08:00AM, Friday 02 October 2020
Dan Reid (left)
Maidenhead Hockey Club captain Phil Cowell was delighted by the character shown by his side to come from behind and claim a 1-1 draw with Reading 2nds on Saturday.
Maids more than shaded their curtain raiser at Altwood School, but they fell behind to a well-taken strike from a penalty corner in the second half and needed Dan Reid’s sliding finish with two minutes to go to rescue a point.
They might well have snatched a late victory in the final skirmishes, and Cowell admits the players came off disappointed not to have picked up all three points. But he said the resilience and character shown by his side in their first game bodes well for the rest of the season.
The result puts Maidenhead fifth in the MBBO Division 2 West table heading into Saturday’s clash at Henley (push back 1.30pm). Henley were narrowly beaten 3-2 by Southgate in their opening match.
“Yeah, we performed really well,” he said. “We looked very solid. It was 0-0 at half-time but we had loads of chances which we couldn’t quite take. Reading didn’t really threaten us from open play, they had a couple of short corners which we managed to keep out and the second half carried on in the same way.
“It was the best we’ve played since we started up again.
“They counter attacked and managed to score from a short corner, but it was a really well taken goal to be fair to them. But we kept battling and managed to equalise with two minutes to go. Even after that we were pushing for a winner.
“Our goal was well executed. We had a free hit on the left and it was passed out to me on the right. I hit it into the far post where Dan Reid slid in to deflect it home, pretty much on his tummy. We had another couple of chances for a winner which we couldn’t take, but, being 1-0 down with a few minutes to play, you’d take a point. The lads were a little disappointed we didn’t get all three points in the end, but it’s our first point of the season from our first game so we can’t complain.”
Cowell believes this is the sort of game Maidenhead would have lost last season, but instead, they rallied, kept their heads in the closing stages and got their just rewards through Reid’s late strike. The performance was a big improvement on their showings in pre-season and Cowell is confident they can be just as solid defensively away to Henley this weekend.
“We would have lost a game like that last season, but we managed to keep our heads and get back into it,” he said. “We showed great character, everyone played well. It was a step up from pre-season and we felt solid. Last season we were conceding in games like that and losing. But, if we can string a few results together, who knows where the season will take us.”
He added: “Henley are always a well drilled side; they’ve got some really experienced players. We’re confident we can go there and get a result off the back of our last game. Everyone got through the game fine. We’ve got a couple lads coming back who were away last week as well.”
After a fine pre-season which saw them beat three higher level sides including Maidenhead Hockey Club, Marlow Men’s first team got their campaign underway with a decisive 7-0 victory over newly promoted South Berks.
They quickly found their stride with Matt Bilsland finishing off a well-worked move to make it 1-0. Sam Burroughs scored from a short corner to make it 2-0, and despite looking like they might score at will, South Berks then kept them out until the interval.
More fluent play at the start of the second half led to Mark Lowden marking his first league game for the club with a goal and after that the floodgates opened. Lowden bagged another to make it 4-0 before Luke Stone (two) and Lewis Goodman put the game firmly to bed.
An entertaining affair between Staines 2nds and Marlow 2nds was settled by a late strike by Leo Pennant. Marlow saw two early chances cleared off the line before taking the lead through Jacob Gunn. Gunn would score again before half-time but on both occasions, they were pegged back by the home side. Staines improved after the break and Marlow had Will Stubbings to thank for some fine saves, but Pennant conjured up the winner with five minutes to spare. Other results saw Marlow 3rds beat South Berks 3rds 3-0.
The 4ths beat OMT 3rds 5-1 away and the 5ths drew 1-1 at home with Ashford 3rds. The 6ths beat Eastcote 6ths 2-1 away.
The ladies’ 1sts were expecting and received a tough game at Tulse Hill and Dulwich with the game ending in a 2-2 draw.
Zoe Clarke’s opener for the club came from a breakdown at a corner, but despite going ahead twice – with Natalie Riches getting the second goal - they couldn’t hold onto their lead.
The second team won 2-0 away at Amersham & Chalfont 2nds and the other results saw the 3rds lose 4-2 at Henley 2nds, the 4ths draw 3-3 at Oxford 4ths and the 5ths draw 2-2 with Phoenix & Ranelagh 2nds at home.
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