The juniors stepping up to raise the tempo, the masters showing their intent or trying to cover some waffle for Wardy.. challenges abounded this weekend. While some pitches didn’t cope with the cold as well as TR and some clubs took a restful weekend, for IHC it was hockey time! 7 wins and 3 losses, with 3 away games to be rearranged. The second half of the season is looking busy as we play catch up and look to duck and dive the stormy weather.
What’s the story this week?
The W2 showing how it’s done, the boys flying, M3 seeming unstoppable and the oldies enter the debating society after the Battle of Bishops Stortford.
Boys U16 Tier 1: W3-2
Ipswich U14 boys v Buckingham U14 boys 3-2
The U16 boys got back to business against Buckingham with a win that wasn’t as assured as it could have been with a couple of defensive lapses making it a fight throughout.
Buckingham started well with their midfield imposing themselves and throwing aerials into both corners. As the defense stood firm and started to move the ball around the back well, Ipswich got into the game and Jakob started to use his array of passing skills to help the midfield duo of Fred Beales and Ben Bastow penetrate. After 25 minutes A Dylan Jarvis run down the right brought Ipswich their first PC. Up stepped Austin Edwards to fire a flick into the right-hand side of the net.
Ipswich came out in the second half pushing to build on their advantage, but a defensive mishap let Buckingham slot home an equalizer. Never mind, building on some renewed hard work from George Prentice and some driving runs from Aidan Douse, Ipswich pushed forward to win another PC. Up stepped Jakob von Borries to fire a bullet into the bottom corner. 2-1.
The focus and concentration wavered again to allow Buckingham back into the game again. Something to work on in training and it was back to 2-2. Pushing into the final quarter and, with Charlie Cooper winning the midfield battle, Ipswich burst into the D for Dan Ingram to fire against the bar, Sam Barstow was well positioned to send it goal-ward only for a defensive foot to get in the way. Stroke! Up stepped Austin to fire his second into the same righthand side netting.
A 3-2 win and 3 points providing a good platform for another tough game next Sunday against Teddington.
Boys U14 Tier 1 Supra League: W2-1
Ipswich U14 boys v Cambridge City U14 boys 2-1
With perhaps a lack of enthusiasm or desire we made this harder than perhaps it could have been. Maybe having already beaten them twice, heads weren't in the right place or perhaps it was the warmup with several members still to arrive, or perhaps Cambridge have been putting some hours in on the training pitch. Either way legs looked tired today and it took a team effort to pull together and sneak the win in the last play of the game.
Motm Duncan really played out of his skin to keep the Cambridge attacks out of our goal and the score remained at 1-1 for two thirds of the game. These goals were both good "team goals" finished off with passes to beat the keeper at either end. Thomas getting ours at the left post.
Passing was better than last week, which was great to see and slowly our shape is improving as everyone gets more comfortable on the pitch. Highlights from the sideline were some wonderful passing linkups down the left and right flanks. Apart from his time off the pitch modelling an ice-pack James B had another solid game defending well and working up and down the pitch. Evan showed us what he can do on the left. Charlie linked well with the other midfield and upfront.
In the second half our structure improved as we had been leaving too big a gap from defense on our sixteen-yard hit outs - asking a lot from the defense with a wall of red in front of them. With a string of several penalty corners that were well saved it seemed like we were heading for shuffles as the clock ran down. Fortunately, AJ picked the right time to slot a drag flick into the back of the net in the 69th minute with the final whistle going before Cambridge could restart.
We've now got a break before our next game against midlands champions Belper on the 3rd March - they dropped a point against Sutton Coldfield today proving they're not invincible but we'll need to up our game to get three points.
Boys U14 Tier 2: L3-4
Ipswich U14B boys v Cambridge City U14B boys 3-4
The boys put on an impressive show against Cambridge. Several of the team stepping up to play their first 11 aside full pitch game and coming together for the first time as a team. A great learning and discovery journey for the team with everyone playing a part. The more experienced players starting to share and trust the game and structure rather than just the players they knew. Use of the full pitch improved noticeable over the game with more and more passes being strung together. Just what we had hoped to see for these boys as their hockey develops.
Men’s O40s Tier 1: Won 4-3
Men’s O40 vs Bishop Stortford O40
The betting market was alive ahead of the O40s last 16 game at Bishops Stortford; who would get carded first? Would it be Foxy (who always takes his Disciplinary Officer duties seriously insisting he knows how the system works from the inside), would it be Wardy (the fresh faced but occasionally foul-mouthed assassin), what about Sam Edwards (HK umpires obviously never missed any infringements) or would it be Dyksey (as statistically he has most involvements in ‘key moments’)? In the end the smart money prevailed with our Guest from the Docks Jimmy Walker taking the honours with not one, not two but three attempts at a scything stick tackle. Not content with a 5 minute rest Jimmy almost managed to annoy the home team umpire so much that he got another card before returning to the pitch from the first infraction. Still despite playing 10 minutes of the game with only 10 players (Dave C rugby tackled one poor geriatric in the second half) the wise old heads (and creaking knees) of the Ipswich O40s prevailed in a titanic and occasionally fractious battle with goals from Wardy (2), the Viking and Dyksey the Duracell bunny sealing a well-deserved victory.
With Wardy delayed, the game started with the bare 11 on the pitch; a lack of familiarity showed with a maximum of 2 passes successful in the first 10 minutes (Sam diplomatically described our passing as too forceful) leading to BSHC scoring with a direct strike from a hotly contested PC award. The opposition almost scored immediately from the restart however the striker kindly fluffed an open goal from a rebound. This acted as a catalyst for Ipswich to play something resembling hockey (caveat: see comment on J Walker above) with Dyksey and Ollie P taking control of midfield and Sam and Storm (using Wheels’s spare stick) roaming the wings. The reward came from an equally hotly contested short corner with Wardy drilling a shot against the backboard with such power that your correspondent thought it had been saved as it rebounded out of the goal.
A 1-1 scoreline at half time seemed about right although we clearly had pissed both umpires off to the extent that even Foxy thought we should be less confrontational although Wardy thought we should stick it to the opposition more vehemently. The joys of strong leadership. Luckily the sane voice of Dyksey prevailed and we decided to play smarter between the 3 distinct lines of BS and on the resumption the Viking forced a goal in from 3mm off the post. It turns out that wasn’t the scruffiest finish of the day with one of the BSHC strikers managing to almost miss from 1mm but more on that later. 2-1 quickly became 3-1 with a move of genuine quality; it started at the back with Wheels scooting the ball to Ollie, who then laid the ball off to an on-rushing Dyksey who played a 1-2 with Sam, then a 1-2 with Wardy, before finishing at the far post. I may have got all the names wrong but you get the idea of the liquid hockey played and appreciated from this deep lying defender.
BSHC were a bit shell-shocked and had to rely on their keeper to make a couple of ‘worldy’ saves; the by now garrulous home crowd on the balcony were silenced before another hotly contested decision with Alex ‘it’s a flick’ Fletton punishing Dave (fresh from his 2 mins resting) for stopping a drag flick with his knee in front of a sprawling Jez. Wheels went into full diplomatic mode to get the decision reversed but to no avail so he then switched his approach to a psychological assault on the flick taker. ‘Glove Hand Jez’ he shouted as the ball raced into the top bin where his stick had been! 2-3 became 3-3 with a really soft goal although Dave nearly pulled off a miracle stop from 1mm as referenced above. The crowd got leery again but BSHC made the strange decision to move their best player into the back line to negate our hard working forwards and it was he who gave away the PC from which Wardy netted his second with another coruscating strike with only 6 minutes remaining. In the final throes of the game the home team won another hotly contested PC due to a contentious back-stick call on Wheels (or a foot according to the home umpire) but this time Dave used his stick to beat away the drag. The last few minutes were managed to perfection with both centre backs launching the ball into the gale of hurricane Isha before time was called.
Despite the scoreboard crediting IES with the victory there was a sense of delight and mission accomplished from the South Folk although Storm’s grimace in the post-match photo might indicate otherwise (his DOTD nomination for trying to play hockey without a stick had been secured before we started). Hopefully absent legends such as JC, Windy, Baler and Southy will be available for the potential trip to Bristol, Portsmouth, Hull or Ben Rhydding allowing we proper retired old timers to watch from the side-lines. A great result (thanks to Fletts for trying to control the debating society) with a proper team performance meaning that I have no idea who won MOTM.
Men’s 2s: L3-4
Men’s 2s vs Peterborough 2s
The twos embarked on a lengthy journey to Peterborough, set to face the second-placed team in the league. In their previous encounter, they suffered a 4-0 defeat, but today held hope for redemption. The game started at a fast pace in our favor. At push back, Josh Taylor-Grout intercepted their 2nd pass, leading to a short corner. Ipswich didn’t convert, but later in the first half managed to secured three goals from shorts– two from Wardy and one from Windy. Despite Peterborough's threat through the middle, Ipswich's defence and Cherrys nuts allowed only one goal, resulting in a halftime lead of 3-1.
The second half maintained Ipswich's style of play with short, sharp passing and strategic mid range aerials. However, Peterborough intensified, capitalizing on Ipswich's 3 greens and a "Beckham-esque" yellow card, leading to Ipswich conceding three goals. The game ended 4-1, showcasing Peterborough's ability so stay composed to the end.
The journey home, which demanded two drinks breaks, brought about a mystifying encounter for Mikey with a quirky local, as promised by Wardy. All whilst Jakob was led astray mid-photo by Wrinch.
An improvement from last time round but carrying more lessons for next weeks game against Cambridge south.
Men’s 3s Won 4-0
Men’s 3s vs UEA 3s
Job well done. Overall, another solid team effort with some fantastic passing spells which undid their defence.
While the pitch wasn't frozen the weather felt like it up at Norwich. Warming up was a necessity with a biting wind blowing across the pitch. With a couple of subs it was a case of roll back on before you get too cold.
Although UEA are clear second in the league they didn't look like it. Building on last week's passing and team performance we relentlessly attacked their d and goal. 6 minutes in Archie got the first, with Greg following at 11 minutes in. With a packed D full of defenders and a keeper who made a LOT of saves it stayed this way until just before half time when Greg snuck in another under the keeper’s feet.
Adam F got the fourth not long into the second half with a well worked penalty corner. While we only converted one, the PC routine is beginning to take shape and some lovely deliveries to the post runners might have been tipped in with a bit more practice.
Mom goes to Fraser this week for a superb save from their only shot while bordering on the hypothermic. Well done for sticking the weather and being there when we needed you.
Dod has a few contenders, with Archie sneaking it for that 1 on 1 comedy fail with their keeper. Honourable mentions to Sam E for leaving white kit at home and Oli for being Mum and making Jake put more clothes on.
Let's keep the hockey doing the talking and play at least this well for the rest of the season.
Men’s 4s Won 5-0 w/o
Men’s 4s vs UEA 4s
Men’s 5s – postponed.
Men’s 5s vs Sudbury 4s
Women’s O35s: Won 3-2 (Shoot out; 1-1 at FT)
Women’s O35 vs West Herts O35
Women’s 2s Won 3:0
Women's 2s vs Bury St Edmunds 2
With a strong squad on the team sheet and a traditionally feisty local derby against Bury 2s on the cards, the ladies 2s spent Saturday morning nervously checking the weather reports and exchanging ‘wimp’ tips, ready to continue their good run at 4pm.
With captain (and stalwart defender) Emily Wheaton making a comeback from injury to centre midfield, the team had an energetic and positive warm up, but then started the match slowly - the teams were sussing each other out and the possession was fairly even.
Ipswich started to get into their stride and found some brilliant long balls to the forwards who were working hard (Chloe Williams deploying her well-known eyes-and-tiny-gesture-with-her-stick to communicate with the mids, and Rixie keeping the defense thinking with her baseline sprints). The pressure started to sway in Ipswich’s favour and eventually they scored after a good string of passes and Chloe cracking in a shot on the end of a pass across the D.
Bury were dangerous on the counter attack and had some good chances, Emerald and her defense of the Scott sisters and Emma Winchester held strong and kept them at bay. At half time the team regrouped and with coach Daley at the helm of some tough and wise talks, Ipswich came out on the front foot.
Ipswich dominated and a special mention for the 2nd goal scorer and absolute (tiny) firecracker India. A good shot off was initially saved by their goalie but India came out of nowhere for a lovely tap in - so confident that she started celebrating the goal before it passed the line. This was a welcome return after a year in Australia, she put a shift in on the left and showed her class throughout the match completely outpacing and out skilling her opponents.
Now 2-0 up Ipswich didn’t back off and felt the momentum in their favour. The defense were rock solid throughout and kept their discipline and shape incredibly well. Then a touch of (Andy Murray) magic from Chloe going past a few players, bouncing the ball on her stick a few times, and casually putting the ball in the back of the net. This was the lead Ipswich needed and finished the game off as determined as ever. The opposition started to get physical due to their frustrations, but everyone (except one person who was sent off the pitch by their own teammate) stood their ground.
A well-deserved win and another 3 points on the board.
Women’s 3s: Postponed
Women’s 4s: Postponed
Women’s 5s: L0-4
Women’s 5s vs Bury St Edmunds 4s
We were very lucky that the pitch was thawed out enough to take on Bury St Edmunds 4s. We had a lovely big squad of 16 and so all had a great run around without getting too exhausted. It was so nice to have Izzy, Maisie and Millie on our team - young players with great attitude, young legs and great skills. We kept it to 0-0 in the first half but sadly the opposition got the better of us in the second half and we conceded 4 goals. A special mention to Millie who was injured 3 times but she carried on playing and smiling!! Great hockey, great fun but a shame to lose again.
Next week brings back the stats, a round up of our indoor seasons and a massive 15 fixtures across Saturday and Sunday… bring it on!