Men’s 1s: 3-2 win vs I-ES 3 (Home)
(Dawson, Holden, Pears)
NEWMARKET EDGE PAST IES
Newmarket, looking for their 14th win of the season, began the contest brightly, no doubt buoyed by their 4-1 loss to Bury St Edmunds the week before, and should have taken an early lead but it was IES who struck first. 0-1.
The hosts recovered well from that set-back, transferring the ball well between the back four of Harry Bell, Jordan Newnes, William Wilson and Darren Jenkins, and tiring out IES’s forward line. The visitors were then made to pay when Matthew Holden put Newmarket ahead with a composed tap in after a neat one-two with Ollie Wade. 1-1.
The home side then deservedly went ahead moments later after a brilliant bit of 3D skill by Josh Dawson who, in a tight space inside the ‘D’, lifted the ball over the defenders stick, pull it past another player, before planting a low shot into the bottom left corner – 2-1.
As the second half got under way, Town signalled their intent when Ollie Trent burst down the left, who passed the ball to Mark Pears to thwart home the third from the top of the ‘D’. 3-1.
IES were proving a constant danger however and were pressing the home side in the final 5 minutes of the game, forcing stand in keeper Seth Bailey into several saves. The visitors did manage to steal a second goal however through some sloppy defending in the middle of park, leaving the striker to drive freely into the ‘D’ and settling the score at 3-2.
Men’s 2s: 1-4 loss vs Ipswich Cranes 1 (Away)
Your humble scribe must confess that he does not, in fact, remember any of this match – a somewhat convenient fact given the scoreline. However, this lack of accurate and descriptive reporting pales into insignificance when you consider the masterpiece that was Simon Harrington’s contribution, and it is of this that I shall paint a picture in vivid, glorious technicolour for the following five paragraphs. So strap in, take a gulp of your finest whisky/vodka/tap water (fill your boots Jimbo) and enjoy the extraordinary saga that is about to unfold.
Only able to expose us to a short burst of his brilliance due to our not being equipped with the necessary radiation shielding, our heavyweight hero duly trundles onto the pitch midway through the second half. At this point the scores are locked in an epic and entirely competitive state, and it is clear that the Blue & Yellow Machine are merely a hair’s breath away from running away with the match and, indeed, Division 5. Scarcely worth mentioning is the fact that we are in Divison 4 and 0-3 down.
Anyway, Harrington enters stage right and immediately bulldozes a path to his spiritual home, often referred to as stranded somewhere between the oppo D and centre circle. He then proceeds to snort in derision as, in an ill-advised bout of youthful exuberance, a sprightly Ipswich Cranian attempts to use his ‘speed’ and ‘agility’ (I understand we are not all acquainted with these values, so for definitions please see AJ7) to dribble past our legendary lawyer. Throwing back his noggin to the sky and uttering a guttural scream politely inquiring as to the legal validity of this particular Cranian’s ancestry, the lanky legend proceeds to relieve him of his hockey ball and begins a charge, comparable to a certain Atkinson when he spots a dance floor, towards the Ipswich circle. I was planning a pun relating to The Charge of the Light Brigade here, but I feel this description would be wholly misleading as, of all the adjectives I could choose to describe the subject of this fable, ‘light’ is definitely not one of them.
And so, dear reader, we pick up the action as Harrington nears the circle; he turns once, he turns twice, he trips over his own feet… no! It was but a cunning ploy to deceive us all! In fact, we are so incredibly deceived by this piece of tactical genius beyond the comprehension of mortals that we allow the ball to roll past us and into the back of our net for 0-4! Incredible! But is our rather rotund revolutionary deterred? Of course not! In an act of supreme and glorious vengeance, he finally takes matters onto his own stick. He picks up the ball outside the opposition D and sends one defender for a lovely cuppa. He sends the second for a delicious crumpet. He sends the third to the local McCourt Enterprises retirement home. He sends the first one, just back from his beverage, to go and fetch him one, how could you be so thoughtless, you scrawny little scoundrel you. He decides that enough is enough. He feints to shoot. The defenders cower in his righteous path. He jinks to the right; he swings, he misses. The goalkeeper regrets his life choices and offers up his pads in surrender. But Harrington knows no mercy; he’s a hard man, and if there’s one thing you can say about hard men, it’s that they’re hard. And often men.
Watching the ball depart Harrington’s stick like a Polaris missile destined for the Motherland actually brought a tear to this particular reporter’s eye. The ball whistled through the air, apparently unbound by the physical laws of gravity, and impacted the inside of the Ipswich goalnet with the force of Uncle Vlad’s favourite 25-megaton. But was Harrington carried away with this act of supreme skill? Did he celebrate his godlike tekkers? Did he inquire as to who was, in fact, our daddy?
It is up to me, my friends, to tell that his response was quite the opposite. The great man simply held up two fingers to the sky in a holy gesture older than the universe itself, the meaning of which is surely lost in the forever ebbing sands of time. And it was thus, his worship and homage to the Lord Almighty (who sometimes goes by the earthly name of Wilson) complete, Harrington departed the field of play to the angelic heraldry provided by the screams of a displeased child. Pure poetry in motion.
Also, there weren’t any showers.
Men’s 3s: 3-3 draw vs Watton 2 (Home)
(Andreou 2, J. Atkinson)
The Men’s 3s conclude their first ever league campaign in third spot. Despite winning the most games and scoring the most goals in the league and playing some outstanding hockey along the way, promotion was missed out on a technicality.
Watton 2s were tough opposition and went ahead early before 2 goals before half time from Alex Andreou seemed to put Newmarket back on course. A third for Newmarket via the reverse stick of James Atkinson just after half time, put Newmarket further in control, but Watton continued to produce chances, pulling 1 back midway through the half and breaking Newmarket hearts with a 68th minute equaliser.
At the start of the season the aim was to get a 3s team out every week, develop youth and to provide a game to all who wanted one. The season has been a success far beyond expected and the disappointment in missing out on a promotion spot only shows how far we have come.
Ladies’ 1s: 2-0 win vs Cambridge Nomads 1 (Home)
(L. Evans, Stoneman)
Following from a 1-0 win at City of Peterborough last week with a depleted team Newmarket were back to full strength and upbeat for their home game to Cambridge Nomads.
Newmarket started the game with several strong waves of attack and soon settled into creating some strong moves down the right with birthday girl Emma ‘ Welshy’ Russell-Price making some great runs and passes in the D. Newmarket struggled to make anything of their chances with the Nomads keeper keeping the score at 0-0 for much of the first half. Newmarket kept up the pressure and with Grace Morris making some great attacks from the left these finally paid off when Newmarket were awarded a penalty flick when the ball was stopped on the line. Captain Lydia Evans keep here cool made the score 1-0 going into half term.
Newmarket knew that the game was within their grasp but some waves of Nomads attacks reminded them that they could not take their foot off the gas. They pulled together and work as a team, pushed hard and created wave after wave of attack, this finally paid off with the award of a corner. Hayley Stoneman was able to follow up on Evans’ strike to slot away second goal 5 mins from the end of play. This win leaves Newmarket still within reach of promotion joint on points with 2nd in the league but 3rd on goal difference with a game in hand. Newmarket have the top two teams still to play in the last three of the season, they go to St Neots this weekend with high hopes.
Ladies’ 2s: 0-13 loss vs Cambridge South 1 (Away)
Newmarket Ladies’ 2s once again were put in a sticky position when facing Cambridge South 1s, who currently hold the top of the leader board. The Ladies’ 2s went into the game with their heads not quite screwed on, leading to the team becoming downhearted quite quickly, causing lack of communication and loss of our strong mind set.
After some strong half time words from the coach, Chris Evans, the way we were playing was put into perspective, we had to up our game and make South really earn their final goal score, spirits were lifted and communication was back, we were moving faster. Emma Lankfer, Katie and Emily Russell holding midfield and passing the ball up the wings to make it to the D, a goal didn’t go in but fortunately the more energy we had, the more South lacked.
Our rotating defence practised short corner routines again, spicing things up for the opposition with some novel combinations: Callie Plumb and Jess Allen proved their worth in fitness and skills, Phoebe “Phlick” Peacock taking desperate measures at times, some she saved, some she lost, one (in honouring her nickname) she let Jersey face.
Walking away with the score 13-0 was a downer, but once again goalie Jersey Bennett gained man of the match title, letting in only 13 out of many many shots.
Captain Zoe Bailey is looking forward to meeting Cambridge City 4s at home next week: a match we won in the first half of the season and a chance for L2s to remember how it feels to be in the game.
Ladies’ 3s: 1-1 draw vs St Neots 3 (Away)
Saturday saw a very early start for the ladies, arriving bleary eyed in St Neots at 9am. We were also dismayed to find the sports centre completely locked up and a few pennies to spend.
The ladies started the game strong and in high spirits. We won first pushback, and flew from the first whistle! L Smith to Podd, back to Smith, onto Excell on the wing to find ourselves in St Neots’ D all within the first minutes of the game. Shots on goal taken, and rebounds picked up with none quite making the mark. This was to set the tone for game, in Newmarket dominated, attacked and held possession, but were struggling to get the ball over the line.
Early poor/biased umpiring saw the girls feeling a little rattled and frustrated.
Half time the and the ladies were convinced that with perseverance, this game was theirs.
2nd started as the first, but St Neots seemed to have gained some additional players over half time?
Newmarket found themselves in the St Neots D again, and this time the girls were not letting it slip away. Battling against keeper and defenders the ball rebounded several times, keeper slid, ball went under her seeing Lauras Excell and Smith, plus Soph Kelly all manically trying to get to it. The girls were ecstatic to break the stalemate and put 1 on the board.
St Neots shortly retaliated with a breakaway goal to even the score. Both teams battled on up to the last second of the game, with neither managing to come away with a win.
Overall this was a game that Newmarket dominated, but were just unable able to complete the task of getting more goals.
The ladies were very happy with their performance which saw a lot of excellent individual play.
Player of the match went to Sophie Bell for her outstanding play at right back.
Ladies’ 4s: 0-12 loss vs Cambridge City 5 (Home)