The midway game of the season was as it has been for the past few years, a match between Sevenoaks and K Sports. Umpiring commitments meant the game had to be scheduled for a 16:30 push back at the newly opened ground in Ditton.
K Sports came out firing and put the Sevenoaks defence under pressure. Fast-paced runs from Ben Newmarch and Richard Thorogood on the wings, supported the forward line of Dave Wood and Paul Cook. They were backed up by the strong midfield of Ewan Hendry, Mike Nock and Neil Mitchell.
K Sports found themselves a goal to the good after Ben Newmarch laid the ball to Ewan Hendry outside the D. He then skipped over the defenders trailing stick and fired a thunderbolt at waist height, beating the keeper at his near post.
Shortly after, Newmarch won a short corner which Mike Nock flicked into the top left-hand corner, leaving the keeper with no chance of saving the goal, putting the home side 2-0 up.
Sevenoaks started to exert some pressure onto the K Sports defence. But the Back line of Mark O’Brien, Andy Mendl (who had a great game getting the better of an old team mate) and Keith Aide, stopped many attack from breaking into the D. If they did, the Sevenoaks forwards found themselves being shut out by Goalkeeper Ali Burt
Matt Sharp added another goal to his tally when he latched onto a loose ball in the D and calmly placed the ball into the bottom corner. This was followed by a goal from James Dench, who was making his premier first eleven appearance this season. Half time and the score was 4-0 to K Sports
The second half started with Sevenoaks on the offensive and they scored 2 very quick unanswered goals, as K Sports were caught napping. This spurred the home team into impressing the supporters that were braving the cold December evening air.
Neil Smith, making his return to hockey after a long break, was impressive in the middle and Sevenoaks could not handle his pace and stick speed. This hard work and tenacity lead to another goal, as Dave wood fired the ball into the Sevenoaks back board.
Mike Nock added another drag flick from a penalty corner, this time disguising the flick and catching the goalie off balance.
Paul Cook had another very impressive display and was rewarded for his efforts with a goal of the season contender! Seeing him unmarked, Ewan Hendry fired the ball from midfield which Cook latched onto. The keeper came out to claim the ball but the K Sports forward flicked the ball over the keeper, ran around his blind side and struck the ball into the goal.
Ben Newmarch was also rewarded for his tireless running up and down the wing when he took on 4 of the Sevenoaks defenders and rounded the keeper to slot the ball home.
Sevenoaks got one more for their tally when a shot which the home side keeper thought was from outside the D was deemed to be in the shooting area (an obligatory jug was purchased for this).
Overall a great game played by both sides. Sevenoaks defended with gusto, attacked with pace and control. But on the day, K Sports proved to be to strong.
Neil Mitchell was named man of the match for a calm defensive and distribution master-class (or it may have been so that he had to wear the coveted shirt at the Christmas dinner)
Our next game is in the new year, with a friendly against Canterbury.