Gillingham Anchorians Mens 1st’s 3 Gravesham 1.

Anchs final friendly before the season starts saw them take on Gravesham from the same league in a tough encounter. Anchs however completely dominated the first half and despite missing a penalty flick found themselves two nil up through goals from Gordon Thomson and the returning Joe Byrant. With more or less the last touch of the first half Gravesham pulled themselves back into the game with a goal from a short corner.

Anchs started the second half in a good fashion and soon found themselves three one up through a goal from Glen Rawson following excellent work from Mike Lindley, Jake Stevens and Ash Risby. However soon Anchs passing became poor and tiredness set in. Credit however goes to the Anchs back four of goalkeeper Darren Richardson, who made some good blocks and Ben Lindley, Simon Pickard and Mark O’Brien who defended valiantly until the end.

A tough start to the league campaign awaits next week with Ashford the visitors to Anchs.

Captains Blog- Game Date: 22/09/12

Gillingham Anchorians Ladies 1st XI were riding high following their win the previous week when they came to face Tonbridge Wells 2nd XI. The game was Anch’s first home endeavour of the season and the team were feeling positive although wary of opponents who had finished in the top half of the table the previous year.

The match started with Anchs on the back foot as Tonbridge took the game to Emma Strangleman, Emma Harris and Lucy Morgan in defence. The pressure was so much that even keeper, Sonia Houlker, was forced into a stick-to-stick tackle to defend her goal line. However, the Girls in White were able to hold firm and began the fight back. The ball was more and more in Tonbridge’s defencive half as the half progressed with Hannah Bennett making strong runs on the left wing to cut in behind the opposition defence. Tina Hamer and Rosa Hargrave-Sotherland ready to pounce on any loose balls from upfront. However, only twenty or so minutes into the half, disaster struck when Hamer was fouled, stood on the ball and fell, badly injuring her ankle. She was helped from the pitch and ice applied while the free hit was inexplicably given to Wells.

Salvation came in the form of Hamer’s substitute, Noelia Lopez, who with her first run, was in the D chasing the ball when she was judged to have been unfairly taken down by the visitor’s keeper. A penalty stroke was awarded and captain, Laura Hopkins, stepped up to the mark. With a good crowd on the side line, those with beer in hand watching from the balcony and the two teams in suspense on the half way line, silence fell over the Anchorians pitch. Hopkins sent the keeper the wrong way but pushed the ball wide.

Despite this missed opportunity, Anchorians looked more positive than ever and pushed forward more and more winning themselves their first short corners of the game. However, they failed to convert and the teams went in at half time 0-0.

The second half started as the rest of the game would continue, with Anchorians on the front foot and Wells pinned in their own 25. Heidi Hadfield preformed her now established roll of deep midfield, acting as a switch, a first line of defence and pushing the rest of the midfield forward. Kerry Searle pushed herself into a strong attacking position and Sarah Watkinson, another new star, filled her hole alongside Hadfield admirably – releasing other players to push higher and filling any gaps in defence. domain value . Several of Anchs second half attacks came from the driving force of Morgan and Rachel Rawson who worked well together on the right and Devia Bijkerk, back for her first game in the ladies 1st XI since maternity leave, looked like she had never been away!

Several short corners were awarded to Anchs and the defence did well to cut out all options apart from straight strike and posts. The Whites persisted and came close several times; Hargrave-Sotherland did excellently to get the ball to the byline, inches from the goal and trick the defence by making the pass to Hopkins in front of goal although she swept inches wide.

Despite the strength of the home team, Wells were the first to break the deadlock. After some interesting umpiring that left  Morgan stranded without a chance to defend a ball which should have been hers, the visitor’s midfielder went on a superb solo run and slipped the ball past an unlucky Houlker. Anchs weren’t to be mollified though and were straight back on the offensive. It took them some time to break through however but the winning effort came from Heidi Hadfield’s excellent straight-strike, the power of which left the keeper without a chance.

Anchorians could have, and probably should have, won the game but did excellently to keep up the strong attack despite going one goal down. Player was awarded to Hannah Bennett who’s runs into space made sure Anchs were always pushing for the win.

  • Gillingham Anchorians Ladies 1st XI – 1
  • Tonbridge Wells Ladies 2nd XI – 1

Men’s 2nd XI Vs. HSBC 22/9/12

CJ Verrall starred as the Men’s 2nd XI enjoyed a comfortable 4-2 victory away to its HSBC counterparts.

The first half was a fairly cagey affair as both sides got the feel for their opponents, with few direct chances created. As the half progressed Anchs began to take the ascendency. Paul Gray whistled a shot past the post and Anchs forged a few penalty corners which ultimately came to nothing. With about 10 minutes of the half remaining Gary Jackson broke down the right a delivered a delightful cross for Verrall to do what he does best – poach from close range. Anchs held the 1-0 advantage to half time.

The game was settled in a 10 minute spell early in the second half as Anchs scored three further goals. The second came from another move down the right with Jackson again involved this time feeding Paul Gray on the top of the D. Everyone expected Gray to shoot but he calmly slid the ball into Verrall’s path for him to beat the advancing keeper.

Verrall completed his hat-trick shortly after this time pouncing on a loose ball in the D, this time after good work by Owen Hamer and Harry McDonald. Anchs fourth came after a delightful passing move involving most of the midfield and forward line. This time Hamer tapping in from close range.

Anchs rather relaxed after this and conceded two sloppy goals to leave themselves with a nervous 10 minutes. Ultimately 4-2 makes the game sound closer than it was in reality.

Richard Brewer

Gillingham Anchorians 1st XI 2 Holcombe 2.

Although slightly disappointed with a draw, this was one of Anchs most positive performances in a good while. The hard work done at training is paying off. Anchs controlled the first half with the midfield of Mike Lindley, Jake Stevens, Ash Risbey, Glen Rawson and Jack Oxby dominating. Anchs should have been further in the lead but only led one nil due to Ash Risbey’s goal.

Holcs came more into the game in the second half and only good defending from Simon Pickard, Ben Lindley and Neil Byrne kept them out. Holcs did however take the lead with two well worked short corners. Whereas in the past Anchs heads would have dropped there was a new determination about Anchs who soon pulled level through Gordon Thompson. Both sides had chances to win it and were denied by excellent saves from the Holcs ‘keeper as well as a world class glove save from Anchs ‘keeper Darren Richardson.

Next up is the final friendly against Gravesham before the league starts the following Saturday.


Captain’s Blog- Game date: 15/09/12

Gillingham Anchorians Ladies 1st XI faced their first game in uncharted territory as they began their league campaign this weekend. They faced their first foes, Blackheath and OEs Ladies 2s, in a league of which they knew little.

Both teams were cautious of their opponents; Anchs having come to this league after a less than ideal season in the league above; Blackheath fresh-faced after victory in the league below and with a new name to boot. The game started slowly and although Anchs were the better side, they were often caught in possession down the left wing – a weakness Blackheath exploited, earning themselves two short corners in the first half. Despite this, Sonia Houlker in goal had only one shot to save and was protected from more by the expertise of Emma Strangleman, Emma Harris and Lucy Morgan in the back three of a new and exciting formation.

At the other end of the pitch, Tina Hamer and Rosa Hargreaves-Sotherland kept pressing with the support of Hannah Bennett and Rachel Rawson attacking from the wings. Despite going close several times, they were eventually rewarded for their efforts with a short corner just before half-time. However, it was not to be and the first period closed 0-0.

After a short break, both teams once again stepped onto the pitch. Blackheath found a new determination and pressed the Anchorians defence hard for the first 5-10minutes. However, Anchs found their form again through counter attacks. Laura Hopkins carried the ball through the middle of the field while her team mates made some excellent runs to get themselves into strong attacking positions. Anchs ladies found their time spent more and more around the Blackheath D, with the opposition hard pressed to find a way out. Luckily, Emma Gurdler was on hand for Anchs to provide some fresh legs in the grueling heat.

The deadlock eventually broke when Anchs won themselves a well-deserved short corner. The straight-strike from Heidi Hadfield was going true until stopped on the goal line by a defending foot. The umpire didn’t even have time to say “penalty stroke” before Emma Strangleman pounced and swept the ball resolutely into the backboard.

Once Anchs had broken the spell, they looked sure to strike again. In the end it was astounding that it took so long with superb balls from Kerry Searle and Heidi Hadfield striking at the heart of the Blackheath defence but the final push over the line just out of reach. When the decisive goal came, it presented itself in a way many of us are never to see the like of again. Rosa Hargrave-Sotherland dominated in a scrappy goal-mouth battle, but her final attempt looked destined to go wide. Tina Hamer threw herself to the floor and swung her stick in a valient effort, which astounded opposition and team-mates alike and left the defending keeper stranded, as the ball caught her wrong-footed to strike the far corner of the goal.

Anchorians were on the attack for what little was left of the game and when the final whistle was blown, the deserving team had come out on top. A well deserved victory in a refreshingly friendly game. Player of the match was awarded to Heidi Hadfield for outstanding defensive skills, her off-ball hard work and her striking efforts to put the ball in the opporsition’s D.

A great start to a new campaign.

  • Gillingham Anchorians Ladies 1st XI – 2
  • Blackheath and OEs Ladies 2nd XI – 0

Mens V XI Friendly 15/09/12

Gillingham Anchorians V XI    1
New Beccehamians 4s          4
Despite the scoreline Anchs first game of the season shows there is more to come as the side introduces the clubs future stars. New kids on the block Jordon, Joel, Luc and Christian all held their own and showed everyone there is more to come. Making his debut in goal for club, scott made some fine saves to keep Anchs in the game. At the same time his brother Luke, making his club debut showed he deserves his spot in the back line with new kid Jordon, and the more experienced Andrew and team captain Neil being kept busy at times and helping Scott in closing down attacks. Some excellent attacking and defensive runs in the midfield from new kids Joel, Luc and Christian will ultimately lead to more goals as the season progresses. Also anchoring the midfield was seasoned player Bruce, who showed you cant beat experience, and the welcomed return of Sean who has recovered from a shoulder injury suffered last season to score the only Anchs goal with a fantastic strike that saw the game go to 1-1 in the first half. Father and son strikers Mark and Alex kept New Beccs defence busy all game with some searching runs and some fine passing, and with Terry helping out up front too, it was should have been a recipe for more goals that sadly didn’t arrive for Anchs.
New Beccs took the Lead, then Anchs equalised, and the game looked very even and either side end up with all the points. A few minutes before the break New Beccs managed to go 1 in front. After the restart the game looked like it was anyones for the taking with some good shooting and some fine defending at both ends. Sadly though in the last 10-15mins as the Anchs legs seemed to get tired and weary, New Beccs legs seemed to grow faster and hungrier, and 2 more balls ended in the net, to take the visitors score up to 4.
All in all the future looks bright for the youngsters coming into the Anchs side, balanced with the senior players, this could be the year Anchorians V XI have the best league position for quite some time.

Gillingham Anchorians 1st XI 5 Marden 3.

After an endless wait and a tough pre season, Anchs finally got their season under way in what they knew was going to be a tough friendly against a well drilled side from the league above. Much thanks goes to the home support and we hope to see more of the same throughout the season.

Despite missing six first team regulars, due to other commitments, Anchs were boosted by the presence of Dan Mutton and Callum Harris who are unfortunately returning to / off to university and will be a big miss to the team. Credit also goes to Neil Byrne, Jack Oxby and CJ Verall who made their first team debuts.

The game started at a good pace with the Anchs midfield of Mike Lindley, Dan Mutton, Callum Harris, Owen Hamer and Jack Oxby getting stuck in and giving no respect to the opposition. However the first real chance feel to the Marden centre forward who forced a smart save and clearance by Anchs ‘keeper Darren Richardson, meaning the game remained scoreless. Following a superb counter attack it was Anchs who took the lead following a superb finish from Gordon Thompson who very calmly lifted the ball over the advancing goalkeeper. However soon Marden were on top again and despite excellent defending by Simon Pickard, Ben Lindley and Ben Selby it was Marden who drew level from a short corner. With half time approaching a world class finish from Joe Byrant put Anchs back in control.

The second half started with Anchs on the back foot. The same old problem of teams cutting through the middle returned and following a favourable decision from the opposition umpire Marden drew level. The introduction of Mike Selby however was to change the whole dynamic of the game. Anchs played some very effective but basic hockey and were rewarded with two quick goals well taken by Callum Harris and Gordon Thompson. With Anchs seemingly in control at 4-2, a lack of marking again allowed Marden back into the game. However not to be outdone, Callum Harris popped up and scored Anchs fifth to seal a well deserved victory which hopefully bods well for a tough season ahead.

Thanks to Trevor Shave for umpiring.