Men’s 3rd Grade v Manly- 26 March 2022 at Pennant Hills

Result: Glebe 3 (5 minutes, 28 minutes, 61 minute) lost to Manly-GNS 4 (15minute, 16 minute, 48 minute, 65 minute)

Half-time: Glebe 2 Manly 2

Penalty corners: Glebe 2, Manly 5

Scorer Michael Wark 3.

Glebe players: Chris Farrugia, Sam Bagley, Adam Campano, Tony Wark, Paul Jowett, Clark Foster (GK), Michael Wark, Simon Wark, Jackson Howe, Lachlan Hall, Joss Luka, Cameron Johnston.

Unavailable players: Pat Wark, Andrew Cheong, Jacob Warnock (broken bone in hand)

Pre-match prediction: It is hard to make a prediction for the first game of the season, but as Manly were one of the weaker teams in last year’s third grade competition, my guess would be a Glebe 3 Manly 1 result.

Match Report

For the first game of the season, the team played good hockey against a skilful team which had a mix of skilful older players and younger players with speed. There was very little between the teams, but I think Manly were fractionally the better team, but not by much.

For the first two-thirds of the game moderately heavy rain was falling, and the playing surface had loose water on it in some parts of the field, which made for difficult playing conditions. The state of going was slow and the ball’s roll was substantially impeded.

Manly started the stronger and had the better of the early exchanges. After five minutes Manly had a two on one with the Glebe goalkeeper Clark Foster, Clark left his goal and pulled off an excellent stick save. Clark plays in the Glebe Under 17 team and he had a good game today, making some excellent saves.

Shortly after Clark’s save the ball was quickly transferred down the left wing by Paul Jowett to Tony Wark and then to Michael Wark in the Manly circle. Michael moved across the Manly circle, eliminated the goalkeeper and pushed the ball into the Manly goal, Glebe 1 Manly 0.  This goal was against the run of play as for the first 12 minutes Manly had all of the territory and looked the more dangerous team. Glebe was relying on quick breaks from defence when the opportunity arose. After ten minutes a Manly forward had a tomahawk shot at goal that went over the top.

The young, speedy Manly forwards tended to go one-out. Our defenders tended to back-off from the Manly forwards running with the ball, which allowed them to split the Glebe defence and put us under pressure. It would have been better for the Glebe defenders to step forward and make the tackle early, before the Manly forwards got up to operating speed.

After about ten minutes Glebe started to get a bit more of the territory, although Manly were good at exploiting the quick break. At the 15-minute mark a ball driven into the Glebe circle hit Chris Farrugia’s foot and Manly were awarded a penalty corner. The corner broke down, but Manly managed by good luck rather than good management to scramble the ball into the Glebe goal to level the score at 1-1.

With 30 seconds left in the quarter a Manly fullback crashed the ball up into the right-wing position. In normal conditions the ball would have gone over the backline, but with the water on the pitch the ball held-up. It was pounced on by a Manly forward who cracked the ball to the penalty stroke spot, where it was slapped into the Glebe goal Glebe 1 Manly 2. This was a well-executed goal.

For the first eleven minutes of the second quarter Manly had 65% of the territory and were pressing the Glebe defence. Craig McLennan (Bagley), Adam Campano, Lachlan Hall, Joss Luka and Jackson Howe were tackling strongly to keep the speedy Manly forwards in check. During this period of the game, there were few circle penetrations by either team.

In the twelfth minute the ball was delivered quickly from the back to Tony Wark on the right wing. Tony crashed the ball across the goal mouth and found Michael Wark who finessed the ball past the goal- keeper and several defenders, before pushing the ball into the Manly goal, Glebe 2 Manly 2.  A minute after this goal Tony Wark had the ball five metres out from the Manly goal and went to hit the ball goalward, unfortunately in the wet conditions he slipped over and the excellent chance went begging.

Jackson Howe began to make some incisive runs from centre-half and Glebe were getting a bit more territory in the last five minutes of the second quarter. Manly were a competitive team, with good passing skills and they moved the ball around very well.

The Half-Time score Glebe 2-Manly 2.

Third Quarter

Manly were very good at passing the ball around the back and probing for chinks in the Glebe defensive system. Glebe was tending to hit the ball long, which led to a lot of intercepted ball, but under the wet conditions this tactic was working reasonably well. A few of the Glebe players were cleverly using a powerful flick pass and the overhead ball to combat the wet conditions. Cameron Johnston and Lachlan Hall were covering a lot of territory, as was Simon Wark. Their tackling was terrier like and they made it difficult for the Manly forwards to get any free space.

At times we were too slow in transferring the ball from the backs and halves to the forwards. This slow ball allowed the Manly defence to regroup, when the early ball would have found them in disarray and not given time to organise. This is something we can work on for next week.

Six minutes into the third quarter goalkeeper Clark Foster made a good save from a ball that was struck at him from point blank range. Manly got a couple of penalty corners in the middle of the third quarter which were well defended. One stick save by Chris Farrugia was particularly good. Manly had Glebe under pressure for most of the second half of the third quarter and they had 65% of the territory.

Paul Jowett played in the forwards and in the mid-field and had a good game overall. He played a part in two of the Glebe goals, took good field position and read the game well. Eleven minutes into the third quarter Paul received the ball five metres out from the Manly goal, with only the goalie to beat. He could not believe his luck and dwelt too long on the ball, a bit like a rabbit in a car’s headlights. A quick hard push was what was required. In the end he was dispossessed by a Manly cover defender, who had no right to get near Paul to make the tackle.

Eleven minutes into the third quarter Manly had a well struck shot at goal from the right-hand side of the Glebe goalpost, which went wide of the goal. The angle from which the shot was taken was reasonably acute.

Disaster struck the Glebe team with four minutes remaining in the third quarter. A back pass from the right half position was not struck hard enough and a Manly forward was able to swoop on the back pass, enter the circle and put the ball past Clark Foster. For mine this was a goal we coughed -up, but these things happen, particularly when the playing surface is water logged. Glebe 2 Manly 3.

Nine minutes into the fourth quarter the ball came from the defence to Paul Jowett in the mid-field. Paul beat a couple of players and crashed the ball at the penalty stroke spot, which was a good option. A Manly fullback stopped the ball on the penalty stroke spot, but it bobbled forward. Michael Wark had a left-handed strike at the ball and it went past the Manly goalkeeper into the net. Glebe 3-Manly 3.

The remainder of the game was tense, with both Glebe and Manly trying hard to break the deadlock. With 3 minutes left in the game Manly broke down the right wing, before the ball was crossed into the Glebe defending circle. Clark Foster made a save, a scramble ensued and the ball found a Glebe defenders foot. Manly were awarded its fifth penalty corner. The corner broke down, but Manly managed to scramble the ball back towards the penalty stroke spot, where it was slapped into the Glebe goal Glebe 3 Manly 4.

With a minute to go Adam Campano transferred the ball through a packed Manly defence up to Tony Wark in the let wing position., who relayed the ball to Michael Wark in the left-hand corner. Michael ran the ball along the backline, entered the Manly circle and found a Manly foot. A penalty corner was awarded and the final hooter sounded. Glebe had a final chance.

Michael Wark took a powerful push shot from the battery which found the stick of the Manly first runner, who got out very fast. The ball rebounded to a Glebe player in the right-hand side of the circle, but he could not trap the ball, and it went out of the circle and the game ended. In the player’s defence the ball was travelling quickly and it was not an easy ball to stop.

It was an entertaining game, between two well matched teams. Thanks to Mac Noller for umpiring the game. He did a fine job. The allocated umpire pulled out at the last minute as he had Covid-19.