Back in October, I wrote a piece about the late goal we conceded to the best club side in world hockey that ultimately knocked us out of Europe.
“Hockey’s fun, man. Sport’s got a way of playing with you in the space of minutes.”
In light of this past weekend, I think both Holcombe sides experienced their own taste of the aforementioned statement, just this time being played across the course of a week.
The women had a tough battle against Slough. Having comfortably and professionally dealt with a side that were desperate for points at the wrong end of the table last weekend, the girls were confident of dealing with similar circumstances on Saturday.
Slough are undoubtedly a more competent outfit than Reading showed last weekend but if we’d have played to the levels that we are capable of, the game would have been handled.
Credit has to be handed to Slough; they fought for everything, had vocal and passionate support and played the circumstances well. We’re definitely frustrated that we weren’t able to convert the pressure to maximum points but that’s a frustration born of the dominance of last weekend. Coming off the back of such a strong performance, the immediate expectation is to roll that into the following game.
With a different team, venue, start time and circumstances, the same level of performance is even harder to replicate.
The dominance showed, particularly through the first half but we were unable to capitalise on the chances we had.
The most important thing however, is that with two games to go, the girls are 5 points clear of third and thus have a great chance of making it into the 2nd/3rd spot, ensuring they have the potential to qualify for Europe with a single win in August if Surbiton win their respective semi-final. The playoffs are a certainty, it’s just a matter of collecting as many points as possible and carry the momentum through to April.
For the men, I’m reminded of Mike Tyson’s famous quote;
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”.
Sunday was most definitely indicative of hockey’s own equivalent.
If I’m honest, Sunday felt no different to every other game we’ve played. Prep was the same. Chat was the same. Warm up was the same. We were very aware of the injuries and illness that was running through the squad that even hampered the warm-up but it all felt the same nonetheless.
The plan was set and we were ready to execute.
35 minutes later and we were 3-0 down without a penalty corner or shot on target to our name.
We’d just been punched in the mouth.
The second half saw a tweak of our pressing and an increase in passion.
The plan went out the window and we had to show some guts to get back into the match. We had our looks, pulled one back and had opportunities to flip the game with a second but it just never came.
A late sucker punch epitomised our day as a whole and that was that.
We were flying high after last weekend and were emphatically brought back down to earth on Sunday.
The past few weeks have really taken their toll. Going through the testing period and playing off 13 guys against the top sides in the league has been really tough and Sunday it seemed to all catch up on us.
Fortunately, we have time to put it all right. We have two regular season games, a great off-season plan and then the Playoffs which were secured with other results this weekend going our way.
It’s an important week to get some rest back in our legs and ensure we are 100% ready for a tough game against Beeston on Sunday. It’s vitally important that we maintain 2nd/3rd for the run in to the playoffs and as such, we don’t have time to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves.
Picture supplied by www.groutphotography.co.uk