‘Oundle Mens Hockey Club held a minutes silence before Saturday’s game against Saints to mark the sad passing of one of our former players. Sean Elliott was one of the original cohort to play for the team and was a close friend to many of those still playing. He was only 57 years old and had represented Corby HC for many years as well as the Northants County team. He will be dearly missed and remembered fondly as a great teammate (with great dribbling skills) but more importantly as a fine human being and a wonderful friend. RIP old friend.’ – A tribute from John Brown
Massive thank you goes out to Northampton Saints 2s for joining in with the remembrance.
After a league wide break last week Oundle were back on the road this week to their home away from home away at Northampton Saints 2s. In what feels like the 1000th meeting between the clubs, games have always produced goals and a closely contested match. Oundle were this week able to boast the debut of the first new signing of the Ben Edis era, a new forward Brendan who has impressed in training. Oundle were also able to welcome back John Brown who had returned from his scouting mission without much success.
The recent storm had saturated the pitch at Moulton, making play slightly difficult and slowing the pitch up. This did not seem to slow up Saints however who quickly put Oundle on the back foot. Applying the pressure but Oundle defended well, especially in the full back areas which kept coming under pressure from the Saints wingers. Saints were also not afraid to keep the ball for a bit shifting the ball around trying to find a chink in Oundles armour, with Oundle staying solid.
Oundle however struggled to play their brand of hockey, the aerial passes from Oundle which have been so effective for many seasons didn’t come off, with a couple finding their way to the Saints forwards! Oundle hearts were in their mouths when P.Wilson decided it would be a good idea to do a slide tackle on one of the Saints players, claiming he ‘slipped’ thankfully the ref kept his cards pocketed on this occasion.
Still quite early on in the first half Saints managed to sneak ahead and break through the Oundle defence, winning a free hit on Oundles left and running the ball to the back line before entering the D, passing across the face of the goal to the Saints winger who was unmarked at the back post, giving him the simplest of jobs, putting the ball into the empty net from barely a yard out.
Saints had their tails up and almost straight away Oundle had another warning of Saints intent with a through ball from deep almost found the Saints forward who when he realised it had slightly too much pace on it, decided to give Young in goal a hug instead. Unfortunately this was a sign of things to come, with Saints quickly adding goals 2 and 3 in quick succession, the 2nd coming after a goalmouth scramble while the 3rd goal came from a through ball with the Saints forward able to turn the defender and put the ball home.
It was not until the latter stages of the first half until Oundle started finding their groove, and settling into a rhythm. With the game becoming more even, Oundle were able to string a few passes together but were unable to find the final ball, Saints on the other hand were able to win a number of short corners, these however came to naught with the on rushing Oundle defenders able to get a block in or any shot on target was saved by Youngy in the Oundle goal.
Half time quickly came and it also decided to stop raining which was nice. The message from the Coach and Captain was clear, when we settled down we were able to match Saints in most areas of the pitch and to keep going and we would get rewards.
This was quickly forgotten in the first moments of the 2nd half with the half beginning in much the same way as the 1st. However Oundle were able to defend strong and not give the Saints forwards a sniff.
As the 2nd half wore on Oundle were able to win their first penalty corner of the game. The ball was injected, going to castle no 1, a straight strike from current top gun, George Martin, usually so reliable from the 1st castle position, this shot needed a helping hand to go in, which it duly got, a deflection taking it above the Saints keeper who tried to lie down to save the shot before the deflection took it above him.
Oundles joy was short lived though as Saints broke away down the Oundle left getting through the defence leaving them 2 on 1 with Youngy in goal, Youngy attempted to close the angle however it was a simple pass to the side for the Saints player to score into an empty net.
The rest of the half was largely even with both sides attempting to play hockey but neither side able to make a further breakthrough. It was however a bad day for P.Wilson and P.Wilson, both having unfortunate moments during the match. P.Wilson (Willow) managed to swing and miss 3 times at a clearance which resembled something more of a lumberjack chopping down a tree. P.Wilson (Phil) also made his 2nd slide tackle of the match earning him a green card from the umpire.
Oundle find themselves in a relegation battle after 4 defeats on the bounce. This match does however signal the end of their tough away period. We go again next weekend at home to Melton 2s. HWTL