Slaz, together with Chapeltown A moved up to Division C this time and faced some fierce competition from Thirsk, Doncaster and Rotherham.
Doncaster 2 – Slaz 1
The first game was against Doncaster and as usual we were off to a shakey start while the team found their feet, and despite a couple of good saves from Emillie, Docaster hit the backboard early in the first half. No matter, Slaz rose to the challenge and soon afterwards started defending and marking better. There were some strong tackles and finally the ball was driven into our opponents D and slapped in by Harry B. There were some great runs in the second half but the boys tried to do too much themselves and the ball was quite easily given away on a number of occasions and Docaster managed a second to win the match.
Slaz 2 – Chapeltown A 0
We had beaten Chapeltown before and I knew the boys would do well. The team talk after the first game obviously helped, as the guys tried to take a moment to look up for someone to pass to, they were talking more and making some great passes. Although midfield seemed to be stuck up and down the centre line there was some good distribution from Ryan in defence out wide to Harry G, Sebastian and another Harry we had borrowed from Thirsk, who scored the first. The second after a scuffle in the D finally crossed the line, via the goalkeeper’s head after it rolled up his kicker from Harry B’s stick!!
Rotherham 0 – Slaz 2
After watching Rotherham’s previous games we thought we were up against it. Rotherham, Doncaster and Thirsk all had some brilliant strikes on goal from the edge of the D. Our strategy against Rotherham was not to give them that opportunity. It paid off as Slaz were on the Rotherham players. Strong defending and great marking meant they never got a clear shot as they had done in their previous matches. They had to get round our defence first but Emillie was ready and knocked their attempts wide. Again the boys were strong in their tackles and showed some beautiful skill in their dribbling and passing. Harry G made a great run down the wing and scored a cracking goal from just inside the D. The second crossed in from Joe (on loan from Doncaster!) to Harry B who slapped it past the keeper.
Thirsk 0 – Slaz 1
We had been dreading this game as Thirsk had dominated all of their games and scored some amazing goals with strikes from the edge of the D. However we stuck to the same strategy as our previous match and Thirsk never got the chance. Emille was only tested once or twice as Harry G and Ryan marked their attack out of them game. Slaz saved the best till last and dominated this game. We ran rings around the Thirsk midfield and Harry Gunning hit home wth beauty. We were unlucky not to have converted two shorts, the first from Harry G out to Sebastian and the second from Sebastian out to Harry G. The Thirsk defence weren’t out quick enough and they both had decent shots on goal but the keeper managed to keep the score at 1-0 to Slaz.
Its worth noting the the standard of hockey from Thirsk, Doncaster and Rotherham was excellent, particularly in terms of their striking ability from just inside the D and Slaz had not come up against this before, however the boys and Emillie did us proud and gave as good as, if not better than, they got.
Well done team:-
Emillie Ritchey (GK)
Thanks to Chapeltown, Doncaster and Thirsk for loaning us players and special thanks to Mike Gunning for his contribution to this and the last tournament.