This is our joint Masters' team with Petersfield HC
HHC Captain is Adrian Potter
League: Mercian Wessex Masters League Div 2
Current Position: 8
Total Goals: 42
Total Cards: 0
LATEST MATCH REPORTS
vs United Services Portsmouth - 17 Feb 2018
Home Score: 3 - Opposition Score: 2
Match Result: Win
By Robin Mitchell
More of this and we will have to be thinking of a new name, the OA’s perhaps (Occasionally Adequates), or if we seek a fashionably Chinese touch the HONGs (Hanging On Grimlys), which just about describes the final few minutes.
For the second time in two weeks the NDWs faced the combined might of the United Services: comfortably bottom of the league against second, and USS had, before this match, scored 5 times as many goals as us. Two weeks ago we set up in a special defensive formation and on top of that tried a half court press. The press wasn’t brilliantly executed but the formation papered over the cracks and we drew 2-2, so we tried it again last week and won 3-2 (first win of the season), so we tried it again this week.
Within 20 minutes we were 3 nil up with goals from Richard North, Adrian Potter and a cracker involving some real individual skills (rarely seen at this level), from Matt Davis. The challenge now was not to think it was easy and all go up the pitch hoping to score, and we largely managed that, keeping shape with excellent defensive midfield work from Potter, Mark Bilsland and Miron du Plessis. One key point about the formation is that the “wings” are defensive players when the opposition get the ball, and need to get back, play more inside, tackle, cut out passing lines and generally strengthen the central midfield. This involves a lot of running but Julian Dean, Roberto Casabianca (who had brought his own fan club of one), Mark Blackmore and North all played the positions well, leaving Jeroen Krens as the lone front man to trouble the opposition defence, which he did very effectively. They still came back at us and struck from a short corner just before half time to make it 3-1 at the break.
The opportunity beckoned to go 4-1 up early in the second half when a penalty flick was awarded. Amidst a throng of players running the other way, Potter bravely stepped up to the spot. Suffice it to say that he did not trouble the scoreboard operator a second time. USS got a second to make it nerve jangling, but solid work by keeper Ian Burnham and some really tight marking by backs Richard Harvey and Steve Berry kept them out. With 8 minutes left Davis was yellow carded for what the umpire saw as a deliberate backstick, removing perhaps our most effective player. Krens moved back to fill the gap in midfield but USS pressed hard and were awarded a goal which was then scrubbed off after consultation between umpires as being struck outside the D. The close attentions of the excellent Berry had prevented the striker from advancing further.
Down to 10 men, we were ragged by the end but we hung on grimly against a powerful attack to make it a second consecutive win, the first time that this magnificent milestone has been achieved by the NDWs. We won because we played as a team to a team game plan, and they didn’t. If we can do it again next week we might even get off the bottom of the league
vs Salisbury - 10 Feb 2018
Home Score: 3 - Opposition Score: 2
Match Result: Win
Who Let The Dogs Out?
Chinese New Year; and as the Rooster gives way to the Dog, we take a moment to reflect on the past and contemplate our prospects. The Ne'erdowell's last outing against Salisbury saw a 2-0 lead squandered in a 2-3 loss, so with plenty of tactical talk, could the old dogs learn anything from their previous experience?
The first fifteen minutes certainly suggested something mystical in the air with the Ne'erdowells finding themselves three goals up through Ali Wheeler, Richard North and Mark Blakemore. But we'd been here before and sure enough, by half time Salisbury had pulled two back.
The second half was all about keeping our shape and holding position. The Ne'erdowells worked hard at closing down the Salisbury men and only allowing them to scratch away in parts of the field where we could control their game. Old dogs, new tricks and we held our one goal lead to pull a 3-2 victory out of the bag.
By Ed Roberts
vs United Services Portsmouth - 03 Feb 2018
Home Score: 2 - Opposition Score: 2
Match Result: Draw
The N’erdowells (NDWs), a combined veterans sides from Petersfield and Haslemere, have struggled in the league this season and currently lie bottom, but an excellent fightback against 2nd in the table, United Services Portsmouth, saw them share the points.
The NDWs, lacking a few regulars travelled to a wet and cold Portsmouth with a bare 11 players. Skipper for the day, Robin Mitchell though, came well prepared with printed sheets showing the tactics and formation for the day and a lengthy pre-match explanation. The ‘half court press’ relies on a lot of running and work by forwards and mid-field and it took some time for the slightly confused and mentally fatigued NDWs to apply the system. With the result that the very fit and speedy US forwards took advantage in the first half, scoring a very good individual goal and then going 2-0 ahead with a well-worked short corner routine. But the NDWs gradually adapted to the new system and hit back before the break with some strong running from Graham Vosper, Adrian Potter and particularly Stuart Martin operating alone up-front. Only two good saves from the US keeper denied the NDWs deserved goals.
This improvement continued in the second half with the NDWs denying US possession and gradually gained the initiative. Gavin Marshall who largely controlled the mid-field won a penalty corner which he duly converted with a great strike. NDWs maintained the pressure with Martin continuing to cause problems with his speed and ability to hold the ball until support arrived. NDWs were unlucky when a US defender saved a certain goal by stopping the ball with both feet on the line, only to be awarded a penalty corner and not a penalty stroke. Fortunately justice was done when Marshall again converted with a strong shot to equalise at 2-2. The home team were clearly aggravated by this change in fortune and the last quarter was played at great intensity. The NDWs though held out by a combination of astute tactics, tight marking and tireless running.
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