Senior Boys’ Hockey Report

27 Jan 2016

Witham Hall     8 (James x 4, Archie x 2, Joe x 1 & Orlando x 1)

Worksop Prep 0

After a pleasing pre-season, the boys’ 1st XI were ready to kick start their season against Worksop Prep on a very cold day at Witham. Last season, the boys scraped a 3-2 victory so they knew they would face strong opposition. After a mixed first five minutes where both teams tried to work each other out, Witham started to take control. Worksop started to sit deep under immense pressure which left very few gaps but the Witham boys started to weave some magical patterns between them. At first, the temptation to clobber the ball from just metres out was too much; with so many players around, free hits were given against us but soon the boys started to keep the ball on the stick and control it using the corners to great effect. James started the ball rolling with a few neat finishes with Archie and Orlando also chipping in. A little like Arsenal FC, the team were persistent in passing the ball into the goal from inches out often passing the ball five or six times whilst in the opposition ‘D’ when a quick shot would suffice. In spite of this, it really was quite superb to watch the speed of passing and the skill level on show – something that shows what a huge amount of potential this group of players have. In the second half, we altered positions and shape resulting in unfamiliar settings but the boys kept battling hard. Joe scored a thunderous goal from the top of the ‘D’ leaving the keeper no chance and with limited space, the pressure was maintained. Susceptible to counter attacks, the defence held strong with Alfie and Oscar alongside Eshan, battling hard. The match finished 8-0 but there were only mere glimpses of what I am sure is to come. The skill level was impressive but we now need to focus on moving the ball wider and at pace to attack round the back as an alternative to the middle.

Witham Hall   4 (Oliver x 1, Archie x 1, James x 1 & Will x 1)

Spratton Hall 0

The boys were keen to build on their win from last Saturday and they knew that Spratton would provide a stern test early in this season. It took a while for the game to settle with very few clear cut chances being created despite Witham dominating the possession. The team worked hard and put our focus from training of moving the ball wider with more speed into play which was pleasing to see. The Spratton defence held firm with very little space available, often playing on the counter through the middle of the pitch. Finally after switching the ball neatly from right to left, James broke free and crossed a quite superb ball on the reverse stick to Oliver who held his nerve and slotted calmly into the corner of the goal. At half time the score was still tight and the Witham boys needed to score another to put the game out of reach which they duly did. After multiple attacks down the right, Archie pulled a superb ball back to James who swept the ball emphatically into the corner. Two more goals followed in quick succession, the latter through a timely counter attack, orchestrated by Will and finished by Archie. It was a tremendous win by the boys and one that needed hard work and concentration – particularly by the boys at the back – Eshan in particular! 11 goals scored in two games with not a shot on target conceded; quite dull for Geordie but an accolade that only bodes well for the games to come.

Witham Hall    9 (James x 3, Orlando x 1, Will C x 2, Archie x 2 & Toby x 1)

Maidwell Hall  2 

In their first 7 a-side match of the season, the Witham boys set up against a feisty Maidwell team hoping to keep their unbeaten run going. Still unsure of the positions in this format and the roles, the boys worked hard to adapt. Despite the structure remaining narrow, Witham's skill was superior and goals came quickly in the first half. Putting practice into place, Toby and Archie worked to drive down the right flank and to supply the forwards by pulling the ball back towards the top of the 'D'. This worked to good effect with Will and James both benefiting, duly finishing with a neat push. Unfortunately, despite the goals, Witham struggled with their defensive organisation and Geordie was called into action far too often. In the second half, the game opened up and Witham became sloppy in possession; the ball was lost far too easily in the midfield resulting in two slick counter attacks from Maidwell which both forced goals. Witham responded with some fine goals themselves showcasing neat skill but it was clear that the boys were nowhere near their best. With some more work on defensive structure and taking care of the ball, I know they will duly fulfil their obvious and huge potential as a team.

2nd XI:

Witham Hall       5

Worksop Prep   1

The 2nd XI hockey team got off to a very slow start against Worksop Prep on a wet and cold afternoon. Conceding half way through the first half and struggling to find their feet on the grass, the 2nd team let their emotions get away with them, becoming increasingly frustrated. However, at half time a few calming words from Mr Wills and a couple of tactical changes saw a different team come out for the second half. Playing far more direct hockey, Max found Frankie with ease time and time again. Frankie’s movement was excellent and he made some impressive runs in behind the Worksop defence. After scoring two goals in quick succession, Frankie was still not happy with his afternoon’s work and went on to score a further three goals. Five in total is a rarity in hockey and something of which Frankie should be very proud. What was most impressive about the 2nd XI’s second half performance was their desire to win the ball back quickly high up the pitch and move it forward early. This ultimately led to a deserved 5-1 win. Well done to all the boys, especially the new year 7’s who have really taken to hockey.  

Witham Hall        2

Spratton Hall      1

The 2nd XI hockey team put in a solid performance on an extremely cold afternoon at Witham. A very bright start saw Max again link up with Frankie who finished well into the bottom corner. Witham was 1-0   up at half time and looked very dangerous on the counter. However, the 2nd’s knew that they would need to take their chances in the second half if they were going to put the game to bed. Unfortunately some good opportunities were missed one on one with the Spratton keeper. This led to a very good breakaway goal to leave the scores level at 1-1. Pleasingly, the boys kept their composure and through Finn (who scored his first ever field hockey goal) took a 2-1 lead with five minutes remaining. Chaos then ensued and the 2nd XI found themselves defending frantically to stop Spratton drawing level. Through sheer grit and determination the boys managed to get over the line and win what was a very close game. Well done!

3rd  XI:

Worksop Prep   1

Witham Hall       0

The 3rd XI began their season with an entertaining game on grass at Ranby. With a large number of Year 7 boys in the side, playing 11 a side hockey was a new experience, but the team settled well and very much ‘made the running’ in the early part of the game. Our main threat – pleasingly - came down the right wing, and for much of the first half the side kept their shape well, looking comfortable defensively and creating two or three good chances without scoring. However, one lapse in concentration brought the home team their first real chance, superbly finished on the run to give Worksop a half time lead. The second half was a much tighter affair with Worksop, encouraged by their goal, having greater territory and thereby their share of opportunities. Despite falling out of position more as the game went on, the Witham side were still able to create three good chances for an equaliser but were denied on each occasion by the home keeper! A good game to start the term - well done.

Witham Hall        2

Maidwell Hall     3

The 3rd VII should be very pleased with their afternoon’s work. In a game that was end to end throughout the boys got better and better as it progressed. A bright start saw them 1-0 up at half time with Freddie pulling the strings in the central midfield role ably supported by the rock solid William and Noah. However, as the 3rd’s soon found out, 1-0 can be a very dangerous lead where you certainly cannot rest on your laurels. With ten minutes remaining, we found ourselves 2-1 down, but fortunately Finn scored a superb solo goal to draw things level. With time running out for a winner, the 3rd’s had some excellent opportunities to win the game but got caught out on the counter attack and conceded in the last minute to lose 3-2 . The boys should not be disappointed with this result, they all did themselves proud and played some very good hockey.