There are new forms of torture being found through lockdowns and other implications on COVID-19.
One of these is wating for 6 months and then organising a team to play the first game of hockey, only to have picked up an injury during training and having to watch the game from the sidelines. This was the fate of Captain Cooke as the TBB Es took on Keynsham, on an otherwise pleasant October day. This frustration may have found its way into the touchline commentary/barking of orders (apologies).
Despite the loss of the captain, Buccs brought a strong team of a few wise and regular squad players together with a handful of students and a complete handful of junior stars-in-the-making; oh and Jimmy.
With the familiar 3:4:3 formation from our promotion year drummed back into the team by Marty, but with a generally unfamiliar set of players, the E’s struggled at first to really get a good foothold of the game and the movement and sixth-sense wasn’t quite there, a few loose touches and passes led to Keynsham being 2 up within 15 minutes. It could have been more if not for a couple of great flying saves from Adam Newman. With a big team and regular substitutions it could in theory of gotten worse. But the team did start to gel and mistakes were ironed out. The raw talent in the team soon became clear and some glorious goals from James Charlwood, Marcus Bowman and a drag-flick from Will Peden wrestled back the initiative. It seemed perhaps that the youthful energy of Buccs was wearing Keynsham down and hopes were high for the 2nd half.
I’m not sure what the impact of the Captain’s team talk at half time, or what was in the drinks bottles, but it didn’t seem to have the desired effect. In essence, despite starting well, it was Buccs that became leggy and stretched with long passes and aerials from Keynsham really stretching the game and leading to 3 unanswered goals. In this time, Marcus came close, the unlucky George Adshead forced a remarkable save from the keeper after the ball came back off the post and a series of short-corners came to nothing. Iron-legs Jimmy Turner also took a ball drilled into his calf from close range, so hard that it took him clean off his feet, how he got up and payed the rest of the game is remarkable. I’ll have to check if Jimmy actually wears shin-pads on the back of his legs, which wouldn’t be surprising given his penchant for protection.
In practice we learnt a lot from the game against a strong senior team who were nearly promoted from Central 2 last season. Everyone did themselves proud with some great displays from the youngsters (a point noted by their captain after the game) including superb tackling from Matt Ratcliff and George Lowrie, drive, skills and awareness from Will Peden, Tom Meharg, Dan Abbey and Ben Maclean in the middle and great energy and enterprise from James Charlwood, George Adshead and John Lowrie up front.
With 20 players available for the final friendly and with a few missing out this week, picking a team will be very difficult and some of our stars may miss out through forced rotation, but hopefully we can soon get back to training together to work on some of the shape and positional work such as to earn the results the talent deserves. Oh and I forgot to mention perhaps Marty can get some practice with his aerials (cough) to see if he can get them higher than Conlon’s ankles.