Result: Glebe 6 beat SES 3
Half-time Glebe 4 – SES 2
Penalty corners: Glebe 3 (2 goals), SES 4 (2 goals)
Scorers for Glebe: Luke Pollock 1, Tony Wark 1, Jackson Howe 1, Michael Wark 3
Glebe players: Adam Campano, Chris Farrugia, Sam Bagley, Andrew Cheong, Craig Martin, Michael Wark, Tony Wark, Paul Jowett, Jacob Warnock (GK), Jackson Howe, Matt Wilson, Will Brine, Matt West, Luke Pollock.
Pat Wark, Al Cullen, Zane Goodrich (unavailable)
Pre-match prediction: Our pre-season match practice was restricted by the weather this year and players will be coming into the first match of the season under done for match fitness. It is good to see a couple of last year’s third grade team promoted to second grade for 2021.
This year’s third grade team is a combination of experience (mostly) and youth (to a lesser degree) and I suspect it will take time and few matches together before effective team cohesion develops. I predict a 2-2 draw in today’s game. Ten of the fourteen players on the match card came up through the Club’s junior ranks.
The match was played on a mostly sunny autumn afternoon at Cintra, with not much wind and a temperature around 27°C.
SES had the better of the first five minutes and looked sharp, playing the ball wide, with crisp, well directed passing. On the five-minute mark SES moved the ball quickly down the right wing from around half-way five metres in from the sideline. This quick ball movement caught Glebe a bit out of position. An SES forward was able to make the backline, before quickly crossing the ball to an unmarked teammate five metres out from the Glebe goal positioned opposite the right hard upright. The ball was easily tapped into the Glebe goal Glebe 0 SES 1.
A few minutes later Glebe mounted a good counter attack from around half-way down the right-wing alley. Mid-fielder Matt Wilson, who played his first game for Glebe today, having come from Western Australia with his work, passed to Paul Jowett who ran strongly into the SES circle at the inside right alley. Paul’s shot was saved by the SES goalkeeper, but the ball rebounded from the keeper’s glove past Paul’s head and Glebe were awarded its second penalty corner. On the ensuing corner Chris Farrugia pushed the ball out, for Paul to stick stop and Luke Pollock pushed the ball just inside the SES right hand goal post for a goal. Glebe 1 SES 1
At the eight-minute mark Michael Wark received the ball in space on the right wing just inside the SES half. The SES players backed off Michael and allowed him to get up to operating speed. Michael beat five SES players to make his way into the SES circle. He then dragged the SES keeper and tomahawked the ball into the back of the net. Glebe 2 SES 1.
SES fought back and made some promising circle penetrations into the Glebe circle and managed a few quickly taken shots, under pressure from the Glebe defence. Glebe goalkeeper Jacob Warnock made four saves within a few seconds and looked confident in doing so. Jacob played in the Glebe fifth grade team in 2020 and this was his first third grade game. He played well today, and he told me after the game that he enjoyed himself.
With two minutes left in the quarter Tony Wark, two metres in from the left-hand sideline on halfway, gave Paul Jowett, who was five metres out from the SES circle, a beautifully executed overhead ball. Paul ran the ball into the circle was fouled and a penalty corner was awarded to Glebe. Luke Pollock’s push to the keeper’s left was saved, but the ball rebounded to the lurking Tony Wark who promptly hit the ball into the back of the net. Glebe 3 SES 1. Which was the score at the end of the first quarter.
In the first quarter SES had 60% of the territory and looked slightly the stronger team, unfortunately they found themselves down by two goals. The SES players were skilful and had good hockey skills and I had the impression that could easily come back from that position and still win the game.
The second quarter started well for Glebe. Two minutes into the quarter a SES player gave an ill-considered back pass from the side line around the half-way mark, intended for a teammate but was intercepted by Michael Wark. Michael could not believe his luck. The ball was transferred to Matt Wilson in the inside left alley whose shot for goal went wide.
The Glebe midfield of Andrew Cheong, Luke Pollock, Jackson Howe, and Matt Wilson were solid and made it difficult for the skilful SES team to attack through the middle. They tackled strongly all match and gave nothing away. Matt West and Will Brine backed up from fourth grade and both of them had good games, and made a substantial contribution to the team effort. Both Will and Matt enjoyed their game with the thirds, they ran hard, tackled strongly and gave it their all I am sure these two will improve greatly as the season goes by.
Chris Farrugia, Adam Campano and Craig Martin were hard to get past at the back. They read the game well, played sensible hockey and took low risk options. No goals were coughed up today, they were all well earned by SES.
Six minutes into the second quarter Jackson Howe found himself with the ball positioned about four metres inside the SES half, five metres in from the left-hand sideline. Jackson was in the clear and kept running with the ball. Luck favoured Jackson and he beat four SES world-be tacklers while running at speed towards the SES circle. Immediately on crossing into the SES circle Jackson fired away a tomahawk shot that bobbled a bit and was not particularly well struck, but the direction of the shot was perfect. The ball snuck into the left-hand goal post for Glebe’s fourth goal of the game. Glebe 4 SES 1. I have never seen Jackson score a better goal than this one.
Territorially the second quarter was 50-50, but the play quickly moved from end to end. It was an energy sapping quarter for both teams. With five minutes remaining in the second quarter SES were awarded their second penalty corner of the game. Jacob Warnock saved the direct shot from the left slip, but the ball went out just outside the circle towards an SES player. The ball was driven towards the Glebe goal, hit the post and the rebound off the post was tapped in by an on-the-spot-Johnny SES forward. Glebe 4 SES 2.
SES were moving the ball around well, keeping the ball wide, keeping possession, and were a solid team in defence, but they found it difficult to penetrate the tight Glebe defensive structure. The skill level from both teams was high and it was a good game to watch. Both teams were keen to win the game, and the commitment from both teams was impressive.
The 4-2 half-time score did not reflect the tightness of the game.
Seven minutes into the third quarter SES broke away down the inside left alley and the ball moved inside the Glebe circle. The ball bobbled out five metres from the right-hand goal post, half-a-metre from the backline. Jacob Warnock elected to attack the SES player closing in on the ball, which was probably Jacob’s only error of judgement all game. He would probably have been better served remaining between the sticks. Having said that he made a reasonable effort of his course of action, but conceded a penalty corner in the process.
From the ensuing penalty corner, the SES shot from the battery saw the ball just scrape the inside of the Glebe left-hand upright. The shot was not particularly powerful but it was exquisitely positioned. Glebe 4 SES 3. With score 4-3 I had the sense that from here on in the game could swing either way. SES were playing good hard hockey, with excellent commitment.
In the middle of the third quarter both teams had good scoring opportunities which were not converted into goals. There was plenty of passion, energy and effort in the game, as both teams sensed that it was theirs for the taking.
With five minutes left in the third quarter Jackson Howe received the ball three metres inside the SES half, three metres from the right-hand sideline. Jackson sprinted 10 metres with the ball drew a SES defender and passed the ball to Michael Wark, who was in space five metres out from the SES circle. Michael drifted across the face of the SES goal, drew the keeper and slotted home a well-directed tomahawk shot from the top of the circle. Glebe 5 SES 3. This was the score at the end of the third quarter.
I thought at this stage of the game that Glebe had a 4 out of 5 chance of winning the game, but that SES had enough ability to come back, particularly as their penalty corner execution was working well. The game was still live at the start of the fourth quarter, particularly as this was the first game of the season and the fitness levels of the Glebe players may not have been where they would have liked them to be. In addition, it was a hot day and several team members had played in the preceding fourth grade game.
At the two-minute break before the fourth quarter began, the motivational talk from the team leadership group seemed to energise the Glebe players, they knew the game plan and were keen to play low risk hockey and not to present SES with easy attacking opportunities. Glebe started the fourth quarter with energy and vigour, and took the game to the SES team. Glebe had 65% of the territory in the first 10 minutes of the quarter and SES did not get any opportunities to penetrate the Glebe circle.
Midway through the fourth quarter Michael Wark received the ball in centre field a few metres outside the SES circle, The SES defenders did not come forward to tackle Michael and he moved the ball four metes into the inside left alley inside the circle and cracked a powerful tomahawk shot into the top of the SES goal, reminiscent of the Michael of 16 years ago. Glebe 6 SES 3. This goal with eight minutes remaining sealed the result for the men in maroon.
SES were keen to score and kept trying hard, but Glebe tacked early, tackled often, and read the game well. Glebe played safe hockey, kept the ball wide, out of the centre and played down the sideline. Eleven Glebe players were stationed between the ball and the Glebe goal, and SES could not find a way through this packed defence. The final score remained Glebe 6 SES 3.
The game was a lot closer than the score indicates, although Glebe were slightly the better team and had more of the good goal scoring opportunities than SES. It was a tough afternoon for both teams, and it was good to get three points from the first game of the season.
Thank you to Matt West and Will Brine for helping the third-grade team out today. Both of them played to the very best of their ability in the true Glebe spirit.
The next game is against Briars, at Cintra, 1230 hours on 10 April 2021, in a fortnight’s time.
Congratulations to fifth grader John Cullen who played his 300th game for the GDHC today. These games were played between 2005 and 2021. John won the man of the match award today, and coped a five-minute suspension. It was an eventful afternoon for John.