Mens 1st’s (6) vs. (9) Rotherham 1st’s
It would be fair to say that elements of Slazenger’s men’s first eleven have had a relaxing summer this year. Add to this a pretty informal set of pre-season friendly’s, and the competitive opening of the 2017/18 season was always going to be an uphill affair.
The firsts were away to old friends Rotherham at their freshly re-laid Arora pitch. Fresh however would not be a pertinent adjective to describe the first phase of the game for Slazenger. Some lacklustre defensive play allowed Rotherham to capitalise on well-practiced routines that put them three goals up within ten minutes. A little shell shocked Slazenger made a quick call to adjust the formation, it appeared to work, Slazenger pulled one back.
By half time the Firsts had put a couple past the Rotherham keeper and the game was starting to look a little more balanced. That was until Mark Swindon was sent off during half time by Rotherham’s familiar 4th official for answering the call of nature.
Determined not to be affected by this odd set of events Slazenger actually came out strong in the second half. A couple of ‘sitters’ went begging for Danny Perry and Chris Gascoigne, but other than this the teams traded goal for goal for the next 35 minutes of what most have been a great spectator half of hockey!
There were strong performances from Harry Gunning and the Swindon brothers, but In the end Slazenger were unable to pull back the deficit put in place during the first ten minutes of the game. The final score was Slaz First’s 6 Rotherham 9.
Mens 2nds (3) vs. (5) Rotherham 2nd’s
Mens 2nd’s opened their league account with a tough encounter with visitors Rotherham 2nds. Unfortunately with a couple of key players missing and only a bare 11 for their first game, it was going to be hard work from the outset. However Slaz started the brighter, and without some strong goalkeeping work from the Rotherham goalie, would have been several goals to the good within the first 20 minutes. In the end however, a scrappy goal defeated him, with Ben “the touch” Jackson putting the ball in off a deflection to put Slaz 1-0 up at half time.
The second half would prove to be the undoing of the team however. With Rotherham fighting back into the game, the match was drawn level at 2-2; Jackson netting his second, amid the team playing some flowing attacking hockey. However when new midfielder Mark Hammond was taken out of the game with a pulled hamstring and unable to run, the team were effectively down to 10 men. While the team put on a strong performance, and Hammond himself netted a third, it wasn’t enough to stop a visibly resurgent Rotherham from equalising with a third, and netting twice more to take the result. A good game with some promising performances including newcomers Owen Bland, James Armitage and Josh Dunstan, and with a full squad, the 2nds look promising for the seasons campaign.
Mens 3rd’s (1) vs. (3) Huddersfield 3rd’s
The start of the new season didn’t only see the return of the man, the myth, and the legend called Matt Banks but also the whole of his top dogs Slazenger 3rd team looking to challenge in a new league. The first game saw Matt’s army travel to Huddersfield where they looked like Spartan warriors up for the challenge. The first whistle went and the “we are warriors” training clearly was showing as every single Slazenger player chased and harassed their opponents however despite the hard work it was Huddersfield who stole a march and scored the first goal Slazenger didn’t let their heads go down and soon found themselves with a short corner.
From this short corner the legend received the ball at the top of the D slipped past a defender like a ninja in the night before drilling the ball past a hopeless and lost goalkeeper to square things up. The new look midfield was starting to find its feet with Fisher, Legend, and Sam starting to gain control with Tom and Dan working the wings well, unfortunately just before half time Huddersfield caught a lucky break and went into the half 2-1 up. In the second half captain choo-choo carried on running from deep even when his evil opponent held onto his stick even after Si asked him to let go.
As slazenger continued to push and challenge all over the pitch a clearance from Matt “Legend” Banks out to Roo on the wing set up a quick counter that nearly had Tim equalling for slazenger however the ball was just cleared off the line. Slazenger continued to push for the the equaliser when against the run of play Huddersfield got a 3rd goal. However despite going down Slazenger continued to work hard with Man of the Match Matt Banks covering every inch of the pitch, unfortunately the luck was not with the army and the 3rds went down in their first game of the season however the spirit of the team is what will ensure the team will survive this new league
Mens 4th’s (1) vs. (6) Halifax 4th’s
Slaz entered a new season by hosting Halifax 4s. The early encounters were very even as both teams looked to make their mark in midfield. Eventually the deadlock was broken as Darren Buttery scored a brilliant breakaway goal for the hosts. Halifax quickly responded by equalising and adding a further two to go in at half time 3-1 up. The second half was much of the same story as Halifax put the Slaz defence under a lot of pressure which finally resulted in another 3 goals to finish 6-1.
Man of the match went to Tom Hoyle for a superb effort in midfield. Next week Slaz travel to Bradford at 12.00.
Mens 5th’s (1) vs. (11) Thirsk Development
Once upon a time the Handsome Prince, Snow White and nine Dwarfs went to Thirsk…….. Tyler was a bit Sneezy, Amrayz was Dopey, Alex was Sleepy, Will was Bashful, Keith got Grumpy, but in the end everyone was Happy, not least because no one needed Doc. Ben Mace was shining star. Final curtain was 11-1 to Thirsk.
Ladies 1st’s (2) vs. (2) Brigg 1st’s
Following on from their 8-1 thrashing of Airedale the previous week, Slazengers made a steady start to league campaign. Despite some cracking shots on goal, Slazengers couldn’t seem to score. In the last minute of the first half, Brigg were awarded a short corner and the first half finished 1-0 to Brigg.
Slaz started the 2nd half determined but Brigg came in with an early goal. 2-0 down, Slaz were spurred on by the growing home crowd. An amazing top corner goal from Hannah Field, lifted Slaz’s spirits. This was then shortly followed by another goal from captain, Frankie Tyrrell. There were a few more opportunities for Slazengers, but the game ended 2-2.
Ladies 2nds (0) vs. (5) Leeds 3rd’s
The first match of the new season for Slaz ladies 2nd team was a 3pm away fixture with push-back delayed due to previous games running over. With a new captain and some changes to the squad, including the loss of key central midfielder Sue Hope, and the introduction of youngsters Lucy Brereton and Tori Hanson, it was always going to be difficult to foresee how the first fixture would go.
However Slaz looked good from the outset, moving the ball around the opposition and playing well on and off the ball. Presses were well worked, cutting out options for Leeds and the visitors had ample opportunities denied. When Leeds broke the Slaz midfield and defence held strong clearing the danger and stand in keeper Katie Minchella made some impressive saves. Unfortunately with a minute to go before half time the deadlock was broken and the 2s were behind.
Slaz remained positive at the start of the second half that they were still in with a chance however a well drilled and fast paced Leeds team managed to score another 4 before the final whistle, despite the Slaz ladies’ sterling efforts and further saves from Minchella.
Sources say based on their summer recruitment and pre-season results, Leeds are expected to finish in the top 2, however despite the result there were plenty of positives to bring from the game.
Ladies 4ths (2) vs. (1) Doncaster 4th’s
The ladies 4th team made an excellent start to the season with a 2:1 win away against Doncaster 4’s.
Slazengers dominated much of the first half with a strong midfield and defence which allowed the team to push forward and take several shots on goal. With a goal being disallowed in the first half, the 0:0 scoreline at half time didn’t reflect their efforts.
Doncaster started the second half stronger and 5 minutes in, went on to score the first goal of the game but the Slazenger team came back fighting and within minutes Cherry Bedford, one of three juniors joining the senior team for the first time and voted player of the match, scored off a superb cross from another new junior, Maisie Davis. Along with Mia Davis, the three juniors worked hard up front and Slazengers took control of the game again. Caro Schofield deserved Slazengers second goal and the team left with a 2:1 win.