Woking v Staines
By Tom McLean
Another Staines on the record.
The reviews of the first Woking versus Staines battle were less than positive. A really handsome, intelligent Midlander once used the term "it was less rumble in the jungle and more Snoresell near Horsell". He must be a really great guy.
Version two of the second most important derby in hockey was quite the opposite. On paper, the 1-0 scoreline may make it sound like a slightly less dull affair than day 1 of the season, however reality dictates that it was actually an absolute war. Well, judging by the rolling around Staines did, anyway.
Woking were boosted early with the news they would have the angriest man on the planet® playing for them in the form of Jimmy Furness. An important moment, it would transpire, as he would go on to win Man of the Match and weirdly write a match report from Andrew Barticorn's perspective. Isn't that weird? Weirdly beardy, I'd say.
Anyway, despite knowing Staines play in half light blue and half dark blue for the last 400 years, we thought it would be a good idea to turn up in blue. This meant the boys in blue had to wear some orange bibs. A nightmare for Steve Wilman as it clashed with his best feature - his eyes.
Staines on Thames had the better of the early running without creating too much of note. The only real highlight in the opening passages was aforementioned handsome Midlander tripping over his own stick and winning a free hit. Some might say it was "South Prem Savvy". Others might say he's just an idiot.
Suddenly, the game exploded in to life. In a weird tactical decision, Woking decided to keep hold of the ball and go through phases of play.
Andrew Mole - out of Taco Bell long enough to play hockey - had a fierce tomahawk well stopped, and there were other positive offensive movements probably involving Pikey but to be honest I had a bit of vodka last night and I don't really recall.
What I do recall, however, is Staines getting a short corner. Slipping it left, 'keeper Lewis W. Ankers found himself stranded on the floor. With the goal at their mercy, Staines fired to surely go 1 up. However, W. Ankers had other ideas, somehow resurrecting himself from the floor like some modern day (posh) Lazarus to push the ball wide.
Some other hockey happened. James "Just for Men" Moss decided to fist bump the ball. Mat Cockerham - still refusing to bring his sister, but his mum will do - kept making amazing picks from aerials, and Steve Wilman was still ginger.
Woking finished the first half on top, however. Will Wanamanadingdong making a great tactical decision in taking himself off (jokes - you were gr8 babes), Woking recycled the ball well, and Stephanie Van Der Vaart started making penetrative passes down the right wing and Jamie Hutchin - becoming the oldest ever South Prem player at 648 years old - oiled his limbs up enough to start being effective too. Alex Curry suddenly developed really quick hands and Mani Kochar stopped being hurt by Pikey's misjudgements of 'Ull long enough to be impactful at left half.
Oh, hold on. I should probably mention Staines scored from a short corner. But to be honest, that gets in the way of a great story.
Anyway, on the the second half.
Woking knew they were in the game. Patience and possession hockey were probably what were talked about at half time, but this reporter was getting some "treatment" so didn't really hear.
With the crowd going mild, the Boys in Bibs carried on where they left off. Solid in defence, an abundance of possession and Tom Leggett injured.
Jimmy Furness - who, let's not forget, is writing this match report - carried on his immense work rate and went close with a well timed volley. Taco Bell Mole won a few short corners which were politely pushed into the goalkeepers feet. Tom MacLaine was showing that being short and ginger doesn't stop you from being really good at hockey, and even Andrew Barticorn attempted a few forward passes. Robbie Faulkner was also there. He's just told me "F*** you, I played well." So let's go with that.
Andrew Barticorn got sinbinned. But so did Mat Cockerham. It's almost as if they might one day be related through his sister?!?
Anyway, the game really opened up. Barticon - freshly fat after Christmas - was incapable of running so just made brilliant diving one-handed tackles instead. One member of the crowd (later revealed as his Aunty Suey) was heard suggesting it was amazing he'd never played for Great Britain. Though she was also heard saying how Andrew wasn't as talented as the other Barticorns and he should find a wife his own age.
Taco Bell Mole won a couple of short corners which were still gently push in the direction of the keeper but the omens were good that Woking could get a late equaliser.
Stephanie Van Nistelrooy was finally binned for his dirty tactics. But to be fair to him, he also made a "Germany lost both wars" gag. He's a great guy.
The best chance, I reckon, probably came when the ball was squared to Pheven Wilkman who calmly slotted home. Or he would have done, had Woking Colts coach Ben Green not got his massive arse in the way. I hope you're teaching our kids to be so diligent in their cheating, Ben. What?!? We pay him?!?
Anyway, up stepped Tom "Roy Keane" Mucclean. Top bins. No problem.
Just kidding. The keeper had a cup of tea and then read War and Peace before kindly putting the ball out of its misery.
And that was that. A disappointing loss but a really positive performance.
James Furness (the reporter) stopped being a pubescent teen long enough to accept man of the match.
Dom MacLeen is the unicorn again.
Wonderboy Andrew Barton said after the game "hopefully this is just the start. We controlled the game for large sections, we just need to find that 10% extra to get the win."
Next week we're gonna make Harrison Hubbard cry, so come and watch us.