|Date||1 December 2012|
|Venue||Cannock Hockey Club|
|Result||L 1 - 3|
For our last league game of this half of the season we went back to Cannock to play their 7th team, currently in second place in the league behind their 6th team! The 7ths are primarily a team of circa 16 year olds with a couple of good adults to give direction and a “spine” to their team. However, it soon became very apparent that what the majority of players lacked in height or bulk they more than made up for in skill and determination!
From the start Old Wulfs were under a lot of pressure and were soon a goal down from a short corner courtesy of a cheeky little chip/flick from one of their older players. The rest of the first half continued in much the same vein, but Old Wulfs settled to the task and despite Ray objecting to the Cannock manager telling his team to “watch the old guy in the middle - he is good” (we assume the objection was to the reference to his alleged age rather than his ability!) we began to move the ball around more briskly and were very solid in defence. The result was that we went into half time only 1-0 down.
In the first half Cannock were more disciplined, quicker to the ball and despite their youth were not prepared to be muscled off the ball – all points our illustrious skipper made to us in his usual inimitable style during the half -time team talk.
The result was a much better start to the second half and a break down our right resulted in a shot in which the keeper could only parry into the path of an oncoming Gary O’Sullivan who rifled it into the open goal. The following ten minutes were very even play, Cannock having most of the attacks, but always a little wary of what we might do on the break. However, they then benefitted from a little bit of luck with a mishit shot at the edge of the “D” going off at a completely unintended angle, catching friend and foe alike wrong footed and the ball bounced slowly, but inexorably into the goal.
We were not downcast though and continued to defend resolutely and press the Cannock midfield and defence but with only a couple minutes to go we got caught on the break pushing up for the equaliser and whilst my not inconsiderable bulk did manage to get something on the shot from the ensuing “one on one” it was not enough to divert it wide of the goal.
Overall an enjoyable game to play in against team that were probably the most skilful we have played so far and will definitely be a real force to reckon with in a couple of years’ time. As for the 4ths, despite ending this half of the season with two defeats it has been a story of steady improvement and we look forward to continuing this progress in the second half of the season.