Date : Saturday 14th. December 2013
Fixture : Santa Hat Game Re : Stafford Fathoms / 5th. Team v Whitchurch Fathoms
Venue : Beaconside, Stafford
Push-Back : 4pm
Score : 3-0 ( H/T 3-0 ) ( Lost )
Scorers : None
MOM : Will Trotter & Matthew Till
( Nominated by Mav / Richard Bendall, watching whole of the game from the sidelines & the Stafford Fathom Team & Stafford Fathom Captain )
Umpires : Brian Brinson & Greg Spencer
Stafford ( Santa Hat ) Fathom Team / 5th. Team ( 13 players ) :
Pog ( GK ), Paul Rennie, John Sinclair, Carl Dudley, Taran Bassie, Dan Wheawall, Matthew Till, Tyler Murray, Will Trotter, Damon Morbay, Kyle Rennie, Harry Coltman, Edward Baker.
Stafford Fathoms / 5th. Team were unable to play this ‘ Santa Hat’ game at their usual 10am time at Beaconside, because the opposition Whitchurch, couldn’t make a morning pushback, so they had to play at 4pm under the floodlights for the first time this season ( the floodlights should have been sorted by the Beaconside Sports Centre, as they promised that they would be fixed before this game, as certain lights hadn’t been working or pointing in the wrong direction for a number of weeks now, but unfortunately they hadn’t managed to sort them in time for this game, so parts of the pitch wasn’t lit as well as it could be ). Anyhow, for this game the team lost 7 players from the team that won 7-1 last week against Ludlow Fathoms, unfortunately unavailable to play in this game was Ian, Jack & George Hodgkinson & Declan Martin ( due to other commitments ) & Charlie Trotter, Daniel Rennie & Elliott Glennon, were back playing for Stafford 1sts this week, as they only helped the Fathoms out last week, because the Fathoms were short of a few players and they were playing for Stafford 1st. Team, which were playing before the Stafford Fathom Team game at the same venue as them last week. Anyhow, back for this game was Matthew Till returning from his injury of 2 weeks ago, when he tried to jump the fence at Beaconside ( and the fence won ) & Dan Wheawall was brought back in the team, after reaching the dizzy heights of playing for Stafford 3rds the week before plus he was the only one promising to dress up as Santa for this game, Damon ‘ I’m not sure where my Santa Hat is’ Morbey was also back from injury & Tarran Bassie. Harry Coltman, Tyler Murray & Ed Baker, were also back / available for this game. Once the photo-call of all the fathom players wearing their Santa Hats had been taken ( photo attached above ), everyone was raring to get on with the game.
When the game started, Stafford Fathoms were looking to try and make sure they preserved their 100% record of not losing at Home since the season started, as they had won all their previous 3 home games which were against Bridgnorth ( 1-0 ) on 12th. October, Old Wulfs ( 5-0 ) on 26th. October & Aldridge & Walsall Fathom ‘B’ Team ( 3-0 ) on 30th. November and to try & build on the 7-1 win from the previous Saturday ( 7th. December ) which was Away to Ludlow Fathoms. Stafford Fathoms knew before the game started that this game was going to be a tough challenge, because it appeared that the opposition, Whitchurch had brought a team of players of slightly higher standard than Fathoms and appeared to have a coach with them and no other fathom team this season, has had a coach on the side-lines watching & encouraging them while playing against Stafford Fathoms. Anyhow, the team talk given before the game started by Stafford Fathom Vice Captain, Paul Rennie, was to be focussed on what Stafford could do rather than worry about what a very strong opposition, might do and that Stafford should try and make sure that when they did have possession of the ball, just like in all the previous games where a good result had been achieved, that the players passed to one another and for the first 15 minutes of the game, Stafford ( with all their players wearing their Santa Hats & Dan Wheawall wearing his Santa Outfit while playing ) were holding their own against a very lively and strong Whitchurch Fathom Team, when an innocuous shot on goal by Whitchurch, from outside the D, hit the back of the Stafford goal, with no one supposedly touching it, was given as a goal, as one of the 2 Stafford Umpires reckoned that the Stafford Keeper, Pog had touched the ball with his stick before it went into the back of Stafford’s net and was therefore awarding Whitchurch the goal. However, when the Stafford Keeper, Pog respectively challenged this decision, given by this particular umpire, stating that he categorally hadn’t touch the ball with his stick, the umpire then consulted his other Umpire at the other end of the pitch and this other Umpire stated that due to the distance he was away from the hit / strike by the Whitchurch player and the poor lighting of the floodlights, he reckoned he couldn’t see whether or not Stafford keeper’s stick had touched the ball or not on it’s way into Stafford Fathom’s goal, so after this consultation with his other umpire, the umpire who originally gave the decision, decided that the goal would count / stand and was adamant about it, despite protests from a number of Stafford Fathom Players, that it shouldn’t stand, as they felt that Pog, Stafford’s Fathom Keeper, hadn’t touched the ball with his stick and the whole Stafford Fathom Team were naturally gutted and very disappointed by this very harsh decision, especially as they had been doing OK up to this stage, but typical Stafford Fathom style, they dusted themselves down and accepted it, even though they didn’t agree with it in any shape or form and then tried to re-focus back onto the game. This controversial decision did however unnerve and unbalance Stafford and five minutes later, Whitchurch capitalised on Stafford’s uncertainity, when they nipped into between defender and keeper to slot home their second goal, then Stafford seemed to settle down from going 2 nil down in such a short space of time and with half time beckoning, Whitchurch managed to just get the better of a now resolute Stafford’s defence and to sneak another goal, so when the half time whistle did blow, Stafford couldn’t belief that they were going in at the break, 3-0 down.
The team talk at half time given by Paul Rennie, the Stafford Fathom Vice Captain was about forgetting about how all three goals were conceded or given, as they were now history and the fact that the team they were playing were of a slightly higher standard than Fathoms, should not faze them, because Stafford now needed in order to try and get back into this game to try and keep hold of the ball and to pass it more than they had in the first half and not to try and take the ball on against this strong Whitchurch Team, who were more than capable of tackling our players and getting the ball back into their possession and that Stafford should try and communicate better with one another, again this was lacking at times in the first half, but he did admit that the first 2 goals Whitchurch had scored had been soft / gift goals, especially the first one. then just before Stafford Fathoms went back out onto the pitch for the second half, Stafford 2nd. Team Captain, Gareth Minton, who had been watching the first half of this game from the side-lines, chipped in with Paul Rennie’s Stafford Fathom’s team talk by saying, if Stafford kept better possession of the ball than the opposition, then Whitchurch without the ball, would become a lot less effective, no matter how good they might be.
So with that in mind, Stafford went into the second half all fired up and wanting to turn things round and to put the disappointing first half behind them and Damon ‘ I’m not sure where my Santa Hat is’ Morbay and Matthew ‘ don’t let me jump any fences’ Till both took on the half time team talk and worked tirelessly in midfield helping Stafford snuff out / break down Whitchurch’s attacks by some good tackling and more importantly reading the game and intercepting Whitchurch passes and then once the ball was in their possession making some good passes to their young forward line of Will Trotter, Tyler Murray, Kyle Rennie, Edward Baker, Harry Coltman & Dan ‘ where has my Santa Outfit gone – Elf Knows’ Wheawall, who were all combining well and setting up one another with some really good chances on goal and in Stafford’s defence, young Taran Bassie, Vice Captian, Paul Rennie, Carl Dudley & Captain, John Sinclair were all playing their part in containing Whitchurch attacks and on the few occasions when Whitchurch did manage to get past the well marshalled midfield / defence of Stafford, Pog in goals for Stafford Fathoms, was like the rest of the team, very capable of dealing with any threats on his Stafford goal and when the final whistle blew, Stafford Fathoms were a little disappointed that they hadn’t managed to put the ball in the back of Whitchurch Fathom goal in the second half, especially as they had taken on the half time team talk and had a lot more possession of the ball in the second half, but they were happy with the fact that they had stopped Whitchurch from adding to their goal tally of 3 from the first half.
The team talk at the end of the game by Vice Captain, Paul Rennie in the wind and the rain, was that Stafford Fathoms should go into the Christmas / New Break of no games for 2 weeks, pleased with their second half performance, in the knowledge that the second half had been a real team effort with good tackling, interception and more importantly keeping possession of the ball and that they were terribly unlucky not to have also scored a goal in the second half of the game ( which unfortunately meant for the first time this season, Stafford Fathoms haven’t managed to score at home plus it also meant that they had lost their 100% record of winning at home ).
Mav / Richard Bendall, who was assisting the Fathoms on the sidelines with the timings of the double substitutions ( Re : having 13 players ) awarded Matthew Till with the Man of The Match Award. However, at the end of the game the Fathom Team decided that they wanted to chose Will Trotter as their Man of the Match, so as it is the season of goodwill ( and all that ), I have decided as Captain of the Fathom Team, to make this week’s Stafford Fathom’s Man of the Match a joint award, so both Matthew Till and Will Trotter have both been chosen as Man of the Match for this game.
At the half way stage of this season, all players who have played for Stafford Fathoms this season or umpired our games ( a big thank-you for this goes to Charlie Trotter & Brad Evans, as well as the other people who have done this for the Stafford Fathoms ) at home have definitely played their part ensuring that Stafford Fathom Teams have progressed really well from last season as from 9 games played ( 5 games away & 4 games at home ) they have won 4, lost 4 and drew 1, scoring 23 goals in the process and conceding 16 goals, so when Stafford Fathoms are back in action in the Fathom Fixtures on Saturday 18th. January 2014 ( see below for details ), then they have to use this first half of the season, as a good platform to progress even further, especially when travelling away to play.
The next Fathom’s game is on Saturday 18th. January 2014 against Cannock Fathoms, which is at home, but is being played at Stone Hockey Club ( Re : 10am pushback and players being picked to play in this game will need to meet at Stone Hockey Club for 9.30am ). However, if your interested there will be a game at 4pm at Beaconside on Saturday 4th. January 2014, for all 4th. Team and Fathom / 5th. Team players, as neither of these teams have a friendly fixture on this date, when the other 3 teams do. Anyhow, from myself as Captain of Stafford Fathoms and Paul Rennie as Vice Captain of Stafford Fathoms, can we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and will see you all again for Stafford Fathoms either on Saturday 4th. January 2014 or on Saturday 18th. January 2014, when we can try and see if we can overturn the 2-0 defeat we experienced at the beginning of the season, when we played them away at Cannock Hockey Club on their pitch with the sprinklers.