Slazenger 3rd’s travelled to Hull knowing that their kingdom was at risk of becoming trapped in perpetual winter, after a season that has seen some great highs, it had also seen some freezing lows. On the back of a bad performance last week Slazenger Captain Taylor kept faith, giving a rousing team talk of “do you want to beat a hull team and build a snowman”, which was so good it even kept Matt Banks quiet (however, this may also be because he was finishing his McDonalds off, as he was worried a snow day may prevent him from getting to any later).
Before the match got underway, the umpires and players went out to check the pitch. Shouts of “Ice Ice Baby” caused concern but then a clever observer said “All right stop! Collaborate and listen. That ice is off the pitch let’s play hockey!”… so the game started. However, it was evident early on that the umpires were still struggling with ice on the glasses, as several strange decisions were given; including an incident early on that saw a Hull player push into Matt Banks. When Banks proceeded to kindly ask the umpire what this foul was given for, the ice cold-hearted umpire sent him off. With a cold hole in the middle of the pitch Hull got a lucky break and scored against the run of play.
Another half-time speech from Captain Taylor that went along the lines of… “The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside, Couldn’t keep Hull out, Heaven knows we tried. However don’t let them in again, don’t let them see, the umpires have got to you, be the good team you always have to be. Conceal the goal, don’t let them know, they are going to lose”. With this great speech it clearly inspired Slazenger, as Harry Buttery in goal was commanding with the defence feeding off this and making strong tackles from Taylor, Paul Johnson, Josh Swallow and Mark Kitchen. This allowed the midfield of Andy Fisher, Banks and Sam Haigh to start taking control, eventually leading to Haigh’s pacey attacking run. However, Sam had forgotten what sport he was playing and instead of shooting at goal tried to shoot at the corner flag. Some quick thinking from Jack Lee followed by a smart tap-in from Scott Carruthers (who then celebrated so much everyone else was checking for TV cameras) pulled Slazenger level.
The green army continued to melt the Hull team and push where they could, meaning that on another strong attack Lee finished off another strong Slazenger move to give them a 2-1 edge. As Slazenger continued to push and challenge, so much snow was melted, it looked like a Big summer blow out was taking place. Slazenger were taking half off the Hull’s spirits & clogs, and due to being so dominant they they were throwing in a visit to Oaken’s sauna. Hoo hoo!
Despite resident Olaf yelling at the umpire about the height of the backboard, Slazenger showed a lot better mental toughness than in previous week’s and stayed competitive throughout, Hull had knocked on Slazengers goal and asked if they could score but Slazenger didn’t want to build a snowman and took the three points home, with everyone saying OK bye to the opposition.
A great game and a strong show of a team that are capable of bouncing back from a bad previous match to show the heart of a summer day to stay up in this league.