|Date||6 June 2017|
|Result||L 2 - 5|
After several late drop-outs, including Matt Griffiths due to the recent birth of his new baby boy, Old Wulfs arrived at the Royal School with a bare eleven players including Luke Archer making his first appearance in goal in this year’s summer league campaign.
The squad was also somewhat unbalanced, with little to choose from in terms of midfielders especially. So much so in fact, that Dave Cartwright moved up from defence and started the game in the centre of park, despite his loud protestations.
It was furtherly unfortunate then that, despite Finchfield fielding some younger and inexperienced sides in their previous matches and their score lines reflecting this, they decided to give their team an extra dusting of talent, with several first teamers coming in. Nothing to do with playing Old Wulfs, I’m sure.
The game started at a quick pace, with Finches holding most of the possession and overrunning Old Wulfs players when they didn’t have the ball. For long spells, Wulfs were camped inside their own D doing their best to repel repeated attacks, without really being able to hold the play in the opposite half for any period of time.
Eventually, Finchfield made the breakthrough. In fact they made two breakthoughs, one after the other, following a period of sustained pressure. Before Wulfs knew it, they were down by two goals without mustering a shot themselves.
Eventually though, the travelling side did begin to string together a few more meaningful moves, managing to get the ball down the sides of the pitch quickly to attack on the counter. Just before half time, Chris Nightingale collected the ball on the top of the D and then slipped to Cartwright who then crossed for Tibble to finish at the back post.
After the break the game continued to be more even with some end-to-end hockey. Finchfield should have probably capitalised on some good chances to extend their lead, but they found Luke Archer in impressive form between the sticks as he managed to snuff out a series of attempts.
Finches began pushing perhaps too hard for another goal, as they committed a lot of bodies forward and allowed Wulfs to again counter. Shave collected the ball high up the pitch and drove in to the D to shoot. His shot was blocked and then fell to Callum Nightingale. After his shot was also smothered, the ball then fell to Ashworth who made no mistake, slapping it home from close range. 2-2.
It looked for a few minutes that Wulfs might play out a third score-draw in a row. However, Finchfield didn’t let this comeback faze them, and they were soon up again after converting a penalty corner.
With the game wearing on, and no subs to help them, Wulfs started to look jaded and Finchfield further exerted their dominance with two more goals to see out the match 5-2. A valiant effort from the away side, but the opposition proved just too strong on the day.
Man of the Match – Luke Archer