Rescheduled Fixture – Men’s 2s Face Pelicans

Newmarket Men’s 2s: 0-4 loss vs Pelicans Men’s 3s (Away)

‘Tis the season to be jolly and the M2’s travelled to King’s Lynn, jolly hockey sticks in hand, to play Pelican’s 3rd team, who were sat second from bottom of the league and 3 points behind Newmarket. This was a rearranged fixture due to an earlier cancellation thanks to an unplayable pitch. As there had been no rain, we were confident the pitch would be OK, the greater concern was all those players from the Pelican’s 1st and 2nd teams sat with nothing to do on a Saturday afternoon.
On arrival at the ground it became clear that the Pelicans had a rather unorthodox approach to club kit. Apparently, on joining the club, players are issued with a rather splendid black kit with regal flashes of purple, and a shovel. The pitch sits right alongside what looks like a typical Fen drain, albeit a small one, and when this bursts it’s banks, the water, silt and unspeakable other materials all get deposited on the pitch. Once the water levels fall, Club members rise up, shovels in hand to remove the detritus from the pitch. The quaint, seasonal Club Mascot at the side of the pitch was testament to all the hard work that had been done with those shovels ahead of the game (see photo below).

The pitch still wasn’t in great shape with lots of mud making for an uneven playing surface, but both teams had to play on it. Straight from the push back Newmarket were under pressure and conceded from a penalty corner within the first few minutes. Very soon it became clear this was not the team languishing second from bottom of the league as they played some lovely hockey, retaining possession for long periods. Newmarket relied too much on the long ball and often gave away possession cheaply and it wasn’t long before we were punished again by another well executed short corner. Keeper Seth Bailey was kept busy and made some great saves while we welcomed new players Josh Dawson, Louis Hrebeniak and Simon ‘Harry’ Harrington who all made solid contributions.
Some of the umpiring decisions were leaving Newmarket players a little confused and irritated as it seemed that extra sensory perception was being used. At one point Pete Boyle politely questioned one of the decisions and immediately saw a flash of green. As he was serving his 2 minute suspension sat in the dugout, the umpire switched on his ESP again, turned to Boyle and added a further 2 minutes to his suspension without explanation. He was either reading Boyle’s mind (except in that case he probably would have seen red) or he heard those tiny little voices living in the deepest darkest recesses of the mind known as The Twilight Zone.
When half time arrived Newmarket were deservedly 3:0 down and Pelicans the better team. The formation was adjusted slightly so that we might play a little further up the pitch and the second half was a better performance. Newmarket conceded a fourth goal but prevented Pelicans adding any further to their tally. Possession was retained a little better as we tried to make shorter passes to retain the ball but we never really put the Pelicans keeper under any pressure.
Not so jolly as we headed to the clubhouse for a pasty and a pint. Newmarket were not really at the races today and the loss of two midweek training sessions and a match last weekend all took their toll. The next game will be against top of the table Bury on January 9th but in the meantime, here’s to a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year!

MOTM – Seth Bailey (yet again)

DOTD – Pete Boyle (“I say, old chap, that’s a jolly dodgy decision don’t you know, what what!”)