Results – 28th October
A mixed bag of results from Saturday’s matches…
Men’s 1 lost 3-5 at home to Ramgarhia [Derby]
Goals: Declan Kavanagh, Nick Hall & Wyn Sleeman
“Perfect weather greeted the Harborough Men’s 1st team and Ramgarhia [Derby] at home on Saturday morning. Both teams started well and the game ebbed and flowed with each side getting sniffs of goal. A lack of precision up-front and some harsh decisions on the back line, who were playing brilliantly in the face of a skillful attack, unfortunately led to a clean chance for Ramgharia which they dutifully took.
Tim Chapman showed his class from push back launching an aerial at the centre back who under pressure smashed the ball to Nick Hall. Nick reacted quickly and hit the ball home from the top of the D to level directly from the restart. Rob Smith, Mark Cunningham, Jon Cooper, Wyn Sleeman and Andy Harrold were resolute in defending throughout the first, and looked to have a handle on the skillful and quick forward line, as Harborough grew into the match after a lacklustre start by normal standards.
Harborough were on the up and were awarded a string of free hits on the edge of the area. Ryan Harrison, who had been playing brilliantly in the half, assessed his options and seeing a deep run from Wyn Sleeman rolled the ball square at the top of the D. Wyn latched on to the ball and screamed it goalward in virtually the same action to give Harborough the lead.
Harborough seemed in control in the early exchanges of the second half with only the long aerial ball from Ramgarhia giving them trouble. Harborough won a number of short corners and Declan Kavanagh converted to take the lead to 3-1 with about 25 minutes on the clock. Thereafter, a number of quick breaks and some unlucky deflections in the area, left Ramgarhia players wide open to level the scoring with two quick replies. With Harborough deflated and tiring, Ramgharia upped the pressure and broke to take the lead with a well taken goal on the angle. The game had flipped in 10 minutes and most felt not due to anything outstanding from the opposition.
Harborough tried desperately to get back into the game with Spencer Mabanagarma and Ben Sleeman combining with Adam Smith, Andy Harrold and the defensive clearance factory that Mark Cunningham, Rob Smith and Jon Cooper had become. As the game got stretched out even further and players isolated as they did more running than perhaps was necessary as they endeavoured to get back into the game.
A lack of sharpness up-front and unlucky ricochets meant it just wasn’t falling for the boys and Ramgahria were going up the other end and manufacturing short corners. A goal for Harborough at this time would have turned the tide, but the front line couldn’t deliver and were becoming increasingly frustrated despite some great work from Ben Sleeman and Chapman in the top third. Some stalwalt defending and class saves from Jake Wilson looked like they might keep Harborough in the hunt, until one of the many corners was converted with little time left on the clock. The game was up and both sides knew the next goal was the killer.
Unlucky day at the races for the boys but with notable absentees and some solid new and improved performances the return leg could be an interesting game. Player of the Match: the Defensive Unit.”
Men’s 2 won 2-1 away to Barton 2
Goals: Richard Goswell
Players of the Match were Toby Fletcher, Luke van Diepen and Raoul Mercer
“Men’s 2s travelled to sunny Barton looking for their first win of the season. The match started well, some great movement from Harborough with good pressure on the opposition from the younger members of the team. After a few minutes the 2s managed to open the scoring with Richard Goswell skillfully redirecting a wayward Tom Bradshaw shot in at the back post. A goal up is always a dangerous place to be. Harborough kept up the work rate with more pressure and great running up-front from Joe Butler, Ben Morgan Williams, Matt Cook and James Clements, to create an opportunity for Richard Goswell to take a strike from a well rehearsed short corner routine to make it 2-0. Not being used to being in control of the match, Harborough decided to give Barton a succession of short corners, resulting in a strike flying past the defence to hit the top of the backboard. 2-1.
It’s usually at this point we start doubting our ability. We stumbled through, kept our heads high and some tractor-like defending from Nick Riley, plus a more controlled Raoul Mercer at centre back, not to mention a good save from up and coming goalkeeper Toby Fletcher to keep us in the game, meant we went into the break 2-1 up.
The second half was somewhat a blur. There was some great end to end play, including plenty of sliding tackĺes from the midfield duo of Luke van Diepen and Dave “pops” Littlewood, along with solid performances and transition play from Max Shortland and Stuart McCagney. Toby, the debutant keeper, showed great maturity to rush out and put off their striker for an almost certain goal at the back post after a couple of defensive errors. Matt Cook was also really unlucky to have a great goal disallowed after slipping it in past the keeper from a tight angle.
The grand finale was a tense succession of short corners, which included Luke van Diepen being sent to the half way line at least twice for premature running. Harborough remained resilient though and hung on for a well deserved 2-1 win.
Player of the Match was shared between Toby Fletcher for a great debut in goal, Luke van Diepen for tireless work in midfield and Raoul Mercer for resembling a rock in the centre of defence.”
Women’s 1 lost 2-4 Ashbourne 1
Goals: Ellie Hand & Charlotte Butler
Player of the Match was Laura Matthews
“Travelling to the Peak District with eleven players proved to be a daunting task for Market Harborough Women’s 1s. Our match day captain was unavailable due to work commitments and an unreliable car meant that the coach couldn’t attend. Couple this with a 12th player who thought the clocks had gone back a day early and the odds were stacked against us from the start.
Trying to build on training drills Market Harborough displayed some lovely composure and link up work but were beaten down in the first half and went into the break 3-0 down. A rallying half time team talk with everyone being positive and working together cohesively seemed to flip the momentum in their favour. They soon found themselves 4-0 down after the break as Ashbourne once again took advantage of the hole in midfield as everyone hurtled towards the player with the ball leaving a gaping opportunity for the opposition. Never to be made to crumble though Market Harborough came out fighting and soon got a goal back through a beautiful reverse stick finish from Charlotte Butler. She’s now claimed her 8th goal of the season making her the top scorer across the entire club. Ellie Hand then finished off a beautiful move involving a gorgeously weighted pass from Sam Care to Charlotte Butler who squared the ball to Abby Reeves to have a shot from the top of the D. Reeves’s shot rebounded off the keeper and Hand was there to claim Harborough’s 2nd goal. Just as the momentum was beginning to change the time was against the visiting side and the clock ran out before they could capitalise on the building impetus.
Player of the Match went to substitute match day captain Laura Matthews but it should have gone to the team as a whole. Not once did their heads drop or did they admit defeat. Lots to work on but never could a substitute captain have been so proud of her travelling warriors.”
Women’s 2 won 7-0 at home to Leicester University Women’s 2
Goals: Sarah Hornbuckle (3), Milly Docherty (2), Caroline Dow & Sophie Millett
Player of the Match was Milly Docherty
“It must have been a tiring week as it took a while for the Women’s 2s to get going. Once the team got into the groove they created numerous chances on goal and plenty of short corners, but no outcomes. Until, five minutes before the break, just as the team thought the hard work was getting nowhere, Milly Docherty was well positioned on the post to deflect one past the keeper.
A stern talk was delivered at half time and the 2s returned to the pitch on a mission. From the blow of the whistle the ball stayed firmly in the opposition’s half and Caroline Dow slipped one past the keepers foot within the first three minutes. Soon after, Sarah Hornbuckle received a fine feed from Caroline for her first notch on the scoresheet. The 2s kept possession of the ball and pummelled the Leicester Uni D from all angles. Sophie Millett was next up, she injected the ball into a short corner routine for it to be passed back and she slapped it in on the post. Sarah received another feed, this time from Jo Bevan, and jabbed it over the line. Milly was on hand again with her perfect post-side positioning for another. Sarah claimed her hattrick as she picked up a fast ball sent into the D by Niamh Arthur.
A wonderful team effort today. Player of the Match was Milly Docherty for her splendid positioning.”
Women’s 3 lost 1-9 away to Leicester Ladies 5s
Goal: Amy Evans
“Women’s 3 travelled to Leicester Grammar School on Saturday afternoon to play Leicester Ladies 5s. With guest appearances from two Woman’s 2s defenders and guest player Jane Herridge popping in from ‘the South’ to bolster our numbers we had a full squad! All 16 of said squad were open-mouthed when Leicester scored with only 1 minute 13 seconds played. This was probably an appropriate scene-setter for the first half, as Leicester’s danger players lived up to their reputation. We were comprehensively punished for desperate clearances that presented the ball straight back to the opposition, who were thoroughly enjoying themselves attacking through the middle. Additionally, we couldn’t effectively break up their press to get the ball out of our half. To be honest, half-time was a genuine a relief; we were already 6-0 down.
From the start of the second half there was much better use of the space, some great running off the ball and consequently some great passing, all leading to a number of spells in which we were, finally, attacking the opposition’s D. Particularly worthy of mention: the determination and skill shown by our youngsters who really got their heads up and played a phenomenal second half, and Amy Evans, who showed great composure when presented with an opportunity in front of goal, pulling us one back. In fact, the second half ended only 3-1, a huge improvement.
Mixed A lost 1-5 at home to South Wigston in the Cup
Goal: Pete Skerrett
“Ten teams got a “Bye” through the first round of the Leicestershire & Rutland Mixed Hockey Senior Cup. Unfortunately Market Harborough Mixed A wasn’t one of them, and to add to our disappointment, we drew South Wigston, top of Division 1, as our opponents. However, undeterred like always, we assembled at Welland Park to give it our all.
South Wigston had push back but within minutes Harborough had turned the ball over and were making headway into their defence. The play continued in this vain for some time but it wasn’t long before the opposition, strong through the middle, caught us on the break and with lightning speed and quick passes took on our keeper Jake Wilson – who spent the majority of the match doing what I can only describe as an intense burpee routine as he dived, jumped to his feet, caught the rebounds and dived again to keep to opposition from scoring. However, they made it stick a first time and then got a chip over the keepers elbow as he went to ground for a scrabble on the line. The remainder of the first half was dominated by the home team as we responded to their tactics and held fast keeping it 0-2 at half time.
In the second half South Wigston seemed flustered, questioning umpiring calls and trying to rally the team. Harborough kept cool under pressure and kept our heads in the game but again we got caught on the break, and with tired legs the opposition monopolised and scored a few more times. As a demonstration of the home team’s strength of never being down and out, towards the end of the match an improvised short corner routine saw the ball pushed out to Charlie Schanschieff at the top of the D, slipped right to Captain Marissa Bole, and with a slight pause to draw the defence, swept back to Peter Skerrett who slammed it home, ensuring the match didn’t end scoreless for the home side. Despite all our best efforts the match ended 1-5 relegating us to the Senior Plate. Although disappointed not to be in the Cup we are excited to see if we can take it all the way in the Plate.
And on Sunday we had some action from two of our junior teams…
U10 Girls tournament hosted by Leicester Ladies and U12 Girls tournament Lutterworth Ladies.
“Six determined MHHC U10 players took to the pitch this afternoon at a tournament hosted by Leicester Ladies. This was the first U10 girls-only tournament this team had been to, and, infact a first ever tournament for one of our players. We were a player short for the 7-a-side but welcomed an extra player each game from Leicester or Ashby Ladies, who were very happy to lend someone to ensure the girls got the most out of the day.
The girls lost their first game, struggling to find space and therefore struggling to pass, however, in the short chat before our second game, they identified that finding space was what they needed to do. In their next three games they worked hard on that and, having next identified marking as an objective tried really hard – and pretty successfully – to cut down their opposition’s options. Having these things to focus on made such a difference that the girls won their next three games 0-4, 0-3 and 0-1, the final game with an actual goal-keeper to get round. They were, rightly, very proud of themselves, inventing a hands in the middle ‘HARBOROUGH’ post-match shout to show this and deserve congratulations for their team-work and grit. Amazing determination, as I told them often. Well done Harborough and thanks to parents for their support.”