3rd Grade Men’s v Briars 20 August 2022 at Cintra

Result: Glebe 5 beat Briars 0

Half-time: Glebe 3 Briars 0

Penalty corners: Glebe 9 (two goals) Briars 2 (no goals)

Scorers: Michael Wark, Brad Goodridge, Jamie Travis, Cameron Johnston, Tony Wark

Glebe players: Chris Farrugia, Sam Bagley, Adam Campano, Tony Wark, Paul Jowett, Simon Wark, Clark Foster, Aiden Najdzion, Brad Goodridge, Pat Wark, Michael Wark, Tom Alexander-Prideaux, Cameron Johnston, Rob Curlewis, Jamie Travis, Andrew Cheong.

Unavailable players: Jacob Warnock (broken bone in hand), Jackson Howe, Sid Roache,

Pre-match prediction:

This game, the last match of the season, marks Pat Wark’s 400th senior game for Glebe and Simon Wark’s 300th senior game for Glebe. They have a way to go to catch Adam Campano who has played in the high 580s.

Briars are in 9th place on 17 points and Glebe are in 10th place (second last) on 10 points. Glebe’s goal difference is -17 and Briars’ goal difference is +1. On 7 May 2022 Briars beat Glebe 1-3 at Cintra in a close game in which Glebe missed a penalty stroke. I anticipate today’s game to be closely fought, with the team that better converts its goal scoring opportunities into goals to prevail. Looking at the form guide Briars should win, but this will be a 50-50 contest, with lady luck playing her usual part.

I am predicting a Glebe win 2-1.

Match Report:

It was perfect weather for hockey, a partly cloudy sky, little wind and a temperature of around 18oC.

I was told that Briars were missing a couple of players who were representing Australia in a Master’s tournament in Birmingham, England.

This was the best team Glebe has fielded for over ten games. The team played well, took some of its chances in front of goal, defended well and never looked like losing.

The game started well for Glebe when we were awarded a penalty corner in the first minute of play. This makes a change from our previous four or five games where we were behind at least two goals after five or ten minutes, with most of these goals being scored from Glebe’s poor decision making and lack of concentration.

In the first few minutes Glebe had a few excellent chances in front of the Briars goal without being able to convert these chances into goals. In the fourth minute Briars broke down its left wing and with a few passes quickly made its way into the Glebe defensive circle. An over-vigorous tackle from a Glebe defender drew a Briars’ penalty corner from the umpire. We need to make sure that our tackling inside our defensive circle and inside our defensive 22 metre zone is without reproach. Conceding a penalty corner because of a clumsy tackle is a poor outcome.

After eleven minutes Paul Jowett from 10 metres inside the Briars half, in the inside right alley, passed to Michael Wark inside the Briars’ circle five metres out from the goal keeper’s left-hand goalpost, halfway between the penalty stroke spot and the edge of the circle. Michael tomahawked the ball high into the Briars’ net, Glebe 1, Briars 0. This is the first game for a long time that Glebe have scored the first goal.

Glebe continued to pass the ball around well and probed for openings in the Briars’ defence. From the eleventh to the fifteenth minute Glebe peppered the Briars goal with shots. The Briars keeper saved some, some went wide and in some the final passing option was poor. A few shots were from poor angles and would have been better for the ball carrier to run the ball from the backline towards the penalty stroke spot, rather than take a shot at goal with next to no chance of scoring because of the poor angle.

With a few minutes to go in the first quarter Briars were awarded its second penalty corner again from a clumsy Glebe tackle. The hit at goal from the battery by the Briars was raised and a Glebe free hit awarded. Glebe were tending to try the down-the-middle option too much and needed to get the ball wide and go around the Briars’ packed mid-field defence, which was hard to penetrate. The score at quarter time was Glebe 1, Briars 0.

It was an open game with plenty of end-to-end ball movement, which meant running and covering for the Glebe mid-field. Aiden Najdzion and Tom Alexander-Prideaux did a lot of cover defending and running, which made it hard for the Briars’ halves to run forward and make the extra man in attack. Glebe had about 55% of the territory and created some good circle penetrations and excellent shots at goal, but found it hard to find the back of the net.

The Glebe players tended to telegraph their passes which enabled the Briars’ players to anticipate where the ball was being passed with the effect being that Briars were cutting off passes intended for Glebe players. The pass to a teammate up field has to be concealed more, with the opposition players not being able to anticipate when or where the pass is being delivered. The opposition player has much less chance of intercepting the pass if he has to react later, when the pass is delivered, rather than anticipating where the pass is going before the ball leaves his stick.

Early in the second quarter Michael Wark had another tomahawk shot from the top of the Briars’ circle that just went wide of the goal. Eight minutes into the quarter the ball was delivered from the defence to Tony Wark who sprinted to the backline and passed the ball across the face of the Briars’ goal mouth, before hitting a Briars’ player on the foot. The push at goal from the penalty corner was much too soft and was easily saved by a Briars’ defender. Glebe was able to mount pressure on the Briars’ defence and had several excellent scoring opportunities in the back-end of the quarter.

A few minutes from the end of the second quarter  Paul Jowett standing near halfway pulled off a good tackle to dispossessed a Briars player and quickly passed the ball down the inside right alley to Jamie Travis. Jamie sprinted forward into the Briars’ circle unopposed and he had a potential pass across the face of the Briars’ goal to Tony Wark, which meant the Briars’ goalkeeper did not come out to tackle Jamie. Given room and space Jamie cracked the ball from a few metres inside the Briars’ defensive circle past the Briars’ goalkeeper into the sideboard of the goal, Glebe 2 Briars 0.

Glebe was awarded its fourth penalty corner a minute before the end of the second quarter. The corner was well executed and Brad Goodridge struck the ball well and it flew past the Briars’s goalkeeper into the backboard. Glebe 3, Briars 0. Briars did not have a shot at goal in the second quarter. Fullbacks Adam Campano, Chris Farrugia and Brad Goodridge were taking good field position, read the game well. What they lacked in pace they made-up for by their animal cunning and hockey smarts.

Wing-halves Rob Curlewis and Sam Bagley tackled well all game, gave the Briars forwards no room to move and consistently fed quality early ball to the Glebe forwards. The Glebe mid-field of Andrew Cheong, Pat Wark and Simon Wark were a tower of strength. Their tackling was excellent and Briars could not find a way through down the middle. Their early ball to the forwards was good. This gave the Glebe forwards time to get the ball under control before having to engage the Briars’ defence. Andrew has had a very good season for Glebe.

The half-time score was Glebe 3, Briars 0. Glebe had 55% of the territory, 80% of the circle penetrations and 90% of the real goal scoring opportunities.

At the start of the third quarter Briars attacked with enthusiasm. They sensed that if they were to get back into the game, they needed to score early in the second half. Glebe stemmed the Briars’s assaults and mounted a counter attack. Pat Wark passed to Tony Wark out wide on the left wing. Tony ran down the sideline, along the backline, before the ball hit a Briars’ defender’s foot. A penalty corner was awarded to Glebe. The Glebe penalty corners were disorganised and for the next few penalty corners no reasonable shot on goal was achieved.

With four minutes remaining in the third quarter a Brairs half threw a fifty-metre overhead behind the Glebe defence to find a Briars forward unmarked thirty metres out from the Glebe goal. The situation developed into a one on one between Clark Foster the Glebe goalkeeper and the Briars’ forward.

The Briars’ forward was channelled into the inside left alley by Clark and his shooting angle was substantially reduced. Clark took good position between the ball and the goal and when the Briars forward pushed the ball towards the Glebe goal Clark made a good save. Clark’s excellent reading of the situation and his good field position saved the day for Glebe. Paul Jowett made some penetrating runs into the Brairs circle and created excellent scoring opportunities. The final pass in front of the Briars’ goal unfortunately did not find a Glebe teammate’s stick.

There were no goals scored in the third quarter and score at three-quarter time was Glebe 3 Briars 0.  Glebe was playing soundly and at three-quarter time looked more than likely to win the game. The team usually comes home very well and rarely during the season did it concede goals in the final quarter.

At the start of the final quarter Briars started strongly and pressed Glebe for the first four minutes of the quarter. Tom Alexander-Prideaux was a terrier in the middle of the field and constantly unsettled the Briars mid-field with his tenacious tackling. Tom had a heavy head clash with a Briars’ player and came-off for a few minutes, but he recovered quickly and back on to the field he went. Tom and Aiden, two players from our under-17 team, came on in leaps and bounds as the season progressed. Towards the end of the season their ball distribution skills had improved markedly.

Six minutes into the final quarter Glebe put together one of its best passing movements of the game. Andrew Cheong beat a couple of Briars’ players in mid-field before quickly passing to Paul Jowett 15 metres inside the Briars half. Paul ran at pace into the Briars’ circle, drew the Briars’ goalkeeper before passing to Tony Wark on the penalty stroke spot. Tony first timed the ball into the Briars’ unattended goal, Glebe 4 Briars 0. This was the final nail in the coffin for Briars. Any chance of a Briars come-back was put to bed.

Briars were still trying hard and still making a game of it, but did not have the key to unlock the tight Glebe defence. With seven minutes to go in the final quarter Glebe had a few repeat penalty corners, which were poorly executed and no real shot on goal was achieved. Glebe continued to attack and from its ninth penalty corner of the game scored its fifth goal.  For the first time in the game Pat Wark took the hit from the battery.

The Briars’ goalkeeper saved the initial shot, but a Glebe player pounced on the rebound and this shot was saved by a Briars full back. The ball fell nicely for Cameron Johnston three metres out from the Briars’ goal and Cameron pushed the ball goalward. It was initially stopped by the Briars defence but the ball managed to roll over the goal line without hitting the backboard. Fortunately, the ball just has to cross the goal line for a goal to be Glebe 5 Briars 0. The game finished shortly after this goal was scored.

This was an excellent performance by the Glebe team. We kept a clean sheet for the first time in many games, and scored more goals in this one game than we had scored in our last twelve games combined. (there were sixteen scheduled games this season).

Congratulations on a good season. We finished second last out of eleven teams, but in every game, we played there was commitment, enthusiasm, energy, effort and team camaraderie. The players got on well and the players enjoyed their involvement with the team.

Enjoy your off-season.