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The Men's 5th XI Finally Get the Pitcher

13 November 2021, 14:30, Banbury Road North (Near)

Men's 5s 5 - 0 Milton Keynes Men's 3s

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The 5th XI Finally Get the Pitcher!

First of all, the 5th XI extends their apologies for not having written a match report before this weekend. For the more observant, you would be forgiven for thinking that the 5th XI was waiting for their first win of the season…incorrect…Eastcote had been dispatched the previous week (2-1) with both goals scored…by (for those with a susceptible heart condition please take a seat) the skipper! The reason for the sudden appearance of a report is actually unclear but perhaps these scribblings might reveal the truth.

Here goes during the week the skipper had sent out a ‘tactical plan’ which essentially explained how to play hockey! Genius. Think about it. When you signed the contract to play for the season, with all the different packages and the requirement to set up a second mortgage; no part of the form asked ‘Can you actually play hockey?’ or ‘Do you know what to do at {insert position on pitch}?’ Something for the club to consider…perhaps a reduced fee if you can pass a ‘hockey test?’

On this occasion and considering the performance that ensued, every player would have passed with flying colours. At 3.00pm, on Oxford Hawks (near) pitch, something spectacular occurred. Within four minutes the first goal was scored, a slick move down the right, smartly finished by Tom (their first goal for the club!). Actually, on the day it could have a hat trick for Tom, however, controversially, two goals were disallowed.

The opposition, were able to have small periods of possession but only in their own half. Constant pressure in midfield from the likes of Ed, Christophe and Ash meant they were unable to move the ball across the halfway line. The 5th XI created a number of opportunities but the score remained 1-0 at half time.

What this match reporter has decided not to reveal until this point is the significant fact that for the first time this season, the 5th XI had ‘a manager’ the legendary ‘Boots’. His insights on the first half recognised the excellent play from the team but Boots was able to insert some simple observations to maintain the pressure that had been created in the first half. At the end of the game one of the team was heard to say ‘I don’t know Boots’ (think about that for a moment, they did not know who Boots is…extraordinary) but ‘Boots knows what he’s talking about’!!

The 2nd half got underway and the 5th XI resumed proceedings dominating possession and territory and as a consequence were rewarded. At regular intervals, four sublime goals were scored involving some outstanding passing, movement off the ball and clinical finishing. Whilst Bastian will receive the headlines with a fully deserved hat trick; at least three of the goals would be classed as ‘team goals’ - just a joy to watch. [At this point in the report a realisation has dawned; all the goals were scored when one was off the pitch. Something for the Skipper to add to the tactical plan!]. One goal that I can actually remember, in blurry detail, involved the ball starting on the right inside the opposition’s ‘25’ with Benji rolling the ball back under the shoulder to George who switched it quickly to Hugh (the pivot) who played it out to Ali at left back who played it to Rich on the back line who inserted the ball into the area for Bastian to guide it past the oppositions (impressive) young goalkeeper. Wow!

To back up this fantastic attacking play, the defence were not to be outdone. Jack kept a well-deserved clean sheet ably supported by Hugh and Todd in the centre and George, Charlie, Ali and the Skipper, who, it turns out is now a utility player, things never cease to amaze me.

A great performance from all and it was a pleasure to consume the match tea which included a delicious (according to Ash) ‘marrow’ inspired selection! And plenty of beer provided by the Skipper, who had been loose with their words the week before… ‘If we get a clean sheet, I will buy everyone a jug each’…but true to their word...the Skipper obliged.

Thank you to Andy and David for umpiring and allowing the game to flow and be so enjoyable. Thanks also to Clive Jones for the excellent photos.

The reason for the sudden appearance of a 5th XI match report? Can you work it out?

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