BBHC 3 Gillingham Anchorians 0

For the first time in three seasons Anchs entered the Kent Cup and drew BBHC 1′s from two leagues above. Knowing this would be a tough game the team talk focused on playing and learning from the experience but also trying to oppose themselves on the opposition. Anchs started well with Chris Lack and Jamie Caulfield taking charge of the middle. A good break down the right saw Ben Selby win a short corner that Jamie Caulfield almost give Anchs the lead from. Soon however BBHC were in control forcing keeper Darren RIchardson into some saves with the Lindley brothers defending very well. However following giving the ball away in their own 25 BBHC stole the ball and giving the centre forward way too much time to slot the ball home Anchs were one down. For the rest of the first half Anchs matched their opponents with some good running from forwards CJ Verrall and Gordon Thomson.

The second half saw BBHC make a positive start and again Anchs were indebted to good defending to keep the opposition out. Anchs did however force a few saves from the BBHC keeper following some good forward runs from Jake Stevens and Simon Pickard. Anchs were soon unfortunate to go two more goals down in a five minute period following a cruel deflection of Richard Perkins which gave the forward a tap in and then from an unfortunate OG of Mike Lindley. Although a defeat Anchs were able to walk away with their heads held high and in the right frame of mind for the league starting next Saturday.

Tunbridge Wells 2 Gillingham Anchorians 6

Anchs 1st XI final friendly saw them travel to a Tunbridge Wells side who took four points from them last season. An extremely early arrival time gave Anchs plenty of time to get themselves ready whereas the Tunbridge Wells warm up lasted a good hour. Anchs were up against a mixture of experience and youth and knew they were in for a hard game.

The game started at a frantic pace and following some good counter attacking hockey Callum Harris forced a decent save from the T Wells keeper with the ball landing in front of Jake Stevens who couldn’t miss. 1 nil Anchs. Following an inspired substitution from manager Mick Lindley Gordon Thomson scored with his first touch to put Anchs in command. The opposition couldn’t live with Callum Harris who put Anchs three up by half time.

The half time team talk focused on more of the same. Within minutes Callum Harris had added his second at which point t wells upped their game. Good goalkeeping from Darren Richardson and good defending from Gary Jackson and Ben Lindley kept them out. T Wells did however manage to grab a goal from a short corner but soon Michael Lindley somehow manage to squeeze home a short corner to put Anchs 5-1 up. A good finish gave T Wells hope but in the last few minutes Callum Harris scored his third of the game to give Anchs a 6-2 win.

Tomorrow see Anchs travel to BBHC in the Kent Cup and start their league campaign a week later against Burnt Ash.

Gillingham Anchorians 3 – Penguins 3

Anchs travelled to old rivals Penguins from the Sussex league for their second preseason friendly. The first tip to give the travelling party is not to go via Tunbridge Wells as this will cause half the side to be 15 minutes late for the start of a game.

Following no warm up Anchs made a decent start to the game and soon found themselves in the lead following a good team goal that saw CJ Verall slot home. Anchs soon however let Penguins back into the game and soon Jack Oxby was unlucky to deflect the ball into the goal. This seemed to bring Anchs back to life and soon Glen Rawson tucked home from a short corner to put Anchs back in front. Only a great double save from keeper Darren Richardson kept Anchs in the lead at half time.

The second half saw Anchs make the better start and CJ Verrall put Anchs three one up. Soon however, Anchs were on the back foot and another unfortunate own goal, this time by CJ Verall gave Penguins hope. Being unable to clear the 25, Anchs conceded a last minute short corner which the Penguins centre forward managed to squeeze under keeper Richardson to snatch a dramatic draw which in all honesty was a fair result. Well done to Danny Bungay who made his 1st team debut and did well.

Final score – a thrilling 3-3!!

Anchorians Men’s 1′s – 4, Cliftonville Men’s 1′s – 1

Anchs 1st XI’s first friendly saw Cliftonville arrive for what was going to be a challenging game. Following a good warm up and a focused team talk Anchs completely dominated the first half. Chris Lack and Jamie Caulfield dominated the middle and the forward line of CJ Verrall and Gordon Thomson hunted everything down. This allowed Anchs to sail into a commanding 3 – 0 lead with goals from Harry McDonald, Jake Stevens and CJ Verrall.

Anchs team talk focused on more of the same in the second half but sadly this wasn’t the case. Although a great team goal saw Jack Oxby put Anchs 4 up, Anchs soon lost the middle as everyone wanted to attack. Only good goalkeeping from Darren Richardson and excellent defending from Mark O’Brien and the Lindley brothers, Ben and Mike kept the opposition out. Unfortunately Cliftonville did manage to score from a short corner despite Anchs having the chance to clear the ball and ‘keeper Darren RIchardson making a good initial save. However a good start to a challenging season which saw Anchs play some good hockey.

Thanks to Trevor Shave and Vicky Winchester for umpiring so superbly.