Thomas Schavenacker doesn't always get it right but he managed to this weekend. Torrential rain in the South was forecast and torrential rain in the South was delivered. Add to that a round trip of 142 miles to get to Fareham (apparently in accordance with England Hockey's wish to reduce travelling) and a slightly tricky looking fixture against Fareham 2's and this Saturday had all the makings of one that might not be much fun for your correspondent.
The week had been notable for other problems, in particular a preponderance of lame excuses for declaring oneself unavailable. No names , no pack drill (whatever that means), but since when did the following qualify as an acceptable excuse for not strutting one's stuff on the green baize of a Saturday afternoon. I quote:- " Very sorry but I have just realised I am unavailable this weekend in the end.Shame as I was looking forward to a good match but I have double booked.". Seriously I despair.
I will resist identifying the culprit only because I value my reputation as an exceptionally kind hearted member of the human race. Were we living in the Middle Ages, however, I'd be the first peasant to hurl an overipe vegetable at this malfeasor in the stocks.
Moving on - our motley crew of journeymen all made it to Fareham relatively untouched by the atrocious weather only to find the changing rooms locked and entry denied. Thus, once in the changing room, now absolutely soaked, the boys compliantly took in the instructions from Dunners and with Barret absent there were mercifully few questions or, as he might say, points of information raised.
As it turned out we appeared to be in better shape than our hosts who had a squad of only 12 and no coach. I say "appeared to be in better shape" as we had a cast of thousands but there again we had Dunners so I'm not entirely sure it's an absolute given and there are certainly some who might want to argue the toss.
What I do know is that we started quite slowly - which I hope won't become a habit but fear it might. Fareham were rather more alert and aggressive than us but we still contrived to score three without reply although I've no idea how that happened. We then had a little collective lie down and let Fareham get back to 3-2 before snatching a 4th goal just before half time to put them back in their box, so to speak.
The second half was much better as everyone seemed to wake up for a few minutes and we produced some good stuff. Lewis moved smoothly into second gear linking well with Felix and Billy and we stuck 5 more in without reply - some thought it may even have been 6 more but the umpires couldn't be persuaded.
Really encouraging were the performances of the kindergarten who all did things to impress. Ben was very assured between the posts, Matteo (2) and Luke (1) (who sadly limped off with his hammy in bits) scored with sharp finishes and Raoul continues to impress at the back. Obviously I also have to mention Dan who got 3 and continues to hit the back of the net with gratifying regularity.
So an impressive result if nothing else and some evidence that as we get to know each other better this team may continue to improve.
All that remains to be mentioned is some bizrrare behaviour from Charlie Hill in the changing room post match which I suggest you ask him about if you are interested.
On to next week.