IES 4th XI 1 – Norwich City 4th XI 10 (26 October 2020)

Yes, sadly, that was the score and it isn’t a typographical error.

But back to the beginning of this sad saga …

IES arrived to their Ipswich School Sports Centre fortress confident that they could see off Norwich City 4th XI who were only one place ahead in Division 4NE of the East Region Hockey Association League. The defence was strengthened with the return of Page, Gallagher came back in too to add midfield spice.

Elsom started on the bench as usual along with Vince and Page. And the match started and, one team began playing hockey. To be fair the first five minutes were fairly even. Whiting gave the ball away and Williams senior managed a tackle. One of those two things didn’t happen again in the match. 

As a bit of an aside – and asides may distract from the playing performance – IESs most avid away match fan has spotted a key Whiting characteristic …. when he loses the ball, he tends to stand with hands on hips staring intently at the nearest umpire. In this game the gaze fell on both umpires a-plenty.

Anyway, thereafter a youthful midfielder dribbled the ball too easily around Williams and IES went behind. Then half time arrived and IES found themselves 6-0 down. Capitan Williams chuntered, Elsom brooded and the team took the field full of confidence – confidence that the match couldn’t get any worse. For some, there was a moment of nostalgia as Whiting wandered onto the pitch at half time with a brolly – the same one as he sported at Newmarket away 5 years or so ago when Murray did a pass of millimetric precision to lead to a goal. In the first half of the Norwich City match – Murray did another first – a back header of an own goal – yes – it is true – your reporter can’t recall mind you whether it was goal 2 … or goal 3 … or goal 4 … or goal 5 .. or goal 6.

The second half – well yes – IES were better. But Elsom’s Theory of Relativity held sway. Gallager scored a great goal – the best of the 11 although sadly points aren’t awarded for such things. But again, IES conceded a few – well 4 and your reporter in a moment of candid honesty would admit that there is no doubt the better team won and the better team deserved to win by a lot. Of particular note was the fact that Norwich’s dominance was predominantly down to the incisive play of three or four of their younger players – who were simply outstanding. 

IES were perhaps unlucky that lockdown came a week after this match – although perhaps lucky that it has started as the next match had been due to be against Norwich City 3rd XI. And if Norwich City 3rd XI had 11 better players than played for Norwich City 4th XI then their club is in fine fettle.

Finally, man of the match for IES. There weren’t many contenders so the winner was Gallagher for his goal (and he played okay (having regard to the Theory of Relativity)) until he hobbled off injured.

As hockey enters lockdown, IES 4th XI find themselves just above the relegation zone and the normal Elsom car bubble are gutted that they are missing out for a month on the education they receive on the long drives to Norwich. It is understood they have covered dinosaurs, plate tectonics, tarmac and methodism so far this season. 

The 4th XI will have lost a collective 3 stone by the time the league restarts…