actually an Ibis budget hotel, this last addition striking fear into our hearts. But the facilities were accommodating enough, the only hitch being that those of us in a three had a double and a single bed to share. Upon entry into our accommodation Ollie Quackworth was the sharpest and “shotguned” the single, leaving that’s not Robin Watts and myself to share the double. We then had a bit of time to ourselves before meeting downstairs for our first training session of the tour.
The chosen method of transport to get around Leeds was the taxi, however it seems the concept of timekeeping is one that is missed on Leeds taxi companies and as a result we were left waiting on quite a few occasions. We nevertheless arrived on time for our first training session at Leeds Hockey Club, on a very nice water base! After a positive session consisting of some shooting drills, a small sided game and some short corner practice, we waited for the taxis to turn up late before returning to the hotel for the evening, where it was decided that the nearest Weatherspoons would be the location of our first team meal on tour. It was then revealed that timekeeping is not something that only taxi companies in Leeds struggle with, but also the staff at Weatherspoons, as Fergus McNoob’s burger regrettably arrived rather late. Despite this the evening went well, with that’s not Robin Watts lucky to get away with his PMB. Since this particular Weatherspoons was located in a train station, it was then only a short walk to meet Fergus “sharpshooter” Flanagan as he got off his train. While Fergus was at first quite humbled to see that the entire club had seemingly come all the way just to meet him off the train, it was then broken to him that this was in fact a mere coincidence. We then all walked back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep. I personally slept rather well, even though thats not Robin Watts had clung to the majority of the duvet with an iron grip.
Our first engagement the following morning was at 11am where a long country walk had been scheduled. We once again waited for the taxis to turn up late before taking us to the start of the walk. After disembarking, we all set off on what was to become quite a steep slope, with many of us feeling our legs slightly. Once the walk plateaued we became aware that the view would probably have been quite stunning if it wasn’t for the dense fog covering everything, though it was exciting to witness the planes landing at the nearby airport. Continuing on our walk, we discovered we had reached our destination, the Royalty pub, one hour early. It turns out the taxis had dropped us off halfway along the walk rather than at the start, meaning we arrived an hour early for our booking at the pub. This was however not the last cockup surrounding the pub lunch. After attempting to extend the walk in order to arrive at the pub at the correct time, we arrived at the pub to find that the capitano had accidentally cancelled the booking, nice one Matt. Despite this shadmin we were still able to sit down and have our lunch, which was very pleasant indeed. I had a beef burger followed by a cheesecake and thoroughly enjoyed my meal, and I believe others did as well. On the other table I overheard Mathew Pieface taking another opportunity to fox people with his trivia, though I wasn’t close enough to hear the specific topic. After finishing our meal we once again waited for the taxis to turn up late, though this time they really surpassed themselves, leaving one group waiting almost 20 minutes at the pub. We then arrived back at the hotel where we had some time to ourselves before preparing for that evening’s match against Leeds University.
A change of taxi company for the game seemed to have no effect on their lateness, but we nevertheless arrived at the pitch in good time to watch the grills play before us. After giving them some vocal support from the sideline it was time for us to go to the changing room to prepare for the fixture. Upon arrival to the changing room a few of us, including myself, were unfortunately guilty of ignoring the 101 guide to correct changing room etiquette and foolishly put our bags on the benches. Kieran Gill More had kindly brought a few lager beers with him for post match shower beers, however due to a technicality these had to be handed in at reception. The match itself was largely a success. Leeds University play in our equivalent BUCS league in the North so we were expecting a good game, and eventually came out 3-1 winners, Hugo “schlid” Parry opening the scoring before Leeds pulled one back. The second half then saw us win a flick which was dubiously slotted by El Capitan before Kieran scored our third, showing us he remained unaffected by the fiasco with his beers. On the way back to the showers we came across the grills getting a telling off for consuming beverages in the changing rooms, which the staff were somewhat displeased about. In the showers I unfortunately fell foul to Ferg Flan’s forgetfulness and lack of towel, needing to rush out of the shower to save my own towel before it became unusable. This aside, we were in a very good mood, helped by the generous hospitality of Leeds University in the form of post match Pizzas. Once again we then waited for the taxis to turn up late before returning to the hotel. Aggrieved at not having consumed our lagers at the pitch, it was suggested by a few grills to consume these together in a communal area of the hotel. Most of us agreed and the majority of the tour gathered to consume these lager beers. Unfortunately Kieran didn’t manage to despite them being his lager beers. After playing a few games people began to disperse, including, rather suspiciously, a grill and a member of the men’s side of the club who shall remain anonymous, but I can confirm he has a schlid. Ollie Quackworth, that’s not Robin Watts and myself then decided it would be a sensible idea to do a bit of tourism in the early hours of the morning and to make sure that no establishment serving beverages was still open. Having confirmed no establishment was still open, we returned to the hotel via McDonalds.
The next morning our first engagement was an 11:15 meet for our second training session of the tour. That’s not Robin Watts woke Quackworth and I up perfectly at 11:07 by blowing his nose, and we duly got ready calmly knowing we would have plenty of time before the taxis actually turned up. However we were snaked by whoever had ordered them, as they had also anticipated the lateness of the taxis and ordered for an earlier time, meaning they actually arrived on time! This left the three of us looking slightly tardy as there was only one taxi left which had already been waiting a few minutes. Nevertheless we arrived to training on time. The time was in fact of no consequence as we had to wait a few minutes for someone to arrive to open the pitch, which a few of the boys decided to spend playing cricket. As I arrived Kieran Gill More was in bat, attempting to play the bowling of Mathew Cock Grill. Mathew unfortunately got his length a touch wrong, and Kieran duly played an excellent pull shot which would almost certainly have gone for four were it not for Mathew Pieface at midwicket. Captain Cockerill’s shortness of length was especially unfortunate for Pieface, who was slow to react from two yards out, and could only cry out as Kieran’s pull shot went clattering into his nether regions, much to the amusement of those watching. I then stepped in to replace Pieface in the field, though the smile was soon wiped off my face when I realised that Cock Grill had found the last ball so amusing that he would continue to bowl short of a length to Kieran, who himself continued to demonstrate his excellent use of the pull shot, the ball only narrowly missing me. Thankfully there was then a change of bowling and the game continued without incident. After this short interlude a member of staff came to open the pitch and we were able to start our training session, which this time consisted of some passing drills, and, as ever, finishing with some corners. Midway through our corner practice some Oxf*rd players turned up, who were also on tour in Leeds, but instead of stopping and tactically hiding our corner routines, we decided to scare them and show them this year’s new weapon; the Quackworth flick off the top, which is deceptively tricky coming in around chest height down the centre of the goal. After the session, we then had the whole afternoon free, so it was decided we would go and buy food for a barbecue in the park, with some rounders and laser quest to follow. The barbecue went very well, with everyone enjoying their food and then splitting into teams for a game of rounders, using a tennis ball and a mini hockey stick, though the handle was rather slippery and on one occasion the batsman embarrassingly sent the stick flying further than the ball. After a very competitive game it was time to head across to the Laser Quest venue, where an even more competitive game took place, consisting of two rounds. After two tiring and sweaty games had been completed it was then time to head back to the hotel on our penultimate night of the tour. Most of us were quite tired after the days activities and so went straight to bed.
The next morning it was decided that for lunch we would go to an establishment called Red Hot Buffet World, a place offering (as the name suggests) an “all you can eat” buffet for 90 minutes for around seven pounds. We entered determined to get more than our seven pounds’ worth and in the process may have overeaten slightly, which as it turns out wasn’t excellent preparation for our second and final match of the tour that afternoon against Leeds Beckett University. Indeed as a result some of us may have felt slightly bloated during the warm up but we nevertheless produced a half-decent performance, disappointingly losing 1-0 but having played some good hockey. It was then time for the hotly anticipated event of the tour, the final night social organised by the players from Leeds University.
The evening began, as one can imagine, in a pub, where we purchased some beverages before going to chat to some of the Oxf*rd players who incidentally had also showed up. Those of us who didn’t know the boys from the other place very well engaged in what is known as small talk, but the pleasantries were soon dispensed with when a boat race was organised for the next pub, where 5 man boats were recruited from each university. The Cambridge boat, consisting of Pieface, Gill More, our resident firearms expert, “filthy hands” Campkin, and Cock Grill, comfortably crossed the finishing line first by a margin of a quarter of a pint, after the Leeds boat was shamefully disqualified for cheating. As you can imagine we were in quite high spirits after this resounding victory and it was soon decided it was time to head to the next venue, a bar of sorts where the first floor had been reserved for us. Special cocktails were being served just for us, which were of a strong nature and unfortunately in some cases caused the Red Hot Buffet World lunch to make an impromptu reappearance, but otherwise a good time was had by all and after more cocktails had been consumed it was then time to head to our final destination of the evening, an establishment called Tiger Tiger, where more beverages were bought and consumed. Unfortunately it was at this stage of the evening where I began to spend time away from the group and consequently was unable to see what sorts of activities the other members of the tour were engaging in, though I can safely presume the consumption of beverages featured in some way or other. The same reason for which I began to separate from the group, which incidentally earned me the “DoD of tour” vote and the task of writing this tour report, was also the reason for which I returned to the hotel slightly earlier than the others. I am however assured that the rest of the touring party continued to have an excellent time in Tiger Tiger and returned to the hotel after a very satisfactory evening, though a few awoke the next morning slightly tired after their exertions. Our boarding of the bus back to Cambridge the following morning concluded what was on all accounts a very successful and enjoyable pre-season tour, setting both teams up well for what is hopefully to be a prosperous and fruitful season.
(If you have got to this point in the report I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for reading, as it took not an inconsiderable amount of time to write. Many thanks).
MoM: Kieran Gilmore – a bit good at hockey.
DoD: Louis Totton – terrible form on night out.
It was with some trepidation that the Men’s Blues arrived for their Saturday fixture this week. Last year, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Blues lost both home and away to Peterborough (home – 2:7, away – 4:3), who, in recent years, have been a very difficult team to beat and nearly always find themselves in the top 5 come the end of the season. Moreover, CoP are a physical team who seem to relish playing university teams and will have been targeting this game as a 3 point game they should be winning.
Following a detailed prep talk from Coach Bannister, the Blues filed out of the changing rooms and headed out on their obligatory warm up jog (approx. 400m, slow paced with a small increase in speed on the return element). It was on this jog, that Jean (n00b) touched but, crucially, did not run round the pole/lamppost that marks the halfway point of the jog.
With a stonewall DoD lined up the Blues relaxed into their warm up. Small sided games were intense and enjoyable. Flicks were binned (top bins). 2 attackers vs 1 defenders were successful. Ready for push back.
Almost immediately we conceded. The Blues were dispossessed in Midfield and CoP broke away down the right and managed to bundle the ball into the goal. Hints of a foot. For the next 20 mins, the Blues looked nervous and out of practice. First touches were poor and passes were going awry. Two more were conceded in similar fashion (0:3) before a rare piece of accurate interplay among the Blues forwards saw a short corner awarded. Good drag out, bloody good stop, low flat flick, rebound from Totton (injector) at the left post, 1:3.
After the half time roasting we perhaps deserved, the Blues embarked upon a dominant 20 min period that saw them pen CoP back in their own half. Perhaps a problem symptomatic of a young/university side, the Blues did not capitalise on their dominance and often found it hard to manipulate circle entries with CoP sitting so deep, and frequently over committed exposing Matthew Cockerill (slow) at the back. The Blues emerged from this period 2:4 down but probably deserved more. Glimpses of attacking flair and the promise of clinical finishing later in the season hinted at the sort of goals this team could expect to be scoring.
The remaining 15 minutes were a vexing mash of lapses of concentration and personal mistakes. CoP scored another to put the contest to rest. Full time 2:5.
A frustrating encounter with a period of real promise doorstopped by two disappointing periods. The scoreline a fair reflection of the game, perhaps slightly kind to the opposition. Lots for the blues to work on but also lots for the Blues to be positive about looking forward.
Goal Scorers: Louis Totton (29′); Hugo Parry (44′)
MoM: Sean Gilmore – excellent debut.
DoD: Jean Staunton Sykes – didn’t run around the pole that brings the team good luck during the warm up jog, therefore, entirely responsible for the teams under performance and loss of the game.
For previous years’ match reports, see the archive.
|Date||Match type||Opposition||Venue||PB Time||Score|
|24/09/16||League||Old Loughts 1||H||1400||2-3|
|01/10/16||League||Saffron Walden 1||A||1430||5-3|
|08/10/16||League||St Albans 1||H||1330||3-1|
|12/10/16||Bucs League||St. Mary's 1||H||1630||-|
|15/10/16||League||City of Peterborough 1||A||1300||7-2|
|19/10/16||Bucs League||Cardiff 1||A||TBC||-|
|29/10/16||League||Harleston Magpies 1||A||1400||5-1|
|02/11/16||Bucs League||Oxf*rd 1||H||TBC||1-1|
|05/11/16||League||Cambridge City 2||A||1500||3-2|
|09/11/16||Bucs League||King's College 1||A||1530||-|
|16/11/16||Bucs League||Bath 2||H||TBC||-|
|23/11/16||Bucs Cup||Warwick 1||H||TBC||0-0 (loss on strokes)|
|30/11/16||Bucs League||St. Mary's 1||A||TBC||0-1|
|07/12/16||Bucs League||Cardiff 1||H||TBC||-|
|14/01/17||League||Old Loughts 1||A||1500||3-0|
|21/01/17||League||Saffron Walden 1||H||1330||6-1|
|28/01/17||League||St Albans 1||A||1500||3-1|
|01/02/17||Bucs League||Oxf*rd 1||A||1450||1-0|
|04/02/17||League||City of Peterborough 1||H||1330||3-4|
|07/02/17||Bucs League||Kings College 1||H||TBC||-|
|25/02/17||League||Harleston Magpies 1||H||1330||2-3|
|04/03/17||League||Cambridge City 2||H||1330||3-1|
|08/03/17||Bucs League||Bath 2||A||TBC||-|
No match report.
No match report.
No match report.
No match report.
No match report.
- The expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
“‘Don’t go overboard with the gratitude,’ he rejoined with heavy irony”
- A state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often wryly amusing as a result.
“Let’s give TJ DoD for having a shlid despite it being a solid 4/10 and one of the best in the Men’s Blues”.
Matt and Fergus thought it would be really funny to tell everyone to vote for me for DoD. They were right, it was pretty funny (see definition 2 of irony).
The outcome of this injustice is that the responsibility of reporting on the weekend’s events falls to me. It would be all too easy to focus this report on the fanfare that was the main event of the weekend – the Men’s Blues against Harleston Magpies on Saturday. To cut short story shorter, we were winning. Then we weren’t. Then it finished 2-2.
However, it may shock readers that another event took place on Sunday at Wilberforce Road. In a brutal display of supremacy, five Cambridge University teams took on a rabble of confused and dazed hockey novices. In fairness, it must be said that the opposition did improve over the course of the day and by the final game were even holding their sticks the correct way up.
The Men’s Blues were privileged to witness the five crushing victories from the side-lines. Here is a brief account of their performances:
- Fergus McNab: painstakingly transposed some music, leader of the brass band. Points deducted for failing to protect his Blazer from VK and then failing to stop Matt being taken home. (7/10)
- Robin Watts: turned up late, left early. Got the day wrong but did drink out of a vuvuzela. Also it emerged that lots of people in Cindies were not him. (2/10)
- Richard Hesketh: didn’t show up but probably saved someone’s life so outscores Robin. (3/10)
- Henry Rudd: sacked us off to go throw a stick directly into the ground, but then sacked off being a teacher to come to Cindies. Solid mid-table performance. (5/10)
- Matt Cockerill: after a good early stint on the microphone Matt could have scored well, but sadly he was taken home by his girlfriend in the face of protests from the team. Also looks like a thumb. (6/10)
- Peter Akyol: he did exactly what we thought he would do. (3/10)
- Kieran Gilmore: a seasoned pro at 2s3s, paced the day well. Good vocals from the side-line and hosted breakfast. (7/10)
- Ed Bottomley/James Larman: didn’t watch the first three games, winning coaches, poor lids. (5/10)
- Fergus Flanagan: didn’t show up but won BUCS for some minor sport. (1/10)
- Nipuna Senaratne: no swap, no cindies, decent chat. (4/10)
- Chis Webster: winning coach, purchased some jugs, brought supporters but no introduction. (5/10)
- Matt Pyman: took to his new role as supporter very well, good volume, weak ankle. (7.5/10)
- Ben Dudgeon: wasn’t sick on anyone’s front door, good support, poor lid. (6/10)
Well done to all players and supporters. Let’s make it 7 from 7.
Instead of a match report, you can watch the Men’s Blues’ 3 goals here. Which is much less effort than reading a 5000 word essay.
MOM- Henry Rudd
DOD- Chris Webster
In another game against a top table side the men’s blues traveled deep into the home counties to take on St Albans, a side who hadn’t dropped points since mid-November. Despite starting well, the blues found themselves 1-0 down going into half-time and were in need of a pick me up. A rousing team talk from captain Jhomas Tackson seemed to do the job and Cambridge looked the better side for the first period of the second half. Unfortunately, the Blues were unable to capitalise on their pressure and soon Albans nabbed a second goal to extend their lead to 2-0. Heads went down but thankfully Korean Gilmore was at hand to provide some much needed encouragement and keep the boys going. With 20 minutes to go, points seemed to be slipping out of the team’s grasp but some hockey as liquid as their captain’s bowl movements led to a short corner which was scored emphatically by Mr Jackson himself. At 2-1 spirits were lifted and it looked like the away team might be able to salvage some points but alas, it was not to be. A mistake at the back led to a one-on-one which left Flanagan floundering and the ball in the back of the net. A disappointing result, but one that the team can look to build from as they prepare to play O*ford and Peterborough next week.
Blues vs. Saffron Walden (H) – 6-1W
It was a big weekend for the Blues boys. First up a key fixture against also-struggling Saffron Walden, where a win was vital in the race to avoid relegation. Then it was time for the Alumni weekend festivities. A schedule like this calls for a bumper match report so buckle up and away we go … !
Thursday 19th January
At training Charlie said “we need to concede less corners”, but he meant “fewer corners”.
Friday 20th January
After a gruelling day sorting out why there are volcanoes and rivers in Turkey, my thoughts slowly turned towards my evening plans, of which I had none. I had resigned myself to a dull night in but then Peter posted on the team’s Whatsapp group asking if anyone wanted to come round to his house to eat food and watch a film and watch him try to drink a gallon of milk in an hour. This was an offer too good to miss so I quickly set off to Portugal Place. When I arrived it emerged I’d missed most of ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ but luckily Pete was only half way through his milk. Apparently he felt quite ill. TJ Jacamo and Christopher Webbo were there and also Kieran and Freddie and Shears who live there as well as Charlotte Burrows who was visiting Kieran (I think they’re a thing). Edward Bottomley wasn’t there, presumably because he was on a massive bender. Kieran served me some delicious pasta with pesto and (BUFFALLO?!?!?) mozzarella and halved cherry tomatoes and we watched the end of the film which we all agreed was dragging on a bit. Peter threw up on his seventh pint of skimmed milk but no one really cared.
After dinner Kieran and Charlotte went to spend some time alone together, probably to get an early night ahead of the following day’s big three-point hockey match. The rest of us decided to watch another film but were very indecisive. We wanted something short but ended up choosing ‘Sicario’ (‘man’ in Arizonan) which is quite a long and complicated film. We didn’t really commit to it and instead scrolled really far down our respective Facebook profiles to look at silly things we did in our youths. Thom used to do statuses which were pretty lame. We all concluded that in the past we looked similar to now but our lids were shitter. After about an hour we admitted defeat to ‘Sicario’ and went our separate ways. When I got home I spent a while watching tv and removing ladybirds from my room before getting to bed nice and sharp.
Saturday 20+1st January
I woke up about 9am and prepared for a busy day ahead. First I cycled down to Fenners as it was the first day of Crusaders nets for the term and I fancied schnicking off some noobs. In the end though I must admit I struggled to find my length and couldn’t get much movement out of the old net balls so I only got one schnick in the half hour I spent turning my arm over. Luckily though the nets there are pretty springy and I’m pretty bloody quick so when I dropped short it still caused the batsmen a bit of difficulty. At 11:15am I said my first words of the session: “sorry I’ve got to shoot off”, and cycled home to change and have a bite to eat and a cup of coffee from my moka pot.
FUN FACT: Did you know! The son of the inventor of the moka pot, Renato Bialetti, who was responsible for its popularisation, had his ashes buried in a moka pot when he passed away last year (RIP – 2016 really was a bad year right! Ha!).
ANYWAY after that I cycled up to Wilberforce Road to meet the rest of the lads. The game before us was underway which was the Nomads against Cambridge City in a game worth three points to the victor, or one point a piece in the case of a draw, like all fixtures in the east leagues. Coach James Larman was there but Coach Edward Botters was not, presumably because he was still recovering from his massive bender the night before. It was immediately obvious that Thomas Jackson had told on me as everyone knew I was shooting off straight after the game to attend the GDBOUHC Alumni Dinner, and I was sure to be DoD. City had some handy looking forwards and we concluded the Nomads were going to have a tough time before heading upstairs for a chat, so we decided to pre-empt them by going upstairs for a chat while they were still playing.
Charlie was already there, but we were still waiting for Edward Bottoms. Whatsapp said he had been awake until at least 3:30am, which made sense since he’d been on a massive bender. We made a start without them. Charlie said this was a massive game, the biggest of his CUHC career, a genuine six pointer. His first two observations were valid – Saffron Walden sat just two points behind us in the league, and cocking up games like this could have a lasting legacy if we end up going down. The latter observation, however, was of course a Paul – all east league fixtures are worth a maximum of three points. Luckily, things were in our favour. They were on a bad run of form – we were on the way up. Their game the previously week had been frozen off – we had now been back in training for three full weeks. They had the away negative disadvantage – we had the home positive advantage. And crucially, we are good at hockey but they are rubbish. Jacky announced the starting line-up which included me at left half (sik) and did not include Eddie Botty, who still had not slept off his massive bender.
We went to the changing room to get changed then headed outside for a warm up. We went for a jog out along the cycle track and everyone ran round the signpost so we were guaranteed at least a point but we wanted the full three points available so there was still work to be done. Once back at the track we did some activation exercises then some dynamic stretches then some sprints then got ready to get on the balls. The Nomads were still playing their hockey game though so we had to wait a bit. It was a cold day so Charlie had his red beanie hat on which makes him look like the evil penguin from Wallace and Gromit, which amused me and also Kieran Gilmore who I pointed this out to. Eventually the Nomads finished – I don’t know the score as I was very focussed on performing well in the upcoming three pointer. We passed the ball around a bit then practised short corners then practised shooting and passing round the back and 2s vs 1s and 3s vs 2s (but not 4s vs 3s, apparently that’s happening on a different day (9am – 9am – 9am)) and then we were ready for the game to begin.
We pushed back and the game began as the umpire blew his whistle to signal the start of the fixture. We tried to do our usual thing of running straight at them but Rudders got tackled so it was not a success. The opening exchanges were scrappy and frantic. They had a bloke at the back who was useful and also a couple of skilful forwards, but we made life particularly difficult for ourselves with some woeful personal defending. After a few minutes one of their blokes wandered in to the D and got a reverse stick shot off and they bundled in a rebound. This was not in the script! Obviously – real life doesn’t have a script – and this was as real as it gets.
Luckily this early scare seemed to kick us into gear and from that moment on we started to take some control of the game. Their press was pretty loose which allowed us to promote half backs and get the ball down the line relatively easily. We all seemed to have taken Charlie’s motto for the week to heart (only pass from left to right ever and also lead to the T-spot like Riklas Nieger and all Germans) and began to create chances. Another pleasing development was that we started to be a bit more clinical in the D and won a few short corners. From the first of these we put away a tidy right two (Ed Bottomley had finally arrived after his massive bender) and the scores were all tied up level at one goal apiece each. But not for long! Because the next time TJ binned one top right and suddenly we were ahead.
From this point on there was no looking back and we started to pile the pressure on. We held the ball at the back for long periods and kept developing well down both flanks (particularly the right flank as it is tricky to pass left to right to the left flank). Larman and Rudd finished tidy moves with tap ins and we went into the half time interval 4-1 up.
Charlie pointed out that this was ours to lose and we had been known mess up from strong half time positions so encouraged us to keep focussed and complete the job. We all agreed and got back out there.
They managed to sort out their press a bit for the second half and it wasn’t quite as easy for us to move it out the back, although it was still pretty easy. We also started to win the ball further up the pitch thanks to some brave pressing from Henry Rudders, getting low and in the way of their full backs’ attempted long range balls. TJ bundled in a bit of scrappy one and Rudders also tapped in another to earn the pair each a brace, brace. With the score now at 6-1 we were home and dry, partly due to a lack of rain during this particular fixture and also as there are no water cannons at Wilby (yet!). They started to get a bit desperate and their two main players started trying to do a bit too much. The forward received a green card for a pair of wild challenges and then their fat slow rubbish full back (not the good one) got a yellow for taking out Edward, who was still present.
Eventually the final whistle blew and the game was officially over. This convincing victory was very satisfying for the boys, but unfortunately only gave us a measly three points despite Saffron Walden’s proximity to us in the league table. Everyone started getting very excited because there was a large one planned for the evening but then they remembered I had to shoot off early to attend an OUHC event and so the chat in Cambridge that evening was likely to be of lower quality than it may otherwise have been. I promptly got on my bike and cycled home. There was just time to shower and pack and make a coffee and rush off to catch the bus.
The X5 is quite a comfortable coach as long as you don’t have to sit on it for more than 5 minutes. My trip was of course three hours and forty minutes and so uncomfortable for 98p of the time. One bonus is the wifi so I settled down to do some admin and then some work. After a bit of reading and a bit of thinking (watching the green old pleasant lands roll by is quite meditative) I reckoned I was one step closer to solving the eternal problem of Turkish drainage and volcanism and also why there are faults in Afghanistan so I gave up and started planning some of the classic lines you are reading here is this match report.
We passed St. Neots, Bedford, Milton Keynes, Buckingham and finally Bicester. By this stage I was pretty anxious to get on the shandies with the boys so I went to get changed in the loo. The loo is pretty small and there are lots of roundabouts on the X5 route (more on that later!) which made this a tricky process. I managed though which meant I could board a taxi straight off the bus. The driver went via St. Giles and Parks Road which I thought was a bit odd but then it was probably fair enough as High Street would be rammed at this hour. Soon I was at St. Hilda’s College where the event was to be held.
FUN FACT: Did you know! St. Hilda’s College was the last Oxford college to ‘go mixed’, admitting male students back in 2008. At Cambridge, Murray Edwards College, Newnham College and Lucy Cavendish College remain in the past.
ANYWAY I was late so had missed all the bubbly shandies that come in tall thin glasses but it was ok because there would be plenty shandy in fatter glasses later (including my preferred red shandy).
We took our seats and I soon realised I was at a table of bloody legends and also Henry Taylor esq. Initially things were very pleasant as we all caught up over goat’s cheese and asparagus and white shandy. Then I noticed that one of the girls at the table had put three separate glasses on the table with fewer than two fingers of shandy in and she had to pour all three on her face from a great height and it was clear from that moment on that this was going to be a mad one just like the old days. Some serious chat was thrown around over the chicken shandy and then it was time for pudding – chocolate shandy with red shandy.
Now allow me to let you in on a little secret. At IJSCOUHC it is traditional to consume pudding shandies with no hands i.e. without cutlery, so everyone got down to the business of covering their nose and chin with chocolate shandy. Luckily for me as a filthy tab I am allowed cutlery and so I ate my delicious chocolate shandy with a fork. At this stage it was time for the speeches and the main event was Mr. President Charlie Hills. He said both Oxford Blues teams were above Cambridge in their respective BUCS leagues. I tried to explain that we struggle to get a team out for Wednesdays due to University policies but no one listened. Then he said the Occasionals were at the bottom of their league. “Is that above or below Cambridge?” I quipped, and everybody laughed. Luckily no one pursued this line of thought as of course the Wanderers play several leagues below the Occasionals in BUCS and this revelation would have left egg on my face, which up until this point had remained free of foodstuffs. After the speeches there was time for a little more mayhem so we persuaded Henry Taylor esq. to get a couple more bouteilles of shandy in and we played a few rounds of fives for a finish of shandy. David Jones pennied me which I thought was pretty low level stuff so I threw the penny at his face. It was only a glancing blow but he still didn’t seem to take it very well.
After a few more minutes it was time to move this madness to a new location, so we started the short walk to Vincent’s –
T H E C L U B.
FUN FACT: Did you know! The name Vincent’s originally came from the name of the publisher and stationer who worked on High Street and rented out the rooms above his shop to T h e C l u b at its founding back in 1863.
ANYWAY once there it was straight on to the traditional golden shandies. I got a jug in and quickly found myself at a table where some sort of game was being played involving tossing matchboxes over pints of shandy. Then I remembered I was pretty sik at this game so settled in. Also present were big dogs Ronak Patel and Dominic Stanford and Alex Stobbart Stobbart and some noob called Ryan Caviar. I have to say the chat that went alongside this game was top notch. Poor Ryan soon discovered what it meant to sit at the pro table and consumed many a golden shandy but learned a thing or two in the process e.g. it is important to LAND A BOX. After a while I moved on to catch up with a few more people. I had a nice chat with Reece Straker who back in 2012 captained the Occasionals to a dramatic 3-3 varsity draw. Rupert Barker was also there and we all reminisced about his years coaching the Occasionals in which they never won varsity. I didn’t bring up our 1-0 win in 2015 which occurred shortly after he left the club.
Sadly though you know what they say time flies when you’re having fun and soon it was once again appropriate to move this circus elsewhere. The new venue was Emporium, or, as it was known in my day, shit. It was dark and the music was rubbish but you could get a golden shandy for just £2 so we cracked on. I don’t remember this period of the night very clearly but presumably we all threw some serious shapes to match the chat until it was time to leave at some late hour. I headed back to my friend Henry esq.’s house via McDonalds, with lots of other people. Then it was time for a few hours’ sleep as I had to be up early the following morning.
Sunday 22nd January
Just four hours later I got up off the floor I had been sleeping on and brushed my teeth and got packed and headed for the bus. I must admit I wasn’t feeling hundy p. Later that day Matthew Cock asked me how many shandies you have to drink to get a hangover. The answer is a lot but I had drunk a lot a lot. Luckily for me Caffe Nero was open at the bus station so I picked up a bottle of transparent shandy and also a BLT shandy. At 8:00am I boarded the bus. For the first part of the journey I focussed on getting my breakfast shandies down without any mishaps. Those famous roundabouts did not help the cause and the bus’s stale air exacerbated my headache. After a while we reached Milton Keynes where I could finally get a bottle of non-shandy water. I was starting to feel better and managed to get the first thou words of this match report down but then from St. Neots onwards my stomach really started kicking up a fuss. There were a few ropey moments in the last half hour but in the end I made it. As soon as I got off the bus I felt a bit better in the fresh morning air. I had just 20 minutes to change and pack and get back to Wilby for the final instalment of my packed weekend – the IFLCUHC Alumni games
I arrived as the girls’ second half began. It was clear that no one involved was really up for this game but there was a fun atmosphere. I caught up with the lads who apparently had also had a pretty large night. Everyone was feeling worse for ware and I heard some pretty funny stories involving touching cups and Montague St. John Taylor Finny liking the union and Jean Noir waking up to a surprise.
The girls’ game ended and we got on the pitch. We messed around for a warm up then got on with the game. To be honest we were pretty concerned as the old boys had an all-star line-up and our concerns turned out to be valid. It was a game of men against men but in this case the alumni men were much bigger than our men (genders assigned at birth). They moved the ball very well around the back and had some pacey forwards and we weren’t really up for this kind of hockey game at that stage. Luckily we had Kieran and Dujon to do some running and they put a good shift in. Unluckily though they had Johnny Staunton-Sykey who had an uncanny knack of mistrapping the ball into the goal. They binned some goals and we binned one goal and mercifully the game ended. We went for a shower and then ate some sandwiches before heading out to catch the end of the Wandies game. Some of the alumni said they had enjoyed my previous match reports which gave me the confidence to really go for it and smash out the 3688 words you are reading here in this match report. It was cold but the Wandies alumni had some flair and unorthodox forwards which made for an entertaining watch. Matt Fingers was also playing. When that game ended I headed home and finally this weekend of field hockey had drawn to a close.
A comment on the current political climate
UN-FUN FACT: Did you know! Three of the four fun facts in this match report were true, but one fun fact was in fact a fake news fact or alternative fact if you will. But which one! In this post-truth newspeak world … YOU DECIDE! That’s right! Pick the fun facts that best conform to your existing world-view and uncritically treat them as real facts while completely disparaging any which challenge your overriding deep-seated opinions! Hide in your respective bubbles! Who needs debate when you already know all the answers! Ladies and gentle man (yes, that’s you sir!), welcome to 2017, the year civilisation ended.
At least we beat Saffron Walden though!
MOM- Henry Rudd
DOD- Fergus McNab
The first game of the second half of the season saw the Blues take on old Loughts. Though eight places separated the two teams you wouldn’t be able to tell with both sides looking to grab an early goal. In a game that could have gone either way three short corners were enough to see out Loughts who took three points and retained their spot at the top of the table.
“Captains” the umpires shouted.
“We’re here already” replied the Letchworth skipper
“Oh. Well heads or tails?” Said Stevie Wonder as he flicked a coin in the air.
The coin landed.
“What is it?” asked David Blunkett to his fellow umpire Stevie.
“I can’t see” said Stevie.
“We’ll start with the ball thanks” Said TJ.
The game started very well for the university side. Two goals were bundled home in the first quarter of the game by captain TJ and Thomas Schute (#HeSchutesHeScores). The Light Blues were playing some nice flowing hockey when the umpires allowed them, however their tendency to blow the whistle like they were trying to herd sheep did disrupt the light Blues flow. Later on in the first half, umpire David Blunkett decided that it was OK for Letchworth to kick the ball into the goal. Well done David. 2-1. The game got feisty with the Letchworth midfield deciding that as the two umpires were unable to use their white sticks and guide dogs to stop physical violence, they would do just so. One midfielder decided to smack Webster in the midriff with his stick, possibly warranted given he did wear leggings to training on Monday (DOD…). David Blunkett must have used his superior sense of hearing to decide to yellow card the offender. Half Time. The Umpires convened to an array of abuse from the Letchworth players and coaching staff. Uncalled for from their favourable performance towards the away side so far. It was only to get worse… The second half was an cagey one. Chances were few and far between. One important point is that in this half, Cambridge were penalised twice for taking free hits from about a rulers length away from the spot a foul was committed, and for doing so when the ball was moving about as quick as Peter gets out of bed the morning after Turf… 69 minutes of the game gone:
Letchworth have a short corner, it breaks down and they win a free hit outside the D. They take it, with a rolling ball from a few metres away from the spot of the foul, drive into the D and win a short corner. Well done Stevie Wonder…
The final whistle goes. All of Letchworth’s side advance forward. Twice the corner is saved, twice a corner is re-awarded. Corner 3. Injected straight to the widest left runner who slaps a ball across the lD to a bunch of deflectors. One gets a touch under keeper Flanagan but Hesketh stops the ball on the line. Quickly he attempts to clear the ball and in doing so drills the ball into an attackers foot. The ball was pushed with such venom that it jumped back and hit a celebrating Richard Hesketh’s own foot. Finally the whistle went… A Penalty flick…
Well done again Stevie
Stevie consulted Blunkett who said he did not see anything, so Stevie’s guess stood. Letchworth went on to score the P flick which robbed Charlie Bannisters side of a deserved 3 points.
The men’s Blues came into their game against Ipswich high on confidence after a tactical masterclass from coach Charlie Bannister in their Thursday training session. These measures, which countered Ipswich’s agricultural ‘smack it long’ game, quickly bore fruit, and Cambridge ended the first half two-nil up, TJ and Pyman the men who scored. This promising half of flowing hockey could only produce one result, and that was a complete collapse from the men in light blue after half time, leading to Ipswich drawing level with two penalty flicks. This roused CUHC from their post half time slumber, and TJ converted a P-flick of his own to bring the blues up three to two. However, the strenuous week preceding the game took its toll on the squad, which quickly began to drop like flies. TJ had to be temporarily subbed with an injured thumb after over-practising his Cyrillic handwriting, Nipuna was dealt a savage blow to the arm, forcing him off, and Ed Bottomley’s ankle finally succumbed to the savage beating he was given by the Cindies bouncers that Wednesday. This slew of injuries resulted in a frenetic end to the game, but the blues saw off the match and were able to toast Christmas dinner in with three hard earned and valuable points.
The Blues lost again.
The day began, as is tradition, in the middle of the night, at which point I was asleep. Some hours later, I was still asleep, but a few hours after that I woke up and after a few minutes got out of bed. I packed my things then had just enough time to make a coffee and eat some cereal and drink the coffee I had made and then set off for Wilberforce Road. This week we were playing away at Dereham, who do not play at Wilberforce, but we were meeting there anyway to get picked up by the guys who were driving. Soon we were on the road.
I was in a car with Matty Cockril and Lewis Totton and TC Jackson (driving). We discussed a wide range of topics. Top of the pile was our potential difficulties in midfield; both Kieran Gilmore Sports and Matthew Apple Strudel had picked up knocks during the week and were potentially unable to play. This would stretch the squad thin, so we were concerned. Next we focussed on the opposition. We filled in Matthue about the fixture last year as he had been dropped at the time. We expected them to sit back and attack on the break, exactly the type of team we had struggled against in previous weeks. More cause for concern. Finally, we had a fascinating update on TC and Cotton’s grapples with the Russian language – apparently it’s tricky to pick up. Lewis explained how the Modern and Ancient Languages course is structured – I didn’t pay attention. As we drove deeper into the East Anglian countryside the lack of civilisation and mobile phone reception caused the boys to ask things like “where are we” and “what is this place” etc. etc. so I reminded them we were on the road from Cambridge, where we live, to Dereham, where we were scheduled to play a game of field hockey later in the afternoon.
Eventually we made it to the pitch, which greeted me with a wave of nostalgia. First I noticed an enormous cockerel, and behind Matthew on the clubhouse was a large chicken motif – the home team’s logo. The pitch looked quite nice, which was surprising as we remembered it being quite bad for playing hockey on. Then we remembered that last year we thought it looked quite nice but then realised after playing on it that it was quite bad, which explained everything. We headed inside to the changing room, in which there was plenty of space once people moved their bags from the bench onto the floor. We knocked around for a bit until it was time for Tommy to deliver the team talk. This week Charlie was away so it was all down to Tom, but luckily Charlie had written down what he would have said so it didn’t make much difference. Tom said that Charlie had told him to say that he had been pleased with our week’s training, but stressed the importance of transferring this into games, so we all agreed to take the warm up particularly seriously this week in order to switch on nice and early. He also said some other things which I don’t recall. After the team talk we had some time to mess around before it was time to go and warm up.
Luckily Dereham’s second beach I mean pitch was free so we went on there to jog around a bit and then run a bit faster. Pymo looked ok but Kieran wasn’t moving very well so I suspected he wouldn’t be able to play his usual high paced game. As we did some stretching we all made an effort to get properly focussed for the game ahead. We did some sprints and then had a little huddle where we reminded each other to really really concentrate on playing well in the upcoming hockey match. We went inside to get organised until the game before us finished and we finally got on the pitch.
Once on the pitch it became clear that we had remembered correctly and that this pitch was not very good for playing hockey on despite looking ok. Looks can be deceiving I guess! Don’t judge a book but its cover eh! It was slow and quite bobbly and also frozen near the edge where it had been in shade all morning. We passed the ball around and then Timmy and I practised flicking the ball in the goal. Kieran Gilmore reckoned he had the whole flicking the ball at knee height three metres wide thing sorted out and didn’t bother to practise. Then we went into a shot box while the back four passed it around and then we all did 2 vs. 1s and 3 vs. 2s and then we were ready to begin this hockey match.
From the off they weren’t exactly what we’d expected. They pressed very high, looking to split our back four and cramp us in our bottom left corner. This caused us some difficulty to begin with but we soon got it figured out and started making use of the space they left us in behind. Short passes into midfield and some cheeky short aerials got us plenty of ball up their end. However, as had been the case for a few weeks now, we struggled to convert this into clear cut chances and goals. At the other end, their main threat came on the break. During one attack, the ball hit my foot as I was turning round and the umpire gave a short corner even though I was outside the D and hadn’t done it deliberately so I shouted “no!” and the umpire clearly didn’t hear me as he shouted “yes!” so I kept shouting “no!” but he didn’t seem to get the message. Luckily they didn’t score, but not long later another break away saw one of their forwards wobble through our scrabbling defence and get a hit through the other Fergus in goals. Oh dear. We went into the break at 1-0 down.
We had a little chat in the dugout about how we could potentially improve and decided the key was to be much better at hockey than we had been so far.
The second half continued much like the first. As time went on they got tired and the spaces opened up even more, but our continued inability to convert resulted in frustration and more and more errors. I played some pretty nice balls from right half through the inside channel to forwards posting up to the top of the D but even this wasn’t enough. Kieran Gilmore did his best bless him but lacked that killer change of pace we all know and love. At one point the umpire gave a stick tackle against me which was in fact a stick block which made me quite cross. He later implied, in conversation with some spectators on the side line, that he was a line judge at Wimbledon, throwing my previous respect for the profession down the drain. Time ticked away and eventually it was all over and we had lost the game.
Dejected, we gathered outside the pitch for some soul searching. Thomas Jack in the Boxson said he thought we were going about things the right way but we just needed to be more confident and much more clinical up top and that he believed it would come if we keep working hard. Then he opened up the floor for more discussion. Kieran Gilmore said he had something to say which was he was upset with how we shout at umpires too much because it means we don’t set up quickly enough our get caught on the break and also because umpires don’t like us anymore because we are too mean to them. I was worried that this was partly directed at me but then I remembered that I did most of my shouting at the umpire when he had given at short corner against me and so play had stopped. This is of course a period of the game when it is important to get some shouting at the umpires in while the opposition can’t hit us on the break. The other Fergus said we can’t just expect our season to turn around round baby right round like a record baby right round round round we have to take the responsibility to make it happen, so we all agreed to really really really focus the next time on playing hockey really well so that our season might turn around like an infant LP.
We returned to the changing room, where there was still plenty space once people moved their bags from the benches onto the floor or even onto the handy shelf above the central bench. We took turns to run the famous Dereham shower gauntlet, except Robin Red Breast who had a toe to match his red breast i.e. his toe was bleeding after being hit during the game so getting undressed was tricky and he just showered his toe. Kieran Gilmore stole my towel which was pretty bloody funny but meant I was wet and naked for a while so in retaliation I stole his tie which was convenient as I had also forgotten my tie. However the joke was on me in the end as Kieran Gilmore’s tie has a distinctive pen mark so he was able to identify and reclaim his tie before fines took place.
Once we were all clean we headed upstairs for some teas. We were served lasagne which Kieran Gilmore was able to finish in two bites. After exchanging some tedious banter with the umpires we decided to make a quick exit to leave time for a McDonald’s on the way home. I was in a car with Loulou Totts and Matt Cocky and Garmin J Jackson (driving) again and we discussed what had gone wrong at great length. We concluded that next time we should all try really hard to be better at hockey than we had been in previous weeks and that if we achieved that we would surely win loads of hockey games. After what felt like a century we finally overtook Webbo on the outskirts of Dereham and started making some progress on the road to McDonald’s.
As we approached thoughts turned to our potential orders. Lots of people are fans of the wrap of the day deal however I tend to find it is not quite big enough so I wanted something more substantial. However I was indecisive and when it came to ordering I panicked and got a McChicken sandwich which was a bit dull but still satisfying along with my free cheeseburger which I get for being a student. We voted for MoM and DoD: the other Fergus got MoM (well done other Fergus) and I got DoD, mainly thanks to some aggressive campaigning by Mr. Dr. Richard Hesketh who liked my previous match report and didn’t like my facial hair. We decided to do some e-fines to save more time so ate quickly then got back in the cars and started driving again. E-fines didn’t really kick off like it did on the way back from Havering last year which was a shame as it had been good fun that time but this time it really dragged on a bit, maybe because none of us were really in the mood having lost the game whereas away at Havering last year we won comfortably despite goalkeeper Samuel Books forgetting his pads. Eventually we made it back to Wilberforce Road and our day had gone full circle. We all agreed to go to Hawks and drink loads of beers at 7pm and in the meantime went to our respective homes and drop off our things and in my case shave. I also had a nice cup of coffee to perk me up ahead of the night’s activities.
At about 6:55pm I set off for Hawks with a bag of match boxes I had found in my drawer. When I got there I ordered the first of many pints of lager and also a brownie as I suspected the two bites of lasagne and the McDonald’s I had had would not be sufficient to sustain me through this massive night out. It was a great turn out with Kieran Gilmore and Matty Coq au Vin both present. A steak and ale pie also appeared although no one had ordered one (it’s not even on the menu). We got going with box which is of course originally an OUHC game but no one minds because it is the best game ever invented. The pie wasn’t feeling well and was rubbish at box so drank loads of water. The other Fergus and Tommy Chute also arrived and drank lots of beer and soda and lime respectively. After some time we decided we’d better escalate so headed back to 22A Portugal Place for some popcorn. Peter Arge was also there as it is his home. We watched some UFC where a man from Scotland won (obviously) and then watched some Match of the Day where some teams played football. We also discussed our season at great length and concluded we should (a) be better at hockey, (b) drink more beers and (c) eat pasta in Hawks more as we didn’t lose a single game after eating pasta in hawks last year (including Varsity oi ooiii).
At midnight it was clear this mad one was winding down so Matt and Kieran and Peter and Thomas and the other Fergus went to bed and I went to meet my friends at the Pitt to do some cocaine.
MoM: Fergus Flanagan – reason unclear.
DoD: Fergus McNab – Richard Hesketh’s whimsy.
Feargal McDab ran round the lamppost but still nearly got DoD. In the hockey we drew 2-2.
MoM: Nipuna Senaratne / Matt Cockerill
DoD: Matt Cockerill
A disastrous result epitomises the team’s season so far, leaving captain TJ J. ‘Jacamo’ Jackson speechless and forcing VC Howard ‘Christopher’ Webbo to move the meet time for training back a full five minutes.
After a busy week with a lingering cold, my day began with a much needed lie in. Luckily, the game’s push-back time was the latest ever recorded in the East League (3pm) so I had plenty time. Once up, I still felt a bit funny, but it was nothing a cup of strong black coffee and a breakfast of eggs, toast, spinach, mushrooms and toast couldn’t fix. Fully refreshed, I hit the town to pick up a birthday present for a friend then made my way to Wilberforce Road, as we were playing an away game against Cambridge City who share the Wilberforce Road pitch with us, and hence this away game was at our home ground.
I was a full £5 early, which was nice because normally I am late so arrive in a rush but this time I was quite relaxed. The Women’s Blues had a home game and so were playing at the same ground as us, despite our game being strictly speaking an away game. The opposition was Holcombe 1A who wear red like Cambridge City but do not play their home matches at Wilberforce Road (for them, this was an away game). Luckily, the boys had a secured a great spot on the side-line between a dug out and a goal, so I had a great view of a dug out and goal. After a while Thomas T. McJack (C) said it was time to go and discuss our game, so we went back to the pavilion. On the whiteboard we were assigned changing room 3, a right usually reserved for the home team, but it is much better than changing room 6 so we were not complaining. We dumped our bags then went upstairs to the meeting room. From the meeting room we had a good view of the hockey being played by the girls but I could no longer see the dug out or goal particularly clearly, so focussed on consuming my glass of water with the correct hand under the careful scrutiny of Matthew Pieface.
Soon, Coach Charlie Bannister arrived for the briefing. He said, “you’ll make it work, ok, aiiight”, with which we agreed. Skipper T. Homas Jaquesson J. announced the starting line-up, which included me at left half (nice) since Mr. Dr. Richard Hesketh was away on holiday with newly appointed Mrs. Dr. Richard Hesketh in the City of London. We still had plenty time so I spent a while craning my neck for a view of the dug and out and the goal, but there was too much hockey going on in the way. Toj pointed out I only had 25 minutes to get changed before the warm up, so I rushed downstairs to put my kit on, eventually making it outside with just 20 minutes to spare. At this stage there was confusion as Cambridge City, the official home team despite the ground being home to both teams in action at 3pm, had taken the unofficial home dressing room (men’s changing room 3) despite the whiteboard’s clear instructions. As gentlemen, and for fear of confrontation, we agreed to move into the smaller changing room 6. I reminisced about my previous time in changing room 6, when, back in my Oxf*rd days, the Occsasionals won Varsity for the first time in 9 years, but the rest of the boys didn’t seem that bothered so I didn’t tell them much about it.
Next we started warming up. It was so late in the day that all the athletics people had left and the track was free, but we went running out along the cycle track anyway. We ran as far as a specific lamp post, but I turned round a couple of metres before it, costing the team 1% and earning me DoD. Back on the track, we did lots of thrusting and lunging and such like and jogged up and down a bit then ran a bit faster then were ready for the start of the game. In the distance we spotted General Baz – this was in fact the second time I had spotted General Baz in a week, as for some reason he had attended my talk to Shell executives on Thursday afternoon in St. Catherine’s College. I hoped to at some point discuss my work on dynamic topography and landscape evolution with him, as well as some of the other fascinating talks that had been given in the session (e.g. what is the best way to paint an oil rig? why do drills vibrate when you drill a rock?) but sadly he spent most of the game in a deep centre half role rather than in the forward line, so I didn’t get the chance.
Eventually the girls finished and we got on the pitch. There was more home team / away team confusion in determining which dug out to use – in the end, as the official away team, we used the far dug out, which is normally used by either the home or away team (in this case the away team, us). We passed the ball around for a bit then Jacko J. T. Thomson and I practised flicking the ball at the goal, while Kieran Gilmore practised flicking the ball three metres wide at knee height. Then after a few minutes practising mugging off defenders in overload situations we were ready to start.
The game began, a little behind schedule. We started with a positive campaign, spreading a message of equality and prosperity; an economy that works for all, not just the few I mean we dominated possession and looked the most threatening. Meanwhile Cambridge City resorted to scaremongering and populist rhetoric, appealing to those who felt left behind by the metropolitan elite but offering no real solutions I mean they struggled with our intensity and looked vulnerable on their outlet.[ yeah yeah we’re clinton they’re trump, yeah that means we’re going lose at the end, oh ]
The back four pounced on their derogatory comments about women and ethnic minorities I mean stepped in front of the Cambridge City forwards well, giving them little opportunity to build sustained pressure. Matthew Cock bravely pointed out their lack of experience in government or foreign policy I mean stepped through from full back and broke lines with some great long range hitting. Kieran Gilmore’s skills were excellent. Feeling confident, we quickly moved on to a ‘get out the vote’ platform, enlisting the help of countless celebrities to encourage as much early voting as possible while the going was good, I mean Huge Judge bundled one in from close range and Edward Botters tidily deflected a crisp cross from resident arachnid Charlotte.
At the half way stage, then, we were 2-0 up. If hockey matches lasted 35 minutes, half time would be called full time and we would have won the game. However, hockey games in fact consist of two halfs of 35 minutes, of which we had only completed one, and so with results still to come from key swing states, it was still too close to call I mean it was still possible we could lose this game of hockey. Charlie and Goodnight Mister TJ said as much and we headed back out there.
The atmosphere at the start of the second half was noticeably different. Noisy Cambridge City supporters assembled on the balcony, threatening violence and bullying the umpires into investigating our use of a private email server while secretary of state I mean we started giving away loads of fouls in the D. The confidence that had characterised the first half of our campaign vanished, and we were on the defensive, I mean the confidence that had characterised our first half performance vanished, and we were on the defensive. Cambridge City forced home the corruption message and the pollsters had us back on even terms I mean they eventually broke us down via a back post deflection and a broken down penalty corner and the score was 2-2.
Eventually the umpires cleared us of any wrong doing but said our handling of classified information on a private email server was negligent I mean we got a bit better but nowhere near the dizzy heights of the first half. As the race reached its closing stages, both camps began an intense schedule of events, trying to hit as many battleground states as possible before election day I mean the match became frantic as both teams searched for a winner before the final whistle. At the death, the umpires announced the devastating news that new emails had been discovered and the investigation was to be reopened I mean Louis tackled some bloke with his glove and the umpire thought it hit his foot or he played straight of the back or actually neither of things and gave a short corner. Although we were eventually cleared of any wrongdoing once again, the seed had been planted in the voters’ minds and it was too late to recover I mean they scored the shortie with a slip to the left and slap into the bottom right corner and took a 3-2 lead.
Surely this can’t be happening, we thought. Cambridge City are hypocritical, bigoted idiots who are in no way qualified to lead this country I mean we were much better than them in first half. But it was happening. City nudged Florida and Pennsylvania, ran us close in Virginia, smashed Ohio and there was no way back I mean they ran down the clock effectively and we were unable to create any more chances. The final whistle blew to the cheers of blue collar workers across the Midwest I mean members of the engineering faculty on the balcony, after a game that officially consisted of two halfs, like all hockey games.
And thus, the world ended.
Oh no wait, it didn’t.
Dejected, we gathered around the away home team dug out, of which I finally got a good front on view. Charlie was pragmatic. Tij had nothing more to say, an odd choice of words as he hadn’t said anything yet. We made our way back over to changing room 6, at which point I had to shoot off as I was going to see some music and London’s Roundhouse (sadly I did not run into Mr. and Mrs. Dr. Richard Hesketh). Luckily this away game was in fact at our home pitch, which is close to my house, so I was able to quickly dump my things and catch a train, making it to the Big Smoky Apple in plenty time. I was sad though to miss out on another shower in changing room 6, the scene of some unspeakable occurrences after the Occ*sion*ls 2015 Varsity win (i.e. consumption of shandies), and was unable to defend myself at the DoD impeachment. I assume the boys had a small but tasty hot snack and threw around some classic chat at fines before going home to drink loads of beers.
Bring on four years’ time I mean next week, when the lads play at home in a home game against Bedford, for whom it is officially and practically speaking an away game.
I write this late on Wednesday night. It has been a tumultuous week. Members of Parliament and so called ‘journalists’ continue to attack our good old british, sovereign, independent high court judges for coming to a conclusion based on rational analysis of good old british laws, in a deeply troubling attack on our democracy. Donald Trump has just become president-elect of the USA in a landslide, after running a campaign centred on fear, intolerance and untruths. We just lost 2-0 away to King’s College London.
It is easy to get carried away by one’s emotions. It is always worth taking some time to reflect, consider what is truly important in life – what really matters – and get some perspective. In the days following the weekend’s result I have tried to do this, and I honestly can’t understand what everyone is moaning about. Yes, the very tenets of British society are now coming under fire. Yes, America will soon be run by a man who thinks ‘braggadocious’ is a real word. But, really, does any of that compare to being stuck in relegation battles in both Wednesday and Saturday leagues? I think not. Is it really as bad as a looming Varsity match against a strengthened Oxf*rd team with momentum on their side? Come on. What about a defeat to bottom of the league King’s College London? Grow up. Try losing 3-2 after being 2-0 up against Cambridge City, world, then you’ll know what a real disaster looks like.
MoM: Louis Totton
DoD: Fergus McNab
Rather than provide a match report, instead we we will analyse the performances of a few of the Men’s Blues newest Stars.
The squad arrived early in anticipation of the huge events that were to come. Matthew forgot what kit the side were supposed to be wearing, so after a long trip back to his room, he eventually arrived in the correct attire. Thankfully he arrived back in time for the start of the warm up.
First under the scrutiny of the senior players is new captain Tom Jackson. Overall Tom’s performance was pretty middle of the road. The intense lighting seemed to have given Tom a rather Orangey glow, something that previous MOM Ed Bottomley could only dream of. Tom played well enough to avoid the bottom placings, but, despite his previous experience, struggled to keep up with some of the other performers on the day.
Next up was goalkeeper Fergus Flanagan. Ferg had a bit of a tough day. His slight lateness seemed to get to his head and he struggled to really engage with the rest of the side. His vocals weren’t quite there, meaning communication with his front row was tough. A day to forget for the big keeper.
Next up, the miracle recoveries of the injured Duckworth and Rudd. Duckworth wrapped up his short stint in the game well with a flourishing end, while Henry also impressed with his performance. Half time came and it was safe to say that while there had been some good first half performances, the best was yet to come.
After the half time break, the players really got going. Silly fresher Totton struggled to keep his footwork in check on the moist playing surface and as a result cards were shown. The Umpires wanted to pass on a final warning to the players wearing 4,5, 3,4,5, and 1,2, as well as the Harleston Mambo’s number 5. Later on in the game Dudgeon’s agility around the pitch left the defenders looking like Cruise ships. His Titanic performance was only bettered by goalscorer Pyman who came into his own with about 10 minutes to go. With much anticipation as to how he would perform in is new role, He delivered a stand out performance which had the crowds raving.
While it was clear who would win the contest, the last five minutes were very entertaining with Robin Watts delivering a great last stint to see the crowds rise onto their feet. You could tell that the game had taken its toll on him as he wasn’t quite his normal self but he still managed to pull it together and wow the crowds.
The seniors spent a good half an hour deciding who they thought should get the MVP prize. Tradition was continued with Fergus coming last in the rankings, and Pyman was determined the winner just ahead of Dooj. Overall a very entertaining spectacle.
Oh, and in the hockey, Harleston 5-1 Cambridge
Dod: Matthew Kelly (Web)
On Saturday the Men’s Blues hosted Chelmsford Hockey Club, hoping to kickstart what had so far been a slow start to the season. We started off positively, but with both sides having their fair share of chances. We eventually scored our first and from then on increased our dominance on the game. Goals were scored by McNab, Gilmore, Webster and Dudgeon, with the pick of them being Dudgeon’s second, a deft touch to deceive the diving keeper. The game therefore finished 5-0 in our favour. We look forward to travelling to Harleston Magpies next weekend.
MoM: Ben Dudgeon
DoD: Louis Totton
No match report.
Peter went to south america and got a stupid earing. It looks terrible and everyone wants it to go. H
e’s not taking it out so rightly deserves dod. Everyone dod peter next week.
We played really well and won our first game of the season. Well done boys.
Mom – TJ
Dod – Kieran Gilmore
Last weekend the Blues were away at Saffron Walden. The pace of the game was slowed down by the sand based astro of Saffron Walden, which had a close resemblance to a beach. The game started with both teams experiencing pressure at times, ending in Saffron Walden getting awarded a penalty corner which they scored with a drag flick. This gave Saffron Walden a 1 goal lead but was shortly followed by a fluid set of passes ending in a slice off Henry Rudd through a gap and a shot through the keeper’s legs by yours truly. The umpires weren’t afraid to give cards so both teams experienced periods of the game when they went down to 10 men. 2 more goals from Henry Rudd and Kieran Gilmore weren’t enough to hold off Saffron Walden who took the victory 5-3.
Mom: Henry Rudd
After a very eventful and frankly knackering 5 days in Newcastle (one comfortable win, a hard fought draw and a thumping at the hands of a strong Durham side) the men’s blues had their first Wilby game of the league, against Old Loughts.
The pace was high from the start, as we looked to assert our dominance at the fortress. An early goal from TJ and a wonder deflection from Bottomley gave us the lead, but 2 penalty flicks and a counter attack goal let them back into the game.
Tired legs showed near the end of the game, as we were unable to grab an equaliser, but the performance was much improved and looks promising for the rest of the season.
MoM: Ed Bottomley
DoD: Hugh Judge
|Date||Match type||Opposition||Venue||PB Time||Score|
|19/09/15||League||St. Albans 1||A||1500||L 0-2|
|26/09/15||League||Wapping 1||H||1330||L 1-5|
|27/09/15||Cup||Blueharts 1||A||1530||W 3-2|
|03/10/15||League||Old Loughts 1||A||1600||L 1-2|
|10/10/15||League||Chelmsford 1||H||1330||W 3-0|
|14/10/15||BUCS League||Cardiff University 1||H||1500||L 1-3|
|17/10/15||League||City of Peterborough 1||A||1300||L 2-3|
|21/10/15||BUCS League||Kings College London 1||A||1700||W 3-1|
|24/10/15||League||Cambridge City 2||A||1200||D 0-0|
|01/11/15||Cup||Guildford 1||A||1400||W 2-1|
|04/11/15||BUCS League||Reading University 1||A||1600||L 0-2|
|07/11/15||League||Bedford 1||A||1445||L 2-5|
|08/11/15||League||St. Albans 1||H||1200||L 1-2|
|11/11/15||BUCS League||Sussex University 1||H||1500||W 12-0|
|14/11/15||League||Dereham 1||H||1330||L 1-2|
|15/11/15||Cup||Havant 1||H||1330||L 1-3|
|18/11/15||BUCS League||University of Exeter 2||A||1500||W 2-1|
|21/11/15||League||Havering 1||A||1300||W 7-1|
|25/11/15||BUCS Cup||University of Lancaster 1||H||1500||W 8-1|
|28/11/15||League||Ipswich 1||H||1330||W 3-1|
|02/12/15||BUCS League||Cardiff University 1||A||1600||W 4-1|
|09/01/16||League||Wapping 1||A||1230||L 2-4|
|23/01/16||League||Chelmsford 1||A||1400||L 2-3|
|27/01/15||BUCS League||King's College London 1||H||1500||W 4-3|
|30/01/16||League||City of Peterborough 1||H||1330||W 2-0|
|03/02/16||BUCS League||Reading University 1||A||1300||L 2-4|
|06/02/16||League||Cambridge City 2||H||1330||W 4-0|
|10/02/16||BUCS League||Sussex University 1||A||1530||W 9-2|
|13/02/16||League||Blueharts 1||A||1300||W 4-0|
|17/02/16||BUCS Cup||Edinburgh University 1||A||1445||L 3-4|
|20/02/16||League||Old Loughts||H||1330||W 4-3|
|27/02/16||League||Bedford 1||H||1330||W 4-2|
|06/03/16||VARSITY||Oxf*rd||Southgate HC||1530||W 2-1|
|09/03/16||BUCS League||Exeter University 2||H||1700||W 2-1|
|12/03/16||League||Havering 1||H||1330||W 8-1|
|19/03/16||League||Ipswich 1||A||1230||W 5-2|
We won 4-2.
MOM Sam Brooks
DOD Sam Brooks
Coming off the back of a hot streak, including victories against Exeter Uni, Havering, and Lancaster, and with Sally there once more to help us through the warm up, the blues were feeling confident going into their six pointer against Ipswich at Wilberforce Road.
The opening exchanges were very cagey as both teams attempted to gain a foothold in the match but one came Cambridge’s way quite early as a deflected ball ended up with Monty Fynn a couple of yards out, who slotted past the keeper to make it 1-0. Ipswich tended to sit back and absorb pressure, with the hope of springing a counter attack through the distribution of their much-discussed centre-back, though in practice they rarely threatened the Cambridge goal.
The second half went much the same way as the first, with Cambridge having more of the play; Jamie Bristow found Tim Swinn in the circle for a deflection to make it 2-0, before a well executed corner left the keeper with no chance as Thomas Jackson Jackson put it top-bin. 3-0 deals.
Pushing for more goals, Cambridge left a little too much space at the back, and Ipswich pulled one back on the counter, although this turned out to be little more than a consolation.
Scorers: Fynn, Swinn, Jackson.
The scene was set for a great game of college hockey, and the boys were raring to go. Girton had put out a strong team, but we knew they would be no match for us Emma lads. After a tense start, we managed to grab an opener after Deano got on the end of a cross from Kev in the 17th minute. Tommo flicked home a corner just before half-time, leaving us 2-0 up at the break. Girton came right in our face in the second half, and scored a scrappy goal in the 43rd. However, we dug deep and managed to hang on, even though we were pretty poor going forward. We were so gassed after the game and wanted to start celebrating straight away. We told Jacko to just chuck the keeper kit in the clubhouse – the lad who let us borrow it will find it all for sure. Anyway great game and bring on the semi final!
After a short period of panic surrounding transport and a racist slur from a certain android, the blues headed to Peterborough hoping to capitalise on the win against Chelmsford the previous weekend.
As always at Peterborough the pitch took some getting used to and the Blues got away to a slow start, conceding early in the first half through a short corner. The Blues midfield had their work cut out to quash the effect of Peterborough’s handy players in the middle of the park, but later in the half the momentum started to swing in the favour of the Blues with a sustained period of pressure that resulted in a short corner. Thomas Jackson converted to bring the game all square.
The game had a much more even feel after the equaliser; both teams exchanged blows but were not able to find the killer pass in the final third. Stout defending from both back fours held the game at 1-1.
A turnover, foul and quick pass allowed Peterborough to break a line and punch towards Brooks in net. Some hasty defending prevented them from scoring, but at short was given. Brooks saved their flick from the top, but the rebound fell invitingly and it was slotted past a recovering keeper. Peterborough led 2-1 heading into the final 15 mins of the game. Rallied by some excellent defending and commitment after the restart the Blues fought hard for a possession and won a short corner with 10 mins to go. The simplest of routines and the Boys were back level through Johnny SS.
Buoyed by the leveller, the Blues went hunting from the restart looking for the winner, for the next 5 mins or so it looked like they might find it too, before a turnover and a quick breakaway allowed the opposition to break through the Cambridge defence. The ball was taken down the baseline and passed to an unmarked player a few meters from goal. He couldn’t miss from there, and he didn’t.
Peterborough led 3-2 with 2 mins remaining; the Blues didn’t let their heads drop but there just wasn’t time for them to reply.
Coming off the back of a well fought loss at Old Loughts, the Blues were pleased to find themselves back at the fortress of Wilberforce Rd defending against Chelmsford.
Looking for their first league win of the season the Blues came hard all over Chelmsford from the start. The first half consisted of deep penetrations all over the Chelmsford circle, punctuated only by a few counter-attacks that were swiftly dealt with by the Fort Knox duo of Joe Rich and Geoffroy Dolphin.
Soon the penetration turned into points when Cambridge’s Northern Powerhouse Johnny S-S sent a cracking ball into the top pins of the Chelmsford net. There was little respite before Thomas Jackson Jackson, showing affinity with his England Hockey namesake, sent the keeper the wrong way with a devastatingly deceptive dragflick: goaltime.
An inspiring half time team talk from the Chosen one, sent an inspired Blues team rearing into the second half. Before too long Thomas Jackson Jackson was capering into the circle looking for his second, a bobbling shot beat the keeper only for the sliding ginger blur of Edward Bottemley to put a shameless touch on the ball as it rolled onto the backboard.
The score was 3-0 and Cambridge were victorious.
DOD: Monty Fynn
MOM: Geoffrey Dolphin
Following an undefeated tour to Edinburgh, which included an impressive 1-1 draw with Edinburgh Uni 1s, Cambridge Uni came back to Prem A with high hopes of registering their first points of the season at Wilberforce road. However Wapping proved to be formidable opponents, having came second in the previous campaign. Cambridge started brightly and pressed the Wapping backline effectively which allowed us to get the edge in possession and create a few chances in the first half. However Wapping robbed us of the ball in the centre back position and their centre forward was able to score a slightly fortuitous chip over Sam Brooks in goal to open up a 1-0 lead. Despite this setback Cambridge continued to press well and play strong attacking play through the midfield and frontline which led to a short corner which was fired in by Tim Swinn with an accurate drag flick to the keeper’s right. The half ended at 1-1 with the game hanging in the balance with both teams believing they had a good chance of taking all three points. Cambridge restarted the half strongly but Wapping were eventually able to gain the upper hand with an effective press and strong defending. They were then able to extend their lead with a barrage of excellent attacking play that allowed them to create a 5-1 lead which they were able to hold despite a strong Cambridge resurgence in the final 10 minutes. This was a disappointing result but the Blues have the perfect opportunity to bounce back in a cup match against Blue Harts the next day.
The Blues started their Prem A campaign with a tough away game against St Albans, who finished only one position behind them in the last campaign. There was cause for optimism going into this match coming off the back of an undefeated preseason campaign. This good early form translated into good attacking patterns and defensive shape that allowed the blues to regularly find their way into and past the Albans defence. However the early season rustiness meant that we were unable to translate dominant spells of possession into clear cut chances, and sloppy passing and defending eventually handed St Albans a short corner which they dispatched for a 1-0 lead. Despite a strong fight back in the second half we were still unable to carve out good chances and were wasteful with many short corner attacks. St Albans however clinically dispatched one of their rare chances from a short corner and claimed a 2-0 lead. We were then hit by a series of sin bins which made a comeback hard to achieve and the score eventually ended 2-0 to St Albans. This was a disappointing score line that flattered the hosts but a promising start to the campaign with a team with plenty of promise for the rest of the season.
The match started at a furious pace with Wapping putting the light blue visitors under huge amounts of pressure from the off. Sam Brooks tried his best to keep Cambridge in the game but the strong looking Wapping outfit started to pull away and developed an early lead. It was left for Will Cairns to take control of the situation and a strong leg reduced the gap between the two teams. However, the next ten seconds proved disastrous for the away side. Returning blue Joe Rich, self electing himself back into the team failed to live up to the levels of chat he had delivered pregame and Wapping stormed into a seemingly unrecoverable lead. A desperate fourth leg from Johnny Staunton-Sykes was only delaying the inevitable conclusion to the game. Only a complete meltdown from the home side who had looked so strong throughout the whole match would give Cambridge a chance of taking anything away from the encounter.
The meltdown came from Wapping forward Felix Styles. An attempt to get one up on his former teammates ended horribly and anchor Matthew Knox stormed past a struggling Styles to win the game for Cambridge.
The men’s blues were looking forward to completing a match after two previous matches being called off during play. After a fortunate escape from a mid week house fire inferno, which was bravely extinguished by Johno Cobbold, the Blues travelled to Harleston to take on top of the table Magpies. The team was amping throughout the warm up for what was to be the biggest match yet of the season.
However the first half resulted in a quick 2 goals to the opposing Magpies. However we all know CUHC never loses second halves.
A raised intensity in the second half saw many attacking opportunities, with Gilmore making many penetrations after some off-field training in a team mate’s bed. After releasing his first album under the newly formed CUHC label, Pat Knot gave the opposition a lot to clean up with a hard knock attack. The opposition were collecting goal line saves like magpies to shiney metal objects. A bullet drag flick from a T Swinn spin and W Cairns d flick was saved at shoulder height on the goal line by one Magpie defender. The corners kept coming in but with no result.
Unfortunately CUHC was reduced to 10 men, with captain Wes sent off for dreaming of his uptown girl. However when the team regained full strength with 15 min to go, there was a frantic sense of urgency. Captain Howell made some scintillating runs down the wing to beat the goalie multiple times, again to be undone by goal line saves from the defenders.
At the end of the day, 8 penalty corners to CUHC resulted in 0 goals. Despite all the pressure, the magpies retained the clean sheet, leaving CUHC the challenge of lifting their game in preparation for next year’s rematch.
Final result: CUHC 0 – Magpies 2
MOM: Johnny S-S
DOD: Alex Kendall
On what started out as a bright and breezy day the Blues travelled to Wisbech. After a promising start to the season the Blues were experiencing a slight lull in results and with the return of fresher Girtonian Chris Webster, they were keen to reignite their season with a strong victory.
Things didn’t get off to a smooth start, however, Johnny S-S forgot his post-match kit after spending the entire morning comforting Shalo after his recent heartache. Word on the street has it that she told him that she wished he was more like ‘Jamie Bristowe’. After much coaxing, Shalo made it to Wisbech but he was visibly distressed. He could be heard saying that he ‘hates CUHC’ and likes ‘dark blue’, unsurprisingly Shalo was put on the naughty bench to contemplate his words.
On the pitch, the Blues started brightly despite this being their Beach Hockey debut. A Will Cairns drag from an early short corner was helped across the line by the back stick of the injector. A short period of sloppy play followed, and Wisbeach equalized mid-way through the first half through a counter attack from their handy left forward. Understandably upset at the effect this would have on fantasy points one of the defenders then flung a drag home after a rapid injection from Alex Kendall at the next short corner.
The Blues entered the break leading 2-1, but the game was not won, especially after drawing 2-2 the week before from the same position. After some vital direction from Coach Charlie the Blues showed their class in the second half, dominating possession and creating all the hockey. Goals from two of the forwards appeared the take the game out of reach of a tiring Wisbech, but in a cruel twist, the heavens opened and the pitch suffered badly. On the side line the opposition were found thanking Mother Nature for their new water based playing surface, but on the pitch the Lifeguards called time after a player swam 6 yards of the pitch with the ball unseen, and continued playing.
The lifeguards thus decided to abandon the game with the Blues 4-1 up and dominating with only 11 minutes left to play. After clarification of the rules, a rematch will be played later in the year.
MoM – Johnny Staunton-Sykes
DoD – Johnny Staunton-Sykes
Game was delayed by over an hour due to a serious injury in the previous game and this showed itself in a slow start by both teams, the game not really settling. Wes Howell opened the scoring with a neat deflection from a Will Cairns assist. After this Dereham created several chances, attacking with purpose and pace. A string of short corners were saved by Sam Brooks in the Cambridge goal before eventually one save fell to a Dereham striker and the rebound was slotted home.
After this, a slow period entailed with neither team being able to create chances. However, after a fortunate set of deflections, Johnny Staunton-Sykes netted a neat backhand finish to once again put the light blues ahead.
In the second half, Dereham had the better part of the opening encounters with another breakaway leading to a short corner, finished into the bottom corner. With both teams now chasing the 3 points, the game opened up drastically. Both teams had chances but were unable to make the final chance count.
Both teams will walk away ruing what might have been but a draw on the day was most probably fair for a well-organised and drilled Dereham outfit and a slightly below par Cambridge performance.
A very excited Cambridge side travelled down to Kent to face Holcolme, a team sitting very comfortably at the top of Conference East and eyeing up European hockey next season. Even with several of their GB players being rested, Cambridge was still facing a team that had scored 58 and conceded just 5 in their last 8 games.
Watched on by a small host of international players the game started at an intensity to which the blues were not used to. Early Holcolme attacks were held back with centre backs Morris, Cobbold and Cairns making important tackles right from the off. However, Cambridge were caught out by the pace at which the game was being played at and clinical finishing from the home side saw three early goals go on the scoreboard. This seemed to be the wakeup call that the visiting team needed and strong leading upfront from strikers Swinn, Sykes, Bristow and Knox as well as good defensive midfield intensity from Kilbourn slowly started to drag Cambridge into the game. The blues were now looking like an outfit that would not go down without a fight and a host of D-penetrations led to several short corners being won and possibly a chance for Cambridge to get back into the game. However, some strong defending and smart goalkeeping kept the Holcolme goal protected and both sides went into halftime break with the score still at 3-0.
Cambridge came out with the intention of attacking early right from the off but were caught out by a quick Holcolme attack and went down to 4-0.
Again, this seemed to have to effect of raising the intensity of the light blues and strong bursting runs in midfield from Alex Kendall and Kieran Gilmore won more short corners, one of which was put in by Will Cairns after a scrap in the D. Cambridge continued to put the home side under pressure and half backs Mayes, Shale and Akyol had success linking up with the forwards with good distribution down the line. Eventually the sustained Cambridge pressure was rewarded with another goal, Giles Kilbourn with a tidy finish.
At 4-2 it looked like a huge upset could be on the cards but a lapse in concentration from the blues saw three goals in quick succession being very cooly put away by the Holcolme attack and smart saves from Sam Brooks in the Cambridge goal stopped several more. Cambridge fought back and applied pressure for the remainder of the game but there wasn’t enough time to convert any more of their chances.
Overall the blues were disappointed with the final score of 7-2, not a true reflection their performance but were pleased that they had put up a spirited performance against one of the strongest teams in the country.
MoM: Kieran Gilmore
DoD: Kieran Gilmore
Easily the most dreaded away fixture for the man with the one-pedal bike, the Men’s Blues headed to the Leys to face an in-form Cambridge City 2s.
“Straight off the hit-off, Matt Knox engaged the opposition. Clearly fired up at the prospect of facing his old team mates, his desire to win impressed an otherwise quiet Leys crowd, spurring into full song. Truly, Matt Know was a force to be reckoned with, scoring all three goals for Cambridge in the absence of anyone else on the team I know the name of.
The game quickly descended into a scrappy affair, old rivalries and bitter scores to settle. Oh yes, this was a derby fixture, and both teams were going for blood straight from the off. Despite the hard tackling and ferocious defending of the Cambridge side, it was the other Cambridge side that drew first blood, owing possibly to a lapse in concentration from the near-side linesman, allowing Matt Knox to fly through on goal and lash it in the top corner, offside notwithstanding.
City weren’t to be denied and after a fast start from the blues they took control of the game, passing the ball around quickly in a continental fashion that the blues have not been accustomed to and frankly had not expected from a local side. Their tiki-taka ripped through the heart of Matt Knox’s defence and the equaliser swiftly came.
Matt’s tactics were unravelling around him, and it was clear that changes needed to be made. He subbed off one of his team mates for a different, equally anonymous team mate and for a while this looked like stemming the flow of play through the centre. Nevertheless, Cambridge city broke through soon after, bring the score to 2-1 with the game in danger of turning into a rout. “
Half time came, and after some stern words from Bannister the Blues decided it was time to step up their game. A strong press coupled with better, two-touch hockey gave the deals the short corner they deserved which was calmly put away by Cairns.
Now, the men in Blue were on the front foot, raining attack after attack upon the city goal, but were denied by some fine saves by the former uni goalkeeper. Unfortunately for Morrison, he was eventually undone by a crshot in the dying seconds that perhaps even surprised the Swinnlion himself.
As the final whistle blew, a sigh of relief came over the uni camp as they maintained their superb league form and stayed comfortably in 2nd place. Superb result, beautiful weather and a celebratory mood was obviously the cue for a more relaxed dress style. Unfortunately, this fashion etiquette was not common knowledge in a team full of accountants and Pat found himself in a classic case of a subjugated minority.
(Many thanks for R. Crawford for an inspired middle section of this account and who never felt his report hampered by not actually being at the game.)
MoM – Tim Swinn
DoD – Matt Knox
The forecast for Saturday afternoon was grim, overcast with probable rain, but upon arrival the deals were greeted with clear skies and glorious sunshine, sadly that was the end of our luck. The blues put out a solid squad with a few new additions; fresher Chris Webster finally decided that Jamie Bristow’s chat was bearable and so made the switch from his old club and grad fresher Alex Kendall, despite being second choice on Wednesday night, was Howell’s first choice kiwi. We were however without Oli Shale, after being left out of all CUHC team sheets (on request) in preparation for one of the biggest games of his career.
A clash of college titans: Jesus 2s vs. Christs.
After an intense warm up the team took to the ‘new’ pitch and were soon joined by Coach Bannister, Bedford then made the walk down from pride rock and joined the university. The game soon got underway and fortunately this time Chopper managed to stay on long enough to mentally relive the previous nighT’s antics. The blues got off to a great start and after a spell of pressure, a chance presented itself to none other than 34 time selected fantasy legend, Wesley Sneijder. A great ball across the D from Jon Jon left Weslar with an empty net but unfortunately his stick just wasn’t long enough for him to finish, an uncommon problem for him. A second opportunity presented itself a few minutes later and a baseline run was neatly finished by Webster, only to be overturned by the umpires. The university continued to cause the Bedford defence problems but with no real outcomes. That was until around the 20 minute mark. A long corner combo of Arge to Wes left Maria with an absolute sitter. She must have been taking convertion lessons from Shalo as she then proceeded to sky the ball not just over the bar but the fence also. For a brief moment there was concern for the footballers behind the fence but it soon became apparent that the ball would clear their pitch too and they were in no real danger. The game began to open up and just before half time Bedford managed to turn the ball over in midfield and convert a 2 v 1 against Garth to even up the scoreline. There was nothing he could do, Mufasa was watching over his son. Just before halftime Bedford took one last opportunity to attack. A blistering run down the center of the pitch resulted in a foot just inside of the 25. A long corner was originally given but after a discussion the umpires decided to give a short. The fans were furious and Mrs Kilbourn had to be held back by Mr Bristow as she hurled abuse at the home fans. Luckily David was solid in nets once again and the teams went into half time still even.
After an intense chat the boys retook to the pitch rearing to go.
Playing some liquid hockey the blues began to really strain Bedford’s defence, and after some nice play down the left a short corner was won.
Moose showed that despite his kind being prey to killer whales, he was top dog in this arena and slotted a flick home nicely. The remainder of the game was fought out intensely and after a nervous few final minutes the deals managed to grind out a win. A tough match and a well deserved victory.
BARCLAYS EAST LEAGUE
Date: Saturday, 4th October
Kick off: 13:30
Venue: Wilberforce Road
By Garth Brooks, chief hockey writer
Chelmsford cemented their position at the top of the East League with a 1-0 win over Cambridge University, ending their 12 game winless streak against the Light Blues.
The old adversaries squared up in an ugly first-half moment when Cambridge manager Charlie Bannister shoved Mourinho in the chest in Chelmsford’s technical area after CJ Mayes’s challenge on Cambridge forward Jamie Bristow. A semblance of order was restored although the tension still resurfaced – but as so often, it was Mourinho who had the last word with a win that puts Chelmsford 3 points ahead of second-placed Manchester City.
MoM – Guy Morris
DoD – Sam Brooks
Full of confidence following an unbeaten start to the season, the Men’s Blues took to the road for a (not quite) pre-season tour of Leeds. Despite inauspicious beginnings, which involved a team member delaying departure for almost a full hour because he ‘forgot to take the washing out,’ captain Wes Howell remained confident of recording 3 wins from 3 against the formidable challenges represented by Leeds Met, Leeds Hockey Club and Leeds Uni.
Day two of the tour began with a session of team building courtesy of Tic-Toc Unlock, which provided a much enjoyed puzzle solving challenge that tested two of our three teams to the limit, finishing the challenge with 43 and 32 seconds of the hour given to spare respectively. This was followed by a hotly contested game of large scale chess, in which the tactical prowess of partners Edward Bottomley and Johnny Saunton-Sykes lured the unwitting Sam Brooks and Oli Shale into a humiliating stalemate, reinforcing Bottomley’s reputation as a connoisseur of the board gaming arts.
However, despite our new found spirit of cooperation and collaboration, we were unable to overcome a determined Leeds Met team, who eventually won 5-3. This match was played at a furious pace from the off, and goals and the overall lead were traded until the score settled for the largest proportion of the game at 4-3 to Cambridge. Lamentably we suffered from a lack of clinical finishing and ending up regretting missed chances as Leeds Met levelled and went ahead to cap a match of impressive quality and intensity. Goals in this match were courtesy of Howell (2) and Swinn.
Still reeling from our opening day defeat to Leeds Met, we travelled to Leeds Hockey Club determined to right the wrongs of the previous match. Unbeknownst to us, Leeds, due to the arrival of freshers’ week, were unable to field any youth players and thus fielded a slightly weakened team, who were swept aside in an impressive 7-0 win by a Cambridge side desperate for their first win of the tour. Unfortunately the goal scorers for this match are unknown to the author.
The final match of the tour exposed the fatigue that the Blues were suffering from, and thanks to a goal from Tim Swinn we laboured to a 1-1 draw against a strong Leeds Met side in a match that we would have hoped to have won. Despite this mixed bag of results, there were promising signs of things to come for the rest of the season, which we await with baited breath.
MoT: Johnny Staunton-Sykes
DoT: Ed Bottomley
Awaiting match report
MoM: Jamie Bristow
DoD: Johnny Staunton-Sykes
Eyebrows were raised across Cambridge, from mighty Johnsbridge to the birds on the Fens, upon team selection this week, which was rumoured to be heavily influenced by the launch of the new CUHC fantasy league. On early viewing it appears that only a few aspiring managers have what it takes to become the next Neil Warnock with some questionable teams submitted thus far. Administration and the sack beckons for many of these fledging managers. Some poor organisation and mighty badmin caused a lone wolf to turn up to the Nomads meet time, rather than the men’s Blues time, which ludicrously earned the said wolf DoD in spite of much stronger claims from fresher Bottomly and not so fresh Club President Cobbald who is ageing beyond his years.
Prematch was a fairly dull affair as usual with nothing notable to report. To that matter there is very little to report from the game itself as well due to an unfortunate case of memory loss. Cambridge came out on top in 7-3 pile driving of the opposition who were one of the weakest Blueharts sides to grace the hallowed Wilberfortress turf for many a year. Within seconds of the opening whistle Cobbald decided he needed a rest, duly obliged on receiving five minutes in the bin for a fairly shambolic challenge – it is of little surprise that he was overlooked in so many fantasy teams. Arge followed suit in the second half, failing to convince the umpire that his stick was not high – some sympathy must be felt here as Arge is rather small. On a more postive note, ex-captain Cairns continued his respectable goal scoring record for the start of the season, grabbing a doublee. This was mirrored by teenage sensation Jon Jon Augustavo who also grabbed himself a doublee.
Unfortunately, no triplees to report. Weasel Wes, Pat Knot and our very own manic flannel grabbed the rest of the goals to round off a convincing victory and a doublee of wins to start the season.
MoM: Will Cairns
DoD: Giles Kilbourn
Awaiting match report
MoM: Will Cairns/Giles Kilbourn
DoD: Johnny Staunton-Sykes
|Date||Match type||Opposition||Venue||PB Time||Score|
|14/09/14||Friendly||Cambridge City 2||H||1630||W 5-3|
|20/09/14||League||Felixstowe 1||A||1430||W 4-2|
|22/09/14||Friendly||Leeds Beckett University||A||2000||L 3-5|
|23/09/14||Friendly||Leeds Hockey Club||A||1930||W 6-0|
|24/09/14||Friendly||Leeds University||A||1400||D 1-1|
|27/09/14||League||Blueharts 1||H||1330||W 7-3|
|28/09/14||Cup||Long Sutton 1||H||1300||W 10-0|
|04/10/14||League||Chelmsford 1||H||1330||L 0-1|
|11/10/14||League||Bedford 1||A||1445||W 2-1|
|15/10/14||BUCS League||Loughborough University 2||A||1700||D 3-3|
|18/10/14||League||City of Peterborough 1||H||1330||W 4-1|
|22/10/14||BUCS League||Loughborough University 3||H||1430||W 7-0|
|25/10/14||League||Cambridge City 2||A||1300||W 3-2|
|29/10/14||BUCS League||Nottingham Trent University 1||A||1815||L 0-4|
|01/11/14||League||Dereham 1||H||1330||D 2-2|
|08/11/14||League||Wisbech Town 1||A||1330||NR 4-1|
|12/11/14||BUCS League||University of Birmingham 2||H||1430||W 2-0|
|15/11/14||League||Harleston Magpies 1||A||1400||L 0-2|
|19/11/14||BUCS League||Loughborough University 2||H||1630||L 3-4|
|22/11/14||League||Wapping 1||A||1230||L 0-2|
|26/11/14||BUCS Cup||St. Mary's University College 1||A||-||W 8-1|
|29/11/14||League||St. Albans 1||H||1330||D 2-2|
|03/12/14||BUCS League||Loughborough University 3||A||1830||W 3-0|
|07/12/14||League||Wisbech Town 1 (rearranged)||A||-||W 8-1|
|13/12/14||League||Blueharts 1||A||1200||W 4-3|
|11/01/15||Friendly||Old Blues||H||1100||L 1-2|
|17/01/15||League||Chelmsford 1||A||1400||W 2-1|
|21/01/15||BUCS League||University of Birmingham 3||A||1630||L 0-5|
|24/01/15||League||Bedford 1||H||1330||W 5-0|
|25/01/15||League||Felixstowe 1||H||1430||W 13-1|
|28/01/14||BUCS League||Nottingham Trent University 1||H||1430||W 5-2|
|31/01/15||League||City of Peterborough 1||A||1300||Postponed|
|04/02/14||BUCS League||University of Birmingham 3||A||1415||W 2-0|
|07/02/15||League||Cambridge City 2||H||1330||W 2-0|
|14/02/15||League||Dereham 1||A||1200||W 3-1|
|18/02/15||BUCS Cup||University of Sussex 1||H||-||W 9-2|
|21/02/15||League||City of Peterborough 1||A||-||D 1-1|
|25/02/15||BUCS Cup||University of Reading||H||-||W 4-1|
|28/02/15||League||Wisbech Town 1||H||1330||W 14-0|
|04/03/14||BUCS League||University of Birmingham 2||A||1545||W 4-1|
|07/03/15||League||Harleston Magpies 1||H||1330||D 1-1|
|08/03/15||VARSITY||Oxford||Southgate HC||1530||W 2-2 (3-1)|
|11/03/15||BUCS Cup||Exeter University 2||H||1500||L 2-2 (1-3)|
|14/03/15||League||Wapping 1||H||1330||D 1-1|
|21/03/15||League||St. Albans 1||A||1500||-|
The Blues travelled to the sacred land of Essex for round 16 in this year’s East of England Hockey Premier A world championship, knowing that a win would take them to the magic 30 point mark, but a draw would only take them to 28 points which would be disappointing for everyone involved at the hockey club. Their opponents were Chelmsford, whose ground at Beehive Lane has proved a sticky venue for both Blues teams in recent years. With Charlie Bannister in Norway for the inaugural knee-sliding world championships (his first round tie against Jose Mourinho was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch), Doctor Cairns replaced his stethoscope for the subs sheet to take the reigns once again. The Doc’s fine record as caretaker manager this season will surely stand him in good stead with the imminent ousting of President Rory ‘Preston Out’ Preston as Nomads coach, following reports this week that Preston has ‘lost the dressing room’ and has ‘taken the team as far as he can’.
The Blues picked up where they left off from their Dereham Demolition last week, defying a slow pitch by galloping out of the blocks and scoring a goal in the time it normally takes for Carty Double-U to take his top off on a swap – under two minutes. Mania, who has been prolific on and off the field in recent weeks, weaved his magic on the left and crossed for Swinn, who slotted it in on the slide. Unfortunately, the boys playing in the lighter shade of blue of the two shades of blue that have been provided in the Varsity publicity campaign* could not maintain their tempo and allowed themselves to get on their high pony and become complacent. Chelmsford, credit to them, were determined that this was not to be a one-pony race; their riposte consisted of a sharp double and they lead two-to-one. The Blues, realising their mistake, tried to reopen the stable door after the pony had bolted and force it back in again. Felix ‘The Brussels Sprout’ Styles smashed a short corner into the back of the net (wait, shouldn’t that be the front of the net?) to pull the Boys in Blue level. But, the Blues fell for the one-trick pony again, allowing a Chelmsford forward to somehow sneak onto the back post, perhaps hiding in a Trojan Pony, and put the hosts back in front.
Half-time came and the Doctor’s Churchillian diagnosis was to keep calm and carry on. The Doc was confident that, as in the reverse fixture, the Blues would come good in the second half. And so it proved. Bowker drew level with a goal which I didn’t see because someone was standing in front of me, but judging by his reaction, I think it must have been the sort of mazy dribble and reverse-stick shot from the corner of the D into the roof of the net that is now his trademark. The Vet from the South-West was not finished yet, earning a penalty flick after nice play from GILES ‘The Wally Without A Wallet’ Kilbourn. Dave ‘Not So Squeaky Anymore’ McLean slotted home to take his tally of p-flicks this week to two. With the setting sun in their eyes, the Blues had to withstand an areal bombardment for the remainder of the game, which they stood up to admirably. When their defences were breached, Brooks made his first and second saves of the game within the space of a few seconds; a productive day for the Brighton Bloke, who was rewarded with the Man of the Match pint for his endeavours. The rest of the game saw the Blues put the pony out to pasture – they saw it out no drama.
Post-match, the team were guilty of looking the gift pony in the mouth by thanking Frodo for his inspirational stand against tyranny by voting him DoD. In an interview after the game, Captain Moose admitted surprise that it was the Havering Hammer who ultimately led the coup, but I suppose in these situations, it’s always the dark horse you should look out for. Overall an excellent result ground out by the Blues, even though the performance wasn’t their best. In other words, truly world-class pony.
MoM – Sam Brooks
DoD – Frodo Defrodo
Having spent the past few weeks in the gym making significant gains, the Blues were confident going into what was surely going to be the biggest physical challenge of the season against Dereham.
Cambridge got off to a flying start, and within 3 minutes Dereham were hit by the unstoppable force of Bristowmania, drilling the ball into the bottom corner after some good work from Frodo and Wes down the left flank. Howell then added another mid way through the second half.
A string of world class saves from Brooks kept the score at 2-0. Clearly frustrated, one of the Dereham forwards resorted to violence, and attempted a number of WWE moves on Felix, including the Boston Crab, the Rikishi bum face and the rusty trombone.
After the break, the Blues really asserted their dominance, with a brace from ladies man Bowker and the in-form Howell. The pick of the goals however came from the under-fire coach Preston, smashing a tomahawk into the top left hand corner and taking his net goals tally for CUHC into positive figures. The scantily clad Swinn then added another with a cooly taken finish at the back post.
Despite the physicality of the game, the most controversial talking point came from Dave McLean, who in a fit of rage after a string of short corners were conceded, threw the short corner protection at the umpire and stormed off the pitch.
With the score at 7-0, the Blues managed to control the closing minutes with some strong individual defending. Cartwright in particular was strong in the tackle, really getting his teeth into the opposition forwards.
Despite some errors in the first half, the Blues put in a very impressive performance, taking confidence from a huge win over a team that prior to the game was placed just 2 points below them in the league.
MOM: Preston / Brooks
The Blues alighted in the town of Peterborough City to take on the appropriately-named City of Peterborough Town Hockey Club, who had recently fled the National Conference in order to escape the law after stealing the Spanish national football team’s kit. Although the ‘tiki-taka’ playing style did not appear to have accompanied the shirts, our opposition’s Iberian attire could not have been more at home than on the sandy dunes of Bretton Gate, the East League’s very own Riviera.
A sizeable crowd had assembled, and as the players readied themselves for push-back, former ‘boro player Rory Preston felt the full force of the legendary wit of the Peterborough Kop. “PRESTON SUCKS” a lone voice opined. Distraught by this baseless slander, Preston considered walking off Never Mind the Buzzcocks, but instead head-butted something or someone and only returned later in the half sporting a Terry Butcher-style bandaged head.
In the meantime, hockey was being played, but most of it by Xavi and Iniesta and co. in the City midfield, and indeed it came as little surprise when David Silva capitalised on some sloppy defending to fire La Roja ahead. Cambridge fought back, but could not transform possession into meaningful attacks, failing to register a shot on target in the first half.
The second half saw the Blues up the ante, leaving Ramos and Albiol blowing seriously hard at the back. After a period of sustained pressure, Swinn equalised, and after a short corner effort was cleared off the ‘borough goal-line, the students thought they glimpsed a sight of victory.
Unfortunately, the desert conditions meant this was actually a mirage, and fairly soon the idea of victory was not so much forgotten as shredded, incinerated, and scattered to the winds. Villa steered a rocket into Brooks’ top corner, Busquets buried a slick counter-attacking move; and Llorente capped off a fine team goal to give the ‘Borough a 3-goal cushion with ten minutes to play.
With five to go, Nadesh controlled the ball, stopped, built a sandcastle, got up again, sighed wearily, nutmegged a defender and then got bored and passed the ball to an opponent. Meanwhile, Frodo said ‘Pony’, Bowker made sounds like a distressed cow, Brooks checked Tinder, and Cartwright shouted stuff. A little later, Dave thought the umpire would appreciate some destructive feedback on the quality of one of his decisions. He didn’t.
At the final whistle, the Blues trudged off the sand looking as despondent as Jamie when he initially thought he might have to shave his hair at Christmas dinner. Hopefully the Blues will be able to emulate Mr Bristow and escape a close shave at West Herts tomorrow afternoon.
Moose’s tireless efforts to ban fun from post-match proceedings were ignored by his team-mates, who cheerfully voted CUHC’s favourite undercover journalist as DoD for being 2 entire minutes late to fitness. Who said banter was dead?
MoM – Mike Gilmore
DOD – Felix Styles
The Men’s Blues comfortably saw off Blueharts 4-0, keeping a clean sheet against the highest-scoring team in East Prem A. Styles kicked off the rout in the first half, his short corner strike the only goal of a light blue-dominated opening period. The second half saw a stubborn Harts’ resistance crumble, Bowker, Bristow, and Howell adding to the Blues’ tally in quick succession. The comprehensive victory will give confidence to Cambridge as they head into a tough away double-header against 3rd-placed Peterborough and 2nd-placed West Herts next weekend.
DOD – Dave McLean
With Felix expertly noting that Wisbech is “not actually near the beach”, the Blues set off North. Moose took the lead and seemed to be burning up the tarmac, but a misdemeanor with the Five-O led to a few problems (no more will be said due to fear of fines for the silly Fresh). Also, how many Hand Car Washes are there between Cambridge and Wisbech? 17 according to Swinn.
Music during the warm-up? Stop it. Frodo had no need for headphones this time; Macklemore provided the pump for all. Ten minutes of sky blue domination occurred, only for them to slot a corner. Sneaky Wes was not impressed so pinned the keeper, scoring a screamer. 1-1 at the 2nd Quarter change over.
Garth thought he’d make a game of it, so let one of the younger members bobble home. Very sweet. Not to worry, Nadesh once again calmly finished; “time stops for no man but Ramanathan” as the saying goes. Tied at 2.
Fresher Mike had learned that the fines pot was providing the beverage for initiations, so kindly added £2.50 with a cheeky green. Nipuna ‘Thug Life’ Senaratne then added to the pot ten seconds later. With two yellows and a suspension looming, ‘The Legend of Nips’ is instilling fear in all opposition. A Mania-double to finish tied up the game well. 4-2. The King and Kuda were now calling all light blues to dominate the D floor. Rest assured, the D floor was dominated.
MOM – Mania
DOD – Swinn & A.N. Other (Meaty has since filed for an injunction and sued the Tab for damages. The trial continues.)
The Blues extended their Prem A unbeaten streak to five games with a creditable draw at Bedford.
Sajdeh was recalled to the squad but the elephant in the room was Cartwright, who turned up with a mysterious finger injury which nobody seemed inclined to ask about, for fear of hearing another detailed anecdote of Meaty’s freshman antics which have escalated to full-blown shenanigans in recent weeks.
With Captain Cairns’s demands for a quick start ringing in their ears, the Blues settled quickly and imposed their slick passing game on the hosts. Preston conducted the Blues orchestra from the middle of the park, Cairns and Styles provided a rock-solid double bass, whilst the forward line of Swinn, Howell and Bristow provided a symphony of movement that was reminiscent of Beethoven’s 7th in A major.
The Blues took a deserved lead midway through the half, with Styles bagging his fifth of the season. The Belgian Waffle, thankfully not weighed down by the hefty Bedford forward who had spent the entire half in his pocket, fired a trademark drag flick into the bottom corner. Howell and Bowker then went close, but the Blues were unable to extend their advantage before half-time.
Coach Bannister, fresh from international duty last week, encouraged more of the same for the visitors at half-time, but warned against making risky passes to Preston in the middle of the park. Preston later remarked that some of his teammates perhaps took the advise too literally, as in the second half their conductor was deprived of his baton and the Blues struggled to find their passing rhythm. Though still in control, poor decisions by players and umpires meant they were unable to kill off the game. Bedford slowly inched back into it, and the game was turned on its head with two goals in the last fifteen minutes; the first, a cheeky deflection following a world-class save by Brooks, the second a pony close-range finish.
With only two minutes left on the clock, the Blues dug in and showed the resilience they are becoming renowned for across the East of England. After Brooks pulled off another worldie to keep them in it, Mania won a short-corner. The final whistle went, everyone surrounded the D, Moose called it and Bristow scored it. Textbook.
Though a somewhat underwhelming outcome in a game the Blues hoped to win, they remain in a strong position in the table and in good shape as the season’s halfway point edges nearer. Following a cold shower, a warm curry and a delightful Krispy Kreme courtesy of Papa Mania, they headed back to Cambridge determined to regain their prolific form. Thankfully, the finishing that had deserted them on the pitch was not found wanting in the more testing environs of Cambridge Union and Life.
Mom – Frodo
Dod – Frodo
God – Frodo
Saturday saw Norwich City’s second trip to the Wilberforce. The travelling team were looking to make amends for the 6-1 thrashing the Blues dealt them back in September. A rousing team talk from Prez. Cairns prepped the Blues for a strong start.After the first few minutes, it was clear the Norwich side were unable to cope with the intensity of the University side. A breakthrough came in the form of a Bowker strike. It rifled past the keeper’s left foot at a velocity that could only be generated by a traction engine or other similar external combustion devices. When he eventually finished celebrating, the game continued in a similar fashion, and the Blues soon found themselves 3 up thanks to a Styles drag flick and a well taken own goal from the Norwich centre back. Norwich then pulled one back, but two more goals thanks to Sneaky Wes Howell and Bristow left the goalie with hockey pie all over his shirt. The boys in light blue went into the break 5-1 up.
Going into the second half, Moose senior reminded everyone that the proof would be in the pudding, and the pudding, in this case, is hockey. Norwich’s back line certainly knew a thing or two about pudding, but good hockey from the forwards served up chances – leading to a brace for Bowker. Celebrations inevitably ensued. Another breakaway goal from Norwich left the score at 6-2 for a short period of time. However, the Blues had been taking notes from a certain someone’s bowel movements over the last week, and liquid hockey was played. It was flowing left right and centre, like custard over warm apple crumble. The proof was put in this metaphorical pudding by Nadesh. The former Malaysian international finishing a beautiful team goal with a lovely deflection that’s already being dubbed ‘goal of the season’ by many. The game ended 7-2, a great performance that leaves the Blues sitting nicely in 3rd going into the 8th game of their East league campaign against Bedford next weekend.
Meeting at Cambridge train station for a team-bonding, tourist-based session in London, the Light Blues set off for the Capital. After losing Garth and Meaty early on, the rest of the team headed off on a somewhat prolonged journey to Mile End station, including taxis after some shadmin. The two breakaways welcomed the group to the ground, and reunited after a bizarre pre-match travel, the boys were ready.
Within the first twenty, the score was Howell 2, Wapping 0 with some fittingly sneaky finishes. The Blues were playing at well below par, however, and some sloppy play allowed Wapping back into the game. They continued to push and the pressure rose to unbearable levels after yellow cards to Nips and Frodo. A Silly Fresher foot on the final whistle, gifting a corner to the Londoners, provided indescribable tension. Wapping, unfortunately, slotted home. 2-2.
The universal disappointment showed, at least, the Blues’ high hopes/standards. Harry Styles was so annoyed that he decided he couldn’t stand the company of the rest of the team on the way back, so decided to take another train, accompanied by some guy who looks like Kieran. All after the fines book had been lost, of course.
This is a tale of one hockey match that, like most, was a game of two halves. In this case, however, the 2 halves markedly contrasted one another, especially when played back-to-back as indeed they were on Saturday 19th October 2013.
Chapter 1: The first half
The fearless journalism of webmaster Felix Styles had led to unprecedented pre-match twitter tensions between the clubs and hence it was a relief to all when the whistle blew and the hockey finally got underway.
The University side had the best of the possession and territory, but failed to create many clear cut chances. Amid the frantic start, the ball somehow ended up in Sam Brooks’ goal. Unfortunately we can give you no details on the scorer due to Chelmsford’s intelligent tactic of playing in an astro-camo kit.
Continuing in the same vein, the blues were surprised when a long ball by Chelmsford was stopped by a striker who had hidden on the P-spot, when it had looked to have been heading harmlessly off the back line. The invisible striker calmly slotted away the ball and the half time whistle blew with Chelmsford 2 goals to the good.
It was half time and Charlie said some inspirational words. Unfortunately I am unable to write exactly what was said for copyright reasons.
Chapter 2: The second half
Wanting to give a proper account of themselves, the light blues came out fired up for the second half. The forwards found fresh legs and led with more vigour. The midfield tirelessly dominated the middle of the park. The defence gave the team an unflappable foundation. And Brooksy was really good.
About 10 minutes in, the blues finally made their breakthrough. A swift break down the left opened a window for a cross that was duly played to sneaky Wes Howell, who managed to sneakily deflect the ball into the net. However a mere consolation goal was not all that the university were hoping for. They continued their good form, resulting in a debut goal for Kieran/Mike Gilmore after flirting with the post.
With the clock ticking down towards the dreaded 70 minutes, the Cambridge side were still unwilling to let Chelmsford settle for even a single point. They continued pushing and were rewarded when fresher Rich Cartwright got lost but found himself in the opposition D to deflect the ball into the Chelmsford goal with the final touch with the game. Needless to say celebrations were wild and those who saw Charlie Bannister nail a full-on knee slide will not forget it in a hurry. Unfortunately the win was tinged with a bit of disappointment because very few people read to the end of a long match report and hence the vast majority of the club will have no idea of the final result.
We did fines and things and were happy.
MoM: Garth Brooks
Debut: Nadesh Ramanthan
The blues travelled the not so well-travelled road to Dereham in the knowledge that three points were required against a side that have made a remarkable start to the season, beating last year’s runners up Bedford whilst losing to newly promoted Wisbech. The journey into the heart of Dereham was made even more pleasant by the closure of the A11, adding half an hour to our journey. However, this did allow for a trip through Shipdham which as CFD accurately noted is the only word in the entire English language to have a p,d and a h next to each other along with some other reference to the Norfolk education system and/or people that shall remain anonymous.
The game started at a blistering pace, the blues eager to showcase their new found attacking capabilities under coach Bannister by leading big and rinsing defences in the process. Early chances and corners came and went but it was not long before fresher Cartwright found himself as the highest man, coming from right back to finish a slick passing move.
The first half was all light blue and the Dereham’s metaphorical toys were rapidly leaving their prams. A couple of green’s and a yellow allowed Cambridge to capitalise and a quick shot from Joe was able to be deflected goalwards by the ever-present CFD. A rare Dereham attack was upgraded to a corner and was put away. A small blemish on an otherwise faultless first half that ended with a BristowManiaTM deflection and a team goal put away by Sunil that frankly left the Dereham defence feeling slightly violated.
4-1 at half time was satisfying, but Dereham were a different side in the second half and the combination of some aggressive running and more sophisticated pressing allowed them to claw back a goal. The game remained in the balance for the rest of the second half with more cards shown and chances missed, including one so bad that it shall not recounted but for which I am currently writing this report. The game ended 4-2 only after one of the more sophisticatedly named Dereham players, ‘Shagger’ attempted to brand Moose with a swipe of the stick.
MoM Joe “Rich” Rich
DoD “Where’s” Wes Howell
Dod – Richard ‘Dickie’ Cartwright
The Cambridge Blue Jackets took on The Garhian Rams in the Eastern Conference Barclays Premier League’s second weekend:
GOALSHOT DENIAL by Garth Brooks. The University franchise kept the puck in the attacking zone but the Rams played some real good breaking passes to nearly score a rush.
GOALSHOT for the Blue Jackets…Adrian Giles collects the lead pass and slings that puck real hard past the keeper’s waffle pad.
FELONY CORNER – after tip tap play from the Dragon and…GOALSHOT Cheeky Wes slams it in the goal cage. What a Howeler!!
GOALSHOT – Maniac inserts a no bounce straight in the net.
Quarter time completion whistle from referee. This is beginning to look more like a football score…the blue jackets have really taken the Rams by the horns.
BLUE JACKETS GOALSHOT…it is another for Maniac…he is going crazy. Man, coach Roger Bannister must be super happy he changed sports for this team.
FELONY Moose enters the sin box for high-sticking…think he should head back to the woods real quick.
COMPLETION WHISTLE. Referee ends match at Semi-phase…. it is suppose to be 4 quarters not 2 quarters referee.
The franchise enhancement window may be over but The Blue Jackets will still be looking to add to their roster in the freshman draft to make the NHL
MVP – Maniac
WVP – Adrian Giles (Worst Valuable Player)
On Saturday Cambridge Blues were host to West Herts hockey club. West Herts started strongly and capitalised on Cambridge errors to score twice in the first 5 minutes. Cambridge were henceforth always on the backfoot and succumbed to a 5-2 defeat in spite of goals from Wesley Howell and Tim Swinn. Nonetheless, the Blues produced a valiant performance and will have many positives to build on during their midweek tour to Belfast before games against Ramgarhia and Norwich City next weekend.
MOM – Tim Swinn
DOD – Joe Rich
2013-2014 Season: BUCS League Midlands 2B
CUHC entered a men’s team into the BUCS competition for the first time in 2011/12, winning Midlands 4C as well as the Midlands Cup. In 2012/13 the team registered 9 wins and a single draw in Midlands 3B and was promoted to the second division for the 2013/14 season, while also reaching the Midlands Cup final. Due to players’ academic commitments on Wednesday afternoons, the BUCS team tended to constitute a mix of players from all three teams, and as such proved a great force for club integration. In 2013/14, the Blues squad played the first eight matches of the season, securing promotion to Midlands 1 with two games to spare. In 2014/15, the aim of the team will be to achieve a fourth consecutive promotion, this time to the highest level of BUCS hockey.
16/10 v. Warwick 1s (A) won 8-2 (Cairns (3), Rich (2), Styles, Howell, McLean)
23/10 v. Oxford Brookes 2s (H) won 8-1 (Howell (2), Rich (2), Cairns, Styles, Cobbold, Swinn)
30/10 v. Nottingham 3s (H) won 7-0 (Swinn (2), Bowker (2), Styles, Howell, Senaratne)
13/11 v. Oxford 2s (A) won 4-0 (Howell (2), Cairns, Styles)
20/11 v. Birmingham 4s (H) won 3-0 (Howell, Gilmore, O.G.)
04/12 v. Warwick 1s (H) won 7-2 (Howell (2), Swinn (2), Styles, Cobbold, Bowker)
29/01 v. Nottingham 3s (A) won 5-1 (McLean (2), Bristow, Swinn, Howell)
05/02 v. Oxford 2s (H) won 5-2 (Howell, Kilbourn, Knox, Styles, McLean) PROMOTED
19/02 Wanderers v. Oxford Brookes 2s (A) won 4-2
05/03 Squanderers and Wanderers v. Birmingham 4s (A) drew 2-2
The Blues’ 2012/2013 campaign got off to a start that can only be described as early. A first league fixture at Harleston on September 15th was followed by an action-packed 4-day tour to Brussels, which was hugely beneficial both on and off the pitch. As ever, we had lost players to graduation, but had recruited some impressive new talent. Freshers Jamie Bristow, Joe Rich, and Wes Howell bolstered our attack, while England youth international Sachin Jivanji also added to the quality up front.
Our early results were somewhat mixed. A narrow loss to recently-relegated Harleston was followed by a spirited comeback to earn a 2-2 draw against Ipswich. The following week, a dogged 1-0 victory against Dereham put us within touching distance of the top of the East Premier A. However, unlucky home defeats, 2-1 to St Albans and 3-2 to Bedford, along with a 4-1 loss at Peterborough, effectively put paid to our promotion ambitions. The squad’s collective response to those early reversals demonstrated the mental strength of this Blues team. A battling display saw off Bishops Stortford 1-0, and the goals finally began to flow in a convincing 6-4 defeat of Blueharts. After yet another narrow loss to league leaders Harleston, last-minute short corners denied us wins against West Herts and Wapping.
January began with a gruelling fitness camp in Hampshire, and this set the tone for our winter preparation. Gym sessions, strength and conditioning, and a lot of running set us up well for two wins in our preparation matches. The January cold snap did its best to interrupt our momentum, but indoor football and snow-covered ‘Cooper tests’ around West Cambridge ensured that we were once more raring to go once the snow thawed. Our efforts were rewarded in our first game back in the East League, which yielded an imperious 6-0 thrashing of Peterborough, stretching our unbeaten run to five games. With five goals scored in the final 15 minutes, our fitness work appeared to be paying off, with a month to go until Varsity.
The next month saw the Blues embark upon an exceptional run of form. After a close 4-3 defeat to league-leaders Bedford, Cambridge won 5 of the next 6 games, including hard-fought 3-1 wins against Dereham, Blueharts, and West Herts, a 6-0 thrashing of Bishops Stortford and an impressive 5-1 home win against a 4th-placed Chelmsford side. In a couple of months, the Blues had risen from 10th place to 5th in the East League.
The Varsity match was played out at Southgate on a freezing afternoon in March. Much like the weather, the game itself could not have been more different to last year’s free-scoring thriller. Oxford’s prolific attack found its match in our experienced back line, and we went into half-time a single goal down despite Oxford having had the better of the play. In a reflection of our season, the second half saw the emergence of a squad that was resilient, hard-working, and showed no sign of giving up the fight. On the contrary, we took the game to our opponents, and were finally rewarded with a short corner, and ensuing penalty stroke, five minutes from time. Will Harrison stepped up to score, thus ensuring the Varsity trophy would be returning to Cambridge for another year. The spirit shown by the Cambridge squad of 2013 to fight back from being 1-0 down is something I took immense pride in being a part of. All 16 squad members showed how badly they wanted it, and in my mind fully deserved to retain the Varsity honours. With the results and performances of 2012/13, this year’s Light Blues have done our club, our university, and themselves proud.
I am privileged to have led such a talented, committed, and enthusiastic group of friends, and it is therefore my team that I would like to thank first. I would also like to thank Chris Marriott, our coach and Will Harrison, my vice-captain for their help and advice. My thanks also go to Charlie Bennett and the tireless work of the CUHC Committee. Jamie Salter and Xav Dialdas, the respective captains of our 2nd and 3rd teams, have been a pleasure to work alongside, as has Charlie Banfield, the women’s Blues captain. I have been lucky enough to play under 2 exemplary Blues captains in David Bell and Nick Parkes, and both have provided me with sound advice throughout this year.
The challenge for my successor will be great, with strong teams facing relegation from the National Conference, and our Varsity opponents unlikely to face a similar exodus of players to us. Nonetheless, I have full confidence that the remainder of the 2013 squad will preserve all that was best about this season, as well as learn the lessons of our first term. Many season reports tend to echo this sentiment of frustration at a season ending just as a team was beginning to show what it was truly capable of. While a 5th place in the East League and retaining the Varsity trophy are successes in their own right; the fact that we consider our ultimate destination an underperformance says much about the exceptional journey we have completed. I will look forward to following the fortunes of the Blues in 2013/14, and wish them every success.
Blues Captain 2012/13
On Saturday, the Blues travelled to London for their final match of the 2012/13 season against the Eastenders of Wapping Hockey Club. The day would eerily sum up the highs and lows of the Blues season. There was ecstatic exhilaration as well as agonising disappointment. There were farces, fixes, fiascos and many more alliterations. Ultimately, this really was the story of the totality of the lads.
Much like for pre-season, the meet time set by Captain Styles seemed ridiculously early, to the point where Goldman Sach chose to replicate his late arrival to Cambridge – and reimburse his astronomical transfer fee – by appearing 16 whole sterling late to the station. September saw the Blues board the train to Brussels, and this weekend saw them escape freezing fenland once more towards a far larger, albeit gastronomically poorer city. Much like Tour, this escapade tested the Captain’s admin skills to the limit, and it is fair to say that only assistance from A&F and Van the Man saved Styles from a certain DoDship.
Much as the early stages of the season saw the Blues dogged by unfortunate events, the trip to Mile End was marred by such indignities as a Tube closure, rain, a Comic Relief red nose, and dairy product puns. During the season we picked up several waylaid hockey talents, and on Saturday we stumbled across a jazzy individual loitering around a Mile End park who kindly agreed to fill in at inside-forward.
Nothing says East League quite like a warm-up in a car park, and tarmac tennis courts saw the very last edition of Styles’ stupid warm-up routines. So ingrained are these into the Blues’ collective psyche that it was only on Varsity day that a brave soul dared shed light on the anatomical nonsense the captain had been spouting all season.
To call the Mile End pitch sand-based would be akin to qualifying Joe Rich’s haircut as ‘unflattering’, the St [censored] 1st team as ‘ill-mannered’, or the Captain’s grasp of spreadsheets as ‘fragile’. I am told the Wapping pitch’s effect on 3D hockey is similar to that of black holes on the space-time continuum. Hockey balls have been known to bounce higher in the Sahara desert.
These conditions were compounded when the officials presented our keeper with a Henry Ford-style choice between playing with an orange ball or an orange one. This was a sign of things to come, as the Blues proceeded to play out a tribute to their first half of the season that verged on the catastrophic. A frankly bizarre penalty-stroke and a counter-attack gave Cambridge a 2-0 deficit to claw back in the second half.
Although the Blues could not regroup in Hampshire to save the game as they had saved their season, Cambridge came out all (Op Massive-enhanced) guns blazing in a performance that brought back memories of the January abandonment of mediocrity. Dependable short corner routines were once more in evidence, as Cairns (2) and Styles defied the Salvador Dali-inspired goal-frames to bring the scores level at 3-3.
Yellow cards were being flashed around more than Kruhdarhdigh’s bike lights on a night out, but just as it seemed Cambridge might sneak a winner, the umpire pointed to the penalty spot for a second innocuous challenge, spelling disaster for the students and causing the massed light blue crowd of literally one person to tap his crutches on the astro-turf out of sheer irritation.
Saturday thus proved a showcase of the best and worst sides of the Cambridge Blues of 2013, and the match summed up the Blues’ season perfectly: a dismal first half making way for a spectacular second spell, but ending amidst a vague sense of disappointment.
The aftermath of the match is surely worthy of a match report in its own right, but I trust “Idiot Lad” to pick up the story. MoM was Sam Bowker for tireless work up front, unanimous DoD was Captain Styles, presumably for an entire season worth of incompetent débacles.
The Blues met on Saturday to travel through the arctic wastelands of East Anglia to face the appropriately-named Bedford Town, a team that had somehow overcome the grim nature of their urban surroundings and were currently sitting 2nd in the East League. With a 14-man squad plus manager in 3 cars, we were packed tighter than CH’s kit bag, but there was still room for discussion of the spectacular scenery that definitely didn’t unfold before our eyes as we journeyed West. Emma pointed out some of the concrete highlights of the town, and was effusive in her praise of the local laundry facilities.
After about 146 laps of the tarmac tennis court to warm-up, we ventured onto the pitch where we had to face the umpire’s incredulity that we wished to continue our warm-up and therefore did not want to start the game 10 minutes early. We explained our student status and our reluctance for early starts, and, luckily for the men in yellow, calmed our manager down so that the game could begin. Two minutes in, disaster struck for the Blues, with an aggressive tackle from a passing moose earning an equally aggressive whistle and the awarding of a short corner to Bedford. The initial short was saved, but the rebound prodded home, putting the hosts ahead.
Cambridge regrouped and began to find their feet in the game, transferring the ball well, and holding up against a skilful and experienced Bedford front line. Will Harrison equalised from a short corner strike, and the teams went into half-time with the scores level. In the second half, a defensive lapse allowed Bedford to take the lead once more. But minutes later, the bionic man stepped up once again to rifle the ball past the keeper’s ear, to the distinct sound of Ashley Jackson eating his heart out.
As Sunday’s 6 nations match showed, even the best sportsmen can sometimes drop the ball, and this Cambridge proceeded to do in a 10-minute patch in the second half. Two well-manoeuvred Bedford goals later and the locals were grunting and roaring their approval; the famous Bedford Kop delirious as this bunch of over-privileged toffs was dealt a lesson in a) clinical finishing and b) chat.
With 4 minutes to go, the Blues pulled a goal back through a trademark looping Styles drag flick that found the net with all the pace of his pint-drinking. Thankfully his blushes were spared by a considerate Bedford post-man who deflected the ball into the top corner and made it look a lot better than either of Harrison’s flicks.
At 4-3, there was hope for Cambridge, but short corner claims were denied, and Bedford proved as canny at running down the clock as they would be post-game in using the showers before the town’s hot water supply was exhausted. As it was, the Blues 5-game unbeaten run came to an unfortunate, yet probably deserved end against a strong opponent that will be challengers not only for the East League promotion spot; but also for the coveted Sam Grimshaw ‘East League’s worst changing room’ award.
MoM was Balding for a sterling defensive performance and DoD was Captain Styles for ‘enforcing’ team boozing before a game. The irony.
Still aching from three days of preseason fitness and gun work down in Liphook, the Blues faced Cam City 2’s to kick off the Lent Term fixtures. The General’s arrival in vintage CUHC stash raised a few eyebrows, and his decision to pass straight to Wes almost immediately after push back confirmed that his allegiance still lay with the university. The fresher trio up front capitalized upon this gift from Baz by working a nice passing move that left Bristow to convert and put the Blues one up. This good start was built upon with some controlling play from Jazzy J, Giles and CH in midfield. CH was at the heart of everything going forward and chances were flowing thick and fast for the Blues. Bowker scored a well-worked debut goal to go 2 ahead. Cam City looked dangerous on the break however, and pulled one back before half time. After the break, Bowker just couldn’t stop scoring and slotted home a rebound followed by a deflection. The Blues continued to control the game, but an own goal from Van and another goal (can’t remember how it happened) left the scoring looking much tighter than the game truly was. Joint MoM went to CH for his domination of the centre of the park and to Bowker for a commendable hattrick, while a near unaniDoD was awarded for Bristow’s Xmas dinner antics. Tomorrow the Blues continue their pre secondhalfoftheseason schedule and face the Old Boys’ XI at Wilby.
On Saturday the Blues took on Wapping at Wilberfortress Road. After a good performance away at West Herts the previous week the Blues entered the game looking for a much needed 3 points. Uncharacteristically, however, they were slow out of the blocks and a well drilled Wapping side tore into a sleepy Cambridge which could neither maintain possession nor prevent Wapping from mounting attack after attack. Inevitably the pressure told and within 15 minutes Wapping were 2-0 up. Fortunately this seemed to wake the Blues boys up and all over the pitch players lifted their game. As the press began to work Wapping suddenly found the easy outlets they had had for the first quarter of the game had vanished. Eventually this pressure told and after several shorties had gone close, Felix Styles flicked low to bring the score back to 2-1. The second half continued in much the same vein as an increasingly dominant Cambridge side pressed forward looking for an equaliser. This duly came with another flick from the skipper Styles. With 15 minutes left the momentum was firmly with Cambridge and close on the heels of the second, Wes Howell was able to smash home his first goal for the blues; a beauty on his backhand from the top of the D. At 3-2 it looked like Cambridge had the game wrapped up, however Wapping found the energy to mount several late attacks and unfortunately one of these resulted in a penalty corner. With 3 minutes left on the clock the Blues felt a horrible feeling of déjà vu as for the second week in a row the ball was calmly dispatched into the bottom corner of the Cambridge goal. There was no time for a response and the game ended 3-3.
Following a hard week of training to shake off the previous week’s performance the Blues headed to West Herts to try and turn out the recent run of results. Everyone was raring to go, even Joe was only 2 minutes late. It was expected to be a tough test, with West Herts having been runners up in the league last year, although safe in the knowledge Edgar Davids had moved on to bigger things we were confident.
The match started well for Cambridge, who controlled the tempo well, keeping the ball and making the opposition run. Distribution from the back was solid, and Squeaker and CH were causing them problems as they ran at the opposition defence. Chances were coming and going until Squeaker made an incisive run from midfield, driving around the West Herts defence into the D, to then pull back the ball for Will Ferrell to despatch into the goal. 1-0 Cambridge.
As Cambridge continued to dominate the first half more chances came and went, but there were no more break throughs. The half time team talk was dominated by the reminders of previous weeks, of being in similar situations and letting the lead slip. If the pattern of play in the first half could be continued then we knew we could hold on for the win.
The second half started strongly, with Cambridge continuing to dominate. We won our second short corner of the game following some smart work in the D, and Styles duly put it away (despite losing the flick competition earlier that week in training). 2-0 Cambridge. Continued good work in midfield frustrated the opposition, and it was one too many horrific tackle of Squeaker that resulted in a yellow card for woody the wood-chopper. This was immediately followed by a second yellow for the opposition for dissent,
giving Cambridge an opportunity to extend their lead against 9 men.
However we couldn’t make the pressure tell, and with West Herts back up to their full complement they started to threaten. They worked it into the D and were awarded a short corner following a melee of sticks. Their flicker put it away low to the ‘keeper’s right, hitting the side board. 2-1 Cambridge.
West Herts pressure continued, and despite a few break away chances for Cambridge it was getting nervy. With 4 minutes to go Will ‘Puma’ Harrison was 4.99 yards away from a free hit before making a tackle and deservedly received a yellow card. The short corner that resulted was kept out, but West Herts continued to push forward. A classic CFD reverse stick tackle at left half didn’t quite go to plan, and he received a yellow card as well, leaving Cambridge with 9 men for the remaining 3 minutes. The penalty corner that had been awarded was again put away by the flicker low to the ‘keeper’s right, making it 2-2. With just one minute to go this was how it
Cambridge had a much improved performance from the previous week, but again couldn’t put chances away and hold on to a lead.
MoM was Will Cairns for his distribution from the back and marauding runs forward. DoD was Will Harrison.
A balmy November Saturday saw the Blues travel to the heart of Essex, Chelmsford, for an eagerly anticipated clash with the lower mid-table team. Despite the swamp-like waterbase – a far cry from the sands of Wilberforce road – Cambridge started strongly, with Jivanji quickly pouncing on a loose ball in the D and showing a clinical instinct reportedly only seen again during his venture to Spoons that evening, finishing with the kind of aplomb the crowds have come to expect from the little master. Chelmsford began to apply pressure but their share of possession was not converted into goal scoring chances as the visitors repeatedly broke them down. They
were rewarded though with 10 minutes to go in the first half when a Chelmsford forward robbed the ball before a string of passes ended in a goal for the men in green. On around the 45 minute mark Cambridge scored again through a fine flick from vice-captain Will Harrison. Chelmsford then scored again to make it 3-2. In spite of a late short corner attempt from Cambridge, the Blues unluckily lost to inferior opposition.
As the apocalyptic rain descended on Wilbefortress the Blues set out to topple the top of the league Harleston Magpies. Having beaten the Blues in the season opener all the way back in September and not lost a game since, Magpies were always going to be a tough side to beat. But Cambridge started well, not allowing Harlestone to play their usual fluid hockey. The Blues defence disrupted the Harlestone attack, with Red Dave and Moose on fine form as ever. A short corner provided the opportunity for Cambridge to take the lead, and Will Harrison duly converted with a rocket of a drag flick into the side netting. As the game progressed it looked more and more like Cambridge were going to take all 3 points, but even some old boy support from the sideline couldn’t help as Harlestone tucked 2 away in the second half to steal it away from Cambridge and maintain their unbeaten record. It was another frustrating game for the Blues, but some of the best hockey of the season so far was played in the first half. An outstanding performance from Squeaker earned him his second MoM of the weekend, while Parksy’s return to Wilby secured DoD.
After a disappointing few weeks and with Bishops Stortford floundering at the bottom of Prem A still yet to get a point, the Blues headed down confident that they could get back to winning ways. The Blues were greeted in Bishops Stortford by howling winds and near horizontal rain, but morale stayed high thanks to Captain Styles’ fun team clapping activities. The Blues started well, some strong work in the press from Grimshaw and Swinn gave the Bishop’s Stortford defence no opportunity to outlet the ball.
Pressure continued to build and the home side began to crumble, a combination of luck and Joe Rich not being able to score from 2 yards out being the only things stopping the Blues from going several goals ahead. The breakthrough came when some textbook counter attacking hockey down the right from Red Dave opened up space for Jamie to cross. Joe was lurking at the back post, but fortunately a Bishop’s Stortford defender took it upon himself to deflect the ball past the keeper into his own net. After half time the Blues continued to control the game. Rorié laced together intricate passing maneuvers whilst Felix and Will C continued their enduring work down the middle. The chances continued to come for Cambridge in the second half, but it was a similar story to the first as the ball never quite managed to make it over the line. As we headed into the final few minutes of the game, it seemed enough had been done to claim all three points. However Cambridge suddenly began to lack the composure and confidence that they had displayed for the first 65 minutes. Unbelievable scenes ensued, as in a frantic melee, a Stortford attacker went down, and Cambridge somehow found themselves defending a penalty flick in the dying minutes of the game. Fortunately Bishops Stortford showed the attacking prowess they had all game and put the ball nearer the corner flag than the right post. Disaster had been averted, or so the Blues thought, until
another moment of madness lead to Balding slapping the ball straight to their centre forward. Putting his face on the line, he managed to make up for this blunder and keep the clean sheet the Cambridge back line deserved.
The final whistle came as a huge relief, but make no mistake, the first 65 minutes was an impressive performance from the Blues. They go into another double header weekend next week, facing Bedford on Saturday and Harleston on Sunday. Both should be challenging fixtures but the Blues are looking on good form and should take a lot of assurance from their efforts this weekend.
MoM & DoD: Jamie
Coming off the back of a poor performance last weekend, the squad was highly motivated and put in a good week of training, with CH even finding time for an extra aquatics session.
Keen to get the early season momentum rolling again, The Blues started well, putting pressure on a strong Bedford side that had been scoring an average of 3.4 goals a game. Hard work in the press kept the ball in the Bedford half, and it paid off – a Styles’ drag flick forcing a good save from their keeper. As the away side settled into the game, they started to become more dominant; winning several short corners in a row. The Bedford flicker broke the deadlock, sending one flying into the top left. Galvanised after conceding, some slick skills from Squeaker on the top of the D won Cambridge a short corner. Dave Harrison converted clinically and sent Cambridge level going into half time.
After the break, The Blues continued to look potent, especially down the right through Dan Balding and Dave McLean. A classic Balding leg-before-ball drive down the line started a crisp passing maneuver that found Sach (MoM) on the top of the D in acres of space. He fired home past the keepers near post, putting Cambridge 2-1 up. Tenacious work ensued all over the pitch, and it was looking like it was going to be The Blues’ day, until in quick succession Bedford’s forward deflected two in on the far post. The Blues continued to work like beavers but desperate attempts to recover a point in the last few minutes were fruitless. Although the Blues came off the pitch disappointed with the loss, it was a solid performance that just lacked the full 70-minute composure that will come as the team continues to mature. Going into a double-header weekend v. Bishops Stortford and Peterborough, The Blues will be eager to get some points on the board that they duly deserve.
Blues 1 – 4 City of Peterborough 2s
On an overcast October Saturday the Blues made the trip to Peterborough – all by that swift and comfortable mode of transport – the car – thanks to careful planning and organisation. Having arrived, they settled into an invigorating warm-up, with Charles Hardy II characteristically demonstrating a questionable interpretation of the ‘fast feet’ exercise. Consequently they started sharply, dominating the agricultural Cambridgeshire outfit. Before long, the experienced forward Sam Grimshaw slotted home through the unwitting keeper’s legs after skilful work from the considerably younger Jamie Bristow along the baseline. Cambridge continued to probe, yet they were unable to double their advantage and Peterborough began to gain a foothold in the match, scoring 2 goals before the break.
The Blues returned to the pitch for the second-half with all guns blazing, demonstrating their commitment to a win with hard work across the pitch. However, the frantic pace told for the Blues, with Peterborough scoring two more goals in the second half. 4-1 is certainly not a fair reflection of the match, and Cambridge had frequent opportunities to get back into the game, with a number of short corners denied only by impressive saves from the Peterborough goalkeeper. Understandably disappointed by both their performance and the outcome of this encounter, the Blues will be highly motivated when they face Bedford this weekend.
through Cambridge.And so we waited.With the difference in travel time and time available inexorably reducing minute by minute Captain Styles was forced to anticipate the possibility of the match starting with eight players on the Cambridge side and four defenders stuck fifty miles away. The waiting players decided to begin walking to Dereham, getting as far as Adams Road before realising that it was probably a bit far. Balding and Harrison arrived soon after, and with an hour and twenty minutes to go the remaining seven players were on their way.The travelling contingent was restored to full strength some five minutes before the start of the game and a hasty warm up followed. In the melee a meek voice was heard. “Who picked up my bag?” It transpired that Will Harrison’s bag was still leaning against the fence at Wilby after an unnamed club president had forgotten to bring it with him. He was allowed to take his place on the field on the proviso that he find a way to retain the same number throughout the match. Taking the umpire at exactly his word, Will decided that now was the chance to express himself and go through the entire team’s range of alternative shirts.After such an eventful build up, the game was always going to be difficult. Dereham played like Dereham and thanks to a debut Blues goal from Swinn coupled with determined defensive play all round we emerged 1-0 victors. A fantastic result especially given the sparse preparation, which led many of the team to walk off the pitch to wonder how good we could be if we did no training and refused to arrive until after thematch had already begun.Fines were hefty, MOM (Graeme) and DOD (Sway) were fully deserved and the Blues left Dereham with the first win of the season packed away, but not before Giles decided that he hadn’t quite left everything on the pitch and left the remainder in the downstairs toilet.
La Rasante 5 – 0 Blues
Stade Fallon, Brussels 18/09/12
As the sun set over the gold-paved streets of suburban Brussels, and Belgians everywhere adjusted their comedy ‘taches and bit into their evening waffles, the men of CUHC made their way towards Stade Fallon, home of La Rasante hockey club, stopping only every 2 minutes to check Matt Knox was still with us. With the Brussels public transport system proving itself once again to be a machine as well-oiled as our full court press on a good day, we made it to the ground in good time, with Styles senior appearing shortly after with the entirety of our kit.
We stepped onto the field feeling as sharp as the razor-blade turf itself, which was a painful oxymoron in the shape of a drought-ridden waterbase. With the watering system apparently tied up in EU red tape, the topical dearth of eurozone liquid assets was clear for all to see.
Nevertheless, after an exchange of pennants (the La Rasante being of the Emperor’s New Clothes variety), the match got underway, with the boys in light blue clashing in both sporting and aesthetic terms with the traffic-cone orange La Rasante strips. The signs were good early on for Cambridge, with Snowy scurrying across his native turf at centre-half in a display reminiscent of Hercule Poirot’s bossing of the Belgian midfield in the days before his tragic forced retirement due to a cruciate ligament tear.
But disaster struck for the light blues with just 10 minutes played, when Big CH hit a big shot for the deflection at the far post. Nipuna the Puma bravely leapt to steer the ball in, but the cross was now firmly in the ‘far post header’ category and successively broke both the sound barrier and Poon’s finger. Charles cursed the poor finishing skills of the Blues cricketer, and duly let rip, Roy Keane-like, at his supine corpse as he was stretchered off the pitch.
After we had restrained CH, we set again to the task of the press, which was paying dividends in a tightly contested encounter at the Stade Fallon. Guided by a neatly written but now completely redundant substitution sheet that Will and Felix had spent hours composing, we subbed exhausted forwards on and off as they completed a sterling job up front.
La Rasante’s experience ended up telling, and while we went into half-time only a highly dubious goal down, the hosts, who play in the second tier of Belgian hockey, added 3 more in 15 second-half minutes on swiftly taken counter-attacks. The Blues’ pressure and possession were translated into goals with approximately the rate of success that Graeme encountered in his translation of the rules of 25 heads into German the following night: none at all.
With 5 minutes remaining, our humiliation was completed when our goalkeeper stormed off the field in protest at the state of our right-back’s shorts, which now resembled one of those stained and torn cloths you sometimes find in churches in Italy and that are said to have once held the body of Christ. Will, or Dave, or possibly George stepped in as kicking back and La Rasante added a 5th goal to complete the rout.
Overall, it was a useful training match against a very strong opposition. The match showed both how much progress has been made so far, and how much remains to be completed before we fulfil our full potential as a squad. The post-match boat race ended in a comprehensive victory for the Light Blues, which most attributed to excellent leadership from the back on the part of their captain.
MoM was the aforementioned Rory Preston and DoD was Styles for losing a member of the squad
Saturday 15th September saw the first league game of the season and the beginning of the Blue’s campaign. Things started badly when Moose forgot his match shirt racking up an impressive £7 fine before we’d even left Wilby and they got worse as it transpired that the Mini-van was not functioning.
15 minutes and a lot of pushing later we abandoned the van and squeezed into 3 cars. Fresher Jamie, in an ill advised attempt to not forget anything at all brought all his worldly possesions to Wilby with him.A long drive later past Graeme favourite corpse dumping ground and we arrived in what is best described as “the arse end of nowhere” – Harleston Magpie’s home ground.
Struggling against a water-based slower than Felix trying to down a pint the Blue’s opened the game well. Strong defensive play and excellent work rate from the midfield and forward line in our half-court press kept the magpie’s at bay and neither side looked to create many chances. Following the plan to the letter the Blues made an fast break resulting in a loose ball in the D clinically finished by CH . Leaving the Magpie stunned by the speed and ferocity of our attack we retreated by to our half and reset the press.
Play continued in this fashion for most of the rest of the game before the relentless Harleston pressure resulted in a corner and a goal. Concentration at this stage was vital and we fought back to earn a few corners for ourselves before conceding another late in the second half.
A frustrating 2-1 loss for the Blue’s but with many positives to take away from the game where we showed, at times, excellent discipline and composure for such a new side.
The blues started preseason with a tour to Brussels, which was a great success. Two friendly matches were played: the first against Royal Orée, and the second against the reserves of Racing, who are of EHL fame. Both resulted in narrow losses, but it was felt that for a team in its infancy the performances were very credible.
The East League season started with a trip to Wapping. Despite some excellent passages of play two defensive errors lead to the blues being held to a draw, and as is so often the case, the blues were denied the perfect start to the season. A loss to (now current league leaders) West Herts followed and at this point it seemed that the grand ambitions of promotion to the national league were gone.
The blues bounced back over the next three weeks with a win away to Chelmsford, a draw at Bishops Stortford and a win at home to St Albans, to leave them in touch at the top of the league. The next two matches against league front-runners Cambridge City and Bedford would be crucial, and unfortunately the blues were edged out on both occasions. Firstly City scored late to take all three points, and the week after a series of defensive errors lead to the blues coming off the wrong end of a 5-4 thriller.
These two results effectively put paid to the blues’ chances of promotion and with several key players injured lackluster performances against Dereham, Havering and Norwich followed. However towards the end of the first half of the season the blues rediscovered their earlier form, and the defensive errors that had undermined the good work previously seemed now consigned to the past. This lead to good results against Ipswich and Wapping before the Christmas break.
After Christmas, the blues picked up where they had left off. A trip to league leaders West Herts resulted in a thoroughly satisfying 2-1 victory. Draws against Chelmsford and Bishops Stortford followed, although frustratingly the blues should have won both matches. Then the snow came, and with it no matches for two weeks.
When the snow cleared, the blues went straight back to business with a highly satisfying 4-2 away win against high flyers Bedford. A day later a gutsy fight-back held St Albans to a 3-3 draw to preserve the unbeaten streak: it now stood at nine matches. The last team the blues had lost to was Dereham, and so it was somewhat fitting that they were the team to end the unbeaten run. The blues failed to learn from the previous match, allowing the Dereham forwards far too much space, and ruthless finishing consigned the blues to a 4-2 loss.
With the Varsity squad now selected, big scores against Havering and Norwich instilled the team with confidence ahead of the big day. Ice baths were taken, vast quantities of pasta were eaten, and the blues set off for Southgate with Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys are Back in Town” ringing in their ears.
The match itself was a classic. Oxford took the lead three times through their captain Jordan, but each time Cambridge pegged them back, and with 15 minutes to go took a 4-3 lead through a Felix Styles drag flick. A nervy finish followed, with Oxford pressing hard, until a breakaway lead to Salvesen’s second goal of the game and the start of the celebrations. This ended a three year losing streak for the blues, and having been involved in all of those games myself, it made winning all the sweeter.
Next week it was back to reality and the East League. The last two matches of the year were against Ipswich (5-3 win) and against Cambridge City (5-3 loss). These results mean that the blues are likely to in fifth place in the league. Whilst this is not as high as hoped at the start of the season, for a team in transition it represents a start.
I would like to thank first of all my Vice-Captain Felix Styles for all his help, and for providing sound tactical advice. Secondly my thanks go to Chris Marriott, who has been a terrific coach, providing us as a team with a winning game plan. I would also like to thank the club Secretary Charlie Bennett for all of his help throughout the year, I do not know what I would have done without it! Lastly I would like to thank the Women’s Captain and one of my closest friends Mel Addy for all her support and encouragement.
I must say it has been an absolute privilege to captain the side this year. The levels of commitment shown by the whole squad have been exemplary, and the team spirit has been absolutely fantastic. It has been a pleasure to play with friends from old, and to watch new players develop over the course of the year. Indeed as a team we have come on so much, and the test is now to sustain that next year and mount a challenge on the league title. Sadly this is not for me, but I look forward to watching the progress of the team in years to come.
Blues Captain 2011-2012
The Blues returned to Cambridge in September for pre-season with the majority of a core group of players that had guided the team to 2nd place in the East Premier League in the previous season. With the return of Rupert Allison to the midfield, and the addition of Will Harrison and Felix Styles to the defence, the squad benefited from quality additions to an experienced group of players.
Despite some problems involving cancelled friendlies in the pre-season period the Blues looked imposing and sharp in their first match of the season against Crostyx, a 3-1 win. We then entered a difficult three week period in which we played the strongest other three sides in the league, losing narrowly to Peterborough 6-5 and 6-3 to Bedford, before hanging on to a close victory against Cambridge City. Against Peterborough and Bedford we were unfortunate I believe to have important decisions go against us at crucial moments – which led to conceding two goals against Peterborough that should not have stood, and a disallowed goal from Constantin Boye against Bedford which would have given us the lead at 4-3 instead of crumbling from 3-3 to 6-3 down.
The rest of the results before Christmas indicate a team that showed great attacking potential but a tendency to leak goals. Several wins of 4-3 and 3-2 did however demonstrate the fantastic resilience of the team and calmness under pressure in scoring late goals – the comeback from 2-1 down against Ipswich to win 3-2 with 5 minutes to go was particularly notable for Stuart Jackson and Mark Borsuk’s brilliant finishing skills when it mattered.
Given the earlier defeats to Peterborough and Bedford, the 4-4 draw at West Herts before Christmas was a real blow to our title hopes, and a very frustrating match given our failure to convert our dominance of possession.
Our first week back in January saw us play a double header against bottom sides Blueharts and Crostyx – despite a good performance against Crostyx we contrived to draw the match, and Blueharts scored two breakaway goals the following day to beat us 5-4 completely against the run of play.
The second half of the season, in contrast to the first, saw us playing excellent hockey but not getting the results we needed. We were much improved against Peterborough and Bedford second time round, but were edged out 2-1 on both occasions. I think our best hockey was played at Ipswich where we won 5-3, where we played some hockey that was simply sublime – fast distribution around the back from the likes of Felix Styles and Will Harrison into the midfield, where secure and fast distribution and running from Parkes and Allison created so many chances for our forwards. It was also one of the matches in which we created the most short corners.
However the second half of the season was characterised by inconsistency: whilst we were poor at Chelmsford when we lost 3-2 we did not deserve to lose 4-3 away at Havering. We were playing much better hockey against the top sides but we failed to build on this in our performances against weaker opposition, and did not have the consistency we needed to sustain pressure on Peterborough and Bedford. With this in mind, perhaps 4th place in the league was a fair reflection of our performances over the season.
We went into the Varsity match confident that we could beat Oxford – given our performances against Peterborough and Bedford, and the times during the season when we showed real class, we knew if things went right we would win. In the end, though Oxford were a strong team, without their excellent drag flicker the match could easily have gone our way – the 5-2 result did not reflect the reality of the match. There were many stand out performances, Rupert Allison was dominant in midfield until he broke a thumb, Nick Parkes stepped up as usual, and Graeme Morrison was quality in goal.
Overall, I feel the squad only occasionally demonstrated the potential it had to be the best side in the league. Peterborough were a very good team, much better than St Albans who were promoted last year. But we took Peterborough to the wire in January – our problem was that we did not replicate our highest standards week in week out, and we didn’t consistently build on our good performances.
It is perhaps a more critical season report than I would have liked to write, but it is essential that next year’s team recognises where we went wrong in the 2010/11 season, and remembers that whilst we were a great team, we could have done more! With a squad blessed with some outstanding individuals next year’s Blues should set the bar very high indeed and strive to be consistently at the top of their game. It is definitely achievable given the right training attitudes and leadership.
Blues Captain 2010-2011