IES 4th XI 0 – Sudbury 2nd XI 5

After an 8th place finished for IES 4th XI in the 2019/20 season in Division 4NE of the Eastern Region Hockey Association League, the world responded to Covid-19 and in the UK organised sport was permitted to commence in time for England Hockey to sanction a move to Stage 5 of their Covid plan in time for the league season to start on the 26th September.

The world was a different place and the IES squad was much changed too – although the changes didn’t directly relate to Covid-19.

Spurling was promoted to the third XI – as was Sebborn – and if our regular readers would stop laughing at this point we will progress.

Anyway, on the first Saturday of winter the newly formed IES 4th XI squad took the field against Sudbury 2nd XI (one of only 5 other teams thatt retained their place in Division 4NE). Some stalwarts remained – Capitan Williams, Murray, Page , Scarff and Whiting alongside the Maestro Elsom from the start of the 2019/20 season plus Black, Meades, Simpson and Vince who were post Xmas regulars. New faces included Austin, Ramsey, Thornton and a 2nd Williams. For some new faces this was a step up – for Thornton it was a clock re-wind.

Despite having a 14 man squad – and a delightful socially distanced warm up IES – noticed that Sudbury had even more players. And the match started. IES were soon 3-0 down – a well struck short corner and bouncing ball shot and a deflected effort making the match an uphill battle for the home team. But IES got stuck in. Meades made an awful tackle and escaped censure as the play moved on prior to the umpire finding a card. Elsom appeared on the pitch – did anyone notice – his daughter was playing away and so there was no ‘go dad’ call to alert his team mates. Ramsey sparkled and had IESs sole first half shot.

At half time it was learnt that the Maestro’s passionate orations don’t stir to the same degree when people are stood 7 ft apart (that is 2m plus to our metric readers). The 2nd half started and IES actually got back into the game. Williams managed an aerial – Whiting twiddled – Page intercepted – Ramsey ran some more (if only the rest of the team could). Short corners were won (2 of them). The first WIlliams crashed into Scarff’s foot. Scarff complained that Williams put the pass in the wrong place. The 2nd one Williams put exactly where Scarff had demanded it – and yes – you guessed it – he (Scarff that is) missed it completely.

Williams was then done for pace skill and everything else you can think of and stumbled innocently into the opposing player and picked up a dodgy green card – and this isn’t a moan about the umpiring – cos most thought it deserved a yellow. As it happens the team defended better without him. And then the Sudbury 4th. O dear …….. our more committed followers may recall Dereham away in 2018 when Murray scored an own goal he spent the rest of the season talking about. It won ‘own goal’ of the year in the 2019/20 seasonal awards. This year he repeated the trick in game 1 – although if your reporter is honest it wasn’t as great a finish as the Dereham one. And then Black and Murray got a bit tangled on the line to concede a 5th – to Sudbury’s nimble centre forward – in the last two minutes.

So 0-5 it finished and the better team clearly were victorious. Results elsewhere make interesting reading and the ever positive Whiting has already christened next week’s home game against Thetford as a relegation 6 pointer. When you’ve got friends like him ……. etc etc.

Turning to man of the match, this is an award the Capitan is normally asked by your reporter to dish out on a weekly basis. But he is a bit concerned about nepotism (that’s got half the squad scrabbling for their dictionaries) so he asked the Maestro to make the decision. The maestro chose Williams jnr – whereas, the Capitan thought Page and Ramsey were the leading contenders.

Next week, Thetford at home – and as crowds aren’t allowed – our readers dont really need to know it is a 4pm start. It isn’t yet known whether bandana wearing Rees will be part of the Thetford squad which may influence selectorial decisions around Blake’s availability for IES.