After 8 relatively easy victories it was time for a real game of hockey in this Wessex Masters top of the table clash between Senators and Winchester. Senators went into this game with a slight points advantage, but knew that victory here would start to put some distance between them and the chasing pack. Winchester was the only other unbeaten side left in the league and it promised to be a high-class fixture.
15 energetic young men were spotted warming up in the afternoon sunshine, drawing appreciative comments from some of the National League scouts that had assembled on the touch-line eager to use their cheque-books to strengthen their squads with some of the talent available from the Senators. Minister-without-portfolio Hutts had to use all of his considerable managerial talent to entice his players away from lucrative contract discussions to focus on the matter at hand: a strong challenge from Winchester who over recent years have proven to be a worthy competitor.
Senators started strongly but found themselves behind after only 10 minutes through a slick short corner routine. Woken from their slumber by some earsplitting expletives from the back, Senators put some lovely moves together resulting in an quick equaliser also from a short corner, followed by a penalty flick awarded after Marky Mark (who passed a late fitness test) showed the Winchester defence his heels and could only be prevented from scoring by a tackle straight from the RFU's training manual. Dunners was the keenest to take it and demonstrated his ability to slot home with only the tightest of holes to play with.
A more settled Senators than began to pull away and, with goals either side of half time, where cruising to a comfortable victory when once again Winchester spoiled the party to narrow the deficit to 4-2, much against the run of play. This was the moment for Ed 'Ronaldinho' Baldock to open his box of tricks and the silky midfield interplay with man-of-the-match JP had the spectators purring in admiration, drawing favourable comparison with the Brazilian elegance of the early 70's. A passing extravaganza led to 3 more goals that will illuminate any goal of the season competition, with Scraggy 'Lineker' adding to his tally of only scoring from less than a yard out.
With victory secured Senators were able of grant their stars early substitutions and Winchester pinched a late consolation goal to give the final score a more respectable look: 7-3