Monarchs lose away v Eastcote
By Viren Walia
Battling away performance ends in a loss
A late afternoon away match can be a challenge for any team, but the Monarchs gathered at Eastcote’s ground in good heart. Bolstered with some youthful players and reminded of their win over their opponents earlier in the season, the Monarchs felt positive, but not over-confident. History tells that playing against Eastcote is always competitive; more so on their home turf when, unfortunately, it can sometimes seem as if the visiting team is up against more than just the other 11 players. After a small wobble in the first couple of minutes, the Monarchs began putting together good passing play and pressed the Eastcote defence. The hosts responded with their own quick attacks, which led to an individual run from a skilful Eastcote winger skipping through to put the home team one ahead in the first quarter. The remainder of the first half was end-to-end, as each team hunted for a goal; James, Colin and JC drove the Monarchs forward from the centre, with Gavin, Viren, Tim and Clint linking up to attack the Eastcote goal. Regrettably, play was marred by some unusual decisions by the umpires, which caused frustration on both sides.
The Monarchs came out strongly in the second half and a short series of quick, clean passes saw Sam strike for the roof of the net, the Eastcote keeper push the ball away and Clint deftly take it in the air and drive the ball down to equalise the score. The home team redoubled their energy and started to use their skilful youth element to attack in waves. The Monarchs kept battling and Randy, Nick, Zack and Cory defended strongly. About mid-way into the half some of Monarchs’ passing started to go awry and turnover balls found them scrabbling back to defend against the pace of the opposition. One such attack got behind the defenders to take the home team 2-1 ahead. At the other end, the Monarchs’ attackers kept hunting for opportunities, but weren’t able to score from some great runs of play and penalty corners. Eastcote, having had several attacking penalty corners of the own denied throughout the match by great goalkeeping from Sean and a determined defence, finally found a gap to go two ahead. The last five minutes of the game saw the Monarchs still competing with all their remaining energy, but some unforced errors led to Eastcote sealing their win with a fourth goal.
The Monarchs finished the match annoyed that the score line had got away from them but happy that they had played hard for each other throughout the game.
Matches report: Nicholas Wooldridge
Man of the match: James Bailey