Starting in 8th place in Division 4NE meant IES knew avoiding defeat would guarantee a finish out of the relegation zone. But most of the pre-match conundrum was based around being sure the team had 11 players and wondering whether Storm Dennis would result in a postponement. Capitan Williams even went to watch the IES 2nd XI play Ipswich 2nd XI on the same pitch earlier in the day to check both the surface and potential player doubling up of our local rivals. It was interesting to note that Wrinch and Cook didn’t play for the Ipswich 2nd XI – which didn’t bode well for later …
Williams struggled all week with unavailability. Whiting prioritised golf, Scarff his injured leg, Spurling the ski-slopes, Kiel went awol and Page messed up his flight time to China (or wherever). So despite it being match 18, IES 5th XI had 5 debutants. Jones returned from a length injury and played his first away game for decades. Wijesinghe, Ramsey, Russell and Arthur completed the handful. They joined stalwarts Black, Elsom, Williams, Sneddon, Sebborn, Meades, Murray and Vince.
And there at the other end were Cook and Wrinch, joining Langton, Cutting, Askins, Hampton, Nunn et al in a very experienced Ipswich team.
IES started brightly and the maestro Elsom is still having nightmares about his miss at 0-0. Then Ipswich scored and then Sebborn looked around in dis-belief when the Capitan suggested he run 1 at short corners against the peerless Cook. Needless to say he’d just got to the penalty spot at about the time the ball hit the back-board. 2-0 it was at half time. By now Whiting had turned up from the golf course – wearing a hat of the style never before seen on a hockey pitch. He spent most of the first half trying to sub off Chris – despite the fact we had no one of that name. Management turning up before the start time to learn people’s names is a must in the job description.
Anyway IES performed better as a team in the 2nd half and passed the ball better. Jones showed why he was much missed and Murray brought down an aerial (something your reported was never expecting to honestly type). Cook scored another short corner but more surprisingly didn’t score from two others. But an even ish second half meant it finished 3-0. Ipswich moved nearer safety and IES stayed 8th with a gap week ahead. Critical next game against Dereham at home must be won if IES have any hope of finishing 6th or 7th.
Player of the match – let’s keep it simple. Jones was a contender but rules himself out on the grounds he wont be seen to be able to collect the award till about 2024. So it goes to Sebborn. How you can be so bad (last week) and then go to so good (this week) is beyond comprehension – but Sebborn managed it. Other than the short-corners, he had Cook in his pocket throughout the game – and he’s never been able to even dream that before.
Oh and a use was found for that hat … a very useful shape as the bowl to collect match fees in … maybe it will be donated to the team for posterity.