The Magnificents were a bit down last week having come to the end of a record winning league streak but regrouped this week with a solid squad. The goal keeping crisis was averted with the welcome return of Theo, who first learnt his craft in the 7s many seasons ago. We welcomed back Sri V and Sam V for a 2nd week and the return of Dolly, who had been looking at his team options but on the basis of limited transfer offers has opted for the conviviality of the 7s.
Thame 3's lined up as a relatively youthful development squad with a number of grey hairs/ no hair dotted among them.
For the 7s we lined up with Hack and Watson at back supported by James B and Mark S as half back. Diamond in the middle of Sam V, Sri V, RV and Dolly. Upfront McGrigor and Elliott. On the side lines Richard W and Andy G looked to come on upfront and in the middle.
Thame showed early promise aided in part by Hawks failing to distribute the ball on a very sticky pitch. Solid defending by Hack and Watson generally kept Thame out of the D. We then started to get into our stride and generally kept the ball away from our 25. Thame looked potentially strong on the break but were never able to reach their front men and it is a reflection of the game that the Magnificents didn't concede a single penalty corner during the whole match. When Thame did look like they might trouble us, Theo was very assured at the back with a couple of very solid kicks coming to meet the ball at the edge of the D.
At the other end Hawks started to string some passes together with Dolly weaving his way around their 25. McGrigor had a couple of near misses again for the 2nd week running (or is it more) . Venables also squandered some opportunities hitting wide left and right but netting into the back of the football which sat directly behind the hockey goal. He'd got it between the posts, just the wrong ones.
Dolly eventually broke the deadlock with a goal from open play. 0-1 at half time felt ok but we agreed we'd passed up numerous opportunities and yet again just needed to give ourselves a bit more time in the D.
With rain still pouring we soon added to the score with a Dolly drive to the D and a deflection from Elliot between his legs to beyond the keeper. Dolly then added his second from a short corner where he rounded the keeper. Elliott added his second shortly after and Dolly got his hat-trick with a P flick after Elliott latest attempt at goal was stopped on the line by a players body.
In the final minutes of the game Andy Graham hit the ball cleanly between the keepers legs seconds after the umpire had blown for a short. Unsuccessful appeals on the basis that a Graham goal is somewhat of a rarity fell on deaf ears. The team contrived a short corner routine with a push out from Elliott to Dolly and then a right delivery to Sam V to then push the ball left of the P spot for Graham to drive the ball home. As ever, our routines never go to plan...instead of Dolly the ball came to Venables who slipped it to his left to Graham who then cannoned the ball to the back board retain his honour and glory.
0-6 was a satisfying to a wet afternoon. Honourable mentions also go to Stoker for robust defending, Sri V who tackled well with his long stick reach and Sam V who adds an element of atheleticism that sometime challenges other team member... Thanks to Thame's two lady umpires for braving the wet after playing a game beforehand and the after match pizzas.