Captain’s Blog – Game Date: 10/11/12

The trip to Gravesend was eventful despite the short distance. Gillingham Anchorians Laides 1st XI had several options for the special vote as well as a game of “how many Anchorians can you fit in a Mini?” and “how many boyfriend mechanics does it take to fix a Fiesta?” before they had even arrived to play Gravesend Ladies 1s.

When they all finally got onto the pitch, Anchorians’ warm up was their best of the season. With a positive attitude fizzling through the side, Anchorians pushed their opponents from the off and earned themselves a short corner within the first five minutes. Heidi Hadfield won another short corner from the first and Anchs lined up again, after the initial strike, the ball fell to Captain Laura Hopkins who took it around an oncoming player and slotted into the back of goal. Anchorians were spurred and pushed on straight from the restart. Noelia Lopez and Devia Bijkerk drove the ball up the wings and Rachel Rawson and Tina Hamer worked to win space and chances upfront.

Their efforts were well rewarded as another short corner was quickly earned and after a mis-worked routine, the ball once again fell to Hopkins who swept it through the keepers legs and onto the backboard. For the first time in the season, the Women in White were leading their opponents. It is possible that this surprise hit them hard. Or possibly the opposition woke up after their initial shock. Maybe a combination of the two. For whatever reason, Anchs began to drop off and found themselves leading by only one goal at half time after a considerable period of pressure from the hosts.

The second half was equally baffling given the start Anchorians had enjoyed. Sharon Goodall, Emma Harris, Emma Strangleman and Emma Gurdler were constantly hounded in the back-line and keeper, Sonia Houlker had to make several crucial saves. Gravesend continued to pile on the pressure and Anchorians were soon 3-2 down and facing a mountain of a comeback if they could make it. The umpiring was as inconsistent as the hockey with Sarah Watkinson given a green card for her tackling despite not being given any prior warnings or having committed any particularly bad tackles. The final nail was hammered into the coffin when the ball pin-balled around the area, Houlker managed to go to ground and knock the ball on a Gravesend foot in possibly the most blatant foul of the game. The player who had just committed a foul took the ball and lifted it over Houlker’s body and into the goal. Anchorians players looked on in shock as the umpire awarded the goal and despite hopkins asking for a consultation with the other umpire, the goal stood and Anchs finished the game two goals down and with a bitter taste in their mouths.

Player of the match was shared between Heidi Hadfield and Sonia Houlker and special was shared between Sarah Watkinson (for her perplexing green card) and Laura Hopkins (for a mis-spelling in the team sheet, falling over nothing on the pitch and just generally having a bad day!).

  • Gravesend 1s – 4
  • Gillingham Anchorians 1st XI – 2

Men’s 2nd XI 2-1 versus Sevenoaks 4s

The Men’s 2nd XI continued it’s recent good form with a 2-1 victory at home over Sevenoaks but it was a very hard-fought game and to use a cliche, very much a game of two halves.

Anchorians were totally dominant in the first half and could have taken the lead very early on but Ash Risby’s reverse strike evadedm the goal. It wasn’t long however before Anchs did have the ball in the net. Chris Risby won possession on the halfway line and set CJ Verrall free. Risby’s pass eliminated the defecne and with only the ‘keeper to beat Verrall finished very competently. Verrall could have added to the scoreline shortly afterwards as a Richard Brewer strike found him wide of the goalie but his attempted tip in went wide.

Anchs continued to dominate and scored their second from a well-worked short corner. Paul Gray played a neat one-two with Gary Jackson before calmly slotting passed the advancing keeper.

As the half wore on Sevenoaks began to create a few opportunities and Anchs were indebted to goalkeeper Karl Thomas for the clean sheet at half time, making two very good saves in quick succession.

Anchs had one final opportunity to stretch their lead before half time but Brewer’s switch to the near post from a worked penalty corner found Verrall’s foot and not his stick.

After the break the game completely changed. Whatever the visitors said at half time, it clearly worked as Sevenoaks put Anchs under pressure right from the start of the second half. Within minutes they had clawed a goal back from a penalty stroke after Thomas’ save was deflected into Neil Byrne’s body on the goal-line. Anchs had to weather a string of short corners but fortunately Sevenoaks strikes kept finding Thomas’s pads and the defecnce were able to clear. As the half wore on it was clear Sevenoaks were up for the battle. Anchs defended resolutely enough but were guilty of turning possession over too easily. Both Tom Banfield and Neil Byrne had to make timely tackles to keep Sevenoaks out.

Anchs still created chances in the second half but these were often on the break. Ash Risby created a great opportunity for Verrall but uncharacteristically he snatched at the short to put it wide. Paul Gray created another chance when crossing the ball from the right but Anchs couldn’t get a stick on it. Brewer had an oportunity at the far post but his reverse strike was easily kept out by s Sevenoaks defender.

At the final whistle Anchs were happy to take the points after not the most convincing performance and Sevenoaks must count themselves unlucky not to have claimed a point.

Men’s 2nd XI 2-0 versus Old Bordenians

The Men’s 2nd XI continued it’s recent good form with a 2-0 victory away to Old Bordenians. Having suffered a 2-7 defeat in the season’s opening friendly against the same opposition we expected a tough game. That’s exactly what we got and the opening 15 minutes was fairly evenly contested with the ball alternating between each half although no clear cut opportunities were created. As the half progressed the vistors gradually took control with Anchs experienced midfield gaining the upper hand, resulting in a series of penalty corners. Missing the normal injector the routines were a bit rusty. However, Anchs were able to take the lead from one, as the ball was unintentionally worked around the D for Jack Oxby to tip in at the far post. Anchs continued to dominate the rest of the half and look particularly dangerous down the right hand side with Harry Banfield and Gary Jackson combining well.

After the break the game continued in similar fashion. Anchs retained possession superbly and the pace and skill of Oxby and Owen Hamer caused plenty of problems for the opposition. Anchs created a string of opportunities but a combination of good saves from the goalie and just missing the target meant they could not add to their lead. When a firm shot from Chris Risby hit the post, Anchs began to wonder if they would add to their lead. Meanwhile it didn’t look as though they would concede as Tom Banfield and the very impressive Simon Pickard snuffed out the occasional Old Bordenians foray. Anchs did eventually score a second after a mazy run by Hamer fed the ball into Risby’s path. This time he did find the target and left the goalkeeper with no chance. Anchs desreved their 2-0 victory and second successive clean sheet. The combination of youth and experience is blending well after a steady start to the season.

Gillingham Anchorians Men’s 1st XI 2 BBHC 2

Another game of two halves for Gillingham Anchorians Mens 1st XI in a game that was a carbon copy of the previous weeks’ game at Herne Bay with Anchs dominating the first half and racing into a lead only not to turn up for the second half and almost throw away the points!

After a good warm up and team talk it was Anchs who started the brighter with Mike Lindley, Jake Stevens and Chris Lack in control in the middle. The wide players Ben Selby and Jack Oxby were also having a lot of success against their opposition. It was Glen Rawson who opened the scoring for the home side with a weak flick that the BBHC ‘keeper somehow let slip through his pads and into the goal. Further pressure saw Anchs scoring a second before half time with Joe Byrant putting Anchs into control of the game.

The worst thing that happened was the blowing of the half time whistle. Although the team talk focused on more of the same, the exact opposite took place. Anchs sat back and allowed BBHC to totally dominate the game. Anchs’ passing fell apart and they seemed to run out of steam. Despite excellent defending from Andy White, Gary Jackson and Ben Lindley and some good saves from ‘keeper Darren Richardson, BBHC rightly walked away with a well deserved point following an unfortunate OG from Ben Lindley and a well taken finish from the BBHC forward.

Captain’s Blog- Game Date: 03/11/12

After a weekend off the pitch to honor Martin Banfield and his family, Gillingham Anchorians Ladies 1st XI faced their second encounter with a Sevenoaks team this season. Sevenoaks Ladies 4s were 5th in the table and yet another team in Anchorian’s run of fixtures against top-of-the-table sides.

The Anchorians team came into this home fixture after three straight defeats. However their attitude was positive and their warm-up was full of energy. Mina Kalsi stepped up in the keeper pads for the absent Sonia Houlker. Otherwise, the team was largely as it has been throughout the season, with perhaps a substitute or two less. Anchorians started on the front foot, attacking up the right wing through Noelia Lopez in the midfield, supported by Lucy Morgan as right back. Through Heidi Hadfield, Sarah Watkinson and Laura Hopkins, the ball was distributed from the middle of the field for Hannah Bennet and Lopez, who both made some inspiring runs up the wings.

Upfront, Rachel Rawson, Tina Hamer and Rosa Hargrave-Sotherland worked tirelessly and the Sevenoaks’ defence was never allowed to rest. However, the visitors put the Anchorians defence under similar pressure and only the hard work of Emma Strangleman, Emma Harris and Morgan was enough to keep Kalsi’s pads mostly clear. But it was Oaks who broke the deadlock, a free hit outside the 25 was hit straight into the area for an Oaks player to get a (I have to admit) fantastic touch, sending the ball onto the backboard and out of the reach of Kalsi.

Anchorians were soon two behind through a wonder goal from off centre of the D and into the roof of the net, a goal which even the GB keeper would have had trouble with! The teams went in at half time with Oaks leading the home side 2-0. Anchorians half time talk was quick and the ladies were feeling positive despite the score line and were ready to get underway long before Sevenoaks who seemed to drag out the rest break for as long as they could.

The second half was all about Anchorians. They pushed for the majority of the 35minutes, leaving Sevenoaks their only chances through one-on-one counter attacks which Kalsi dealt with decisively and convincingly. Balls flashed across the Sevenoaks goal-mouth and their keepers was under pressure almost without pause. However, it was not to be and Anchs were unable to convert their hard work into goals.

The game ended without any goals in the second half although it was a close run as at one point a Sevenoaks player put a dangerous ball into the D which both Morgan and Kalsi went for and missed. The Umpire gave a goal which prompted Hadfield into an extensive outburst but it was the honesty of the opposition that changed the umpire’s mind. A commendable action in anyone’s books.

Player of the game went to Noelia Lopez who never failed to look dangerous attacking up the right wing and special went to captain Laura Hopkins who failed to notice Mina Kalsi sneak in during the team talk. Next week Anchorians face Gravesend away.

  • Gillingham Anchorians 1st XI – 0
  • Sevenoaks 4s – 2

Gillingham Anchorians 1st XI 4 Herne Bay 3

Anchs travelled to Herne Bay which is always a tough game. Although Herne Bay are rather surprisingly at the bottom end of the table, they proved that at home they remain a difficult challenge for any side in the league.

Following a good warm up and a good team talk Anchs started the brighter of the two sides. In fact the opening 30 minutes saw Anchs play some great hockey and rightly saw them take a three goal lead with the goals coming from Gordon Thomson (2) and Ash Risby. Credit goes to Glen Rawson, Jake Stevens, Mike Lindley, Jack Oxby and Chris Lack who all played a massive role in creating the chances for Anchs to put away. However in the last five minutes of the opening half, Anchs switched off and were punished by a well taken goal. 3-1 to Anchs at half time.

Having smelt blood, the Anchs half time team talk focused on how Herne Bay would come out of the blocks at 100mph and Anchs needed to be up for a fight. These words rang true and it was the home side who dominated the second half. Anchs lost the battle in the middle and soon Herne Bay found themselves level following two rather fortunate short corners. In fairness Anchs could have found themselves further behind but for the excellent goalkeeping of Darren Richardson and superb defending from Gary Jackson, Mark O’Brien and Andy White who between them kept the scores level. Somewhat against the run of play and from more or less the last touch of the game, up popped Gordon Thomson to complete his hat-trick and the points for Anchs. A very hard earned 4-3 victory.

Mens 2nd XI 4-0 versus BBHC 3rd Nov 2012

The Men’s 2nd XI enjoyed a confortable 4-0 win at home on Saturday over BBHC.

Anchs were right on top of their game from the very first whistle and soon had the ball in the opposition D, but had to wait 20 minutes for the first goal. Forwards Owen Hamer and CJ Verrall were too quick and skillful for their opponents to handle and it was only a question of time until a penalty corner was given. Paul Gray’s rocket short took a deflection from a defenders stick and ended up in the roof of the goal. The umpires conferred believing the shot to be direct but ultimately the correct decision resulted and Anchs were 1-0 up.

The second followed shortly afterwards. Harry Banfield winning the ball with a strong tackle on the half way line. 3 passess later Verrall was in the D with a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Verrall made no mistake cooling flicking the ball into the net as the goalie advanced to narrow the angles.

Anchs had 2 further opportunites before the half was out but John Risby, making his first appearance of the seson, narrowly missed the target on both occasions.

Anchs were completely dominant in the second half; at times ‘keeper Michael Israel was the only player in the Anchs half. Further opportunites were created as Anchs switched the ball beautifully from one side of the pitch to the other. The third goal came after a run down the left by Harry McDonald found Richard Brewer at the top of the D. Brewer drove the ball into Verrall who laid it off beautifully for Gray for another rifled finish.

Anchs 4th came courtesy of Ben Selby tipping in from close range following a bit of a melee in the D. Further opportunities ensued but Anchs could not add to the scoreline. Paul Gray came within inches of completing what would have been a thoroughly deserved hat-trick. Anchs were delighted with the result and particularly by keeping a clean sheet for the first time this season, through disciplined defending with brothers Tom and Harry Banfield snuffing out the isolated forays of BBHC.