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Men's 2nd XI vs Men's 3rd XI

Games between rivals often disappoint as passion and determination tend to impede quality. However, to claim intense passion was the cause of the skill-less display against the 3s on Wednesday would be ridiculous. In reality, an unconfident, unskilled, and poorly motivated side were the victims of a team who out-performed their supposed superiors.

Though, due to Fifa related tardiness, I cannot with any profound authority speculate on the quality of the warm up, the performance in the first five minutes of the game would suggest that it was one of the least enthusiastic in the history of our sport. While the 3s harassed and dogged our defence, pouncing on any loose ball they could, the 2s seemed to adopt an Oliver-esque approach and doddle around the pitch hoping that the ball would land at their feet. Somehow it did, and Simon Pearce converted to give the 2s a scarcely deserved lead.

The ensuing celebration was poignant in that there was, in fact, no real celebration at all. It was a moment that summed up the 2’s attitude: one of arrogance and indifference.  Simon scored, a couple congratulated him, and nonchalantly we wandered back to the half way line, where, equally as nonchalantly, we began to doddle once more.

Minutes later, the first 3s’ goal, and the reaction to it, showed that the gulf between the two teams was not one of class, but desire. They were euphoric in their celebration, and channelled this passion into aggressive and incisive hockey. They dominated the rest of the half, and only because of George’s last ditch defending did they not enter the break with an advantage.

A half-time team talk calling for a change in attitude did little to affect the game. Worryingly then, it was perhaps due to a lack of skill, rather than an absence of proper attitude, that contributed to a genuinely poor second half. Three goals in less than ten minutes galvanised an already vibrant 3s team, and though we began to dominate possession, there was no real sign that a goal was imminent.

Yes, there were questionable umpiring decisions. Should Rambo have won the short corner, which led to the second goal, for missing the ball and running into George? Probably not. Should Pearcey have been awarded a flick for having his stick chopped from him yards from the goal? Yes, perhaps. But, had either or both of these decisions gone the other way, would the result have been different? No, it wouldn’t. The 3s played fiercely and skilfully. The 2s did not. We were weak, shockingly motivated, and our hockey lacked thought, and invention. The game has to act as a warning that there are better players in the team below, who have proven they deserve to take our places.

But let’s not lose hope. The mystical genius of Hector can still save us from yet another season in the dark and lonely depths of BUCS Western 2B.

Positives? George has an intact face, and neither Wyatt nor Dom got a yellow card. Huzzah!

This entry was posted on 19 November 2011 at 16:21. You can leave a response here.

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