Men’s 3rd Grade v Macquarie University 30 April 2022 at Cintra

Result: Glebe 3 MU 3

Half-time: Glebe 3 MU 2

Penalty corners: Glebe 2 (one goal) MU 4 (one goal)

Penalty Stroke Glebe 1 (goal)

Scorers: Michael Wark 3

Glebe players: Chris Farrugia, Sam Bagley, Adam Campano, Tony Wark, Paul Jowett, Clark Foster (GK), Michael Wark, Simon Wark, Andrew Cheong, Pat Wark, Jackson Howe, Max Spalton, Craig Martin.

Unavailable players: Jacob Warnock (broken bone in hand)

Pre-match prediction:

Our last game was played on 2 April 2022, a month ago. Our last two scheduled games have not eventuated and there was no game scheduled over the Easter long-weekend. I suspect the team will be a bit out of touch.

Macquarie University (their first-grade team playing PL3), from its three games this season have had two wins and a draw. In 2021 they beat us 7-0. An objective view of the fixture would lead to the prediction of a 5-0 win to Macquarie University. With a good game plan, enthusiasm, effort, and effective penalty corner execution, I think we can get closer to MU than a 5-0 loss. If we can get any points out of this game it would be a very good result for us.

Match report:

This was a tough, hard fought game from start to finish, with the result in doubt until the final whistle. A draw was probably a fair result.

The morning rain had cleared by hit-off time and the match was played in ideal conditions. MU videoed the game, had a coach and a physio in the dug-out and looked to be a very well organized, enthusiastic outfit.

The first five minutes of the game was played mainly in the mid-field with both teams struggling to settle into stride. MU were dangerous on the quick break, as they had a few fast young forwards, who, given half a chance, could quickly scoot past Glebe defenders. At the six minute mark a MU forward fired away a sharp shot at goal from five metres out, which Glebe goalkeeper Clark Foster stopped with his stick at chest height to this right. It was a superb save.

MU scored seven minutes into the quarter from the first penalty corner of the game. It was a direct flick past the left-hand side of the Glebe goalkeeper. MU 1 Glebe 0. Five minutes later Chris Farrugia delivered an early ball from close to the Glebe defending circle to Pat Wark near half-way and five metres from the right sideline, who quickly passed to Michael Wark on the MU 22 metre line. Michael drifted across the top of the MU circle and struck a powerful tomahawk shot past the MU goalkeeper. It was the speed of delivery from the back that caught out the MU defence. Glebe 1 MU 1.

Midway through the quarter MU attacked in numbers with Glebe fullback Adam Campano on the Glebe defending 22 metre line left alone to handle three MU forwards. Adam pulled off a great flat stick tackle to dispossess a MU forward and defuse what was shaping to be a MU one-on-one opportunity with the Glebe goalkeeper.

Max Spalton, an Englishman, had his first game for Glebe today and settled in well to the left half position. Max, a tall chap, has a good skill set, reads the game well and works hard. The Glebe mid-field of Andrew Cheong, Jackson Howe and Pat Wark were competitive all game and covered a lot of territory chasing down the fleet footed MU players. Sam Bagley at right half was tenacious in defence, took good field position and covered well.

No one in the Glebe team had a bad day. MU kept coming all game and the Glebe players stepped up to the mark and as a team rallied to meet each and every challenge that presented itself. It was a very spirited display by Glebe, with every player operating a maximum capacity, as the circumstances dictated. There were no places to hide in this game.

Five minutes from the end of the first quarter MU made a quick break down their right wing, finessed the ball across the face of the Glebe goal with several well directed passes and slammed the ball into the Glebe net from six metres out, Glebe 1 MU 2.

Two minutes later Glebe was awarded its first penalty corner of the game (we only had two) and Michael Wark scored from a direct hit at goal, Glebe 2 MU 2. With one minute remaining in the quarter Adam Campano again pulled off a great tackle to break-down a dangerous MU raid just outside the Glebe defensive circle. This was a crucial flat-stick tackle by Adam, which he made with skill and confidence.

The score at the end of the first quarter was Glebe 2 MU 2.

The second quarter started at a cracking pace with both teams striving for the advantage. Three minutes into the quarter Jackson Howe made a good run from 15 metres out from into the MU circle and found a MU defender’s foot inside the circle, for a Glebe penalty corner. The Glebe penalty corner was well defended by MU.

Six minutes into the quarter MU won a penalty corner, during which the ball flew up from a goal mouth scramble into the Adam Campano’s face, causing him a dental injury. Despite his considerable discomfort Adam played on and continued to be one of Glebe’s best players.

Territorially it was about 50-50, with a lot of hard graft put in by Glebe, who were passing well, tackling well, and trying hard just to stay in the game. With six minutes to play in the second quarter a quick ball delivered from the Glebe defence found the Glebe forwards with a bit of wriggle room. The ball was passed to Michael Wark who entered the MU circle with the ball on his stick to be illegally tackled and knocked off his feet by the MU goalkeeper. Michael converted the penalty stroke that resulted from this MU infringement. Glebe 3 MU 2.

With a minute to play in the quarter Max Spalton delivered an excellent 50 metre driven pass to the Glebe forwards who finessed the ball into the MU circle, only for the well struck shot to pass wide of the goal post. The game was an intense, tight struggle between two teams who were there to put in their best effort. The Half-time score was Glebe 3 MU 2.

Simon Wark and Andrew Cheong in the middle of the field  was running hard, tackling often and making it hard for the MU players to get its short passing game into play. MU was not effective in the middle of the field and was relying on quick breaks down the flanks as their main attacking option. Craig Martin was solid off the bench in whatever position the team needed him, fullback or forward. His overhead is a good attacking and defensive option for the team.

MU started the third quarter at a frenetic pace and for the first five minutes of this quarter exerted considerable pressure on the Glebe defence. A MU penalty corner was well defended and Glebe gradually worked its way back into the game. Paul Jowett made a couple of excellent 40-50 metre runs down the right-hand sideline, which created dangerous attacking opportunities for Glebe and shots on goal, which went wide.

Simon Wark rolled his right ankle with nine minutes remaining in the half and came from the field. The MU forwards broke into the Glebe circle with five minutes remaining in the quarter and three MU forwards against two Glebe defenders. As a MU forward lined up a shot at goal Clark Foster came forward and closed down the MU forward who eventually skied the ball over the top of the goal. Clark’s positioning in this encounter was excellent.

With four minutes remaining in the quarter Michael Wark was attacking the MU goal with the ball on his stick about to enter the MU circle when he pulled his hamstring (for the umpteenth time). Michael left the field and declared that God was telling him something and that his hockey career had finished.

A minute after Michael left the field, the ball travelled from the MU circle down the right-hand sideline and then across the top of the Glebe defending circle for a MU forward to strike the ball into the Glebe net. Glebe 3 MU 3 was the score at the end of the third quarter. Without Michael Wark it was going to be tough for the team, but the team mood was optimistic and the commitment absolute.

MU came out hard in the final quarter and had 80% of the territory in the first 7-8 minutes of the quarter. Glebe was hanging-on, keeping their defensive structure and tackling relentlessly. When the Glebe team were set in defence MU found it difficult to convert field position and territory into circle penetrations. With six minutes to play MU was awarded its fourth and final penalty corner. The ball was pushed to the Glebe goal keeper’s left for a deflection, but the ball went wide over the backline. Glebe lived again. Glebe was finding hard to get the ball out of defence and MU were applying the pressure.

With a few minutes remaining, Glebe made a break down the left wing and found Tony Wark ten metres inside the MU half. Tony shot clear and was racing towards the MU circle with no one between him and the MU goal keeper. Unfortunately, he was unintentionally ankle tapped by a chasing MU defender and brought to the ground. The free hit awarded to Glebe for this offence, in my view, did reflect the seriousness of the MU offence committed which saved a Glebe one on one with the goalkeeper.

It was an exciting last couple of minutes as Glebe got a last wind and managed several dangerous penetrations of the MU circle. Paul Jowett, a metre from the MU goal-line, just missed getting on the end of a ball that went across the face the MU goal. It was a golden opportunity for Glebe.  With 10 seconds remaining in the game Craig Martin had a backstick shot from three metres out that went just wide of the MU goal. This situation was a very uncommon one for Craig who has played full back all his life and his potential moment of glory passed him by!

The game finished a 3-3 draw, which was a fair result. This was the second-best game I have seen the Glebe third grade play in the last three (Covid affected) seasons. The best game was the 6-5 win against Ryde in 2020.

Glebe did very well to get a point out of this game, a game I did not think we could win. During this fixture, the tenacity, effort, reading of the game, tackling and teamwork could not be faulted.  With Michael Wark out of action there will be some positional adjustments for the coming games, but I am sure if it can keep the form and teamwork displayed in this game, the team will be competitive with most teams in the third-grade competition.

A thanks to Glebe first grader Ross Bougoukas who umpired for us, standing-in at short notice. Ross did an excellent job and he was low key and impartial. The game was played in a very competitive spirit, but was without any bad tempered or inappropriate behaviour. Congratulations to both teams for playing in the true spirit of the game.