Monday, September 17, 2012

Was it a "Bridge to far.....?"

The long and winding road that leads to your door
Will never disappear
I've seen that road before it always leads me here
Leads me to your door

So goes the last hit single the Beatles had as a group, and so it felt on Sunday, the road to the final had been a long and winding one.

With a bunch of new players, the team struggled in the early promotion/relegation games, mainly in sorting positions and playing tactics. Then it seemed to “Come Together” and for most of the round robin the team was clicking together, then towards the end it all became “Helter Skelter”, with 2 draws and a loss, we were wondering what was happening.

The semi was probably one of our most complete games, in that we played for most of it to the game plan, passing not dribbling, playing wide and using space.
And so the end of the road cam yesterday with the final.

It was a nice morning to play hockey, warm, no wind, and sunny.

And the team strode out onto the pitch through the gate, entering the field of battle through the gate that many other Naenae teams had trod before.

Through the first half The Farts had almost all the pressure, but just couldn’t put any away. Through some good trapping, and some luck, YWCA managed to thwart almost all of the Farts attacks around the circle edge, a few got into the circle and there were a couple of very close missed shots.

YWCA managed to take the early lead, then increase it to 2-0 through what appeared to be soft goals, both really against the general run of play.

Half time, and Richard M encouraged the guys that they were still in it, and they went out and played better than in the first half, they seemed to pass and look for passes more than they had, and again had the majority of attacking time in the opposition circle, but mainly without getting any reward for it.

Nuts had a number of runs at RW, and managed a good gaol to bring it back to 2-1, but the frustration levels started to show and with 12 mins to go Legs was sent for an early shower.

5 Mins later Trapper pulled Timbo off, and replaced him with an attacker, YW thought they were in but couldn’t capitalise on the lack of a gaolie, while the Farts weren’t able to finish off in the circle.

And so the Farts lost their second final in 3 years, a disspointing result, but also a different result. This time it was with a newer team, that had started to gel, next season looks more promising; the talent scouts are out looking for a few key “old timers” to come back into the fold.
So in the words of Arnie “we’ll be back.....”

Monday, September 10, 2012

Was it to be the second finals appearance in 3 years for the Farts

As the game time neared, the normal tension and excitement associated with Finals hockey started to mount. WHA had made a late change to the game time and venue, and added to this tension was the extra worry created by the realisation I hadn’t changed the Teamer event details, and it sent out a reminder with the old details on it.
Travelling to the game, I wasn’t sure if we would even have a team and thought maybe i should have brought my gear, although hard to play hockey with stick in one hand and crutch in the other.

We should have gotten a cr4edit from WHA for our fees, as not long before the game was to start it started to bucket down again, and they didn’t need to apply anymore water to the pitch.

It certainly had the tension and build up of finals, with the guys having a strong pregame pep talk by nuts, reiterating the three key tactics, width, channels and passing.

It wasn’t our strongest line-up, with the key strikers of Trapper and Wily not taking the field (Injury and flu), but the boys went out fired up, and right from the start it was like viewing a different team than the last few weeks. Lots of interpassing, and right through the game the Farts had probably 80% of the ball and territory.
Matty B was superbly positioned just off the LH post when a ball was hit there from Ants at RI, unfortunately Matty couldn’t connect with the bouncing ball, but it set the scene for the team and Karori knew they were in for it.

Legs scored to open his account, although the Farts could have been up by 3 at that stage. Karori had a rear foray into the Farts circler, and Damon once again cleared off the line to save a gaol, unfortunately it didn’t go far enough, Karori put it goal wards and a touch saw it trickle in 1-1.

Half time talk was held undercover out of the rain, and reinforced the pre game tactics. Craig was struggling to get enough breath to talk, and the boys were silent.
The second half was more of the same, with a couple of lapses into the dribbling runs that cost us the last three games, one however did pay off, al picked up a ball from a tackle on defence, dribbled 30m to get over halfway, passed to Legs who took iot further, then a couple more passes and back to Legs who slotted it, 2-1 up.

And there it stayed –the Farts were through to their second Final in 3 years.
This was a much better team effort, and to be honest, if we’d played like this all season we would have finished with a clean sheet, and probably no draws.

The whole team pulled very well, it was hard to pick MVP, but Legs ran all night, set up a number of chances and scored 2.

Special Mention to Al, Matt and Andy B, and also Dan who had a great game on the left wing.

Final next Sunday, 9.45 NHS1 – come along and support the boys.

2 – Legs

3 – Legs – great contribution
2 – Matt B – played well, with intelligent play and passed, and plenty of commitment
1 – Al – yet another very strong game, secured the right midfield in both attack and defence
.5 – Rearend – umpired half a game due to the umpire scheduling cock up.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Farts scramble a draw from the jaws of a loss

The game started off with the Farts attacking the southern goal, nice day, warm sun, it all looked positive.

Until they got near the circle and realised the umpire at that end (not Rearend)didn't seem willing to give any decisions, especially not PC's (Karori goalie cleared the ball at head height through a group of players, with 2 Karori players having to dodge suddenly to avoid being hit in the head!)or a stroke (when the goalie was on top of the ball!).

Things got worse after 7 mins, when out of the Blue Trappers Left Calf Muscle torn savagely, and eh hobbled off the field in considerable pain.

The Farts managed to get a goal through Ants, but leaked 2 at the other end. Attacking the southern end become almost a hopeless cause with the umpire almost seeming to be bias (Graham Henry told me to write that!).

BJ spent some time getting his breath back after a couple of reckless hacking tackles, something the Association had asked umpires to clamp down on.

2-1 down at half time, and a stern talking too from Nuts, the same malady's that had prevailed in previous games, no width, plying straight up the middle, a lack of passing.

And so the second half followed a similar vein, except Farts pressure started to get some results with Rearend providing a balanced and fair umpiring display.

After concerted pressure a ball was finally hit into the circle, Ants "left it" and Nuts on the far post slotted the equalizer and his 4th of the season.

The farts definitely had more pressure in the second half, but lots of attacks broke down through players holding onto the ball or trying to drive the ball up the middle (Karori were slow but great at trapping) instead of passing wide and using space.

The highlight of the game had to be Wily showing off his manly physique in Trapper skin tight (well it was on wily) top! - Wily turned up late due to Karen having car issues, and didn't have nay gear so used trappers by now not required shirt and stick.

1- Ants
1 - Nuts - Yes debs, he got another ;)

The management team decided that there were no MVP's to be awarded for play because as a team they all played crap, although Al, BJ, Craig and Ants all had big workloads.

3 - Rearend - Umpiring, a great job, even doing most of the field (3/4's)
1 - Trapper - Oranges