After completing their tough away run, Oundle finally returned back home to Pavilion Drive to face a Melton side who sat bottom of the league, not being able to collect any points from their 7 games so far.
For Oundle this was the perfect opportunity to get their season back on track, with around 18 players to choose from this weekend, management had a headache with who to pick. Oundle were able to boast a very strong 15 players including the returning Dan Phillips. But were however without strong and stable Pete Allett who was stuck in Iceland, because a volcano, a bit like George at half time (we’ll get to that later) decided to throw a bit of a tantrum. Oundle were also without late absentee Jimmy Moore who missed today’s game feeling under the weather, probably because he supports Man Utd.
Before the game started, both teams observed a minute’s silence to mark Armistice Day when the guns fell silent on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in WW1 marking the end of the war.
The game started with a Melton pushback, Melton started to play the ball around. They were however not given any space to breathe by the relentless Oundle press. Any passes forward being quickly snuffed out. Oundle meanwhile looked fired up for the game. And it was not long before current Top Gun George Martin found himself free in the Melton half with space to run. Which he did. Aided by a Melton defender doing his best Steve Gerrard impression, Martin was left one on one with their keeper. Winding back to shoot Martin looked to put all his hatred and anger in the shot. The ball should have ripped the net, instead Martin topped the ball, with much of his power wasted. This seemed to work however as the bobbly ball caught the Melton keeper by surprise and he was unable to stop the ball from finding the net.
It was just the start that Oundle needed, and they continued to pile the pressure on. With both Ex skipper Tristan and P.Wilson(Willow) causing absolute havoc down both wings. But with Oundle pushing ever further forward it left space on the counter, and this is exactly how Melton won the first penalty corner of the game. They opted to go for a straight strike which was saved by Youngy in goal, sending a looping clearance high out of the D.
The first signs of aggression started to be shown by Melton with one of their centre backs taking a swing at Martin, hoping to slow him down, thankfully he missed and was content to call him ‘Ginger’ instead.
With Oundle thinking that they should try and win a penalty corner as well, this is what they did. With both Tristan and George off the pitch, the responsibility fell to the ever reliable at the back Adrian Millan. Millan duly ripped the side netting with his drag flick giving the Melton keeper no chance.
It was not long either before Oundle added their third of the game with some fantastic play all around, passing around the Melton team as if they weren’t there. Starting from the back, Oundle found Rich C on the left who hit a sweet reverse stick cross into the D which was finished off by Dalley who had the simplest of jobs tapping in from close range, regaining his ‘goal a game’ nickname and capping off a fantastic team goal.
Oundle went into the break 3-0 up after a brilliant half of hockey. George had suggested some tactical changes which had Coach Ellis unmoved. George was unhappy, and probably thinking about that one time when Ellis ran him out at cricket, reacted and went to sit on the bench. But they were friends again in the pub.
The 2nd half started with Oundle doing their tried and trusted aerial tactic which unfortunately did not work this time. Melton came out the traps looking to make a game of it, and it was not long before they gave Oundle a warning shot, firing a ball into the D finding a Melton stick for a deflection. Youngy was going the wrong way in goal, but somehow managed to get his left glove to flick the ball wide. Everyone, including Youngy was surprised that he had actually managed to make a save, so a 16 was originally given before Youngy owned up and the decision was changed. While Melton thanked Youngy for his honesty they didn’t give Oundle a chance to set for the resulting long corner but were unable to take advantage.
In the first 5 minutes of the half, Melton had their tails up and boxed Oundle in almost as well as ‘Brendan not Brandon’(s) car after the match. The half wore on with the game becoming scrappy, neither side able to find another breakthrough. Oundle going closest through George and Brendan. The main event of note being a tackle from P.Wilson (Phil) which came from the wrong side and resulted in a penalty corner for Melton. The Melton players wanted more and started waving imaginary cards at the umpire who was unmoved.
The game became quite heated at this point, with Melton players clashing with Oundle players notably Coach Ellis with a small scuffle occurring in the Oundle D. Melton did receive the only card of the game which was a yellow after Willow left their No 44 sprawling on his backside, their player then proceeded to catch Willows stick while flailing on the ground, this warranted an immediate yellow.
The game fizzled out with neither side able to make a further breakthrough leaving Oundle 3-0 Victors and with their first clean sheet of the season. A good first half team performance was enough to see them through. Oundle are still in the relegation zone but travel away next week to fellow strugglers Rugby & East Warwickshire 3s. HWTL