Men’s 3rd Grade v Sydney University – 29 May 2021 at Cintra Hockey Field

Result: Glebe 2 lost to Sydney University 4

Half-time: Glebe 2 – Sydney University 1

Penalty corners: Glebe 5 (no goals), Sydney University 9 (3 goals)


Glebe players: Chris Farrugia, Sam Bagley, Adam Campano,Tony Wark, Paul Jowett, Jacob Warnock (GK), Zane Goodridge, Luke Pollock, James Martin, Daniel Martin, Michael Wark, Simon Wark, Tyson Hickey, Jamie Travis, Pat Wark, Andrew Cheong. Unavailable players Jackson Howe (back).


Pre-match prediction:

After 6 games Sydney University (SU) have had 5 wins and I loss, and Glebe have had 2 wins, 1 draw, and 4 losses from 7 games. SU are sitting third on the competition table, with 18 for and 9 against, and we are mid table, with 22 for and 32 against, having played I more game than most teams.

When each team has played an equal number of games, I would estimate that we will be around eight on the table out of eleven teams. Manly are the only other team that has had more goals scored against them then us.

On form SU are short priced favourites to win this game.

We have a large bench this week. Time will tell whether this is a help or a hindrance. A couple of stronger players are coming back into the team for this game, which will be a big help.

As an impartial observer I would estimate that the final score would be Glebe 1 Sydney University 3, although of course I am hoping for a Glebe win and with a bit of luck and if we play well, the team are certainly capable of winning.


Match report

The game was played under a cloudy sky, with the temperature around 17oC and a stiff wind blowing. Good conditions for playing hockey.

SU started the game strongly and were awarded 2 penalty corners in the first 90 seconds of the game. We were overrun for the first few minutes of the game and SU scored from a penalty corner after 2 minutes. It was a well worked variation after the ball was crossed from the inside right alley to the penalty stroke spot for a SU forward to deflected it into the goal. Glebe 0 SU 1. At that early stage of the game, it was shaping as if was going to be a long afternoon for the Glebe team.

6 minutes into the game Michael Wark intercepted a cross pass between the two SU fullback from a 22-metre free hit inside the SU half. This presented a 1 on 1 opportunity for Michael and dragged the goalkeeper before pushing the ball into the net from close range: Glebe 1 SU 1.

This goal boosted the Glebe team’s confidence and it started to make inroad into the SU territory and apply pressure to their defence. Glebe had its first penalty corner 7 minutes into the game. From the battery Luke Pollock drag flicked the ball towards the SU goal, but the ball was batted away by a SU fullback. This was an impressive save by the SU fullback. Glebe had two additional penalty corners in the first quarter. In one corner the ball went wide of the goal and in the other a SU defender got a stick to the ball after it was hit by the Glebe player.

The SU first rummer was getting out very quickly, and our push out was not coming out fast enough which meant the Glebe corner taker was always under pressure to get the shot away, or alternatively the shot was blocked or deflected by the SU runner out. The logical option would have been to slip the ball right from the battery, but during the game we persisted with the direct shot at goal, despite our difficulty in getting a good shot on goal because of the speed with which the SU first runner was getting out to smoother the direct shot.

Our passes needed to be a little bit earlier, quicker and more powerful as the SU defence regrouped very fast after a turn-over and closed gaps down very quickly. The game was being played at a fast pace, with energy, passion and commitment from both teams. The ball frequently went quickly from one end of the field to the other.

The territory in the first quarter was 50-50, and the score at the end of quarter time was Glebe 1 SU 1.

The second quarter began with a quick Glebe break down the right wing with Tony Wark crossing the ball across the face of the SU goal where Jamie Travis got a nice defection to send the ball goalward, but it was well saved by the SU goalkeeper. This was a good chance for Glebe. The Glebe midfield was playing well with Andrew Cheong, Pat Wark, Sam Bagley, James Martin, Daniel Martin, Paul Jowett and Luke Pollock containing the SU forwards, and making it difficult for the SU forwards to penetrate the Glebe circle.

The Glebe midfield tackling was effective, mostly early, and this prevented the SU forwards from making much headway through the middle of the field. SU looked most dangerous on the quick break from defence, when we were caught short of numbers.

Tyson Hickey, Jamie Travis, Paul Jowett and Michael Wark were our high strikers and I had the feeling that they could score given the right opportunities from the Glebe mid-field players. They often had the SU defence at full stretch to contain them.

From about the 6 to the 11 minute mark of the second quarter SU applied sustained pressure to the Glebe defence, which stood firm, took good options and tackled early and often. It was a fast and furious passage of play, with the ball frequently travelling from end to end. Midway through the second quarter Anthony Wark from 5 metres inside his own half, on the right-hand sideline saw Jamie Travis unmarked 40 metres in front of him, and sent Jamie an early ball.

Jamie scooted down the right wing and along the backline towards the SU goal. The SU goal keeper anticipated that Jamie was going to pass the ball across the face of the SU goal and covered this option. Seeing a chink of daylight between the goal-keeper and the goal post Jamie, calm as you like pushed the ball into the SU net for a second Glebe goal. Glebe 2 SU 1.

Both teams were going all out leading up to half-time. It was a close, tense, emotional tussle with both teams giving their all. In the last two minutes of the second quarter SU made a good break from deep defence on their right-wing side into the Glebe circle, but the shot from the top of the circle from the inside right alley went wide. This was a let off for Glebe.

SU were capable of scoring from general field play, but they did not have any stand-out forwards who were giving us any particular problems. The Glebe fullbacks Adam Campano and Chris Farrugia were reading the game well, cover defending well and closing down gaps quickly. Territorially the game was about 50-50, and at the end of the second quarter the score was Glebe 2 SU 1.

SU started the third quarter strongly and make a quick break down their right wing, before the ball was crossed to the top of the Glebe circle, where a SU forward positioned on the top of the circle tomahawked the ball wide of the goal. This good chance for SU went begging. The SU fullbacks often moved the ball around the back with side passes, and I thought we could have made more of an effort to pick these passes off, as Michael Wark had done in the first quarter.

Playing with only two high strikers made the application of the press on SU’s 16 metres hits difficult to execute. Our attacking press formation is something we will need to work on for future games.  Halfway through the third quarter SU were awarded its fifth penalty corner after the ball found a Glebe foot. The direct shot from the corner battery was well saved by Glebe goalkeeper Jacob Warnock.

By midway through the third quarter the territory had been 50-50, with about the same number of circle penetrations by both teams. There was nothing in this hard-fought game at this stage, the game was still very much in the balance. At the midpoint of the third quarter Michael Wark standing on the top of the SU circle in the inside right alley received a great through ball from his cousin Simon Wark. Michael dragged the SU goalkeeper and had the goal at his mercy, but uncharacteristically for him mistimed the tomahawk shot and the golden opportunity was missed.

In the second half of the game the Glebe defenders were tackling too upright, they did not get low enough, with the stick well in advance of the body and the feet back as far as possible. This resulted in SU being able to milk a few penalty corners that I feel could have been prevented with a better tackling technique. SU were awarded 9 penalty corners in this game. Some of the tackling by the Glebe fullbacks inside our circle was becoming sloppy and careless.

With 4 minutes left in the quarter Tony Wark took a quick option and found his brother Michael with a 50-metre pass in the inside right alley just outside the SU circle. Michael took a good option to outmanoeuvre the SU goalkeeper but again he did not time the tomahawk shot, the execution was bad and a great opportunity missed. Glebe were having chances to score but the final shot at goal was on 4 or 5 occasions poor.

At the end of the third quarter Glebe led SU 2-1 and an upset looked possible. It was the first time in 4 games that we looked capable of winning the game at three-quarter time. The game was still being played at a fast pace, with plenty of passion, effort and energy being expended by both teams. It was a good spectacle to watch from the sideline.

Two minutes into the fourth quarter Glebe were awarded a penalty corner for a heavy SU tackle inside their 22-metre area. The push out was poor, which placed the Glebe battery under pressure and the ball was coughed up by the Glebe battery to the advancing SU defence. SU broke quickly from defence with 5 of their forwards opposed to 3 of our defenders. They travelled 60 metres with the ball, and used their player number advantage to good effect, before pushing the ball into the Glebe goal. This SU goal resulted from a Glebe error from an attacking penalty corner. It was a frustrating way to concede a goal: Glebe 2 SU 2

Five minutes into the final quarter SU scored from a penalty corner, which was a from a direct hit from the battery. Glebe 2 SU 3. 7-8 minutes into the fourth quarter our tackling technique became sloppy, our trapping fell away and we conceded 4 penalty corners within a 10-minute period. Glebe did have its chances midway though the fourth quarter and if a couple of forwards had of tapped relatively standard passes from the back, they would have been in for a 1 on 1 opportunity with the SU goalkeeper. It was not for the want of golden opportunities that we did not score. It was trapping and poor shooting that let us down.

After Glebe fell behind, they started to become more attacking and sent more men forward, pressing the SU defence, who at that stage were struggling to contain the Glebe attacks. Pushing men forward left us a bit exposed at the back, but the team were looking to even the score and were prepared to take risks to achieve this end. We looked as if we could pull one back and the tension could have been cut with a knife. The Glebe team rose to the occasion and applied a lot of pressure on the SU defence.

With 3 minutes left in the game SU got a quick break away and manoeuvred the ball into the Glebe circle where it clipped a Glebe defender’s foot and SU were awarded its 9th penalty corner of the game.  The Glebe defender’s tackling style was much too upright for the field position he found himself in, he needed to have the stick much further out from his legs, and to have got much lower in the tackle with the stick flat on the turf.

From this SU penalty corner, the ball was slipped left from the battery to a SU player who pushed the ball just inside the right-hand goal post past Glebe goalkeeper Jacob Warnock. Glebe 2 SU 4, which was the final score.

The team played well today and were quite capable of winning this game. A pleasing feature of today’s game was that we did not receive a single card. We had 11 players on the field for the entire 68 minutes of the game, which is probably the first time this has happened in 8 games. It makes a big difference when we have not playing short for some of the game, because of temporary suspensions.

SU scored 3 goals from 9 penalty corners and we scored none from five. Our penalty corner conversion rate is poor, and if we are to be competitive in the competition, we need to substantially improve our penalty corner conversion rate. A bit more practice at training lads is what is required.

There was very little between the two teams in today’s game. It was our best game of the season, an encouraging performance. SU scored 3 goals from penalty corners, 1 goal from a Glebe error executing an attacking penalty corner and no goals from well-constructed passing movements. Well done gentlemen on the team’s performance today.

There is now a two-week break until our next game which is at 1530 hours, on 19 June 2021 against Northern Districts at Cintra Park, Concord.