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Merlins - Match centre

Maidenhead Hockey Club
Sat 25 Nov 12:30 - Friendly Full time

Merlins 2 - 3 Marlow


A well fought local derby

Coming off a pitch, I always have very little recollection of what went on. The priority is normally shower, cup of tea, tea and a quick half. I can tell you that the match tea served by Marlow was one of the best I have ever had. Thankyou Ladies.

Marlow’s keeper must have had an early Xmas do and was declared AWOL and consequently, they opted to play with a kicking back. This should lead to a goal fest, but rarely does.

The game started on a lovely bright, but cold winters lunchtime. Base layers made everyone look match fit. Despite being an international class facility at Bisham, the powers that be have allowed overgrown trees to shade one half of the pitch, which resembled an ice rink in parts, especially the wing and one of the Ds. However, 22 players and a few extras, eager for exercise, soon put paid to any health and safety concerns.

The conditions clearly helped Marlow’s one handed Phil Spencer (who moves like a speed skater and picks up dollar bills like a snowboarder). His first dollar was goal number one to Marlow.
They could have gone two up although Merlins’ ‘keeper Ronnie “The Cat” Fuller managed to punch the ball over the bar, though not over the overgrown trees.

Determining who scored the equaliser was hard, with the promising, young and talented Mahdi Hosany having a claim to a final touch, rather than the shattered Laurie Shotton, who was playing his first game for something like 6 years, but to whom the goal was appropriately credited as Shotton’s shot was shot-on!

Despite some solid defending, Duncan Sturdy, Noel Murphy et al at the back managed to let speed skater Spencer grab goal number two. Just think how good he would be if he played with
both hands on his stick!

2 -1 at half time and the second half started after some sound tactical discussion from Skipper Murphy who pleaded for his team to keep the ball and try to pass to the players in the white shirts.
I came off after about 10 minutes, so have even less recollection of what happened. Bob’s scribing informs me that there were further great clearances by Duncan Sturdy. Air Vice Marshall
(ret’d) Roger ‘Biggles’ Bowes nearly did his cruciate ligaments clearing at the back whilst trying to intercept the enemy coming directly out of the sun.

Somehow Marlow were awarded a penalty corner and, also blinded by the beautiful bright sunshine, Ronnie Fuller could do little to stop them scoring and go 3-1 up. Appropriately named Greg Bagwell “bagged it well”.

Gordon “Flash” Loader, Nick and Nick, pressed into service for the Merlins from the Mavericks, pressed hard for the Merlins showing some silky, high class skills, but it was Merlin David “Heartburn” Rennie, who ran and ran and ran, and eventually scored a second for Merlins.

The game ended, we handed a nearly thawed pitch to players from Wycombe and returned to Marlow’s clubhouse for that tea.
Almost a perfect day.

Instructions to the groundsman – please lop 3 metres off all the trees. Thank you to both umpires for their “light touch” decisions that added to the enjoyment of this well fought local derby.

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