The Mens 5s continued their run of good form and bad results with a 4-2 defeat away at bottom club Bradford.  We have lots of reason to be unhappy, but plenty to celebrate too, including a great debut from Joe Hedge, playing alongside proud dad Andy and showing some nice skills under pressure.  Joe is yet another u14 coming through from the juniors to bolster the ranks of the men’s sides.

Bradford took a 2-0 lead in the first 20 minutes with some old school, gnarly hockey, more “elbows and feet” than “give and go”.   The umpiring was quite random, often vague, sometimes non-existent, and occasionally breathtakingly wrong.  Both teams struggled to play with any fluency under these conditions but Bradford coped a bit better: it’s fair to say their style relied on a more fluid interpretation of the rules.  Or you could say they were just more “up for it”, more aggressive, and we let them boss us a bit.  Either way, we were getting rolled over.

At 2-0 down we could have had a strop or felt sorry for ourselves, but instead the team got stuck in and started to adapt to the difficult conditions with real grit and determination.  A series of crisp angled passes into the D allowed our top scorer Max Holley to slap the ball past the keeper, and on the stroke of half time Matty waltzed down the left wing and played the ball into the danger area where Andy Hedge eventually finished off some great work from Tom.  2-2 at half time, and starting to look interesting.

The second half saw Adel dominate from the whistle, finding the aggression and hunger we’d been missing earlier, and launching wave after wave of attacks.  You had to be there to see it: our development side was developing, right in front of your eyes.   Sometimes you have to dig deep, and if the 5th team plays with this passion every week they’ll have no problems getting some more wins this season.  Sadly we couldn’t produce a finish from all our time spent in the Bradford half, and as so often happens when you’re constantly in the other D, we got caught by a counter attack, conceded a short corner, and groaned in disbelief as Bradford bungled it across the line.  Adel went all out for an equaliser in the remaining 10 minutes, throwing men forwards, and – inevitably – Bradford got down our end, Mikey was left stranded and they scored at the back post.

It’s disappointing to have to report another defeat, but there were some great performances all round, in particular from our man of the match Matty for his skilful and unselfish play, new recruit Joe for getting stuck in and playing some nice moves, and human dynamo Finlay for his end to end play.   Murf also came out of the match with his reputation enhanced, giving away nothing to his opposite number.

Everyone worked so hard, for no reward, that we decided to suspend our DoD voting this week.  Nonetheless one or two of our senior defenders have offered to cop for it, and it would be unfair to deny them the privilege.  You know who you are.